Today, I want to explore one of my favourite Jim Rohn quotes that I think will hit home for a lot of people.
It states, ‘Everyone must choose two pains: the pain of discipline or the pain of regret’.
The American entrepreneur was great at capturing the discipline required for success, and this particular quote is spot on.
You see, there’s no straight path to success.
You’ll need hard work, and then some.
But how do you stay motivated to do that over many months and years?
I thought I would compile a few of my own tricks to cultivating self-discipline.
It’s a bit like a muscle: the more you use it, the stronger it becomes.
Here are a few tips:
We’re all capable of being pulled off the right path, and these temptations will be different for everyone.
You may be a procrastinator who can easily spend hours on Facebook every day.
If this is the case, download an app that limits your time spent on social media (there are a lot of these great apps out there).
If junk food is your great distraction, put in steps to ensure you’re not exposed to it too often.
You don’t have to worry about saying ‘no’ if you’re never faced with the temptation!
Some of you may think I’m suggesting at this point that you all become robots.
That’s not what I’m saying at all.
But the more behaviours that you can make automatic the less you’re relying on willpower.
Let’s take going to the gym, as an example, because I know a lot of readers struggle to keep exercising regularly.
The best way to stay motivated is to work it into your daily routine and set an alarm for when you need to stop work and go to the gym.
Don’t think about what you’ll do or not do at the gym.
Don’t ask yourself if you’ll enjoy it.
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Take the same approach with your work routine.
Emails are one of the biggest parts of our workday so develop a system for dealing with them and stick to it.
As an example, you may choose to clear them out first thing in the morning, around lunchtime, and once more in the afternoon.
At all other times, you can decide to close down your email to minimise distractions.
Humans are hardwired to seek rewards for their efforts.
That’s why if no one is rewarding you for a particularly tough accomplishment, you need to step in and reward yourself.
In fact, you know better than anyone what your weaknesses are, so whenever you achieve a self-discipline milestone, make sure you reward yourself with something you really enjoy — whether it’s a nice drop of red wine or a new set of golf clubs.
This way your brain will start to associate self-discipline with pleasure (eventually) and it will become a great incentive to stay on track.
There’ll be times when you let yourself down and your self-discipline fails you.
That’s OK. It happens.
But make sure you get back on the saddle.
A lot of people use this experience as an excuse to fall back into bad habits.
They throw the baby out with the bathwater and make generalisations about their abilities.
They’re not good enough to be successful.
Or the system is rigged.
The only thing to think when you stray from the disciplined path is: how do I find it again?
Don’t waste time and energy beating yourself up and don’t throw in the towel.
Because if don’t eventually get back on the disciplined path, you’ll look back at your life and realise you wasted a lot of time.
That’s a terrible state to be in.
So, back to Jim Rohn’s quotation: ‘Everyone must choose two pains: the pain of discipline or the pain of regret.’
Which one will you choose?