Personal Development

Self discipline, willpower and motivation

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This is a series of 3 articles looking at self discipline, willpower and motivation.

Self discipline "“ Taming the lazy monkey

Every morning I have a freezing cold shower, why? Because part of my mind
says "˜Don't do it, it's just stupid' and that same
part of my mind give's lots of different reasons not to do it. Each
morning I fight that inner voice and discipline it to accept that I am taking
a freezing cold shower. I believe there are benefits
to having a cold shower
which is why I started the discipline in the first

Self discipline is a skill and once you get to grips with it, it can alter
your life.

self_disciplineWhat is it?

Self discipline is the training of your mind to control, perceived harmful,
urges, and to continue to control these urges until a satisfactory resolution
has been sought

Self discipline occurs in every part of your life right now, you might not
have recognised it but it does. When you get out of bed in the morning
to go to work, that is self discipline; when you brush your teeth every morning,
that is self discipline; when you have a shower or a bath every morning, that
is self discipline. Although you might not have recognised it as such
we use this skill every day in our lives.

Imagine if you harnessed this power to change different aspects of your life. There
are many areas of your life it could benefit; in fact it could benefit every
area of your life. If you want to give up smoking, no matter what programs
are available to do so, it ultimately comes down to self discipline. If
you want to lose weight, yes it's great that there are groups of people
who are doing the same as they can be a good motivator but again it comes down
to self discipline.

Who's in control of your mind?

With television, computers, e-mail, radio, mobile phones, video, iPods, newspapers,
magazines, etc there has never been an easier way to reach our minds through

advertising. A lot of us don't realise that we are all being manipulated
in some way to do things that may be harmful to us. I am not talking
conspiracy or anything like that, it's been a natural progression. Advertisers
have become a lot smarter and appealed to our psyche rather than our rational
minds, there are some great adverts out there which slip into our minds and
build up and eventually get us to act to buy something or do something.

For example our children, especially at this time of year, they are bombarded
with adverts for toys and they have to have the latest thing. Why is
so much spent on advertising for children when it's the adults who are
buying? Because it's the children who ultimately apply the pressure for
us to buy the latest toy. We all give in and buy that toy don't

The practice of self discipline

Whilst it's hard to control your thoughts and actions as a child it
should be easier for an adult, you would think! However this is not necessarily
the case. If you've not been taught self discipline as a child
how are you expected to self discipline yourself as an adult?

The truth is self discipline comes automatically for some us as our responsibilities
become greater. For example when we get a job, we have to get up at
a set time, we have to work a set number of hours, we have to conform to the
companies rules and procedures, that's all self discipline. Usually
the things we learn to practice self discipline in are the things we are rewarded
with e.g. our job, going to the gym, saving money, making love. Depending
on the person some of these rewards will be bigger and have more meaning than
some of the others.

What good would self discipline have in your life?

What if you could practice self discipline in everything you do? How would
your life change? Would it change? Think of these questions for a moment.

Some of the areas in your life you could change might be;

  • The amount of time spent with the kids
  • Your weight
  • Your fitness
  • The tidiness of your house
  • The tidiness of your office
  • The cleanliness of your house
  • Fixing all the broken things in your house (fix that shelf once and for
  • The amount of time spent watching TV
  • Watching what you eat
  • Fasting for one day per week
  • Having a cold shower every morning
  • Get your finances sorted out
  • Write those letters you've been meaning to write
  • Make the phone calls you've been meaning to make
  • Organise your life
  • Getting up early to be thankful of all the things you have

The list could go on and on and I am sure you could add a few as well, let
me know what you would add.


The next article will look at willpower, which is different from self discipline in many ways.

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About the author

Steven Aitchison

Steven Aitchison is the author of The Belief Principle and an online trainer teaching personal development and online business.  He is also the creator of this blog which has been running since August 2006.