Thoughts from my desk ... Self discipline

Self discipline is often the only thing standing between people and their dreams. Lack of willpower has definitely gotten the better of me on more than one occasion. The past few weeks I've learnt a thing or two about self-discipline that I think are too useful not to share.

I have a chocolate addiction. 

It goes beyond a ‘sweet tooth’, it’s a full blown addiction and one of the few things in life that I feel controls me. Before I go any further, yes I am totally aware that a chocolate dependency sounds ridiculous.

I’ve said over and over again to myself (and to my partner) how much I would love to be ‘chocolate free’ Monday through Friday. It sounds like a far more sinister struggle with the typical ‘broken record’ self improvement rhetoric you hear from addicts. Each week I inevitably cave after a few hours and end up back on/off the wagon (did Seinfeld ever really clear up whether on or off the wagon was relapse?).

In Australia we have an event called ‘dry July’ where we voluntarily refrain from drinking alcohol for a whole month. I took part for the first time this year. 

I’ve found it easy to abstain from alcohol this past month, without having to exercise any great amount of willpower to do so. An interesting offshoot of it however is that my usual Sunday night challenge of no chocolate for the week has stuck. The motivational memes are right – self discipline is a muscle.

Managing to control such an insignificant part of my life has let me master the one thing that really bothered me. It’s so simple I can’t believe I didn’t think of it earlier.

I think the fact that I had nothing riding on whether I could abstain from alcohol was the crux of the whole experiment. The challenge itself was more important than the outcome. Weaning myself off chocolate on the other hand came with a history of failure so a challenge based solely on that would have been too much pressure.

I’d like to take my new found self discipline and apply it to something that actually matters like working a little longer each day. But for now I am pretty happy with my new chocolate free (Mon-Fri ONLY) existence.

I would love to know if this technique works for others so at the risk of sounding patronising ….what simple thing can you master that can be a gateway to improving self discipline?

Emma FawcettComment