Self-Discipline in 10 days

in 10 days

Theodore Bryant, MSW
HUB Publishing
Human Understanding and Behavior Publishing
Seattle, Washington
How To Go
From Thinking To Doing
to all the people who have
attended my self-discipline
courses, seminars, and lectures.
You provided me with the desire
and motivation to write this
book. You enabled me to create
a self-discipline system that can
work for anyone. But, more
important, you taught me that
life's greatest pleasure lies in
helping others accomplish their
desires. For this simple lesson,
I thank you from the bottom of
my heart.
Table Of Contents
Part One
Preliminary Information
• Important! 2
• How To Use This Guidebook 5
1. Getting Started 7
2. Poisons & Antidotes 13
3. Action-oriented Self-talk 31
4. Understanding Self-Discipline 41
Part Two
The Ten Day Self-Discipline Development System
• Before You Begin 52
5. Day One: Fear of Failure 53
6. Day Two: Fear of Success 61
7. Day Three: Fear of Rejection 67
8. Day Four: Fear of Mediocrity 74
9. Day Five: Fear of Risks 78
Table Of Contents
Part Three
Subconscious Beliefs plus Five Power Tools
• Understanding Subconscious Belief Systems . . . . 89
10. Day Six: "All or Nothing" & Visualization 93
11. Day Seven: "I Must Be Perfect"
& Reward Systems 99
12. Day Eight: "I Can Achieve Without Discomfort"
& Vitaminds 109
13. Day Nine: "I Can't Change" & Relaxation 117
14. Day Ten: "Something Terrible Will Happen"
& AGoal Sheet 127
Part Four
Putting It All Together
• Congratulations! 135
• The Self-Discipline Process 136
15. The Decision Stage 137
16. The Preparation Stage 141
17. The Action Stage 147
18. The Completion/ Maintenance Stage 153
• About the Author 160
Part One
Whenever and wherever I conduct self-discipline
workshops, seminars, or classes, I always hear this
question: "Can I actually improve my self-discipline
in only ten days?"
My answer:
Absolutely. Positively. Definitely. Actually, you will
experience improvement in one day! Your improvement
will be in direct proportion to how closely you follow the
program in this book. A partial effort will generate a
partial result.
The exercises, tips, and techniques contained in this
book came from many different and diverse sources. This
book contains the quickest and easiest methods currently
available for improving self-discipline. Did you notice
that I did not say "The best methods"? The best methods
can take lots of time and tons of effort to understand and
employ. In this book you will find methods that will
work fast and painless; we will use a no-frills approach.
But I promise that you will learn more than you will need
to improve your self-discipline immediately. To facilitate
your consumption and digestion of this material, all
psychobabble and jargon have been skimmed off. So
you're getting only the real goods in a powerful and
concentrated dose.
Trust me. The system in this book will give you the
insight, techniques, and tips to quickly improve your selfdiscipline
skill. You will note that I said, "skill." That is
because my experiences with thousands of people have
taught me that self-discipline is simply a skill that anyone
can learn to use. No one comes into the world with it.
And improving self-discipline, like improving any skill, is
simply a matter of education and practice.
Some of us learned self-discipline from parents, friends,
or relatives. Others of us learned it through school, sports,
the armed forces, or maybe even through our own intuition.
Unfortunately, however, most of us were never taught the
psychology of self-discipline, how it really works. So we
can't always use it when we need it. This book will help
you learn what you need to know, and unlearn what you
need to drop. Soon you will be aware of many tools,
techniques, and concepts to help you unravel the mystery
of self-discipline. You are going to be amazed at how
quickly and easily this self-discipline system works.
Sound promising? Then let's get started.
How to use this guidebook
First, you'll jump into the chapter titled, Preliminary
Information. This section is filled with information that
will put your whole self to work for you. Before you
tackle the ten-day self-discipline plan, be sure that you
are familiar with all the information in the Preliminary
Information chapter. Most self-discipline failures occur
because of a lack of psychological preparation. The
Preliminary Information chapter is designed to provide
you with the necessary psychological preparation to make
this system work.
Next comes the ten-day program for the development of
awareness and attitude. Then, in the Putting It All Together
section, you'll go into Action. This system evolved over
years of experimentation and research. Through classes,
workshops, and seminars, I've taught this system to people
from all walks of life. Its overall design has a purpose. Each
exercise, technique, and lesson was designed to follow the
one that precedes it.
"One day at a time" is good advice when making a
behavior change. Do not devour this book all at once. Do
not skip around from chapter to chapter. While you don't
have to complete the ten-day section in ten consecutive
days, don't spread it out too much. Such an approach,
while yielding some benefits, will leave you with the hole
rather than the donut. In other words, don't work against
Prepare yourself for the ten-day program by thoroughly
learning the Preliminary Information. Then the ten-day
portion of the program will zoom past and you'll soon be
putting self-discipline into motion. I've seen it happen time
and time again. So remember:
Follow the instructions!
Do the exercises in order!
Getting Started
Self-Discipline in 10 days
Before you take another step,
meet your greatest obstacle to self-discipline:
Meet Hyde
Every psychological theory recognizes that we are made up
of several different selves. So, obviously, we have more than one
side of ourselves with which to contend. Moreover, difficulty
arises when we consider that frequently our different sides want
to go in different directions. Inner conflict, it's called.
Sometimes one side of us wants to engage in a productive
activity such as working on a report for work, cleaning the
kitchen, or balancing the checkbook. But another side of us
wants to watch television and eat chocolate chip cookies, or
anything else to avoid doing something we consider a productive
use of time. In other words, there is a part of you that does not
want self-discipline. This side of you we'll call Hyde.
In Robert Lewis Stevenson's classic novel, Dr. Jekyll and Mr.
