Self discipline is just a matter of reminding yourself what you want.

I was talking to a coach of mine this week, and she mentioned at some point:

Self discipline is just a matter of reminding yourself what you want.
— Karin

I immediately connected with it. I have seen this in my own experience, and in the experience of people I have interacted deeply with.

Take the example of going through severe pain in the body. I had chronic pain in my left leg for over 11 years that was debilitating at times. I ignored it for a few years, and at some point, it became important enough, and my body reminded me of it often. I started to do exercises, spending time with various practitioners, and eventually found a way that the pain is not central to my life any more. In my internal experience, I did not need self discipline to do all that (although, from outside, I seemed very disciplined). I just needed reminders, which my body furnished at a regular intervals.

There have been lingering desires in my mind over the past several years, but I don’t remind myself of them often. They come to forefront, then go to back burner, and nothing much happens of them.

If we remind ourselves of what we want and then kick ourselves for not doing anything about it, that does not quite work either. It seems important to me to remind ourselves of what we want in a non-judgmental way. I will change the above quote to:

Self discipline is a matter of non-judgmentally reminding yourself of what you want.

The judgmental reminder comes with its baggage in terms of stress, and triggers a stress response in our system. That works very well for short-term, but if what we are seeking is something long-term, stress is unlikely to play a persistent in that. Non-judgmental reminder might very well play that role though.

And how does one remind oneself? We can think about the desires. We can experience them in our mind’s eyes. We can start to simulate and live (for limited time) what life might look like if our desire were already met. The more immersive the experience of reminder, I believe stronger the self-discipline one gets to align one’s life to the outcome one is seeking and desiring.

The daily drudgery can become a beautiful dance with the reality to negotiate our way to what we want.

Do you lack self discipline?

How about clarifying what you are lacking the self discipline for, and then reminding yourself of your desire and feeling that often, ideally multiple times a day, in a non-judgmental way?

The downside is small (maybe “wasting” a few minutes of your time a day). The upside is huge!

What are you waiting for? We all have resistance. What is your resistance?

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