Have you ever heard someone say, "I wish I had that kind of willpower ," when her friend orders the salad instead of the chicken? It's as if they are convinced some people were born with self control . But self discipline is a learned skill, not an innate characteristic.
There's no evidence that increased leisure time equates to increased self-discipline. In fact, it doesn't matter how much time you have but what you choose to do with your time, matters.
Similar to building physical muscle, your mental muscle requires intentional exercise. Over time, your self-discipline muscles can be built.
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Progress doesn't usually come in a straight line. And just because you make a mistake doesn't mean you're a failure. Making mistakes is part of the process to becoming better.
The way you recover from those mistakes is what matters most. Learning from your missteps and committing to doing better next time can help you build self-discipline.
You won't magically wake up one day with superhuman willpower. Instead, you need a strategy to help you build mental muscle.
Whether you want to increase good habits--like going to the gym more often--or you want to eliminate bad habits--like watching too much TV--you'll need a plan to turn your intentions into action. Outline clear action steps you will start taking on a daily basis.
You won't gain self-discipline to lose weight if you keep your house stocked with junk food. Instead, you'll wear yourself out trying to resist every cookie, brownie, and chip.
Limiting temptations can help you slowly build more self-discipline over time. If your weakness involves checking social media every two minutes, find an app that blocks access to Facebook. Or, if you can't resist overspending when you go to the store, leave your credit card at home and carry cash only.
Ignoring your pitfalls won't make them go away. So whether eating cookies is the downfall to your weight loss or checking social media sabotages your productivity, acknowledge your weaknesses. Recognizing your weaknesses is the first step in creating positive change.
Remind yourself of the things you stand to gain when you resist temptation. Visualize yourself meeting your goals and reaping the benefits of self-discipline.
Write down a list of all the things you'll gain when you stick to your goals. Read over the list when you're tempted to give up. Spend a few minutes picturing yourself being successful and remind yourself how you'll feel when you succeed.
It's natural to try to avoid pain. But avoiding short-term discomfort often leads to long-term problems. And every time you give in, you'll reinforce to yourself that you can't handle distress.
Practice allowing yourself to feel uncomfortable and prove to yourself that you can stand it. Whether that means running on the treadmill for one more minute than you thought you could or resisting the urge to pick up a cigarette, train your brain to see that pain isn't the enemy.
You have an estimated 70,000 thoughts per day. That's 70,000 chances to build yourself up or tear yourself down.
If you call yourself names, doubt your abilities and second-guess your decisions, you'll harm your performance (and most likely you'll also be risking your physical and psychological health). But the good news is, you can change the way you think.
The brain has an amazing way of connecting dots and ensuring we make the best use of all the knowledge we have.
When you are out of ideas, expand your range of knowledge by speaking with others and reading extensively on other topics.
This way, you give your brain more dots to connect and are more likely to come up with an idea.
Leaders can choose to rely on Occam's razor. They can select the idea that makes the fewest assumptions. By choosing an idea that has the fewest unknowns a leader can safeguard against surprises and disasters.
Of course, the simplest solution may not be the most daring. A leader who promotes innovation won't always take the well-traveled road, but won't leave behind their map either.
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