Hyde, we find a literary example that perfectly suits ours needs
here. Basically the story is about a benevolent doctor who,
through chemical experimentation on himself, brought out the
evil side of his personality while suppressing the good side. The
two sides of himself ended up in a struggle for dominance that
eventually destroyed them both. Think of the part of you that
wants self-discipline as Dr. Jekyll, and the part of you that fights
your attempts at self-discipline as Hyde. Get the idea? Do not,
however, think of your Hyde side as an enemy. Think, instead,
of Hyde as the part of you that is creative, fun-loving, and
pleasure-seeking; the child side of yourself. You do not want to
do battle with Hyde, but you want to recruit Hyde as a partner
who supports your self-discipline efforts.
1. Getting Started
This Jekyll/Hyde approach is one of the more important
concepts to understand in your attempts to develop selfdiscipline.
Time and time again, participants in my workshops,
seminars, and courses have reaffirmed that this concept,
understanding it and applying it, has been instrumental in their
self-discipline successes. So, you will begin by learning about
how your personal Hyde operates.
Hyde believes:
If I begin a structured, organized journey toward any
chosen goal:
I'll become a slave to routine
I'll lose my freedom
I'll lose my sense of fun
I'll drown in a sea of responsibilities
I'll put too much pressure on myself
We all have a rebellious side to our personalities that resists
any form of structure. We bring this rebellious seed from
our childhood. One of the first words a child learns to say
emphatically is "NO." The child we once were still lives inside
us, and every child battles authority. Hyde, the name we will
call your inner childlike rebel, battles any form of authority,
even if the authority is you. Hyde subconsciously says:
"Nobody can tell me what to do, not even me."
Self-Discipline in 10 days
You will soon learn how your personal Hyde operates to
sabotage your self-discipline efforts. You will also learn how to
counteract this self-inflicted negative influence. But beware,
you will experience resistance each step of the way from Hyde.
In fact, because I consider your understanding of Hyde so
important, the first thing we're going to do is learn how Hyde
will try to block your efforts at implementing the system laid
out in this book.
On your voyage toward developing self-discipline, you'll
encounter torpedoes from several sources outside yourself, but
your most difficult opposition will come from within. Indeed, in
your efforts to develop self-discipline, initially you will be your
own worst enemy.
A part of you does not want self-discipline.
We all have a Hyde side: the rebellious, comfort-seeking,
non-ambitious part of our personality. This is a condition of
being human. So let this serve as a word of warning. Do not
allow Hyde to block your efforts.
You'll soon have the know-how necessary to transform Hyde
from a pesky saboteur into a loyal assistant. In doing so, you
will be doubling the inner resources you need for self-discipline.
And, most important, you will enjoy self-discipline, rather than
experience it as a constant struggle against yourself.
As we've already established, we're going to call the part of
you that does not want self-discipline "Hyde."
1. Getting Started
Hyde not only knows all your weaknesses, fears, and
insecurities, but also knows how to use them against you. This
devious little imp inside you plans to employ every method of
manipulation available to keep you from following the program
laid out in this book. Why?
Hyde knows that once you develop self-discipline, you'll be
your own boss. That means curtains for Hyde's reign. You'll
no longer be a slave to the self-defeating traits that keep you
from transforming your desires and ideas into actions and
Rest assured that Hyde will childishly resist cooperation. So,
your best strategy is to familiarize yourself with Hyde's tactics,
most of which operate on a subconscious level, where you are not
aware of them. But by familiarizing yourself with Hyde's method
of operation, you will soon have Hyde working with you rather
than against you.
Self-Discipline In 10 days
The next chapter deals with
Hyde's five favorite techniques
for poisoning your efforts.
Even though all of these brands of
poison share certain ingredients,
you'll be wise to consider each
separately. This way you'll be less
susceptible to any of them.
Self-Discipline in 10 days
Hyde's five favorite poisons:
and their antidotes...
2. Poisons & Antidotes
A cynical person is inclined to question the goodness and
value of everything. And because nothing in life is perfect, the
cynic can always find a flaw in absolutely anything. Once found,
the flaw is then magnified until it overshadows everything else.
The cynic is a genius at pointing out why a particular plan, idea,
or choice is no good and won't work.
The external cynics such as sarcastic friends, pessimistic
relatives, and loser co-workers who delight in finding flaws,
can be avoided when you realize that their cynicism is contagious.
But Hyde, the inner cynic, goes everywhere with you. So, you will
hear whispers from within: "You can't learn self-discipline from
a book." "What has this exercise got to do with self-discipline?
Why not skip it?" "All this self-help stuff is a lot of fluff." Beware
of Hyde.
Apart of you does not want self-discipline.
Hyde is a master cynic. Expect that your efforts at
implementing this self-discipline system will be constantly
bombarded with cynicism from within. "It's too complicated."
"It's too easy to have any real value." "It's too difficult to
complete." " Blah, blah, blah."
Self-Discipline in 10 days
Antidote to Cynicism:
Have faith in your ability to improve. This guidebook will
lead you to improved self-discipline. Perfection? Of course not.
Neither you nor this guidebook is perfect. It would, therefore,
be ridiculous to expect perfection. But it would be even more
ridiculous to reject all this book's benefits, benefits you can reap
by following the system in this book.
If you lock onto the imperfections, then you've allowed Hyde
to dupe you. If, however, you cling onto the belief that your
powers of self-discipline will substantially improve if you follow
the instructions in this program, then you will join the many
persons who have discovered the joy of seeing their desires
transformed into reality. So when Hyde tries to convince you
that this system is a waste of time, be assertive, and respond to
Hyde immediately by telling yourself, "If I am now consciously
aware of my self-defeating chatter, then the system is already
Accomplishment-oriented, present-tense, concrete self-talk is
your first line of defense against Hyde's efforts to keep you tied
to your old ways. You'll feel a surge of strength the very first
time you challenge the Hyde side of yourself.
