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Ten Steps to Self Discipline Sometimes we know what the right thing is to do, but we just dont feel

like doing it. People who are able to follow through on their goals, even when they dont really feel like it, are likely to become more successful and leave more fulfilling lives. Here are ten steps, well some of them are more like thoughts and ideas, but take a look through them and you will begin to think differently about self discipline.

1. A part of you does not want self discipline. Inside of you, there is a little part of you that wants to be completely lazy. Anytime you try to do something worthwhile, that person inside you tries everything possible to get you to stop. The only way to get good at learning self discipline is to have the ability to communicate with this person inside you effectively. I'll warn you though, this person is extremely persuasive. And it's important that you realize this from the beginning. You're not going to win every battle with this person. You simply need to strive to do your best. What kind of things does this person inside you say?... 2. The 5 things that this person tries to trick you into doing something else. Here is, more or less, the five things that this person inside you says to get you to stopping doing what's important... What's the point of all of this? Why bother? Remember last time you tried something like that? I'm not good enough. I don't have what it takes. I'm too fat/ugly/skinny/shy etc. Let's go do something else. Let's just watch some TV for a little bit. We'll do it later. No need to get started right now. Reading over this list, I bet you realize that you've said some of these things a million times to yourself. This is the little person inside you speaking. Remember, this person doesn't want you to have self discipline. And they've discovered that by saying these things, it often times gets you to stop what you're doing! The trick is to realize these thoughts the moment they arrive. And kindly tell yourself that they are simply a trick to try to get you to do something else! How can you fight these tricks?...

3. A great tip to get you up and going. Here's a tip that will get you off the couch and start working. It's a bit silly. But I promise that if you try it just one time you will not think it's so silly anymore... State out loud (or in your head) what you want to be doing, as if you were actually already doing it. If you want to stop watching TV and start doing yard work, repeat to yourself, "I am doing yard work. I am doing yard work. I am doing yard work." You're probably thinking that there is no way that this works. Believe me, I said the same thing myself. All I ask is that you try it just one time! I hope you do. You'll be amazed!

4. Self discipline is not a trait, its a skill. Laugh the next time you hear someone say that they are self disciplined. Because the reality is, you can't be self disciplined. You can use self discipline. But you can't be it as if it was a quality in you. If you take someone that you think is very skilled in self discipline, you will realize that even for them, the little person inside them gets the best of them at least some of the time. That's because no matter how skilled you are, there is always room for improvement. The best basketball player on the planet still misses a shot from time to time. Self discipline is a skill. A skille that you need to constantly get better at. Practice it every day. Because the day you stop practicing is the day you start to lose it.

5. Ask yourself, "How can I get myself to do what a part of me doesn't want to do?" Whenever you hear yourself saying one of the five things mentioned above, stop what you are doing immediately. Think about what this person in you is saying. Is their point valid? Usually it's not. And when it isn't valid, you need to have some kind of pick-me-up to get you through it. Try using tip 3 and start chanting what you want to be doing. Rewards work well too. One thing that has worked really well for me is when I read my notecard of inspiration. You will learn more about this in tip 10. Little things make a big difference. Especially when it comes to learning self discipline.

6. You fear failure because you don't separate the task from yourself. This is a big clue as to why you haven't started doing a lot of the things that you've always said you wanted to do. We are all consumed by fears. Whether we realize this or not. Fear of failure is certainly towards the top of the list. And it's for this reason that we fear it so much. If our project fails. We consider ourselves a failure. It's important that you realize that you do this and stop thinking this way. If your project fails, big deal! You're still a winner for trying. I know you might think that this sounds like a loser's attitude but it's not. As long as you tried your best when you were working on it, you'll be a winner every time! If you gave half effort and the project failed, you are a loser! But if deep down you know you tried your hardest, the next project you face you will be that much better.

7. Ask yourself, "What is the worst that can happen?" Continuing on with dealing with fears, this saying is the best antidote I've heard. Next time you're afraid to make that phone call that you really need to make, ask yourself, "What is the worst thing that could happen?"

You will be amazed by how many times the answer to this question is "not much." Try this the next time you are frozen from action because of some fear. Think about the worst thing that can happen. Accept it. And then do it!

8. Don't have an "all or nothing" attitude. The reason we don't get started on many important things and the reason our self discipline falters is because of our instinct of "all or nothing." I used to have the hardest time getting started writing a new page for the site because I said to myself, "if I start then I have to finish it!" When you start on something, start with the attitude that you are going to do your best and whatever happens, happens. When you do this, you will find yourself getting started much more quickly. And ultimately, getting a whole lot more done.

9. The reality of getting it done is more satisfying than getting it perfect. This relates a little to the previous tip. Having a "perfectionist" attitude will really kill your self discipline. If everything needs to be perfect, you need to get rid of that attitude immediately. Because a lot of things just need to be good enough. And nothing more. The ultimate satisfaction comes when you do your best and get it done. If you need to go back later and improve it you can. But focus your thoughts and attitude on getting things done. And getting them done as quickly as possible. You'll be amazed by how this attitude will effect your self discipline and your overall happiness.

