Transcription of the Importance of Self-Discipline episode of the podcast Doers Shakers Makers with Sierra Bailey.
[00:08] How many times have you set out to do something but lack the discipline to see it through? Do you wish you had stronger willpower and a better sense of self-control? Well today, we’re talking about the importance of self-discipline and how to master it. My name is Sierra Bailey. Welcome to Doers Shakers Makers, a podcast for go-getters to inspire you in your business and life. What is the big difference between the dreamers and the doers? While that difference is self-discipline, that’s what it comes down to. The I wish versus the I did. What makes people follow through finish things and reach goals? It’s self-discipline. Did you know that people with a higher degree of self-control are more satisfied with their lives and live a happier life? There is reason enough to work on your willpower. So let’s talk about ways to master self-discipline.
[01:00] Basically, everything that I talk about on this podcast really does come down to the tenants of self-discipline and the ways to increase your self-discipline because that is the number one thing to finding your way to your goals. It’s self-discipline. It is having the resolve to get yourself there with a little focus and a lot of determination. You’re going to accomplish whatever you want and it’s that determination that really gets you where you want to go. If you want to run a marathon, it’s that willpower to get your butt up off the couch every day and to go outside and go running when you’d much rather Netflix and chill. You need to work on this a little bit and you need to understand what exactly it takes to master self-discipline. Now, the first part of self-discipline is really what we talk about all the time and that is setting clear goals and having an execution plan because you can have all the self discipline in the world, but if you don’t actually have a way to apply it or have something that you are objectively, having self-discipline in that it will be no help to you whatsoever and it will not be mastering self-discipline.
[02:11] You have to see where you want to go. You have to have a vision of where you want to go and then after that, you must have an understanding of what success means to you. So this is why it is so important and why I talk about smart goals, that you must have measurable goals, mainly so you know when you reach them. Otherwise, you’re just always kind of working towards something. But not sure if you’re actually accomplishing the things you want to. You’re not feeling proud of yourself. You’re not getting the motivation to do things because you don’t really know what you’re doing or what you’re expecting from yourself. So you really have to know what it looks like when you reach your goals so that when you do reach them you’re like, oh my goodness, I reached a goal. I am amazing. If you just say, I want to be successful, how on earth do you know when you’re successful?
[02:55] I used to talk about this all the time with peers of mine in the maker world and you know, we’d all say, if you don’t set actual goals and things for like marks for you to set, then fine. You get some press and that’s great and then you just move on to the next thing and you never feel like, “oh, I’ve made it” because you didn’t set what “made it” means. You’re just always reaching for the next thing and mind you, yes, with goals you will always continue to reach for the next thing so there is that as well, but there’s a difference between knowing that you’ve hit a marker of your accomplishments and just doing things and not quite ever feeling like you’re fulfilled. You don’t want to feel unfulfilled. You don’t want to feel like you’re doing things and not getting any results or you’ll basically reach burnout and you have maybe picked up on this by now at all costs, I would like you to prevent burnout.
[03:44] Having the clear goals. Having the execution plan and having that plan be in the middle of taking action. That’s how we’re going to mark our progress and help you stay on track. Now, the second way to master self-discipline is to know your weaknesses. This comes down to knowing where the problems lie. If you are trying to lose weight, is your problem cookies? If you are trying to focus on a big work goal or something that takes a lot of your attention, like reading x amount of books, writing a book. I don’t know why they’re both having to do with books, but something like that. The big project that you’re working on. Is your weakness Facebook and social media? Is your goal of going to the gym thwarted because you never have the clothes when you’re near the gym and so then you make up excuses of why you can’t go or maybe one of my biggest excuses are that you prioritize work over going to the gym.
[04:43] I do that all the time, “Oh I can’t leave now, I’m in the middle of this big thing. It’s for work.” And then I don’t go to the gym. That’s my excuse all the time. Usually, if I can get myself into a real routine, I can get out of that. It’s hard. It’s very difficult, but I know that that’s my weakness. You need to acknowledge your shortcomings. You need to own up to your flaws. Let’s talk about my flaws. I’ll give you some flaws here. If I have a lack of a plan, like if I don’t spend an hour on Fridays putting together my plan for the next week. When I sit down on Monday, I have no idea what I’m going to do and the next thing you know, I’m reorganizing closets, which were not something that I need to be doing. My closets are just fine.
[05:18] Instead of working towards goals that I actually want to accomplish, if I have, like I said, a plan to go to the gym and any work project that I’m in the middle of is getting close to when I leave for the gym, I will just not go to the gym to stay working. If I, Oh God, start having something, I want all the things, which is why I no longer can have any sugar or any alcohol. I have a problem with just one. Ha ha, who else is with me on that? It really goes across the board, but for most of my issue is sugar-related, so I can’t have anything. Even if I have a piece of sugarless gum. The next thing you know, I’ve eaten a pack of gum in five minutes, so I know that that is my limitation and for sure, my weakness.