2. Poisons & Antidotes
It has been said that "If you could give the person who is
responsible for most of you troubles a kick in the caboose, you
wouldn't be able to sit down for a month." Whoever made this
statement must have known about Hyde.
During your initial attempts to improve your self-discipline,
you will need to maintain a positive attitude. So guess what?
One of Hyde's favorite self-discipline sabotage tactics is to
spotlight all of the negative happenings in your life. As you
begin to devise goals and plans, Hyde will attempt to direct your
attention toward everything unpleasant about the persons, places
and things that make up your environment. When Hyde uses this
strategy to divert you from your self-discipline improvement
program, you'll find yourself saying things like, "Why bother?"
Sure, "Why bother?" After all, your boss is a jerk. Your mate
is a turkey. Your shoes are too tight, and so is your underwear.
Then there is the polluted state of the environment. There is the
constant threat of a war. There are cancer-causing food additives
in everything you eat. The planet is dying. The Governor is a sap.
Indeed, life is tough and then you die.
So, why should you waste your time, what precious little
there is left of it, doing dumb self-discipline exercises? If you
cannot think of an answer to that question, then Hyde has got
you by the attitude. And once that happens, then Hyde's
Self-Discipline in 10 days
Negativism continued...
work is half done because your brain will search for reasons
to support negative attitudes. That's the way the brain works.
Whatever you tell yourself, negative or positive, your subconscious
believes. Your subconscious mind does not weigh
evidence and then evaluate your claim. It simply believes what
you tell it. Moreover, your subconscious finds reasons to prove
you are right, even if you are wrong. Then your subconscious
begins to tailor your attitude and behavior to whatever you
have told it.
So, in essence, you create your attitude and behavior by what
you tell yourself. Tell yourself that this self-discipline program
will not work and, guess what, it will not work. What a surprise,
Apart of you does not want self-discipline.
2. Poisons & Antidotes
Antidote to Negativism:
Believe that your attitude has everything to do with your
success, regardless of the task at hand. Believe that there is
just as much good stuff in the world as there is bad stuff.
You decide upon which stuff to focus. That proverbial
glass of water that contains fifty percent of its capacity is
either half full or half empty, depending on your attitude.
And you create your own attitude, and your attitude influences
your behavior. Always be aware that you have the power to
choose a positive attitude. And a positive attitude is your
strongest possible antidote to Hyde's tactic of negativism.
Remember: Hyde wants to keep you from multiplying
your powers of self-discipline. If that can be accomplished by
dampening your spirit, Hyde will do so by reminding you of
all that's wrong with the world. On the surface, a negative
attitude doesn't seem connected to self-discipline, but rest
assured that your overall attitude about life is what steers and
fuels your actions. So when you feel yourself (Hyde) using
negativity to turn you away from positive action, don't be
tricked. Remember: You can choose your own attitude. Will
your attitude work for you or against you? The choice is
yours. Believe it.
Self-Discipline in 10 days
Cynicism and negativism got married and had a baby. They
named it Defeatism. Groucho Marx must have known their kid.
When Groucho was invited to join a hoity-toity Hollywood
country club he replied, "I'm not interested in joining any
organization that would have me as a member." Funnyman Marx
spouted this self-deprecating line for a laugh, but Hyde will try to
instill this attitude in you as a roadblock between you and your
attempts to implement the system laid out in this guidebook.
Using defeatism, Hyde will try to con you into saying things
like: "Maybe this self-discipline program is good, but it probably
won't work for me." "I'm not smart enough to understand this
stuff." "I'm too smart to be helped by this lame stuff." "I'm too
old." "I'm too young." In other words, Hyde will try to convince
you that the fault lies within you personally; that you somehow
lack the ability to turn this system into a reality.
Hyde will attempt to drown your enthusiasm by pointing out
all your perceived shortcomings, then use them to trick you into
self-defeat. Hyde will use any perceived inadequacy to dredge up
feelings of insecurity and low self-esteem which will, of course,
lead to your either giving up on the system (in reality giving up
on yourself), or going about it so halfheartedly that all benefits
will be minimized.
2. Poisons & Antidotes
Defeatism continued...
Even though your intellect will tell you that lots of people
have prospered by using the techniques in this book, Hyde
will say: "But you're different." Then Hyde will furnish a
reason (or maybe a hundred reasons) that foster a why-Iwon't-
succeed attitude. Yes, Hyde will latch onto a personality
trait, a physical characteristic, or any other irrelevant quality
available, including your race, sex, or religion and turn it into
a tool for self-defeat.
Apart of you does not want self-discipline.
Self-Discipline in 10 days
Believe in your ability to profit from knowledge. Believe that
the ideas in this self-discipline book will work for you. Some of
them have been around for centuries, others come from recently
developed psychological approaches to self-management.
The tools, tips, and techniques in this book have worked for
thousands upon thousands of people, all types of people.
So, when Hyde starts to yap about a trait of yours that will
prove insurmountable as you work your way toward improved
self-discipline, counter by saying: "Nothing is going to stop me."
In other words, don't lament over your shortcomings, redouble
your efforts. A belief in yourself, coupled with self-discipline
(which you'll soon have, if you don't allow Hyde to cheat you
out of it) is a winning combination, regardless of the enterprise
you're undertaking. Believe it.
Antidote to Defeatism:
2. Poisons & Antidotes
Developing self-discipline requires self-knowledge. Selfknowledge,
in turn, requires that you occasionally engage in
self-examination, an activity that sometimes evokes anxiety. Like
a buried treasure, self-knowledge requires that you dig deep
before you can reap the bounty. Inevitably you'll encounter
stones during the dig.
Emotional stones, buried in your subconscious, include many
events and situations that you'd just as soon leave buried.
Unfortunately, however, those stones contain the keys to why
certain parts of you refuse to cooperate in your self-discipline
efforts. This applies whether you are dieting, running a business,
or maintaining an exercise program.