10. Have a notecard of inspiration. The final tip is to have a notecard of inspiration. What's that? It's very simple. Get a notecard and write three motivational things on it. I like to have two motivational quotes and one big goal that I'm striving towards. Now, be sure to only have three things on it. Keep it simple or you'll never look at it. And be sure to change this notecard and add new stuff to it from time to time. I would say that you need to make a new card at least every two weeks. Because it doesn't take long before the thoughts written on the card lose their power and don't quite give you the inspiration that had before. Be sure to have this card in a place where you will see it all of the time. My motivation card sits right by my computer. I can't tell you how many times I've glanced over at this card and a surge of energy started to come up inside of me.

Similar to tip 3, you might think that this card won't do that much for you. But all that I ask is for you to try it for a week. Right this second, go grab an index card and look up "motivational quotes" in a search engine. Try this for a week and see if it doesn't help you improve your self discipline Problem Solving & Creativity It can be easy to get stuck in certain habits of thinking, you're trying to work out a problem, whether this is personal, a professional issue, a technical problem etc, but you just end up going round and round using the same method over and over without any success. However there are all sorts of techniques that can help us to see a problem from a different perspective and to access the greater natural problem solving capacity of our minds. Our brains naturally behave as pattern recognition systems, they do not function like computers. It takes years of training before we learn to do even simple sums - something that computers do very easily. On the other hand, we can instantly recognize patterns such as faces, language, and handwriting. The benefit of good pattern recognition is that we can recognize objects and situations very quickly. Unfortunately, we get stuck in our patterns and tend to think within them. Solutions we develop are based on previous solutions to similar problems and normally it just does not occur to us to use solutions belonging to other patterns. By using the techniques in this section, you can start to tackle problems that might otherwise seem huge, overwhelming, and excessively complex. Creativity and problem solving are actually just 2 sides of the same coin, using problem solving techniques to tackle a problem from a different perspective is itself being creative. Often the only difference between creative and uncreative people is self-perception. Creative people see themselves as creative and so give themselves the freedom to create. Uncreative people do not think about creativity and do not give themselves the opportunity to create anything new. Many of the techniques in this section have been used by great thinkers to drive their creativity. Albert Einstein, for example described using a number of the techniques to trigger ideas that lead to the Theory of Relativity. Visual Thinking - The Afterimage Technique Why would you want to think visually? Well for starters it is considerably faster than thinking verbally. We can only think verbally about as fast as we can talk. However when we do visual thinking, we are thinking at the level of the unconscious. We are now processing information at the brains natural speed. It has been estimated that the human brain can process 4 quadrillion bits of information per second (4,000,000,000,000,000 bits/sec). Also, visual thinking is the natural language of the subconscious mind. It is much easier to bypass the critical conscious mind and access the vast resources of the subconscious, which allows for improved creativity and problem solving. How to improve your Visualisation Ability - The Afterimage Technique First you will need a partner or, if you are working on your own, an audio recorder. Most computers and mobile devices would record just fine for this. Speaking aloud to a listener (even if it is an imagined listener as with your audio recorder) involves additional sections of the brain, which will accelerate your progress.

For 30 seconds, stare at a light, window, or part of the room that has a strong contrast; any striking colour against a white background works well. Do not use the sun, a light brighter than about 40 Watt, or anything else very bright as this can damage your eyes. Now close your eyes, you will momentary see an afterimage of whatever you were looking at. Afterimages are leftover prints of light on the retina at the back of the eye. You may see a floating blob of light or colour or perhaps a few lines in a similar shape to whatever you were just looking at. If it was a complicated pattern or object, you may just see the outline/silhouette of this object. Describe aloud to your partner or into your recorder what you see in as much detail as possible. Continue describing what you can see it changes colour and shape. At first your afterimages will probably fade fairly quickly. Unreinforced afterimages tend to last for only a few seconds. However with practice, and when reinforced by attention and description, your afterimage can last for minutes at a time. To begin with if yours fades after a few moments, just go back to staring at the light/object and repeat the process. At some point while describing your afterimages, you may begin to notice other kinds of images flash up in your minds eye. These might be vague impressions of a face, a landscape, some random object, or even a short scene like a mini movie or animation. As soon as you become aware of an image, describe it. Describe the image in the present tense, as if you still see it, even if you caught a glimpse for a moment before it faded away. With your attention focused on the description of the object, you will often find it comes back into view, and with more detail. As you continue to do this you will find the image will change and more images will start to appear. To take this technique to the next level, and to unlock some of the great insights your subconscious mind can bring, see our article on Image Streaming. Image Streaming What are the nature of your thoughts? It would seem at first look, that our thoughts are mostly structured in language, we are all aware of the constant internal dialogue going on inside our mind. But in truth only 2% of our thoughts, experience and understanding is actually formed in words, this is the conscious part of our mind. The other 98% is made up of continual sensory impressions and associations in the subconscious mind. Image streaming is an amazing technique that allows you to access the resources of your subconscious mind. Research has shown that image streaming for just a few minutes each day actually makes you more intelligent. But how does it do this? Everyone has sensory images and thoughts going on in the back of the mind all the time, however mostly these are ignored by the conscious mind. Image streaming brings these sensory images into the focus of the conscious mind. It is by bringing more of your subconscious messages and understanding into the realm of your conscious mind that image streaming has the effect of making you more intelligent. Image streaming also lays the foundations both in terms of the physical neural structures inside the brain and the mental skill in linking the conscious and subconscious minds that are required for

many advanced thinking and problem solving techniques. (The Over the Wall technique is a good example of one that builds on this foundation)

