Mindful Self-Discipline

Some people mistakenly believe that self-discipline enhances self-shaming or places unwelcome constraints on their lives. Giovanni Dienstmann, a meditation teacher and coach, hopes to disprove these myths by extolling the virtues of mindful self-discipline. He claims that creating self-discipline improves focus and well-being and gives you the personal power you need to achieve your goals. Dienstmann’s three-pillar approach will help you in discovering your true aspirations, gain self-awareness to overcome obstacles and begin your journey.

Use the power of self-discipline to journey toward your goals without fear, doubt or distraction.

Self-discipline is more than just good habits, organisational skills, or time management ability; it is a necessary life skill. People who are self-disciplined have the ability to find happiness and live a fully engaged life. When you master the art of self-discipline, you gain the ability to explore the distractions and busyness of everyday life while also achieving your long-term goals.

“Self-discipline is the art of living in harmony with your goals and values.”

To develop self-discipline, align your actions with your goals, and gain the power you need to achieve them. With self-discipline, you can implement the many values that improve your life, such as growth, self-control, determination, and optimism. You stay focused on the future, finish what you start, resist temptation, and make good use of your time.

Consider self-discipline to be the one life skill that gives you the ability and power to work toward your true desires. It helps you in missing the opportunity to pursue temporary, fleeting pleasures today at the expense of your long-term success and happiness. When you balance your ambitions and expectations, you feel more self-acceptance and satisfaction. 

Consider the advantages of self-discipline: 

  • The ability to ignore distractions and focus on activities that help you achieve your goals. 
  • The ability to break bad habits and form new ones. 
  • Relationships with family and friends have improved.

The three pillars of mindful self-discipline are associated with the “why” (your purpose), “how” (your awareness), and “what” (your actions): 

  • Explore your true ambitions to discover your “why.” 
  • Build self-awareness to determine your “how.” 
  • Plan your “what” and then put it into action.
Cultivate your aspirations by discovering your purpose – the “why” behind your goals.

When you start the journey, you usually have a goal in mind. For example, you might set a personal goal to lose weight or increase your work productivity before initiating on a boat trip. The “deeper why” of your ambition underpins that goal. For example, you might want to lose weight to feel healthier and more energised, or you might want to increase your work output to showcase your abilities and challenge yourself. While the destination of your journey represents your goal, your underlying purpose is why you want to get there.

Begin with your purposes in mind, then follow these seven steps to clarify your true ambition: 

“Discover your purpose” – Explore your core values and what you are truly passionate about. Consider what inspires you the most, experiences where you felt your best, or how you spend your free time and money. Examine a current goal and why you want to achieve it. 

“Magnify your purpose” – Examine the consequences of pursuing or ignoring your goals in various areas of your life. Take into account your family, your wealth, your career, and your health.

“Specify your purpose” – Use quantitative and qualitative measures to further evaluate your ambitions and set effective goals based on those measures. For example, the SMART goal concept encourages you to create goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. Setting specific and attainable goals increases motivation. 

“Prioritize your purpose” – Balance your goals with the resources you have available – your time, money, and energy. To truly follow through on your goals, you must give them the attention and time they require.

“Resolve self-sabotage” – Recognize and resolve conflicting feelings about your goals. For example, even if you sincerely want to speak up more at work, you may be afraid of being judged. Similarly, you may want to reduce your time spent on social media, but you are afraid of missing out. 

“Cultivate your mindset” – Take full ownership of your purpose and have complete faith in your ability to succeed. Trusting in yourself provides motivation and the energy required for growth.

“Make your offering” – Determine which aspects of your personality are holding you back and keeping you from achieving your goals. For example, if you want to be more productive, you should stop sleeping late in the morning. Stop eating that chocolate bar every day if you want to lose weight. Recognize and break the habits that are impeding your ability to achieve your objectives.

Once you realize your true aspirations, establish the “how” of achieving your goals by building self-awareness.

Building self-awareness helps you in determining how to proceed on your desired journey. Being self-aware gives you the power to choose. For instance, if you want to live a healthy lifestyle but recognise that you enjoy junk food, your awareness provides you with the willpower to choose aspiration over temptation.

Awareness also requires refraining from shaming yourself if you fail, as this encourages a cycle of emotional stress and negativity. Instead, choose to forgive yourself and recommit to your goal. 

Use the following three techniques on a daily basis to help you develop self-awareness and stay on track with your goals:

  1. Start your day by meditating to raise your awareness and help you see what you need to do. 
  2. Reflect at the end of each day – by journaling or tracking – to gain perspective and focus on how you aligned your emotions and choices with your goals. 
  3. Integrate your goals with your activities throughout the day.

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The PAW method (Pause, Awareness, Willpower) is a critical practise for fighting impulses and distractions. It encourages you to pause and reflect before acting.

  • When you pause, you slow down and think before acting on impulses, such as when you encounter a conflict with your goals, such as eating junk food or smoking. 
  • Pausing allows you the time and space to reflect on your options. Do the available actions move you closer or further away from your goals? For example, you snooze (further), eat a healthy lunch (nearer), and go to the gym after work (nearer). At the end of the day, add up your points to see how well your choices reflect your intentions. 
  • Finally, if necessary, use willpower to intentionally shift your actions.

Use the PAW method to overcome obstacles in daily life such as laziness, interruptions, and motivations. Consider your long-term goals to gain perspective. Connect emotionally with the version of yourself who follows through – who accepts short-term discomfort for long-term success.