Because being aware of these anxiety-provoking stones is so
important in developing self-discipline, some of the exercises
in this guidebook require that you unearth and deal with a few
stones. Naturally you'll experience some discomfort. Enter Hyde.
Hyde will say: "You don't need to do all that psychological
stuff. What do these exercises have to do with learning to
organize your time?" "Let's skip actually doing the exercise part,
and just read the exercises and think about them. Sure, that'll be
enough. Better yet," Hyde will go on to say, "why not go eat that
slice of pie in the fridge? Or make a phone call? Television! Of
course, that's the ticket. On the Public Broadcasting Network
they're showing a swell documentary about horseshoes!" In
other words, Hyde will point out other "important" tasks that
immediately should be taken care of, anything rather than doing
your self-discipline exercises.
Self-Discipline in 10 days
Escapism continued.
In short, Hyde will try to divert you from the day's exercise,
especially if the exercise in question involves any sort of selfexamination.
Hyde will coax you toward another activity that
will instead provide some sort of escape. And because you
haven't yet developed the self-discipline that you'll soon have,
Hyde uses escapism masterfully. Chances are that you previously
have used escapism to dash your efforts at reaching your goals.
So, you'll soon learn that Hyde is quite good at employing this
method of self-defeat.
Apart of you does not want self-discipline.
2. Poisons & Antidotes
Antidote to Escapism:
Believe that life, for the most part, is based on the cause-andeffect
principle. In your life, your actions are the cause; the
results of your actions are the effects. Granted, the action
you take regarding the self-discovery exercises in this guidebook
might occasionally cause you discomfort. But that
discomfort will quickly transform into a wonderful feeling
of accomplishment as you experience the successes that result
from your newly acquired self-knowledge. These successes
will continue throughout your lifetime.
So when you find yourself attempting to escape the
discomfort of self-examination by pursuing a diversionary
activity, when Hyde tries to sucker you into escapism by
dangling a carrot before you, ask "Is this just a tactic to sway
me from my path to self-discipline?"
Remember: The proverbial carrot dangling on the stick
is chased by a donkey, often referred to as an ass. Don't let
Hyde make one out of you.
Self-Discipline in 10 days
"I'll do it later," is one of Hyde's favorite sentences. Often
one of the previously described tactics will be used as the reason
to "do it later." Other times a piggyback reason is offered: "I
can't begin a weight-loss program until I buy a decent outfit to
work out in." Hyde has then succeeded in putting a hurdle
between you and your goal.
Then Hyde says, "And I can't afford to buy a new outfit until
I have lowered the balance on my credit cards." Yet another
hurdle. On and on it goes until you are completely immobilized
by the hurdles between you and your original goal.
Another delay tactic is "I just don't have time." Well, we all
have twenty-four hours per day; no more, no less. This holds true
regardless of whether you are the head of a nation or the head of
a household, or both. "But some of us have more responsibilities
than others," Hyde says. True enough, but now we're talking
about priorities. What you choose to do with your twenty-four
hours per day is another matter altogether. And one of the things
you have chosen to do is acquire self-discipline.
Apart of you does not want self-discipline.
2. Poisons & Antidotes
Antidote to Delayism:
The point here is to recognize whether a given delay is
legitimate; that is to say whether the delay is working for you or
against you. This question must be constantly addressed if Hyde's
tactic of delayism is to be neutralized. Delayism, sometimes in
combination with the previously described tactics, will be used to
prevent you from doing the exercises suggested in this guidebook.
Remember: Tell yourself that the program can succeed
only if the exercises are actually completed, not just thought
about. Besides, once you begin using your new knowledge about
self-discipline, you'll actually enjoy doing things on time rather
than delaying. Believe it.
Self-Discipline in 10 days
Hyde's Five Favorite Poisons:
Now that you can recognize Hyde's five major methods of
sabotaging self-discipline, you can see also that each one is a
fraudulent, self-defeating form of self-talk.
Remember: Hyde constantly uses negative self-talk to
sabotage you.
In other words, you'll find yourself transmitting negative
messages to yourself when you most need to be self-supportive
of your efforts. If you succumb to the part of you that secretly
doesn't want this program to work, then Hyde will provide
hundreds of counter-productive reasons and actions. But if you
listen to the part of you that desires self-discipline, then you'll
soon discover the rewards, joys, and accomplishments that selfdiscipline
has in store for you.
2. Poisons & Antidotes
Important... Important... Important...
Do not think of Hyde as an enemy. Such thinking puts you
into a combative state of mind, into an inner conflict with yourself.
When you fight against yourself, you lose valuable energy
that could be used in the drive toward accomplishing your goals.
Think of Hyde as an unruly child living inside you. This little kid
has no self-discipline, no self-restraint, and no ability to delay
gratification. Like any little kid, Hyde will be manipulative to get
what Hyde wants. Don't try to crush this side of yourself, it
won't work. You'll simply end up being a walking mass of inner
conflicts. Moreover, the Hyde side of your personality is also the
source of your playfulness and creativity. So, think of Hyde as a
part of you that can be won over by cooperation and compromise,
not combat. You'll learn more about how to do that later.
But for now you will do well to recognize that positive, selfsupporting
self-talk is your most effective first step toward
counteracting Hyde's Frauds.
Remember: You can override Hyde's manipulative negative
messages by replacing them with positive messages.
So, when you find yourself being cynical, escapist, etc., call
yourself on it. Consciously talk to yourself about it. The more
you do it, the better you'll become at it. Any regularly practiced
thought, feeling, or behavior soon becomes habit. At this point
you might be saying, "Sure, I've heard of self-talk before, but
how exactly do I do it?" You are about to learn one of the most
powerful tools in your self-discipline system. You'll use it for
the rest of your life!
