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Get motivated and TAKE CONTROL!

Jariel

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Motivation and Discipline – How to take control

Discipline is what separates a great person from an average person and a successful person from a failure. In short, anyone who is willing to put their mind to something and push themselves to achieve it, will excel above the rest.

Bill Gates, Bruce Lee, Stephen Hawking, Bill Clinton, Sylvester Stallone…none of these modern day successes were born any better than the average person. In fact, some of them had/have handicaps that many of us don’t, from dysfunctional families to speech impediments to being paralysed by Motor Neurone Disease. They weren’t born with exceptional genetics or had good luck or God on their side. Their great achievements have all been the result of their own hard work and their phenomenal discipline.

This is a capability we all have within us. The only thing stopping you from being rich, athletic, a genius and in great shape, is yourself!

Unfortunately many men and women would much prefer to seek short-term fun and comfort than long term achievement. Instead of living to their potential, they do the opposite and allow themselves to deteriorate. Slobs, nerds and geeks, wimps, layabouts, failures and losers, fat people, drug addicts, smokers, heavy drinkers, even many depressives…they can all transform themselves and realise their potential simply by breaking their poor habits and exercising some discipline. It begins by taking control!



Excuses

"I'll do it tomorrow"
"I'm too tired/too cold/too hot/too scared…"
"I’m too old/young/tall/short…"
“I’m not cut out for this.”
“Other people make it difficult for me.”
"Just a few beers/cigarettes/spliffs/cakes won't hurt."
"I've had a tough week, I'll just relax today and start that task tomorrow."

These are all phrases that precede procrastination and idleness. Next time you find yourself wanting to be lazy, pay attention to what you tell yourself. Or, alternatively, pay attention to other people’s excuses and see how they attempt to justify it. Laziness doesn't come naturally and people feel they must talk themselves into it and make excuses to overcome feelings of guilt and uneasiness.

However, that guilt and uneasiness is there for a reason. The human mind and body are there to be used, and every able-bodied, able-minded man and woman not even trying to reach their potential should feel ashamed…especially when there are people with severe disabilities and afflictions living full and happy lives and achieving so many great things.

Next time you catch yourself looking for excuses, blaming other people or external conditions, stop and think about what you are saying and why. What you are really saying is “I’m too lazy”.


Laziness is a habit!

Humans are very adaptable to environments and lifestyles. If your mind and your body get accustomed to relaxing, they become less equipped to deal with tasks. When you don't use your brain, braincells die! When you don't use your muscles, they become flaccid and weak! The more you stagnate, the more you deteriorate. Some studies have even shown that the human body can literally close down certain faculties and organs if they stop being used for long periods.

However, just as some people can't move from the sofa, there are some people who can’t sit down and take a break. These people are in the habit of working hard, pushing themselves and keeping active. Being lazy defies their nature. They don’t collapse from exhaustion or moan about aches and fatigue, because their mind and body has adapted to their active lifestyles. In fact, they usually sleep better at night and wake more refreshed than lazy people.

Laziness is a learned state. It can be unlearned, and I’m going to explain some ways you can do just that.



Breaking lazy habits

Discipline is not something you are born with; it comes with practice. The more you socialise, the more sociable you get. The more you exercise, the fitter you get. The more you read, the wiser you get.

The key to overcoming laziness is to take action. No one is asking you to go parachuting, run a marathon and write a novel by the end of the week, but maybe you could start by tidying your room, taking a short walk or reading a chapter or two of a book. It won’t yield any staggering results, but it’s the first step in breaking old habits and forming new ones. You just need a little jump start.

Once you finish a small task (i.e. tidying up), pay close attention to that feeling you get afterwards. Unlike that guilty, dejected and lethargic feeling you get after playing computer games or watching TV all day, you should feel a slight sense of achievement and self-control. You may even feel more alert and active than usual. It’s a good feeling that just gets better the more you do.

