Friday, December 21, 2012

Dear Procrastination. . . .

. . .I'm breaking up with you.  I have no room for you in my life.  You are keeping me from accomplishing the things I want to so you are outta here!

Last night, as I sat in my bed watching t.v. and unwinding, I wondered to myself, "What is it about me that I don't have the willpower to do the things I really want while other people seem to?"  I listen to Dr. Laura on the way to pick up my son from school and she seems to have no problem with willpower.  She says she wants to look cute in her clothes so she exercises regularly and lets herself have two Oreos every day as a snack.  She doesn't deprive herself, she just exerts self control.  I know I should only have two, but I would allow myself to eat them until I was full as if it were a meal.  What is it about me, my personality, my way of thinking, my genetics, my whatever that I don't say no to the extra cookies? 

Do I not want to lose those few extra pounds badly enough?  I want to look cute in my jeans with no muffin top so why don't I just not eat the extra cookies. . .or just don't have any cookies? 

I decided right then and there that I didn't need to know why necessarily but I did need to do something about it.  So I grabbed my phone and Googled "how to improve self discipline" and I came upon a concise article on eHow.  It offered up 4 steps on how to improve your self discipline.  Step 3 really resonated with me.
Do something you know you should do daily, but don't. Self discipline is all about doing what you don't want to do, but need to do. Things that will give you a better quality of life are worth pursuing. This could be exercise, eat healthier, get more sleep, read, time with family and so forth.
Plan the day and activities.  If you're not used to planning then start simple. Write down five things that you want to accomplish the night before for the next day. Then the next day mark them off as you do them this is basic self discipline. It's also forming new good habits and tracking progress.

I thought to myself, "Hey, I use lists.  I can totally do that."  I use lists for the grocery store, gifts I need to buy people, errands I need to run, so why not make lists for other things I want to accomplish?  Before turning out the lights, I wrote down these five things:
  •  1 cup of coffee
  • egg substitute on bread thins with 1 fat free cheese slice
  • go for a walk 2x around the block (it's about 1 mile)
  • eat an apple for snack
  • soup for lunch
And at the bottom of the 5 things list, I added 1) call insurance company, and 2) call body shop/car rental.
So really my list was seven things but the first five were things I "should do daily but don't."  The last two were just things I needed to take care of and needed reminding about. 

Now you may be thinking why does she need to remind herself to only have 1 cup of coffee, soup for lunch, etc.?  I know myself.  If I don't write down 1 cup of coffee, I will probably have two.  And in each of those cups of coffee I will use two tablespoons of powdered creamer and 1/2 teaspoon of sugar.  Those are extra calories I don't need but it's how I like my coffee.  I decided that 1 cup was enough and totally doable.  And if I didn't write down soup for lunch, I would probably wander around my kitchen looking for something to eat and perhaps stumble upon the kids' potato chips (which I don't particularly care for but they're there so why not) or see the chocolate chip cookie dough in the fridge.  So if I want to achieve my goals, it has to be part of my master plan that I write that stuff down.  By the time of this writing, I've already crossed a couple of things off my list so I'm headed in the right direction.

If you are interested in reading another series of articles I found helpful, check out Sid Savara.  In particular, "Will Power:  How To Improve Your Personal Self Discipline."  I had never heard of Sid Savara prior to my Google search so I just started reading.  I figured if he had something useful or interesting to say, I would keep reading.  He did.  His site is geared toward several aspects of Personal Development Training.  I think many people will find something there that could help them in their daily lives, not just improving self discipline.

So from here on out, I will continue to push forward in my pursuit of improved self discipline to reach my goals. . .wish me luck!


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