Self-Discipline in 10 days
Action-oriented Self-talk
Now that you have an understanding of how the Hyde side
of your psychological makeup works, you need to thoroughly
familiarize yourself with the powerful simplicity of actionoriented
Although just about everyone has heard of self-talk, few
people actually know how it works. When it comes to self-talk,
limited knowledge is almost as useless as no knowledge. Selftalk
is a powerful tool that can be used successfully to deal with
Hyde's tactics. To make self-talk work for you, you need to know
its three basic requirements. It must be Positive, Specific, and
Present Tense.
With that said, let's take a look at the overall self-talk process.
Self-talk always goes on, even when you don't consciously hear
it. That's right, you constantly receive messages from yourself,
they never stop. Every second of your day you make choices
based on these messages. Whether you are deciding what to eat,
what to wear, or what to do, a process of choice is taking place.
The choices that determine your actions are based on self-talk.
Self-talk is a conversation you have with yourself. Often, this
occurs subconsciously. This inner conversation is comparable
to the background music that plays while you shop in a supermarket.
The music plays but you don't really hear it unless you
consciously and purposely focus your attention on it. But even
though you aren't consciously aware of it, this background
music has an effect on your behavior. Why does your local
super-market play background music while the customers roam
the aisles? Research has shown time and time again that
background music influences our buying patterns. The stores
wouldn't do it if it didn't increase sales.
3. Action-oriented Self-talk
Did you hear about
the fellow who returned
a shirt to the clothing
store and told the
salesman, "After I got
home, I realized that I
don't like this shirt.
I just liked the song
that was playing in
the store when I
bought it.'>5
Self-Discipline in 10 days
Subconsciously, there are debates going on within us that we
seldom actually hear, but that severely influence our thoughts,
feelings, and behavior. Sometimes Hyde wins a subconscious
debate that we didn't even know was taking place. This is
precisely why you often find yourself doing things that you
don't really want to do, or conversely, not doing things that you
do want to do. Have you ever said to yourself, "I don't know
why I did that." Get the idea?
In other words, your behavior is constantly being influenced
without your being aware of it. When you find yourself having
difficulty with self-discipline, it's because Hyde is conducting
secret debates. Have you ever started to watch television rather
than work on an over-due task that you had been putting off?
This happens because the part of you that wants to get the task
done didn't get a chance to join in on the debate. Hyde, you see,
has played the game of backroom politics on you. That's how
Hyde works, subconsciously, in the backroom of your mind.
When you consciously say to yourself, "Heck, I've just got to
get that closet organized," the subconscious debate begins. Hyde,
the part of you that doesn't want self-discipline, goes into action
subconsciously. The votes are secretly cast, and two hours later
you find yourself sitting on the sofa watching the conclusion of a
bad television movie, and wondering why you didn't spend those
two hours putting the closet in order, or working on a report, or
putting together your diet plan.
3. Action-oriented Self-talk
The conscious part of you that wanted to be productive didn't
get an opportunity to influence your behavior.
Remember: Hyde works subconsciously.
So, how can you expect to win a debate when you don't hear
half of it? You can't! In order to counteract Hyde's influence,
you need to turn up the volume on your subconscious self-talk.
You can then begin to program your subconscious mind to support,
rather than inhibit, your efforts at accomplishing your goals.
That's the only way to diminish Hyde's control.
By replacing self-defeating subconscious messages with
positive, specific, present tense messages, you will find that your
powers of self-discipline are instantly improved. Believe me,
this simple concept will change your life. I've seen people
who tried this for a week surprise themselves with their
accomplishments. Later you'll learn about other self-discipline
tools to combine with action-oriented self-talk.
The main reason you're learning about self-talk first is because
you'll need to use it immediately in your dealings with Hyde
during the early stages of this self-discipline development
program. Self-talk will be even more powerful when you begin
to combine it with the other tools you'll learn about later. But for
now let's look at the specifics of how action-oriented self-talk
Self-Discipline in 10 days
What do you say and how do you say it?
Action-oriented self-talk overrules self-defeating self-talk by
being Positive, Specific, and Present Tense.
Why? Your subconscious mind believes whatever you tell it.
It looks to you for reality. If you tell it that, "I am now working
on my report," then your subconscious mind will turn all its
attention to your report, no matter what you actually are doing
when you say it.
The subconscious mind understands only the concept of
present tense. So whatever message it receives that is stated
in the present tense, it believes. Then it directs all your inner
resources toward carrying out that message.
If your conscious self-talk says, "I should work on my
report," or "I ought to work on my report," then the message
your subconscious hears is, "I am not currently working on my
report." So it doesn't move you toward working on your report.
Moreover, while you are saying to yourself, "I should work on
my report," Hyde is sending a present tense message that says,
"I am now watching television."
You need to know that your subconscious mind sends
messages to your motor functions, emotions, and other members
of your physical and psychological network.
If your subconscious mind believes that you are currently
working on a report, then that's what your feet, hands, and every
other part of your body want to be doing. Simultaneously, your
subconscious mind will focus on ways to put your report together.
3. Action-oriented Self-talk
Let's say that you are engaged in an activity you consider a
misuse of your time. Let's say, for instance, that you are reading
a magazine. Then you begin to think that writing a letter would
be a better use of your time. Hyde then says subconsciously, "I
am reading a magazine." Every time you consciously think of
writing the letter, Hyde subconsciously repeats, "I am reading a
Your subconscious mind believes what you tell it. So, if you
begin to repeat "I am writing a letter," then your subconscious
mind will focus your attention, physical and mental, on writing
the letter. As your hands hold the magazine, they will begin to
feel agitated. Your feet will want to move you toward whatever
supplies you need to write the letter. Your mind will begin
composing the letter. Your whole being will go into a state of
agitation and conflict, and won't settle down until you are
actually writing the letter. As long as you repeat your positive,
specific, present-tense self-talk message, you will feel compelled
to write the letter; no other activity can satisfy you.
But beware!
