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Self-Mastery

TURNING YOURSELF ON TO SELF-DISCIPLINE

STRATEGY 1: Master Your Habits


Controlling Bad Habits - That statement is both true and false. True in the sense that before we know it something that we thought we could easily master or control is now much more difficult. It is a false statement because I do not believe any habit is unbreakable. Every habit can be subjected to our control. Controlling bad habits leads the list for ways to save time. This is where we begin in the process of conquering the Operational Success-Blockers. It is the foundation upon which we build solid time management structures. Therefore before the discussion of time-saving tips we need to develop the skill of controlling our habits.

Show me any person with a strong sense of self-control and I'll show you a winner. Conversely, a loser has little control.

The really high achievers in life have a common denominator - they have mastered their habits. Take a look for a minute at the really poor achievers in life; the opposite is true of them. The underachievers have failed miserably because they lack self-discipline. They always let things slip. They seem to have not given enough attention and concern for the important things in life.

These people seem to have chosen the path of least resistance. They tried to take the easy way out because it meant less work on the hard things in life, namely, change and control. Who are the most productive and successful people you know? Would they be characterized as people who have mastered habits? Are they highly disciplined people? How many people do you really know whom you would give the label - "Highly disciplined"? Can you name ten? Five? Two?

DELAYED GRATIFICATION


Delayed gratification can be defined as the delaying of the reward or pleasure phase and counting on, even scheduling of the investment or problem phase first to more fully enjoy the benefits later. It's getting the unpleasant task done first to enjoy the gratification more deeply later.

How far would Wayne Gretzky get if he tried to put the blessing or victory phase before the "workout" or investment phase? When the game came he wouldn't go very far without the early morning runs and late-night practices. There's no way he could handle the game without delaying certain pleasures to more fully enjoy the victory phase later.

Delayed gratification means working on problems NOW. It may be tough, sure it will be stretching, but you agree that for you to really enjoy the pleasure or payoff phase you will work hard first. You forgo now so you can reap later.

STRATEGY 2: The 2 Year Habit List

Make a list of all the habits you would like to change in the next 2 years.


If you are like most salespeople I speak with, you probably wish you were more disciplined. Many times a day, you might think critically of yourself for postponing (sometimes indefinitely!) those things that you know you want to change. There are certain things you know you should stop doing yet you never seem to tackle it. There are certain other habits you know you should start doing but have failed to begin.

The psychological cost for salespeople is far too great to be living in that vast wasteland called, "Lack of Discipline." You know exactly what you need to do. For some reason, perhaps lack of motivation, lack of initiative or not having a plan, you have permitted yourself and your life to become cluttered with undesirable habits. The time to change all that is now!

Well, really it's not really now at all! It's every 21 days. A new habit can be formed (generally speaking), every 21 days. So here then is your plan of action for your habits.

STRATEGY 3: 6 Steps for Developing Discipline

STEP 1: Identify one habit or area you would like to become more disciplined in

The first step is to identify one specific behavior you would like to change. It should be written in behavior style. It should describe something you now do that you would like to stop doing or something you now don't do consistently and would like to do regularly. You can use this step to describe the outcome you would like to accomplish. You must, however, confine each worksheet to one specific issue or behavior. Attempting to do too much may be discouraging. Each worksheet will take you through this 6-step process. It only applies to one issue per worksheet.

STEP 2: Find role models

Ask yourself, "Who is doing it right?" By identifying one or more people who have discipline in this area you will see that if others can do it so can you.

The people you list in this section need not be personal acquaintances of yours. You may not know them personally at all. They may be alive or dead. The point here is to cause you to think about specific people whom you believe had control in this area. People you will emulate.

STEP 3: List the benefits of becoming self-disciplined in this area

Now ask yourself, "What's in it for me?" You want to consider why you want to develop in this area. By listing the rewards you will be willing to work harder. You need to feel, smell, taste, see and touch exactly what it will be as once you are strong in this area.

What this step does is gets you to focus on the benefits of becoming disciplined in this area. You could consider listing the pain of NOT becoming disciplined here.

STEP 4: Consider the danger zones

You now need to consider where you might fall. You need to give some thought to the danger zones. You know that if you are going to become more disciplined you will be tempted to fall off the wagon, to be led astray, to procrastinate. If you have been attempting to become more self-disciplined for some time, you know that for you there is a pattern of failure to comply. What happens for you? You start off strongly than before you know it, you are doing the very things you said you wouldn't or you stopped doing the things you said you would and know you should.