I am assuming that you, like most people, have a bedtime routine in which you wash your face, brush your teeth and change into your bed clothes. Not many people see it as a duty or feel that it infringes on their time. That’s because it is a learned habit. With practice, you can feel the same way about completing important tasks, self-improvement and working towards your goals.


The Checklist

Now it’s time to be more specific with your activities. If you use a computer regularly, you can do this in a text file or Word document. If not, then buy yourself a small notebook or diary. This is going to be your “to do list” and is going to be one of the most useful things you can do to overcome laziness and get yourself motivated!

Every night, before going to bed, write a list of tasks you aim to complete the following day and label them in order of importance. You can start adding bigger and more tasks once you feel you can handle them, but for now, just stick to a handful of small tasks.

An example list would look something like this:


Tuesday

1. Pay credit card bill
2. Work out – legs
3. Grocery shopping
4. Read Chapter 1 and 2 of “bookofchoice”
5. Get hair cut


The following day you must attempt to complete all of these tasks, giving priority to those at the top. If you find that you cannot complete task 4 & 5, for example, you can carry those over to Wednesday, but you must try your hardest to complete your top 3 at the very least. Sometimes you can combine two or more tasks at once. For instance, on the way to the bank to pay your credit card you could get your hair cut and then stop off at the supermarket and do your grocery shopping on the way home.

Every time you complete a task, cross it out or place a tick next to it in your log book.

There is nothing to stop you relaxing and watching TV or whatever, but limit yourself to an hour between tasks or wait until all tasks are complete. This acts as an incentive to complete tasks, and instead of putting off important duties, you are fitting your relaxation time around your duties and thus forming positive and productive habits. You will also find that by actively completing tasks on a daily basis you will gain momentum, so they get quicker and easier to deal with.


Monthly Goals

Aside from your daily tasks, write down a list of tasks you aim to complete before the end of the month. As a student, I usually put tasks such as essays and a book list in this category. This helps to keep me within a time frame and makes sure the following month is free for any additional tasks.

This list is also very handy as a reminder for birthdays, paying bills, attending interviews and so on, that must be done within that month.

Once you get into the hang of this, you may find that you complete all your monthly tasks early. This would be a good opportunity to add some educational reading, creativity, writing, DIY or something generally productive to your list.


Resident Tasks

Resident tasks are those tasks you do every day or every month, and become permanent entries on your lists. On my daily list, for example, I have tasks such as “drink 2 litres of water”, “20 minutes meditation” and “take vitamins”. On my monthly list, I have “tidy, polish and vacuum” and “pay bills”.

This serves as a reminder and helps integrate certain trivial tasks into your routine. I know some people who haven’t vacuumed their house for a year, or changed their bedding for 6 months! I know other people who keep forgetting to pay their bills and get fined for late payments, all because they get sidetracked by other “more important” things. Keeping these tasks written down in your journal, waiting to be crossed off, will stop them from being neglected.



Stress Relief

Many people suffer from stress on a daily basis and worry about looming problems they need to face, tasks they need to complete, deadlines they must meet and so on. As a result, the stress weighs heavily upon them, distracts from everything good in their life, makes them irritable and drives loved ones away, and even damages their health. These people pay extortionate prices for stress relief programs, drugs, hypnotherapy, herbs and new age gimmicks.

Completing tasks and facing upto your problems as suggested previously is possibly the best form of stress relief available as it removes the root causes. Afterall, if you complete an important task today, you don’t have to worry about it next week or the week after, and have just saved yourself a week, month or more of stress! Meanwhile, you will be able to concentrate better, your health and mental state will improve, so will your mood and relationships with others, and of course, you will begin to appreciate your free time a lot more, without stress, distraction or guilt.
 