Hyde, realizing that the "I am reading a magazine," message
is not getting through, will begin to employ one or more of the
diversionary poisons (cynicism, negativism, etc.) that we
discussed earlier. Guess what? To be effective, Hyde's ploy
needs to implement self-talk. But because you now are aware of
what Hyde is saying, you can dispute that message and repeat
your message over and over, and overrule Hyde's message.
Your subconscious mind will respond to only one message at a
time. Try it. As you repeat your message over and over to your
subconscious, observe how your body and mind respond. You'll
be surprised.
Self-Discipline in 10 days
Repetition is the key to success. The more
you repeat your message, the harder your subconscious
mind will work toward your desires.
Hyde is good at self-talk. But with practice, you
soon will be even better.
Remember, in using the self-talk technique,
you need to state to your subconscious mind
exactly what you want to be doing, as if you are
actually already doing it. Your subconscious
mind works toward making outer reality match
inner reality. So, upon receiving your message,
your subconscious mind will direct all of your
resources toward making whatever you tell it
become a reality. You will be amazed at what
happens when you repeatedly, forcefully, and
positively state to your subconscious mind what
you want to do, be, or have as if it were already
a reality. This works with both short term and
long term goals. And remember, in order to be
effective, action-oriented self-talk must be
Positive, Specific, and Present Tense.
3. Action-oriented Self-
Hey! Watch your language!
The way you use words during self-talk has a
tremendous impact on whether your subconscious
mind works for you or against you. For instance when
you say, "I can't...," rather than, "I choose not to...,"
you convey to your subconscious mind that you have
no choice in the situation. This creates a helpless
attitude about your behavior and weakens your resolve.
"I choose..." implies that you have a choice in the
matter. Likewise, when you say "I must...," and "I have
to...." you are telling your subconscious mind that you
have no control over your behavior, that someone or
something outside yourself is in the driver's seat. This
does not enthusiastically work to move you toward
your goals. Therefore, always say "I choose to...,"
which, after all, usually is the truth of the matter.
Also, beware of using "I should..." It implies to
your subconscious mind that your choice of behavior
is being made from a position of guilt, which serves to
undermine your self-discipline power.
Remember: It's "I choose ..." When your
subconscious mind hears your priorities stated in a
forceful, positive manner, it feels your power. It then
uses that power to mobilize your inner resources
toward achieving your priorities. In other words,
words count.
Self-Discipline in 10 days
A final tip: If you state your self-talk messages aloud, then
they will be even stronger because your message will involve
two physical components, speech and hearing. Your messages
will have the power and support of not only your mental
network, but also your physical network. All the muscles and
motor functions that are involved in your speaking and hearing
will be activated and enlisted in the process of moving you
toward doing your desired activity. In other words, the more
parts of yourself you involve in your self-talk, the more powerful
the message will be to your subconscious mind. And, in turn,
your subconscious mind will have more strength to support the
actions you desire.
Self-Discipline in 10 days
What Is Self-Discipline?
I usually kick off my self-discipline seminars, workshops,
and classes by having participants explore their feelings and
ideas about self-discipline. Frequently, one's beliefs about
self-discipline will dictate one's behavior.
Do you think self-discipline difficulty is caused by:
lack of time management skills
lack of organizational skills
lack of ambition
lack of concrete goals
lack of motivation
tendency to procrastinate
All of these ideas surface when people are asked about selfdiscipline
problems. With which ones do you agree? No matter,
because they all represent symptoms of self-discipline difficulties
rather than causes. In this program you will deal with causes.
At this very moment, even as you read, you are getting at the
root of the problem, rather than pursuing changes that provide
only temporary relief from symptoms. The common surface
symptoms disappear automatically as you confront the deeper
causes of self-discipline difficulties.
Indeed, you are making changes that will last a lifetime. To
continue making those positive changes you'll need to understand
the true nature of self-discipline.
4. Understanding
Before you can develop self-discipline, you must
first understand what it is. Ironically, the first step toward
understanding what it is, lies in knowing what it isn't.
Self-discipline is not:
A personality trait
that either you have
or you don't have.
Forcing yourself
to overcome your
own resistance to
action by using
will power.
Self-discipline is:
A skill that can
be learned.
Becoming aware of
your subconscious
resistances to action,
then overcoming
those resistances.
The process of coordinating
your conscious and
subconscious psychological
Self-Discipline in 10 days
Your personality is a network of individual but connected
elements—desires, emotions, needs, fears, thoughts, intellect,
memories, imagination and others. In all human beings these
elements operate in various degrees of conflict. Sometimes our
emotions pull us in one direction while our intellect pulls us in
another. Sometimes our desires try to lead us down a certain path
but our fears won't allow us to follow.
Self-discipline, then, is the skill to direct and regulate all
the various parts of our personality so that rather than being
immobilized by inner conflict, all of our psychological
elements are pulling together in the same direction—toward
your consciously chosen goals.
Self-discipline is the process of psychological selfmanagement,
rather than a single personality trait. Think of
self-discipline as the director of a play who gives instructions
to individual actors. Think of self-discipline as the conductor
of a symphony who insures that the individual musicians all
are playing in harmony.
When you're experiencing difficulty with self-discipline, the
question to ask yourself isn't "How can I get myself to do what
I should do?" Instead, ask yourself "How can I get myself to do
what a part of me doesn't want to do?"
4. Understanding
The Key to Self-Discipline:
Regardless of whether you're trying to stay on a diet, clean
out the garage, or be more productive in your occupation, the
secret to success revolves around your ability to recognize and
deal with the part of you that offers resistance.
While you're growing up you're told what to do by parents,
teachers, and other authority figures. If you go on to college
you're governed by professors. When you get a job, you have a
boss. The discipline provided by these types of authority figures
does not depend on whether we are in total agreement with what
is asked of us. Usually, we are told what to do, how to do it, and
when to have it done.
