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Latosha Martin
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Turning Self-Discipline Into Chocolate

Published on 8/12/2013
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Turning Self-Discipline Into Chocolate 

As far as I can tell, the concept of 'self-discipline' does not conjure up warm, fuzzy feelings in most people. At best the term brings up a sort of gritty determinism. Now there is probably more than one reason for this, but I think the main one is the negative thoughts brought on by the word 'discipline'. It seems that for most people it brings up thoughts of things adults do to children such as scolding or spanking. These thoughts then lead to the person thinking of self-discipline as "self-spanking" or "self-scolding." This is a one-sided view of discipline. Discipline is simply the act of trying to influence behavior. It can be pleasant in the form of rewards or unpleasant in the form of punishment. Giving hugs and kisses to a child after he or she has done well is discipline. As is giving a treat to yourself after a job well done. Including these positive thoughts when you think of self-discipline will help you use it and not avoid it.

This leads to the next topic: procrastination. Guess what one of the causes of procrastination is? You guessed it, lack of self-discipline. The basic scenario is this: You think about doing something you need to do and the next thought to come along tells you how bad you are going to be if you don't do it. That leads to you having the negative side of discipline in your head. The next thing you know you are off looking at the TV, playingsolitaire, or maybe just staring into space. There are of course other reasons for procrastination, but fear of discipline is a potent one. And this is where training your yourself to remember that discipline can be positive is important. Therefore, one way to avoid procrastination is to replace the thoughts of what trouble you are going to get into for not doing something with thoughts of rewards you will get for doing it.

Self-discipline and procrastination are both terms for talking about how you spend your time. If you don't spend some of your time using constructive self-discipline, you can end up putting things off. Too much time spent putting things off adds up to that dreaded word 'procrastination'. The trick is to spend some time on self-discipline, get things done, and avoid the dreaded procrastination label. So now (and I realize this is for the third time) we are back to labelling discipline as a positive rather than a negative in order to get things done. Make it a goal to train yourself to think of what good things might happen if you get something done. Think about what reward you could give yourself for getting it done. Think about the nice things that you can say to yourself when you get it done. I am sure you can find other positive forms of self-discipline. At first you will probably have to put up reminders to think these thoughts. But if you can remember to do them at least once per day, you can turn self-discipline into something you want to do rather than something you cringe at hearing.

Who knows, with enough practice you may actually turn thoughts of self-discipline into thoughts of chocolate.

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