Jariel

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Long term Goals

It is essential that you establish what long term goals you are aiming to achieve in as much detail as possible by breaking them down into individual actions. Being disciplined and motivated isn’t going to help you if you don’t know where you are going or what you need to do. Work out what you want to achieve and write down what you would need to do in order to achieve this. It’s no use being vague and writing “I want to be rich” or “I want to be in shape”. You need to work out what actions you can take and break your goal down into smaller tasks.

You might, for example, break “getting in shape” down to the following tasks or lifestyle changes in ladder form. The idea is to start at the bottom and work your way up the ladder…

Getting in shape
/ \
Avoid high fat and high calorie foods Workout 3-4 days per week.
/ \
Write a productive diet Join gym, buy equipment or workout video
/ \ \
Research good/bad foods Research supplements Write a productive workout routine
\
Research workout routine



All longterm goals should begin with research and a plan of action, so in this case you would begin by reading books, trusted websites, getting on forums (i.e. bodybuilding.com) and asking questions. Once you are educated and know how to continue, you need to write your plan and stick to it.

This same strategy can be used for financial success, education, career goals and basically anything. As long as you know where you are going and you are willing to strive towards it, there is little to stop you from achieving your goal. Most people start out full steam ahead, ready to take on the world, but then the motivation tapers off or they find it too difficult to handle in the long term. Remember, the purpose here is to create positive habits and the way to do that is to introduce changes at a comfortable pace.

If you find that your goals are too much to handle, you can break them down even further until you are comfortable. For example, you might break your diet into sub-goals and work gradually upwards:

Avoid high fat and high calorie foods *
/ \
Give up fried food Give up chocolate
/ \
Give up chips Give up sugar in coffeee

Life without chips and chocolate is sure to be less of a shock than cutting out all high fat and high calorie foods and therefore a lot easier to achieve…and yet you are still moving forward, towards your goal. As I said previously, if you feel you need to take things slowly, do so. Just make sure you are taking action.

*Note: this is probably the most efficient approach to losing weight and keeping it off (I lost over 80lbs using this gradual method – some of the older members here may remember my before and after photos).


Incentives

You can help yourself achieve your goals by offering incentives and rewards along the way. Obviously, achieving your goal is going to be the big payoff, but it is motivating to have a few treats along the way.

As a university student, I like to reward myself after every essay with a new shirt or pair of jeans. For some of the bigger tasks, such as projects, completing my semester or my dissertation, I will treat myself to an upgrade or peripheral for my PC, such as more memory or a new graphics card. When I finish my degree, I have promised myself a whole new upgraded PC.

You might treat yourself to a new game, DVD, clothing, a trip to a theme park or a weekend break or whatever you can afford. The important thing here is not to allow yourself this reward until after you have completed a specific task. Believe me, when you get it, you will appreciate it much more knowing that you earned it!

Overcoming phobias

The same systems mentioned above can also work towards overcoming phobias. Add a task that frightens you to your long term goals. Personally, I have a phobia of injections. I knew I must overcome it some day, but I kept putting it off and avoiding vaccinations that could benefit my health or even save my life.

I decided to add to my long term list of goals “get overdue tetanus vaccination”.

I had been considering buying a new winter coat, but the coat I had in mind was a bit expensive. I wouldn’t have bought it ordinarily, but I decided to make it my incentive to get the injection. I added it to my monthly list of tasks and as the days of October elapsed, I ticked off all my monthly goals, until this was the only one left. I figured now was as good a time as any, it wouldn’t get any easier the longer I left it, so I did what I had to do.

It’s not easy facing a phobia and I did feel scared, but the idea of facing a challenge and buying the coat I wanted all helped to empower me and distract from any fear I felt. It turned out that the injection was nothing worth worrying about afterall. It didn’t hurt at all. So, not only did I get to buy the coat I wanted and tick off a long term goal, but I had managed to face upto one of my biggest phobias, which left me with a great sense of achievement.


