I don't think anyone should try to be disciplined every moment, but at the end of the day we should be able to say that we had a constructive day. Even at the end of vacation days, one should have pride in the memories of joyful moments one formed during the day even if it is merely a good feeling of being refreshed and ready for the next day. Many of us rush through the day from one task to the other without any thought of what lasting memories they are constructing for themselves. What a feeling of waste it is if at the end of the day we feel we are no farther along in our vision for our lives or better prepared for reaching it. I have had many such days and no vision of achieving my deepest dreams until recently when I finally started at age 68 to try to solve my speech problems by having regular speech therapy, however, even then I too often have procrastinated, wasted time moving from one distraction to another, and ended up with a day of being no closer to my vision than the previous day.
Yesterday I read on the need to train ourselves to have better discipline by working on forming three simple habits. Moreover, Leo Babauta has always been urging his followers to slow down and enjoy each moment as best as one can, remembering to relax and get more done with less effort by focusing on what is important. But until yesterday, I had no clear idea of how to slow down and get more done with less effort because I had such a terrible habit of procrastinating and spending too much time on distractions instead of working on my visions for my life, for instance, being a good speaker. Tomorrow I have my last session with my current speech therapist since she and her husband are moving soon. In order to continue to make progress, I have to find another therapist and I have to become more disciplined. Now I know I will use the information given by my speech therapist to find a replacement for her and the information given by Leo to form three habits of self-discipline which I give below.
The 3 Small Discipline Habits
The habits that should work for me are all about talking to myself: They were listed by Leo Babauta of Zen Habits on his blog for August 7, 2015. See zenhabits.net
“1. Tell yourself, “This is what I’m going to do next.”. Instead of having a long to-do list of things you want to do today, just select one thing you want to do right now. Instead of saying you’re going to do this important task sometime, say you’re going to do it right now. Instead of allowing yourself to randomly open websites that give you distraction, deliberately figure out what you want to work on next. Pick one thing. It doesn’t matter what it is, but try for things that are important in your life.
2. Ask yourself, “What is the smallest step I can do?”. Most of us look at something on our (mental or digital or paper) list and subconsciously think, “That’s too hard.” So we put it off. But that’s because we’re thinking about an entire project, which has many tasks. You can’t do a project right now, you can only do a task. Instead of saying, “I’m going to write that paper that’s due,” you should say, “I’m going to write 3 things in the outline of the paper.” If the smallest task stills seems too hard, say you’re just going to do 5 minutes of that small task right now. Or just two minutes. Make it ridiculously easy.
3. Ask yourself, “What is stopping me from focusing on that small step?. Even if you figured out a task to focus on, and you’ve broken it into the smallest step, there will still be distractions or resistance. If you’re not immediately doing the smallest step of the selected task, ask yourself why. What’s stopping you? Can you resolve this issue, close all browser tabs, shut off your phone, ask co-workers or roommates or family members to give you 30 minutes of focused time? Can you ask for help, get some accountability? The easiest solution is usually to close all distractions. Then get moving on the smallest step.”
I will train myself on these three habits often this month. By the end of August, I will get them down to a routine and I will make it my goal to follow this routine at least three times a day each day of September.
I hope others here will follow my progress and try these habits for themselves.