Under these circumstances, we don't have to struggle with
any inner resistance. Therefore our self-discipline muscle doesn't
get exercised. Without exercise self-discipline becomes weak
and flabby. Then, in situations where we are called upon to be
our own boss, we seem powerless to overcome contrary inner
influences, both conscious and subconscious. Therefore, the part
of us that doesn't want to be disciplined takes control of our
In other words, you don't tell your boss at work, "No, I don't
think I'll do what you want me to do. I think I'll watch TV
instead." But if you're your own boss, you'll repeatedly come
up with such resistance to your own directives to yourself. You'll
let yourself off the hook and say, "I'll do it tomorrow."
Self-Discipline in 10 days
Because we've spent much of our lives being disciplined by
others, we seldom develop the necessary skills to discipline
ourselves. Again, self-discipline is like a muscle; it needs be
developed and exercised in order to be strong, to be available
when we need it. Unfortunately, as we age, certain psychological
roadblocks occur that inhibit the development of self-discipline.
You can't develop the psychological qualities required for
self-discipline until you've become aware of, and busted through
these mental blocks.
4. Understanding
Block Busting
Self-discipline requires facing certain realities about ourselves
that we'd just as soon ignore. For instance, you might be
surprised to learn that various types of fears are our greatest
roadblocks to self-discipline.
Fears create attitudes that produce such ailments as procrastination,
poor time management skills, and task avoidance.
There are, of course, all types of fears. And, yes, we all harbor
some personal fears that affect our behavior in varying ways
and degrees. But certain, specific, subconscious fears create
roadblocks between us and self-discipline. This is an unavoidable
reality that needs to be accepted by anyone trying to bust through
the roadblocks.
Subconscious fears are deep-rooted inner reservations that we
often hide from ourselves. They play a spoiler role in all areas
our lives. Moreover, in order to root out these buried fears, we
must dig like hyperactive gophers. Why? Because:
Facing our fears, either conscious or subconscious fears,
creates anxiety. Anxiety is a powerful, uneasy feeling that we
all try to avoid at any cost, including self-deception.
We've been conditioned to view fear as a form of weakness
or inadequacy. We'd rather rationalize than say "I'm afraid."
We associate fear with childishness. "Don't be afraid, be a
big boy." "Chicken?" "I dare ya." "Whatsa matter,
Scaredicat, afraid?"
Most of us believe in our heart of hearts that if we avoid an
unpleasant or difficult situation long enough it eventually
will go away.
Self-Discipline in 10 days
Until you become aware of certain subconscious fears, and
accept them as a part of being human, you'll never be able to
establish consistent self-discipline. Subconscious fears will
prevent you from transforming your ideas into actions. You can't
possibly do anything to relieve yourself of these fears if you
don't bring them into the light.
So, let's forge ahead, learn the various faces of these pesky
fears, and reduce their influences on our behavior. Notice that
I didn't say "rid ourselves of them." I said, "reduce their influences
on our behavior." Again, fears are a part of being human. So, we
need to accept them as a part of life. Only by recognizing and
accepting them can we begin to minimize their immobilizing
influence. While we won't ever be completely free of all fears,
we don't have to be controlled by them. To paraphrase a famous
quote: The worst thing we have to fear is fear itself.
4. Understanding
Following are the most troublesome and common fears
that block us from self-discipline. We all suffer them in various
degrees. Get to know how each one operates. The more you
know about them the better your chances are of minimizing
their influence.
Fear of Failure
Fear of Success
Fear of Rejection
Fear of Mediocrity
Fear of Risks
In the next part of this book, you will begin your ten day
program. You will spend a few minutes a day learning to
understand these critical roadblocks to self-discipline.
Over the next five days, you will learn about specific subconscious
fears and about how each one acts to block self-discipline.
Then you will do an exercise designed to give you a personal
insight into how these blocks affect you.
Part Two
The Ten Day
Development System
Before You Begin!
The information in this section is accompanied by exercises
that involve writing. Although each exercise is different, some
general instructions apply to all of them:
Be brief, no more than 15 minutes per exercise.
Be specific, name names.
Be honest, only you will see your responses. After
completing each exercise, read over your responses
and ask yourself how you feel as you read them. Then,
if you are even remotely concerned about privacy,
immediately destroy what you wrote.
Important: Don't just think about the exercises; actually
write your responses. Don't let Hyde talk you out of doing the
exercises. It is enormously important that in addition to your
intellect, you involve your physical motor system in this part of
your self-discipline program. The physical act of writing
activates and involves your physical motor system, thus incorporating
more of your whole self into the self-discipline process.
Moreover, the point of the exercises is to get you to explore
your feelings about certain attitudes that commonly subvert
self-discipline. Your doing the exercises will provide you with
invaluable insights about when, where, and from whom you
might have picked up these feelings and attitudes.
Knowing the past sources of your current thoughts and
feelings is important because thoughts and feelings lead to
behavior, and behavior, in turn, leads to thoughts and feelings.
All aspects of your self are connected. These exercises were
designed to simultaneously incorporate your feelings, thoughts,
and behavior into your self-discipline development program.
The more parts of yourself you involve, the more committed
you'll be.
Let's get going!
Day One
Fear of Failure
Self-Discipline in 10 days
Fear of Failure
Most of us have experienced fear of failure. It's a common
psychological phenomenon. In fact, study after study has shown
that the greatest obstacle to personal success is fear of failure. Do
you find it surprising that even though we all want success, our
first concern is not to fail? Indeed, we all harbor fears regarding
failure. What most of us don't realize, however, is that these fears
are based on a self-defeating misconception.
Most people erroneously regard any failure as an accurate
evaluation of their worth. That's why many of us don't pursue
certain desires. The pain of past failures linger in the dark
corners of our subconscious, never far away; always lurking,
ready to remind us of the emotional pain and the worthless
feelings that resulted from a perceived past failure.