Affirmations and positivity

When you attempt to complete a task, you will achieve it a lot quicker and easier if you can face it with a positive state of mind. It is important, therefore, to change your mental state from thinking of your tasks as chores or obligations. Instead, try to reframe them as challenges or steps towards a greater goal.

Use affirmations to inspire you. You might tell yourself “I enjoy the challenge of this task and will do it to my best ability”, “I look forward to getting started” or “this is easy!”



Diet and stimulants

Do you find yourself being hyperactive at one moment, then overcome with lethargy the next? Do you find it hard to concentrate? Do you have trouble sleeping?

A lot of these problems can be caused by your diet and/or use of stimulants. Coffee, nicotine, sugar and simple carbs give us a temporary boost of energy, but then cause us to sink into lethargy and low moods once the high wears off.

Stodgy foods such as white bread, pastry and pasta tend to cause a loss of concentration and clarity of mind. The reason is that they take the body a long time to digest and uses excess blood and oxygen to complete the process, thus depriving the brain and impeding clarity.

Generally, a lean and healthy diet will improve your energy levels, motivation and ability to complete tasks.



One small step…

Think of procrastination as standing on a diving board. It looks a long way down to the pool, and it is natural to feel apprehensive. As you stand there, you begin to feel cold, uncomfortable, and the more you think about jumping, the scarier it feels. Time is ticking away. You could be swimming, splashing around and having fun, but instead, you are standing on the edge of this diving board, worrying about jumping.

Alternatively, you could take that small step and jump! Just one small step is all it takes and you are on your way down to the pool below. When it’s over, you will feel a sense of accomplishment and pride, and you can now enjoy your time in the pool without a care in the world!

This goes for all your tasks and goals too. It takes a push, but once you take that first small step, you are on your way to completing your tasks. One jump will inspire another and then another as you gain momentum and change your habits.

Set yourself a little task and go do it…NOW!
 

LegendBoy

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Top post. I like the angle your threads/tips take it is mostly about goal setting. Goals create motivation which is integral in enjoying life.
 

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Doggystyle

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Good post jariel, i'm guessing you have wrote this effectively aimed at getting yourself motivated?

A couple of weeks ago i started writing out a list of goals and stuff to get me motivated and achieving again, found my self slipping into lazy mode i.e started smoking again, not exercising, eating **** etc... must be something to do with the time of year or something. The effects really took there toll, i felt awful and looked like ****! Also effects my personality when i'm not feeling good and not in control of my life.

Back on track again now and feel pretty good again. I find it a lot easier to stick with them when i write them down by hand with a pen and paper. I have a list I review every morning, puts a clear path in my mind of things to do on the day a head and organise my thoughts.

One of my goals is to spend only half an hour on the computer a day (waste of time when i could be doing better things) and i think i've just broke that so gotta run!
 

Potbelly

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Thanks Jariel. I have been doing this as well. In college, it's so easy to get distracted by parties, but I have learned how to say no and focus until one task is finished before proceeding to something else. To me, that is discipline. However, my discipline routine needs more structure, where I think your lists will come in handy.
 

Silkandsteel

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Setting goals, completing them and learning some sense of self discipline pays off in your relationships too. You actually begin to be more of the type of person others want around. Your an achiever and people want a piece of what you have. You come across more focussed, more decisive and more confident and people naturally gravitate towards you to be more like you, thus influencing others.

If you have a powerful personality anyway, you'd be surprised just how much you really do affect other people. Best way to tell is if you're in a sh!tty mood. If you notice your mood really affects the atmosphere with the people around you, then you are a good influencer naturally and those people are there to BE influenced. A positive, confident being doesn't really get phased by others' moods because they have that strong inner temperance, so think of the possibilities when you're full of energy and positivity.
 

Jariel

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Thanks for the positive feedback guys!

I wrote this tip by looking back at my greatest achievements, when I was most determined, or when I've had to break complacent habits, then trying to put the process and my mental state into words and give it a structure. Hopefully it will be of some help to everyone.