[06:01] A lot of discipline has to do with knowing those weaknesses. The third thing is removing temptation. So we’ve talked about if cookies, Facebook, and gym clothes are all of your weaknesses, then you should remove all cookies from the house, perhaps not meet at bakeries for coffee. Take maybe Facebook off of your phone or put it into black and white on your phone. If it’s a real problem, if you need to have it for business, I understand having it on your phone, sometimes switching it to black and white off after you do your Facebook posts. That is helpful. If you are somebody that makes the excuse of not having your gym clothes, maybe keeping a bag of gym clothes in your car can get you over that. So removing the temptation or making it easier to say yes, than say no are ways that you can kind of deal with that whole thing.
[06:47] Also, ditch the bad influences. The fewer the distractions, the more focus. So if you are hanging out with people that are like, oh, just have one cookie, you’ll be fine. Don’t hang out with that person while you’re on your weight loss journey, because they obviously are not respecting your goals. Number four is to keep it simple when you’re adding new habits, and I’ve talked about this in a previous episode, the best way to add habits is to add one at a time. Break it down into manageable bite-size steps and do start small. Don’t say, I want to start running every day and then go out and run 10 miles. Run for five minutes and walk for 30 or just run for five minutes. You want to add in just a small step at a time and work up to it. If it’s something like I want to write in a journal every morning, that’s a little bit different.
[07:36] Just sit down and write in a journal, but you may start with one page and then after a few weeks go to two pages or however you want to do that. If you want to be writing off the top of your head and you’re having a hard time with that at first, then maybe it’s “I’m going to write an answer this prompt every day” and then eventually move to just writing out of the top of your head, that kind of thing. The fifth thing is to work on your self-discipline and think of it like working out a muscle, so I like to think of it, that if you want bigger biceps you have to go to the gym and you have to do repetitions and daily practice in order to get bigger biceps. It is the same thing with self-discipline. If you want better discipline, you need to work on it.
[08:17] Daily practice, repetition. The bigger the temptation, the harder it is to resist. So if you are building it up, it makes it that when those bigger temptations come up, you’re feeling a little more able to handle with the temptation than you are if you have not been working on the little bits of avoiding temptation every day. If you, for example, have a morning routine or have habits in place, if you are already in the practice of having discipline, which I’m going to get to a little bit more in a second, then you will be in a better position to handle it when there is a bigger temptation. So that is why it is so important to do things like that. Which brings me to number six. Keep yourself fueled in shape and well-rested. Hey, in life, all equipment that is well taken care of, it performs better, right?
[09:04] That is the same for your body. Eat healthy, avoid getting hangry. It’s really hard to make good decisions when you’re hangry. If you’re not aware of what hangry means, it is a combination of hungry and angry. That is hangry. That is when we all get grumpy and we can make no good decisions. I’m mildly hangry right now. Do you hear how sassy I sound? That is because I’m hangry. You want to get seven to nine hours of sleep. There is so much talked about with that. There are so many studies done. Sleep is very important. It should be a priority. You don’t make good decisions when you’re tired. You want to be active. I’m not saying that you need to go to the gym and lift weights every day, but you should move. Get out there, take a walk three days a week. Outside is really good too.
[09:41] It’s good to be breathing fresh air, getting some sun on you, but being active definitely helps as well because the better you feel, the easier it is to make smart decisions. As you’re noticing maybe a trend here, that in the path to being a self-disciplined person or having strong willpower. It’s really about making sure that your body, your brain, everything is primed so that it is not as much of a struggle when you do have to make the hard decisions and you do have to have the self-discipline. So not only do you want to be in that mental place where you’re prepared to say, well I know this is the good choice, I want to make the good choice, but you should make it easy on yourself so that you are not making a series of really difficult decisions that you are making the things that are difficult, not so difficult to decide on.
[10:27] For example, if you are trying to lose weight and eat healthier, you’re not having to say I don’t want the cookie all day long, because there is no cookie to want. If you want to be writing a book, you want to be putting time aside every day where you can sit down and write instead of having to fight against other things. You want to make the decisions easy for yourself. It makes self-discipline easier. The seventh way to increase your self-discipline is to allow for a backup plan. So sometimes you’ll be going into a situation where it is difficult to make that well-informed, correct decision. The dieting one is just, so many people talk about it. It’s an easy one to use and everybody understands kind of what I’m talking about so I’ll stay with that.
[11:13] If you are on your way to a cocktail party and you’re hungry and you’re really nervous that you absolutely are going to end up eating those delicious high fat, high-calorie cocktail treats instead of sticking to your healthy plan. Have a backup plan. When you get there, immediately go to the bar and chug a glass of water. Fill yourself up a little bit, look over everything that is on that buffet or that table or being passed around and have an idea of which ones are the better choices for you to have or you know, sometimes you don’t really have the option and you go to somebody’s house for dinner and you know what you’re about to eat is not at all what you should be eating. Have a small portion or sometimes, you feel rude, not eating it, whatever. We all know those things happen.
