To attain high levels of self-discipline, you need to be friends with yourself.
I wanted to share with you a quick insight that has helped me dramatically increase my ability to set and stick with good habits - generally allow me to get on top of my shit and develop success in my life. What I love about this insight is that it's super simple, and can create awesome results, but we just don't have the eyes to see it... until we do.
Not only that, but this will apply to you whether things are in a really bad place and you're super behind on tons of shit - or if you're doing relatively okay and you just want to attain higher levels of productivity.
The insight is this: For higher levels of self-discipline, you need to be friends with yourself.
Would you cooperate with someone that you don't like?
You need to be on friendly terms with yourself.
Why? Because even though you're just one person (obviously), there really are two characters in our conversation, there's you and yourself.
So stick with me here: Head over to a forum such GetDisciplined and check out the titles of the posts there. Notice what they're saying:
"How do I get myself to study more." "I'm so frustrated with myself." "I'm trying to get rid of this behaviour that I do because it's srewing everything up."
And then you're left with this weird idea like "Man, everything would be just perfect if I could only get myself to obey my every command. I just wish I could program myself like a robot that would do only good things and zero bad things."
... Makes sense right? Except just imagine your boss/employer was complaining to his colleagues about you and saying these things. Imagine your boss is like "I just wish I could get this person to work MORE and HARDER and waste less time!"
How would that make you feel? Would it make you like this person? Would it make you want to cooperate?
Getting yourself to cooperate
Good! Now let's talk about how to get you to cooperate with yourself. I'll tell you how to be friendly with yourself, in order to inspire cooperation, but just before I do here are a few things to point out: Being friendly with yourself doesn't mean letting yourself get away with bad behaviour. Being friendly with yourself doesn't mean lowering your standards. Being friendly with yourself doesn't mean giving up on your edge, your intensity. Being friendly with yourself doesn't mean coddling or handing out undeserved "well done" stickers. Being friendly with yourself means: I see how hard you're trying. Being friendly with yourself means: I see how hard you're struggling. Being friendly with yourself means: It's okay if this is taking longer than expected. Being friendly with yourself means: You've done enough today, you can now rest and relax.
So here's what to do: Think about a parent, teacher, or employer that was in charge of you for a while, and your relationship with them. Think about how you felt about them as a leader. Think about the quality of communication that you had with them.
Was it good? Were you in flow? Was it productive?
If not, then ask what do I wish they did? What do I wish they said? What were they just not getting about you? What were you or they unable to communicate?
Really journal that out. Figure it out.
Whatever comes up, ask now: Am I making sure to offer this to myself?
What do you need from yourself?
Do you need more work, or less work? Do you need clearer instructions? Do you need to change your work environment? Do you need more acknowledgement? Do you need a break? A day off? Do you need more sleep, water, sunlight, or higher quality food? Start paying attention to your needs more, making sure to listen them, and take care of them. Be the kind of person that you would be inspired to listen to, to follow, to cooperate with.
Try it out and let us know how it goes!
Would be awesome to hear about what you came up with, and see if this puts you back into a place of higher productivity.