Recently, the idea of discipline has come up with a number of my clients. While it is generally a positive attribute, discipline can also be quite a task master. Being disciplined to carve out the time and follow through on obligations regarding what needs to get done is praiseworthy, but there is often a punitive element that comes up with discipline as well. This negative aspect is particularly noticeable when the desired results aren’t seen even when we’ve done what we set out to do. The voice of “it’s not enough” comes and interferes and takes away pleasure we may have had from what we did accomplish.
When I was young there was a time when I was very overweight and I joined Overeaters Anonymous. While I explored this helpful process, I also discovered that I am not a compulsive overeater. One of the questions my sponsor had me journal about was Discipline. I’ve always been a relatively disciplined person, so I’m sure I wrote almost all positives about discipline, but over time I’ve come to recognize that there can be an element of rigidity in being too disciplined. Additionally, too much striving and looking to a specific result with discipline can make my life more difficult; this is what I have been seeing with these clients. There is something about approaching a task or project with a level of curiosity which allows for spontaneity as well as greater ease.
Each one of us has to find our right balance of discipline. With so much to do in life, discipline usually works to our benefit, and it is worthwhile to acknowledge when it doesn’t. One of the biggest clues that it is time to set limits on the task master of discipline is when it is interfering with being present with people and activities which are important.
Do you need to renew your relationship with discipline? Here ideas to keep discipline as a benefit rather than a detractor.
- Reward yourself for your efforts and following through, not just for the results; rewards can be small like calling a friend, going for a walk or bigger as you see appropriate
- Set aside time for being, then spontaneous experiences can occur – perhaps you need to be disciplined about this so that you can shoo away the voice of “you should be productive now” and be able to replace it with “I should be being now, and that’s what I am doing”
- Perspective, look at what has gotten done rather than focusing on what hasn’t gotten done thus far
- Take time to use the “E” and the “R” in SMART-ER goals, Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Resonant, Thrilling, Evaluate and Reset
To figure out how you can keep discipline working for your benefit, contact me.
Dina 203 744.YOU3 (9683)