Motivation and emotion/Textbook/Motivation/Self-discipline

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Motivation and self-discipline[edit]

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Suppose you are new to weight lifting and you are seriously interested in building your muscles and improving the general shape of your body. You make a decision to join a weight lifting team as a beginner with an aim of familiarising yourself with the set of weights and fitness tools available to get you started before embarking on the whole exercise. Due to the strenuous nature of weight lifting, you need perseverance and determination to take you through the lifting regime. First and foremost, you must lift the weights on a daily basis to achieve you goal and be enthusiastic about it. Although your zeal is both important and necessary, you need to accept the fact that you have never engaged in weight lifting before and may not be comfortable lifting heavy weights on the first trial. You have to progress slowly from the lightest to the heaviest until your muscles are fully developed. You will also have to follow appropriate exercises to gain the right body shape.

Procrastination and laziness might become your first obstacles, always tempting you to postpone the exercises or complete them irregularly. Fear, weakness, lethargy and other negative feelings may also weigh you down to the extent that you totally fail to maintain the discipline required to achieve your goal.

You need the inner strength and power to overcome all these drawbacks and persist in you desire. Self discipline is the ability to follow through ones objectives to the ultimate end without being driven back by the ever changing emotional states. It is the force behind every successful venture. We all need self discipline to succeed in business, academics, sports and other careers. It is also an essential aspect of daily tasks at home and workplace.

Although discipline involves developing new habits of thought and action, it works best as a positive effort and not a punishment or denial. It can be task oriented and selective, making it an effective tool and a reliable power that helps us to achieve our personal goals. When applied in combination with other personal qualities like goal orientation and high levels of self esteem, self discipline can successfully help young adults to dispel negative experiences associated with career confusion, lack of employment, workplace dissatisfaction and inadequate family support (Heine, 1990).

Self discipline gives the ability to forgo immediate gain and instant gratification in pursuit of long term goals which come with great satisfaction. It confers more self control and inner strength (Ryff & Keyes, 1995).

Examples of Self Discipline[edit]

If you are required to finish a given assignment within a specific time, then you have to manage to meet the deadline.

Being on time for all appointments.

If you purpose and promise yourself to begin a self improvement program such as exercises, dieting or meditation then keep your promise.

Avoiding excuses and fulfilling promises made to yourself and others.

If you decide to stop eating junk food in order to be slim, then you have to abstain and stick to the right diet in order to achieve this goal.

If you choose to quit smoking cigarettes or stop taking alcohol as a health improvement measure then you have to follow the cessation plan until you break these habits.

If you are in school and you intend to pass your exams, then you must study hard, attend all lessons, join a discussion group and do practice exercises in order to succeed.

Important aspects of Self Discipline[edit]

Since self discipline guarantees that one will follow through every goal they set and every decision they make, it is manifested through hard work, industry, persistence, strong will and a genuine evaluation of ones current level of discipline that leads to acceptance. These are important aspects that form the pillars of self discipline.


The easiest way to build self discipline is to handle challenges that are near your limit and you are sure to accomplish successfully. It is analogous to progressive weight lifting where you build your muscle by lifting weights close to your limit. You need to honestly evaluate your current level of self discipline in whichever area you choose to improve and pick up tasks that are challenging but within your limit. This is what acceptance is all about; making an accurate assessment of your capability and implementing your decision with modesty and true knowledge of your current weaknesses and limitations (Pavlina, 2005).

If you bite more than you can chew, you might be overwhelmed and run the risk of backing off the whole exercise. It is therefore important to accept your current position during the initiation of any plan. This gives the grace to move progressively from one level to another bearing in midn that self discipline is not a kind of punishment but a tool for achieving success.

Since all improvements that we desire to make are pegged on the dynamics of human nature, ours goals must be realistic and attainable. It is important to set the correct starting point before beginning to work towards the target. The weight lifter gains no strength lifting a weight that is too light for him nor does he achieve anything by lifting a heavy weight that he cannot budge. Acceptance of one’s current ability is paramount.

The following are examples of challenges that can help one to establish their current situation and stand point: How many hours do you waste during the day?

Do you have old and junk mail in your inbox?

How neat and organized is your home?

What are the chances that you keep a promise made to someone?

How neat and organized is your office?

Do you wake up early in the morning? How consistent are you I it?

Are you overweight or extremely underweight?

