Think about this for a moment; we are each our own toughest critic, yet we lie to ourselves on a routine basis. You might be saying "no I don't Kyle, speak for yourself!" Maybe you're right, you don't lie to yourself. That being said, if you are like most people, myself included, then you do lie to yourself constantly. We allow ourselves to make excuses for our own behavior, for our own lack of discipline. To be successful in sales (I would even argue in life) you must have self discipline. This simply means that when you say you are going to do something... you do it. You do what you said you were going to do... regardless of the situation.
We all have things we know we should do, but would rather not. The reason why we know we should do it is because the desired outcome is attractive to us. If you want to develop the habit of writing in a daily journal its because you believe after a year of writing in a daily journal you will be more patient, thoughtful, and stress-free. The challenge enters the equation after a few days of writing in your daily journal and you realize, nothing has changed. The result we seek is delayed, and we, as humans, hate delay. All human beings want to be comfortable—it’s ingrained in us. We want to take the path of least resistance to get to where we want to go. So what's the problem then right? Well, to be successful you will have to take the path of resistance. Success does not come easy and to make it through the hard times, you must practice self discipline. In order to have self discipline during the hard times, you must practice it all the time.
The hardest part of self discipline is the “self” part. There is one person that we can lie to with ease and that is ourselves. The negative result of lying to ourselves is similar to the result of writing in a daily journal, its delayed. The worst part? It feels good to lie to ourselves because we are typically lying to avoid short term discomfort. These lies typically come in the form of excuses. "Its too cold to go for a run" and “I don’t have the time” are often just your mind telling you “I don’t want to do that.” The long term impact of a lack of self discipline can be catastrophic for someone who is driven and is pursuing goals. Poor self discipline can bleed into other areas of your life and make it near impossible to achieve at a high level.
WHAT TO DO.
Fighting the human desire for the path of least resistance (to have self discipline), takes self discipline, which makes it a tricky one. Fortunately I have a trick that I've used for years to fight my instincts to stay comfortable. I call it "You messed up brain!" Here is how it works. When I find myself in a situation where I don't feel like doing something, I say "you messed up brain" and now I have to do it. For example, when my alarm clock goes off at 5:30 a.m., my brain sometimes says, “hit snooze and get another five minutes of sleep.” That's when I say “you messed up brain, now we have to get up.” This is because I made a commitment, and I refuse to lie to myself. Do I mess up? Absolutely, more often than I would like to admit. However, I work hard on staying focused on my commitment to follow through on what I tell myself I am going to do. Doing this allows me to course correct quickly when my self discipline slips.
STAGES OF SELF DISCIPLINE
As you improve your self discipline you will go through stages of awareness and execution. can you identify where you are in the stages below?
Stage 1: You fail to keep a commitment to yourself but you didn't even notice.
Stage 2: You notice that you are breaking your commitment but you continue anyway.
Stage 3: You notice that you are breaking your commitment and you stop, think and change course to follow through.
Stage 4: You feel the desire to break a commitment but make a conscious choice not to.
Stage 5: You don't even think about breaking your commitments to yourself.
Self discipline is very important, I hope you were able to identify which stage you are in so you have a starting point. Remember, if you find yourself in a situation where you want to break a commitment to yourself in exchange for comfort say "you messed up brain!" and follow through!
I would love to hear from you; what do you do to stay disciplined?
As always, have a wonderful day filled with success and self-improvement!