Although the COVID pandemic seems to be over, the mess it has left is still here. As a world, we are still suffering the side effects. I have been thinking a lot about which could be the most important skill I need to reinforce or develop during this, or any, crisis, and honestly, I am convinced that in all critical situations, staying disciplined is the healthiest and most powerful tool I should work on.
I also believe that the only type of discipline is self-discipline. Discipline is defined as the quality of being able to behave and work in a controlled way which involves obeying rules or standards. Self-discipline is the ability to control one’s behavior and overcome one’s weakness to pursue something considered right for me. So, for me, self-discipline is an asset we must invest in and take care of.
Self-discipline allows me, despite all the difficulties and temptations, to pursue my goal. One of the main characteristics of self-discipline is the ability to forget instant and immediate gratification and pleasure in favor of some greater gain or more satisfying results.
Keep your mind clear
Self-discipline also requires flexibility Capacity to adjust to the circumstances. In times of volatility, uncertainty complexity, and ambiguity. In times of COVID, it has been extremely difficult to keep any kind of discipline. Hard to maintain any working schedule, hard to maintain the hours of rest, even hard to keep a healthy diet. We are seeing the results of the lack of self-discipline. Many have gained pounds during the lockdown and present more sleeping problems than ever. So self-discipline has been the most powerful tool to face this crisis.
When we talk about reinforcing our self-discipline this means something different for each one. To reinforce our self-discipline each one of us must work on identifying our weak points and be aware that those will be the ones that will be more difficult to deal with. Those issues will require more effort. but the main issue here is that, once you have achieved that tiny goal, you feel under control, and that allows you to follow a bigger one.
Self-discipline requires persistence. Persistence is defined as the «voluntary continuation of a goal-directed action despite obstacles, difficulties, or discouragement” (Peterson and Sellgman,2004, p229). Persistence allows us to keep active even when we don’t feel motivated to do so. Self-discipline is hard and it goes hand in hand with persistence. To say it in another way, persistence is self-discipline in action.
One of the main characteristics of any crisis is that we feel we lose control. Too many things to handle at the same time, not many ways to prevent what will happen. It is not strange to feel hopeless and powerless. With Self-discipline, we will be able to get control over certain behaviors and that will help us feel a bit better.
Same as in any crisis, establish a goal, stay focused and try to orient all your willpower towards that goal. Keep flexible and try to achieve it. That’s the clue.
Self-discipline becomes very powerful when combined with goal setting, passion, and planning. It is extremely important to start small. Consider that in times of crisis the level of tolerance is very low, if the goal is too high you might just drop it in the middle.
Self-discipline requires a certain level of maturity. It can be taught, and it can be developed. Consider that self-discipline is like a muscle: the more you train it the stronger you become. Lack of self-discipline can cause low self-esteem. Adjusting to the new normality will also require self-discipline. We will need to have this tool in shape. It will be our best “weapon”