Are you addicted to alcohol, caffeine, cigarettes or any other substance that you would wish to break from?

Are you on any exercise regime?

Is your computer drive well organised?

Can you complete a significant amount of focused work in a day?

Are your personal goals clear and well written?

How long do your items last in your to do list?

Do you practice healthy eating or rely on taste and satiety to make dietary choices?

Do you have a plan of what you will be doing tomorrow?

Are you deeply in debt?

When did you last stop a bad habit?

Are you neat and well groomed?

How do you rate your current level of self discipline?

Will Power

Willpower works hand in hand with self discipline. A person with will power is assertive, decisive, determined and full of inner strength. Such people exert themselves in the face of laziness and successfully manage to overcome all discomfort in the course of efforts. It comes with endurance that overcomes internal and external obstacles. It also aids in overcoming the effects of inconvenience and hardships (Gallozi, n.d).

Will power helps a person to make decisions and begin implementing them while self discipline gives the strength to stay on until the goals are fully achieved. Will power also helps in avoiding temptations and focusing the mind to execute plans even where there are many distractions. It allows one to disagree or agree with other people’s opinions, say ‘no’ or ‘yes’ or present ones suggestion without automatically accepting everything that other people say. It is not necessarily obstinate or aggressive but it is an inner strength which is deliberately manifested with wisdom and common sense.

Hard Work

Hard work is the main force behind all things that people strive to accomplish. It is the precursor of all achievements. Since self discipline seeks to achieve a long term goal, hard work helps to overcome the tougher challenges along the way. The opportunities available to the hard workers are numerous and less competitive. The easy way is often replete with superficial opportunities available to the less hark working. Hard work generates a strong feeling of great accomplishment following a good effort that has yielded fruit (Clen & Stevenson, 1997; Kashima & Triadis, 1986).

Working Hard

When taking on a major project, there are several aspects that look virtually difficult to implement. It is the outline of these difficult things that provides the challenge. It is these challenges that add value and build your personal strength to take up bigger tasks (Meijer & Semin, 1998). They also help you to summon up enough energy to help you through to the end of the existing project. The best way to maintain a high level of productivity is to make a proper work schedule and follow it. It is also important to keep a record of the progress status of the task at hand and develop a personal monitoring and evaluation mechanism (Kitayama, Takagi & Mutsumoto, 1995). This way, it will be easy to measure and know how much work is being done at a given time.


Our daily life consists of several activities that need to be carried out. While most tasks seem optional in their nature, there are others that are mandatory. For example one must get up and look for some food to eat. Failure to do so would lead to immediate consequences that will push you into action. There are other important tasks that people tend to neglect due to laziness and poor self discipline. For example, we need to bath daily and dress neatly. In as much as one may ignore it and stay shaggy without immediate severe consequences, it is not meant to be taken for granted. Furthermore, such behavior has immediate consequences in business and at the workplace. There are several routine and non routine tasks which are either easy or challenging. We need to put in our time in order to accomplish them.

Industry has to do with investment of time in all kinds of work whether hard or easy. The tasks may be home based such as cooking, laundry, repairs and maintenance, child care, cleaning and gardening, workplace or business oriented. Remember they all have to be done almost on a daily basis. An industrious person would endeavor to squeeze more value out of their time so as to perform all the tasks effectively. This attitude ensures that even things that do not fall within the priority list are done.


Success through persistance:

George is a hard working person and a great starter who gets big and promising ideas and work towards implementing each and every one of them. Whenever a new idea comes up, he gets over-excited about it and abandons the current project and begins chasing after the new one. Consequently, none of his jobs ever gets completed. What is the secret to finishing a project? Massive success is not a reserve for the lucky and talented. Anyone who puts in the best of their efforts in any task and believes that they can complete it has the capacity to complete a good job. Perseverance and persistence are required to carry on with the task until the end (Barez, 2003; Lanham, 1979). Perseverance means to continue without stopping even in the face of obstacles. It involves trying again and again using different methods until one gets the desired results. It is the quality that allows one to move on even when the body tells them to be inert.

Goal oriented and determined individuals can follow through a task until the end. However, they are equally vulnerable to defeat, injury, fatigue and all kinds of risks and uncertainities as they pursue their goals. While on a course driven by self discipline, such negative experiences are useful in building mental strength, perseverance and will power which are all necessary in propelling people towards their intentions.

