I read through many great articles on self-discipline, and selected just five articles for you to read. Some highlights of the self-discipline articles include that:
Self-discipline can be made stronger over time, if you give it regular workouts
Rather than being a quality to develop, discipline is really a consequence of emotional alignment
Those who are disciplined experienced fewer negative emotions
By Heidi Halvorson (@hghalvorson)
“Just as well-developed biceps sometimes get tired and jelly-like after a strenuous workout, so too does your willpower muscle.
So the first thing you are going to want to do, if you are serious about resisting temptation, is make peace with the fact that your willpower is limited.
Think about when you are most likely to feel drained and vulnerable, and make a plan to keep yourself out of harm’s way. Be prepared with an alternate activity or a low-calorie snack, whichever applies.
Also, don’t try to pursue two goals at once that each require a lot of self-control if you can help it.
The good news is, willpower depletion is only temporary. Give your muscle time to bounce back.
The other way in which willpower is like a muscle (and the really great news for those of us trying to lose a few pounds) is that it can be made stronger over time, if you give it regular workouts.
For example, in one study, people who were given free gym memberships and stuck to a daily exercise program for two months not only got physically healthier, but also smoked fewer cigarettes, drank less alcohol, and ate less junk food. They were better able to control their tempers, and less likely to spend money impulsively. They didn’t leave their dishes in the sink, didn’t put things off until later, and missed fewer appointments.
In fact, every aspect of their lives that required the use of willpower improved dramatically.
By Maia Szalavitz (@maiasz)
“[F]eeling good rather than bad may be a core benefit of having good self-control, and being well satisfied with life is an important consequence.”
“The highly self-controlled showed a distinct difference from those with less discipline over their lives. They tended to avoid creating situations in which their goals would conflict, and reported fewer instances of having to choose between short-term pleasure and long-term pain. The result? They experienced fewer negative emotions.”
By Shayne Hughes (@shaynehughes)
“Intellectually believing something is the right way to behave or a good thing to do does not translate into my taking action on it.
Emotional clarity comes when how we feel on the inside about what we are compelled to do is in alignment with what we intellectually believe we should do. Discipline then, rather than being a characteristic or a quality to develop, is really a consequence of this alignment.”
By Jessica Stillman (@EntryLevelRebel)
Discusses a study conducted by Wharton professor Katherine Milman who found that test subjects that were only given their reward (audio access to the Hunger Games) exercised 51% than those where the reward was not restricted.
The takeaway is to pair a pleasant reward for engaging in an unpleasant activity in order to help yourself stay motivated over the long-haul.
By Judy Dutton (@judy_dutton)
Ever wonder why your resolve to hit the gym weakens after you’ve slogged through a soul-sapping day at work?
It’s because willpower isn’t just some storybook concept; it’s a measurable form of mental energy that runs out as you use it, much like the gas in your car.
Further studies have suggested that willpower is fueled by glucose—which helps explain why our determination crumbles when we try to lose weight.
Since it’s a finite resource, don’t spread yourself thin: Make one resolution rather than many. And if you manage to stick with it by, say, not smoking for a week, give your willpower a rest by indulging in a nice dinner.
Another tactic is to outsource self-control. Get a gym buddy. Use Mint.com to regulate your spending or RescueTime.com to avoid distracting websites.
As Tierney explains, “People with the best self-control aren’t the ones who use it all day long. They’re people who structure their lives so they conserve it.” That way, you’ll be able to stockpile vast reserves for when you really need it, like hauling your lazy butt to the gym.