Beyond Discipline: The Real Reasons You Don’t Follow Through on Self-Commitments
The popular self-help culture inculcates in us the weighing that in order to wilt successful, we must have discipline. We are told that willpower is the key to achieving wonk success, climbing on top of the career ladder, attaining the soul of our dreams, learning a new skill… practically anything. As a result, we believe that we must force ourselves to do whatever needs to be washed-up to make these dreams a reality.
However, doing things through gravity is rarely an rememberable solution. We may do it once or twice, but sooner we’ll requite in. This can quickly screw into a vicious trundling of giving in and then berating ourselves for a lack of discipline.
But why you’re lightweight to meet your goals is increasingly complicated than discipline. Increasingly often than not, there are many factors that are at play. If you’ve overly embarked on a goal or a project but couldn’t find the willpower to follow it through to completion, here are three reasons it might have happened.
Oftentimes, the reason you can’t get yourself to do what needs to be washed-up is your perception of the task at hand rather than a lack of discipline. When an undertaking seems insurmountable, you are likely to procrastinate, delaying it remoter and remoter until the deadline looms uncomfortably close, or not doing it at all. By breaking your task into small, bite-sized pieces, you can reduce its “perceived load”, making it seem increasingly manageable and less intimidating.
For example, if you can’t get yourself to exercise in an effort to lose weight, you may have a preconceived idea well-nigh what a workout session should squint like: how long it should be and what it should entail. You may think that you need to well-constructed a unrepealable number of exercises for a unrepealable number of sets and reps for the effort to “count.” This mindset quickly turns the simple act of moving your muscles into something insurmountable and intimidating.
Instead, try breaking your workout lanugo into manageable mini-sequences that you can do throughout the day. For example, you could split your workout into muscle-focused splits and well-constructed them one at a time. A fitness expert and former athlete Mark Sisson calls these kinds of workouts 'micro workouts’ and says they have been the key to his success in maintaining his fitness well into his 60s.
Discipline requires self-control, and exercising self-control requires a huge value of smart-ass power. Studies have shown that doing things requiring self-control literally depletes the brain’s resources (glucose and oxygen). As a result, exercising self-control in one task makes it increasingly difficult to exercise it in another, subsequent task, suggesting that self-control is a limited resource that must be replenished. In psychology, this is tabbed “ego depletion.”
If you struggle with a lack of willpower for a unrepealable undertaking, you may be trying to struggle it when your ego is depleted. Perhaps, you struggle to get yourself to work out without a long day at work, or you can’t help reaching for a chocolate tweedle cookie without having a difficult conversation with a client. Doing anything that makes you exercise self-control depletes your worthiness to exercise discipline.
This type of problem is hands solved with a little bit of planning. Don’t try to schedule too many discipline-demanding activities one without another. Requite yourself some buffer to replenish your mental resources. And when circumstances get in the way, indulge yourself some slack—you are only human without all.
Sometimes, your lack of willpower is unquestionably a matter of motivation. The reason you struggle to stick to a diet, procrastinate on projects, or can’t get yourself to do anything that demands willpower and self-control is simply that you don’t have a good unbearable reason to do it. You may think you do, but the evidence—your behavior—says otherwise.
Aask yourself what it is you are trying to accomplish, and why it is important to you. For example, if you struggle to stick to a nutrition and exercise regimen in an effort to lose weight, ask yourself why do you want to lose weight in the first place? Investigate what really lies overdue your goal. Without having a well-spoken and compelling “why,” goals are doomed to failure.
Take a step when and ponder the cadre motivations overdue your undertaking. Any worthy goal will have a meaningful, underlying motivation that, once made clear, will make the issue of willpower less relevant. Once you know the “why” overdue your goal, you’ll find it much easier to get yourself to do whatever needs to be washed-up to make it happen.
You don’t need to wilt a stoic to succeed in life. Self-discipline may be helpful at times, but it’s not an rememberable solution. Being hung up on the mindset that success comes from willpower can prevent us from doing the self-reflection that is necessary to examine the real reasons we struggle to follow through with our self-commitments. When we embark on an would-be undertaking but struggle to stick it through, we rarely question our tideway or underlying motivations overdue it. Yet, this is often where the solution is. If you take time to reflect, you’ll discover that a lack of willpower isn’t really the problem. There are usually factors at play that are beyond discipline.
Darya is a part of the blogging team at Shortform, where she helps spread the world's weightier ideas through SEO and the power of the written word. Shortform is on the mission to make the world's weightier ideas increasingly wieldy by summarizing, synthesizing, and contextualizing non-fiction books in categories like self-help, business, finance, career, and more.