[12:02] The next day is another day. Start off tomorrow on the right foot and just write off that meal as something that you had no control over. The eighth thing to help you master self-discipline is to actually change your mindset around willpower. So there was a Stanford study that showed, the amount of willpower you have is determined by your own beliefs. So if you believe that your willpower is limited, you will probably not surpass those limits and you will probably end up exhausting yourself before you need to reach your goal. If you don’t limit your beliefs in your self-control, you are less likely to end before you reach your goal. I mean that’s just so simple when you break it down into that, but it is not simple for a lot of people to work on the limiting beliefs that they have. You, of course, can reach out and seek a life coach or a therapist or something like that that you can work on that with if it’s a big problem, but just start now changing how you talk to yourself, how you’re thinking about things.
[13:07] You can make the small changes on your own if you need more help, seek that help, but you can absolutely start to say, I can do this. I have mentioned before on the podcast, everything has been done before. You can see the proof around you. If you need to, research some articles or some stories of people having success in what you’re trying to do, he will make you see the proven results that it can be done and may help you with that limiting belief. It may help you see, oh okay, these people did this, therefore I can do it. Hey, the percentage may be really low but it’s still being done. Why can’t you be the person that’s in that low percentage? There is nothing that is stopping you from doing that and that is getting over your limiting beliefs. Now the ninth thing is rewarding yourself.
[13:49] I have a hard time with this because I feel like as I’ve grown up in my forties who does not really have many bad ways to reward myself, like I’m not somebody that, I don’t need sugar, I don’t have alcohol, so I’m not necessarily like, oh, I’m going to reward myself with a cake. I do try to say I’m going to reward myself by buying books. But again, as I was about to say, as somebody who is in their forties, I just buy the books that I want at this point. So it’s hard for me to say I’m going to shop or buy. Instead, I try to reward myself by doing something. So for example, if I accomplish this goal, I am going to take a weekend off and go with my husband and my dog and enjoy myself and not think about work. Although I will say that for a while I was, I would release four collections a year with my jewelry brand and after I released each collection I was buying, you know those modern mid-century little brass, I don’t want to say their statues, they’re very small.
[14:44] They could fit in your hand. Figurines of animals? Well, a large part of my jewelry collection involved large brass animals and huge gemstones. They were quite outrageous necklaces. So it was a fitting thing to celebrate each collection with. It got a little out of control. I probably have like 20 of them at this point. So, it is a good example that sometimes when you reward yourself, you have to be careful. But I did amass, a nice collection, but it got a little bit when finally I was like, I don’t want this many of these press animals. What on earth should I do with all of these? So sometimes think about things, experiences, experiences are such a wonderful way to reward yourself. They make great gifts to think maybe, oh, if I finish this thing, then I get to go spend the entire day at my favorite museum without any restriction of time.
[15:31] You know? Think about things like that. That is sometimes a great way to reward yourself. With time, with experiences. When you reach your goal, you get the reward and then you move forward. Alright, and the last, and I think the most important, and I’ve touched on this a few times in the past of these, is to forgive yourself and move forward. Just keep going. If you stumble, get back up and keep going. It’s really interesting how these days, so many people think that if you fail, if you fall, if you stumble that you have to stop. I’ve never understood that. That is not. Think about, my husband was a pro snowboarder and he skateboarded a lot and we talk about this all the time. It’s one of the most obvious examples of watching these kids that compete in skateboarding or snowboarding. Think about how many times those kids eat dirt until they get that move right.
[16:22] Until they get that trick down until they get it right. They fall down, they get back up, they fall down, they get back up. I view just drive by a skate park and just watch for a second as you go by, you will see what I’m talking about. They mess up, mess up, mess up, mess up, mess up, mess up. Sounds weird when you say it a lot, but you’re getting my point. They continuously mess up. They keep going until they get it. That is the secret and the most important part of self-discipline. If you fail, it doesn’t matter. You just keep going. If it doesn’t work the first time, it doesn’t matter. You keep going. If for a week you fall off the wagon, whatever, get back on keep going. That is how you really will get self-discipline. Well, thank you for joining me today. I hope you not only enjoyed hearing my ramblings about self-discipline, but that you feel a little more armed and prepared to go out there and up your self-discipline game. I will be back next Monday with another episode because I’m here every week and my name is Sierra Bailey and this is Doers Shakers Makers, a podcast for go-getters. If you enjoyed it, please subscribe. And if you’re listening with apple podcasts, giving me some stars, giving me a review, really helps the podcast get found. So I appreciate it, but I’ll see you next week to keep you inspired and get you doing, shaking and making.
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