How to Image Stream Before you start its worth noting that the technique works best if you have another live person who you can describe your images too, the next best option is to use a tape recorder, although if neither of these are available the technique will still work by simply imagining another person and describing your image stream to them. This is an important point as the external focus of the description allows the mind to see these an objective statements about yourself, as a process of discovery. Rather than as part of its ongoing internal dialogue. - Begin by taking a few deep breaths, make each one as slow and satisfying as possible. This will help you to relax and will get mind into state where the conscious and subconscious are more closely synchronised, and so can communicate easier. Take about a minute or so of slow deep breaths and you should notice you already feel a lot more relaxed. - Now close your eyes, and begin to describe what you can see;. It is important just to describe the images as they naturally arise, dont try to consciously choose and picture an object. Just describe the sensory impressions that are presented to you - Describe the image stream in as much detail as possible, and try to keep the descriptions constantly flowing. Also dont worry if the images change too quickly just keep up as best you can. - Start off with a 2-3 minute session and build up to between 5 and 8 minutes. After this open your eyes, and let out s quick sharp breath, this will help re-orientate yourself to an external focus. - Finish the technique by reviewing what you have just described, look at the number of details, features and aspects of your sensory images you have described, also consider that richness and colour of your descriptions. These will help guide you in future image streaming sessions, the aim is to be able to describe the sensory impressions in such a way that some on listening to your descriptions would be able to see and feel exactly the same experience as you. Although we talk about image streaming the sensory impressions from your subconscious mind may not be limited to images, sounds, feelings, tastes and smells could all be included. Also, especially at first your mind may not present clear images and scenes, even if you only experience lines and colours begin to describe these, the visualisations will take on more detailed and concrete forms as you become more comfortable using the technique.

Over The Wall The Over The Wall technique takes advantage of the latent problem solving power of the subconscious mind. When you come up against a problem or question that you just cant work out, you can get your subconscious to present a solution to you may not otherwise have found. By setting a question or problem you want to find an answer to and giving your mind a place to work and create this solution deliberately outside of your conscious view, it allows you to expose it to your conscious mind all in one instant as a fully formed idea. This is as opposed to the usual step by step logical process of the conscious mind, which builds up its solutions one piece at a time. You in

effect outrun the critical editing faculty of the conscious mind. This gives you access to creative solutions that would otherwise have been dismissed or not even considered in the first place. The role of the conscious mind is to then ask follow up questions, observe the changes in the imagery and analyze the results of your over the wall experience. It makes sense really, let each part of your infinite mind do what it does best. Start out by deciding on a question or a problem that you have been unable to find an answer to through thinking in the usual way. It can help set the question in your mind by writing it down. Next close your eyes and imagine a great wall in front of you so you cannot see what is behind it. Behind this wall is where the solution to your problem lies. You can then forget about the question confident in the knowledge that your sub-conscious will already have begun working on the problem. To occupy your conscious mind which will be itching to take a peek over that wall, focus on visualizing the surroundings on this side of the wall. For example imagine you are in a beautiful, almost magical garden. The key here is the detail, try to notice everything about it. Whats in this garden? What colours can you see, what about sounds? Smells? How does it feel to be there? Your visualizations will be much more vivid and engaging if you describe them aloud. You can do this by describing to someone else what this garden is like, or by imagining someone else is in room with you and describe it to them, or even to a tape recorder. The important thing is to have some kind of external focus. Spend a few minutes creating a detailed and vivid environment, then slowly approach the wall and describe it in the same level of detail; what does it look like, feel like, sound like? Now leap over the wall, and immediately begin describing out loud the first things that come into your mind; what can you see, what sensations do you feel? Follow the imagery your mind creates for you and as before do this in as much detail as possible, dont try to direct your experience just describe what your mind is presenting you with. Continue with your descriptions for a few minutes or until you feel have absorbed all of what your mind is showing you, and then slowly open your eyes and re-orientate yourself to the room you are in. Now it is time to go over your experience. The subconscious speaks to the conscious mind in ideas and by metaphor. What do the images you have seen represent, how does this relate to the problem you set out to solve? Once you have an idea of what your mind has been showing you, ask some follow up questions; How do I know what I have understand is the right answer to this question, What should I do next about this? Is there anything else I should know? Each time close your eyes and notice how the imagery changes, describing it out loud as before and then looking back on what you have described.