Top post. I like the angle your threads/tips take it is mostly about goal setting. Goals create motivation which is integral in enjoying life.
I agree. If you are constantly striving to achieve something, every day brings you closer to your goal and it gives purpose to your life. It's also nice to think that you and your life is going to get better all the time!

Good post jariel, i'm guessing you have wrote this effectively aimed at getting yourself motivated?
This is generally my way of thinking and I'm a very disciplined person, but I did have a lapse a few months ago and started falling into lazy habits, which is what inspired me to get my motivation back and write this post.


However, my discipline routine needs more structure, where I think your lists will come in handy.
I feel the same! I think that was one of my big reasons for writing this tip - for myself as well as to share.

Setting goals, completing them and learning some sense of self discipline pays off in your relationships too. You actually begin to be more of the type of person others want around. Your an achiever and people want a piece of what you have. You come across more focussed, more decisive and more confident and people naturally gravitate towards you to be more like you, thus influencing others.
Absolutely true! Everyone can talk a big game and every day I meet someone who is "planning" to be a success, get in shape, quit smoking, change jobs, write a book and so on, and it's hard to take these people seriously. When you are a man of action, you don't need to talk yourself up, because you give off an air and people just respect you!

Excellent point!

That out the way, fantastic post, I've been quite lazy myself recently and have amassed about 7 assignments for uni thinking "yeah I'll do them next week". Until I'm sat there 4am the morning they're due in .
I know what you mean mate, I've done that before too! I usually find that all the weeks leading upto the deadlines I start getting more and more stressed until I cant focus on anything. At least by getting them all done as soon as possible, you really get to appreciate your free time.

The thing about assignments is that the anticipation of doing them is much worse than actually doing them. Before you start, they seem like huge, complicated tasks that are going to take up all your time, but when you actually start reading and writing, things start making sense, you find your flow and it can actually be quite enjoyable.


Anyway, thanks everyone for the positive feedback and kind words! Always appreciated. I hope this post is useful for you!
 

HB_Hunter

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Brillian Tip Daniel ....

I missed you insights man but i haven't been able to check the site since im having such an interesting , stimulating full of potential life and but i think i want it to be in order ... also cz im at a point now of believing that reading about girls , tips and techniques ... is so bad and it makes it like work not as fun and simple as it truely is ...

I wanted to read a tip regarding that . thanks so much but let me ask you something ...you know when you are pressured to set goals ?? or maybe perfection !! this is one of the things that make me frustrated at times . As i've just bought a new diary but sometimes i don't what i want or what to goals to set especially the long-term ones ...and the best thing i found to deal with that is when im in a clear state of mind , relaxed ...this when goals keep on coming to mind not when im stressed , feel that i need to set some goals . get me ?? can you provide a solution cz i think you have faced this yourself .
 

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drjekyll

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Exceptional thread. Truly exceptional.

5 stars.
 

johnny_depp

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this thing you wrote is long as hell..but to me its really good, probably one of the best posts I have read on here. So thank you. This is so motivating and I really feel like it can actually really change you. So thanks man I appreciate you having this up for us, Me I needed this bad so thank you very much.
 

back2game

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Hey, I really like your posts Jariel, and this one is by far one of the best on this site for me. I read it yesterday, and made my first list. The very first item on that list was purchase a notebook for my to do lists, track my progress working out, helpful and positive notes, and reminders. I went out and did it, along with some other things that needed to be done.

My hope now is that I stick with it, but this first step feels great, and I just wanted to say thank you for taking the time to outline something that should have been so simple.
 

Jariel

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Thank you guys for such positive feedback and kind words. It's really appreciated as it's great to know my tips are helpful to somebody and make a difference.

Best of luck to anyone who has started using this advice. I hope you'll continue to benefit from it. Just remember, if you have difficulties sticking it out, reducing or breaking down your tasks is far better than giving up completely.
 
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