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Discipline Is Not A Four-Letter Word

As the daughter of a retired Brigadier General, I know a thing or two about discipline.

Factor in my half-German ancestry, and well, you get the picture! The very word discipline sometimes evokes images of ruler-wielding, knuckle-rapping nuns or some Middle Age dungeon guard with six hungry pit bulls straining at their leashes, or even something out of “Fifty Shades of Gray.”

Yet, discipline is not a bad thing.  It comes from the word “disciple,” which means follower.  When you follow your own rules for success, you are self-disciplined.

So if the word discipline has a negative charge for you, visualize that you are simply following the footsteps of your mentor, or someone who you want to emulate.  You can do this with hypnosis, or self-hypnosis. For example, Kobe Bryant (who is known for using hypnosis) is quite self-disciplined. Millions of young basketball hopefuls follow Kobe’s rules for training.  While this hardly guarantees success in and of itself, it does guarantee that you are doing whatever it takes to perform to the best of your abilities.

I treat a lot of procrastination and motivation techniques with hypnosis, although there are plenty of other ways to attain your goals.  Many people have a great deal of resistance to structure; ironically, they are under negative hypnosis — operating from false beliefs about their limitations.  We live in, arguably, the freest country in the world, and one of the reasons we are so free is that we have so many rules and laws!

When you set your own rules for your health and fitness, growing your business, keeping your family close, enhancing a relationship, etc., you are committing yourself to those priorities and are free to reap their benefits. For example, one of my own personal rules is I must work out at least five times a week.  This rule frees me up to be stay healthy and give my patients and other important people in my life my very best.  A couple I coach has a rule that their large family must have dinner together every Friday night.  This frees them up to stay close and make family first.  A basketball player I treat has made it a rule that he will shoot 100 free throws in a row every day he trains until he swishes 75% of them through the net successfully.  A screenwriter I treat has a rule that she will write 1,000 words a day.

You can make it a fun game by rewarding yourself when you’ve kept your rule for a week, a month, 6 weeks, 6 months, etc., by positively reinforcing your good behavior (flowers, a massage, concert tickets, etc.) or by negatively reinforcement if you don’t keep your word to yourself (doing your roommate’s laundry for a month, or paying $100 to a political party you despise, e.g.)

With no rules to follow, there is no structure, and without structure, there is usually no success. Some argue that they prefer complete spontaneity and rules are boring and never work.  I invite you to make fun, creative rules for whatever is important in your life.

Discipline is power.  Self-discipline is self empowerment.

Read more posts by Nancy Irwin, PsyD, C.Ht, Therapeutic Hypnotist, Author and JenningsWire Blogger.