Why do I have such difficulty disciplining myself?

Coaching of 24 September 2016 delivered by: Robert Martin
Adapted from: Instant Analysis, by David Liebermann

Whether it is losing weight, starting an exercise program, becoming organized, writing the great American novel, or anything else, it is always the same old story. I know what needs to be done, and I do it for a while, but I do not put in the effort and attention to keep going. It get less and less motivated and soon lose interest. I tell myself that I never really wanted it or it is really not worth it, and then I give up. “Maybe I’ll try again another time” is the phrase that I sell myself, as I have so many times before.

You look around at other people, admiring them for their tenacity and fortitude. “How on earth do they get themselves out of bed every morning to go jogging?” is the question that you continually ponder. You wonder if perhaps you just lack discipline, as if it were an inborn trait. But discipline is not something you’re born with; it’s an ability that is cultivated. It takes much more than a passing want or desire to bring on the power of discipline. Discipline is a matter of training the mind. When the alarm goes off in the morning and you pull the covers over your head, you train your mind to be lax. When you need to finish an assignment but decide to watch a little TV to unwind, you train your mind to be lax. In the evening when you decide to have a second helping of dessert even though you know it might upset your stomach, you train your mind to be lax. Then, when it comes time for you to follow a regimen, what happens? you offer up a host of explanations as to why it would be best if you just skipped today.

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