Monday, May 23, 2016

Productivity Improvement: How to discipline yourself to “self-discipline”

By Virginia Mburu

Pendo turned……

 And disturbed my dream.

 That is me - Mwakazi.  You must have read about me in the previous articles such as “how to ‘lower’ your standards” Back to my story.  I was in dream. In the dream I was a reading an article on how best to exercise. I bet I am getting a message that I badly need that exercise!

Peeping through the blankets, I noted the sunrays and realized it was morning.  I had overslept but then I remembered it was a Sunday morning.

I turned. Something was disturbing my mind. The previous day was my son’s prize giving day. I was late and missed his presentation. This was not the first time and I kept chastising myself every time.  

Yesterday was no exception. I was not happy with my performance or lack of it! Yet, I did not have a good reason for getting late. When going home, he kept asking if I had seen how well he performed in his presentation….

Going through the events, one word popped in my mind—Discipline…..This is what I was lacking.  It was critical that I succeed in this area otherwise I will continue letting others and myself down.

I made a point of discussing this with my mentor during our meeting next week.  This self- defeating habit must go!

The mentor assisted me with 7 “must have” tips that I share below. I also got to learn that most of the high achievers are also likely to be highly disciplined as discipline is the grandmother of success.  

I was excited to understand that they are not born disciplined since self-discipline is a learned behavior which requires continuous daily practice and repetition. They will fail sometimes but they quickly recover and continue with the journey.

The rest of us judge ourselves pretty harshly when a lapse occurs thus forming a negative mindset.—that we are not disciplined. You can get more strategies on how to deal with negative mindsets in “My Inside Out Lifestyle Design” Program.

What about You- joining me in this self-discipline journey and ultimately be counted among the high achievers by following the steps below;

1.   Be easy on you
You have just realized that some bolt needs tightening… You are just about to save yourself from an “accident ahead”. Stop the blame game and congratulate yourself for what you are about to ‘be and do’ henceforth! Once you are done patting yourself on the back………

2.   Consider all the positive outcomes of the goals you have set for every role in your life
Visualize what achieving those goals means, the happiness you experience, the accolades that come with it, the difference you have made in your life, your business, your career, the community etc.

It is now so easy to make rational decisions and follow through the execution. You are now doing things you previously was reluctant to do and as such your self-respect has skyrocketed.

The stress levels are down, you physical and mental health has improved. You now are closing  more contracts,  acquiring more resources, uncovering more opportunities etc.

Don’t leave it there, convert what you have just visualized into a document, place deadlines and publicly commit to achieving those goals. Get an accountability partner or sign up a contract with a third party- say book a venue for a launch.

You are left with no choice but to do what it takes to hit the goal or breach the contract. Now that you are motivated by the mere thought of the expected outcomes…..

3.   Make a decision to  commit to the goal and devoted to execution
We cannot wait to enjoy the fruits of our discipline.  Thomas Edison said that , “genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration” and now it’s time to start, execute, follow-through and bring our goals to completion while strengthening our discipline muscle. While at it…..

4.   Make it easy
Make no mistake, discipline is tough as the new habit development is a process not an event.
Remove all known barriers (physical, physiological or mental) towards achievement of your goal.  

  • Do away with distractors and time wasters – those people, habits or activities that do not aid your goal achievement e.g. the unregulated chit- chats, social media, consumption of TV, gaming, unnecessary books/ newspaper reading etc. You are well advised to calculate how much your time is worth so that you can confidently gauge whether the activity you are undertaking is worth your worth
  • Make baby steps as you build your self-discipline muscle…. Suppose your goal is to run the 21KM marathon in the next year. What about starting by jogging for 5 minutes week 1, 10 minutes week 2, 20 minutes week 3 etc. and add more exercises as you get more confident?. Start pushing your brain slowly out of the comfort zone by doing things you would not generally do or are reluctant to do e.g. use a different route, eat something you would otherwise not eat, visit a new place, give up your seat to that needy stranger, give up something you normally do e.g. that soda that goes with your meal etc. Also keep in mind that you will  whatever you start you will initially return a ‘not so good’ performance  but  stick to it long  enough and you will get good at it.
  • Create an environment in which high self-discipline is supported. What if you combined the new activity with an activity you love doing so that you will initially concentrate on the enjoyable activity e.g.  the jokes you share  as you jog with a friend who has a common interest.
  • Keep your energy  levels high — Take care of all areas of your life- physical, emotional, spiritual etc., regularly take your recommended  diet  and take plenty of exercise
  • Keep your emotions in check. Push/Force yourself to do what you do not want to do. It helps that you have clear outcomes though you at times do not feel like doing something every day despite the expected positive outcome   
  • Get a role model or mentor in the area you want to develop, get advice on how best to handle the situation, what works or what does not.

5.   Develop a routine plus the requisite support structures
Ever wondered why the military is called a “disciplined force”. They have a routine they follow through every day no matter what! Consistency is key. Schedule whatever needs to be done and make it non-negotiable.

Ensure you have scheduled all the activities that advance your business, career, personal development, spirituality, health etc.  Let the schedule be supported by requisite structures. Imagine a primary school without a timetable or a bell! By the way, when will you……

6.   Stop giving excuses for your inaction and
ACT NOW and start rewarding yourself for the small and major achievements. Start telling yourself the truth as to why you did not do what was expected. No more the “I was held up in the jam”.

You are not likely to tell the truth (you overslept since you turned in to bed at 4.00 a.m.) and thus get you to act otherwise – After all, you would not want to be branded lazy, coward etc.  

What about looking forward to the rewards you get rather than the excuses? Which follows that you need to measure your progress- set milestones and reward yourself for achieving the milestones.  As you track and reward progress remember that….

7.   Failure is part of the equation but not the result
Moreover, there are those who will be waiting to push the failure down your throat. When it happens, be gentle with yourself, ignore the naysayers, forgive yourself, learn the lesson and use the lesson learned to improve the next decision.

Over to you Passionate Entrepreneur;
  • Have you ever found yourself in a situation similar to mine (lack of self- discipline)?
  •  How did you handle it?

Share with your experiences us in the comments section below and help another Passionate Entrepreneur.

Whatever you do, make sure it results in less work, more money and positive impact.


 Virginia Mburu
The Work Less, Make More Money Passionate Entrepreneurs Coach
Virginia empowers and motivates Passionate Entrepreneurs to realize their purpose and pursue it. She then assists the entrepreneurs to clarify, prioritise and focus on management and marketing strategies and action plans that will get them to work less, make more money and positively impact within one year.  Download some of her gifts- absolutely free lessons on

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