List all the potential times, situations and areas that may cause you to fall, and then list how you will handle it. If you know that on business trips you eat too much, this is a danger zone. By acknowledging it, you can plan on how to handle it.

STEP 5: Use Advanced Decision Making

You cannot win in life if you are controlled by whimsical or situational decision-making. If you are to succeed in life, you will need to consider in advance, how you will live your life.

In this step, you will need to give some thought to what specific actions you will need to take to accomplish the goal listed in Step 1. For example, if you wanted to become more disciplined in the area of exercise, one decision made in advance could be a decision to exercise every morning upon waking for 45 minutes watching a workout video.

You decide in advance that you will do this. You don't wait until the morning to see if you "feel" like doing it. You have already decided in advance how you will live your life.

Wayne Gretzky, the hockey superstar, did not decide every morning if he "felt" like practicing. No way. He got up to practice every morning at 4:00 or 5:00 a.m. He did so because he had decided in advance that if he was to become the world's greatest hockey player he would have to practice.

He got up because he thought the investment was worth it. He did not wait to see if he felt like practicing. When the alarm went off, he got up because that's what he (and his dad) decided in advance he would do.

STEP 6: Enroll a support team

This step is by far one of the most crucial. If you don't do this step, you are cheating yourself out of the real power behind this system. It is vital for you to finally becoming the strong and self-disciplined person you know you can and should be. Resist the temptation to avoid this step because it may be different from what you are used to or even comfortable doing. It will literally change your life.

What this step asks you to do is enlist the assistance of someone you respect to help you become disciplined in this area. Here's what you do. First, you need to think of someone whom you respect and someone who will be strong enough to hold you to certain decisions about becoming disciplined. You call this person and tell them that you have identified certain areas you are looking to becoming more disciplined in. You are going to send them a copy of the worksheet and you would like them to hold you accountable for the actions and decisions on the sheet.

What this will do is force you to do what you said you would and know you should. Find someone to call you at least once a week. Allow yourself to become accountable to this person. This has literally transformed my life and that of my students worldwide.

STRATEGY 4: Avoid the 3 Lies

WATCH FOR THIS ... The Three Lies of the “Habit Demons”

Every time a person breaks a commitment and falls back into a bad habit they have bought into one of the three lies of the “Habit Demons.”

Think back when you started a bad habit. Think about what happens to every alcoholic who falls off the wagon or a person who gains back the weight they lost or someone who wastes piles of time dealing with issues they once had under control. These three lies rear their ugly heads; we buy into them, and then fall.

LIE #1: “Once will be enough"

"Just have one beer, one smoke, one dessert." Anytime you hear something inside that sounds like this, it's Lie #1. Is one beer enough for an alcoholic? No, one is too many and a thousand is not enough. Whenever you hear, "once" or "just this time" let a red flag remind you about the “Habit Demons’" lies.

LIE #2: “Mess it up good"

Once you give in to Lie #1 and do something you know you shouldn't, then Lie #2 kicks in. "Now that you've blown it, mess it up good." It looks like this for someone trying to control the bad habit of eating late at night. "Just have one piece of the pie. One little piece can't hurt you. You deserve just one small piece." So you start cutting yourself a piece. Soon afterward you hear Lie #2: "Well, now you've done it. You might as well have another piece now. Wouldn't another piece taste great? You've blown it, so why not mess it up good. Go ahead, have another piece and why not top it off with some vanilla ice cream?" So you give in and feel terrible. Then comes Lie #3 which is the final stage of loss of control.

LIE #3: “Give up"

By giving in and doing what you did not want to do you feel terrible. You have "messed it up good", so now the natural progression is to stop trying, simply "give up". What this lie tries to get you to say is "I'm worthless, I'm hopeless, and I will never be able to control my habits. I'll quit trying."

Reject all three lies, they are false. Once is rarely enough. If you are tempted to do something wrong "once" check out if it's not the first of the three lies. If you do mess something up, don't mess it up worse. You don't have to go any further. You can resume control. Exercise that control now. Never believe Lie #3, never quit trying. You are of immense value and you are never hopeless. The winners in life recognize and refute the lies of the “Habit Demons”. Jim Sharkey, a man who has had a tremendous impact on my life once said, "No man is a loser until he quits trying." Never quit trying.

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