Self Discipline at School[edit]

When self Discipline is mentioned in school, every teacher remembers the importance of student discipline and begins thinking of the troublesome students: Jimmy who always murmurs in class, Jane who is ever talking, Grace who has never learnt how to control herself, John who never completes his work and Hillary who is always exchanging fists. The bigger challenge never lies in teaching academic skills, but getting students to achieve full concentration and embrace self discipline.

Students need this virtue in order to fully apply themselves to academic work, moderate their actions n accordance with school rules and regulations and engage in activities that allow them to optimize their learning opportunities. Since self discipline is not necessarily learnt through deliberate and well organized curricular instruction, both students and teachers may fail to realized how complex and remarkable it can be. Understanding its important features can enable the teachers and other stakeholders to carefully integrate it into the school setting (CRC, 2010; Knapczyk, 2004).

Students need self discipline in order to enable them to set clear, concise and achievable goals to guide their actions and assist them in maintaining a definite purpose and direction while making future plans.

Self Discipline at the workplace[edit]

Self discipline is essential in attaining success at the workplace. Employers prefer to recruit employees who are hard working and have a passion to go about their business. Such workers exude diligence and a desire to learn continuously from previous mistakes and failures. They are willing to take risks when the company provides a chance for it and exercise self control in all their activities (Dempster, 2005).

People normally have a tendency to express themselves emotionally and inappropriately at the workplace. Self discipline helps in controlling wild emotions and maintaining the sanity that is required to achieve success at the workplace. It ensures that people constantly remain helpful, solution-oriented and constructive in all their undertakings. It also helps in proper time management, planning and effective communication. It can be useful in health management by fostering good eating habits and encouraging regular exercise which increase energy and productivity (Sasson, 2009; Sowards, 2003).

Self discipline helps an employee to evaluate there position and seek appropriate feedback for the purpose pf personal development. It remains the key to the realization of personal goals and objectives. It gives one a full chance to demonstrate hard work, industry, trust and true entrepreneurship.

Self Discipline at home[edit]

The home is one place with as many tasks as the workplace. Every member has some tasks to perform. Meals have to be prepared, visitors have to receive and be entertained, cleaning has to be done regularly, equipment have to be repaired, the gardens have to be made and the list goes on for each family member. The overall effort needed to manage these tasks may be great, but the individual tasks may not be challenging. Through self discipline, one can work them out without neglecting any of them. It bears directly to our personal productivity and work performance (Hogan, 2009).

Laziness and procrastinations are more common in homes because there may be no supervisor to check on every task. However, self discipline provides the strength and willpower to accomplish these tasks. Since everyone at the workplace comes from some home or residence, the image that we project depends greatly on the discipline we have managed to achieve back at home.

Benefits of Self Discipline[edit]

Self discipline helps in attaining self mastery. A self disciplined person gains self control and begins to be more constructive and assertive; overcoming anger and other negative feelings. This new level of assertiveness enables an individual to accept or reject what other people’s opinions without unwarranted aggression (Bachik, 1992; Kwan et al, 1997; Chen & Stevenson, 1995). This discipline also increases inner strength and stamina which is very essential when pursuing major tasks. It is also an important tool that drives out laziness and procrastination. It helps to build perseverance and persistence which are necessary in accomplishing all challenging tasks (Williams, 2010; singleton, 1995; Lewis, 1995).

By giving use a chance to handle our daily task in a more efficient way, self discipline carries us through to greater levels of success in careers, jobs, sports, business, relationships, health and study. This is why great business people, scholars, sports people, managers and chief executives are hard working and disciplined (Boa, 2006). They exude high self esteem and confidence.

Self discipline is effective in eliminating fear, shyness, weakness and other personal inadequacies. A disciplined individual becomes strong and resolute, replacing negative habits with positive qualities. (Diener & Diener, 1989).


Self discipline confers the strength and power to follow through intentions until goals become realised. It works based on the strong pillars of acceptance of our current situation, a strong will power, industry and the spirit of perseverance. To be a high achiever, one has to put aside immediate gratification when pursueing long term goals. This requires one to set goals and visualise them as accomplished. Successful people have the ability to create mental images and project their thoughts into the prosperous future (Bukkapaptnam, 2010). They follow these thought patterns with self discipline and determination until they achieve their goals. There is no limit to what can be achievable through the virtue of self discipline.


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