Why do we view failure as terrible? We do so because
psychologically we tend to connect the failed endeavor to our
self-esteem. We don't separate the task from ourselves. "The
task failed, so I'm a failure," we subconsciously tell ourselves.
We forget to tell ourselves that there's no such animal as a
failure; no zoo in the world has a caged specimen. Sure, a person
can fail at a particular task or project. But a person cannot be a
failure. Moreover, a person can fail at the same task numerous
times yet not be a failure as a person.
The fictitious horrors of failure that are etched into our
brains subvert our ability to exercise self-discipline in many of
life's arenas. And therein lies what we really fear about failure:
5. Fear of Failure
Consider: Writer Lillian Hellman, after
having written a successful play, The
Children's Hour, then wrote another play,
Days to Come, that was severely rejected by
audiences and critics. The play was immediately mothballed.
Taking the play's failure personally, Hellman was so
emotionally devastated that she couldn't write another play
for two years. Even after she eventually wrote one, she
rewrote it nine times. Moreover, throughout a long and
brilliant career, Hellman never got over the pain of that
failed play. Many years later she wrote of the humiliation
she felt as audience members walked out of the theater
during the doomed play's opening night performance. In
varying degrees, we all react to our failures as did Lillian
Hellman. Rather than view them as evidence of experimentation
and growth, we humans tend to experience failures as
blows to our self-esteem.
Now consider: During its experimental
phase, Edison's lightbulb flopped hundreds
of times. Did this make Edison a failure? Of
course not. Edison saw each failure as taking
him one step closer to success. Indeed, because of his
attitude regarding failure, he was able to draw on the
power of self-discipline in order to persevere. Edison's
experience with the lightbulb graphically demonstrates
the absurdity of linking failure to self-esteem. I suppose
we could say that Edison saw the light.
Self-Discipline in 10 days
Our egos have been trained by society, schools, and parents
that to fail is something about which we should be ashamed.
Consequently, in growing up we grew more reluctant to attempt
anything at which we were unsure of succeeding; our subconscious
thought became "If I fail, I'll look like a fool."
Because this thought process goes on subconsciously, we are
not aware of its powerful influence on our behavior. But regardless
of any task we attempt, when this belief is in operation our
power of self-discipline lacks the full force and support of our
entire personality. We're like a six cylinder engine operating on
just four cylinders.
What are the personal results of such a scenario? Because of
this type of thinking, it is easier for many persons to continue
compulsive eating, drinking, or smoking rather than risk the selfimposed
humiliation that accompanies an unsuccessful attempt
to change.
Or consider the procrastinating businessman who can't get
himself to promptly perform the tasks required in his work. In
many such cases, fear of failure is operating. He fears losing face
more than losing money; so he subconsciously tells himself that
if he fails, it won't be quite so humiliating if he hasn't fully
devoted himself. "After all," he subconsciously tells himself, "I
wasn't really trying."
This same twisted, subconscious logic operates within students
who can't get themselves to study or complete assignments on
time. Ironically, while this attitude provides a pseudo-shield from
the self-imposed humiliation involved in failure, it also plays a
significant role in most failed enterprises. For unless one fully
invests oneself, one's chosen task suffers.
Before self-discipline can be employed, fear of failure must
first be accepted, then shown up for the subconscious saboteur
that it is. When we drag fear of failure out into the light, we'll
find that humiliation is at its foundation. We, therefore, must
continually remind ourselves that failure is not humiliation unless
we make it so in our own minds. Failure can be viewed as a
stepping stone rather than a tombstone. Once this reality is fully
accepted, fear of failure loses its power to sabotage our selfdiscipline.
The point: Subconsciously, we all link failure to
humiliation. Fear of humiliation hampers our ability to
make a strong commitment to our chosen endeavors,
the big stuff and the little stuff. Commitment is a
necessary ingredient of self-discipline.
The following exercise will bring you into contact with your
own subconscious feelings about failure and humiliation. These
feelings affect you emotionally, intellectually, and even physically
more than you probably are aware.
Now that you know the inhibiting power of fear of failure, you
can see the necessity of minimizing that power. The formula for
reducing fear of failure lies in your refusing to link failure to selfesteem.
For when you perceive failure not as a tombstone, but as
a stepping stone to success, you immediately multiply your
power of commitment; this automatically strengthens your power
of self-discipline.
Remember: Failure is a stepping stone, not a tombstone.
Self-Discipline in 10 days
Exercise #1 - Exploring Fear of Failure
The following exercise is designed to help you discover your
hidden concerns and emotions regarding fear of failure.
You will explore three past experiences that you perceived as
failures, mistakes, or just dumb behavior. Recall these three
experiences from any area of your life: work, love, leisure, etc.
The only rule here requires that these situations or events must
be the most embarrassing and most humiliating experiences that
you can recall.
You will be tempted to take all of these three experiences
from a recent time in your life because you still consciously feel
their sting. But, do not. Instead, take two of them from your
earliest memories. Explore your childhood. This will give you an
awareness about how, when, and where your attitudes and beliefs
about failure originated.
Like ghosts, past failures haunt us. Indeed, past experiences
do affect our present behavior. By writing down your worst
experiences, you'll be giving these ghosts concrete form. Then
you can confront them squarely. This will be your first step
toward freeing yourself from their influences.
Note: Be honest. Spend no more than fifteen minutes on
this exercise. And, yes, it will be difficult to write down these
experiences. Hyde will be peering over your shoulder and giving
you a load of reasons to simply think about it rather than write
it. So for you to feel hesitant and uncomfortable represents a
common reaction. If, however, you forge ahead you'll be
astounded by the results.
5. Fear of Failure
As you write take notice of yourself both physically and
emotionally. Physically: Do you clench your teeth? Do any of
your muscles tighten? Your stomach muscles? Neck muscles?
Do you notice any changes in your breathing rhythm? Faster?
Shallower? Emotionally: Do you re-experience the hurt? Do you
feel frightened? Angry? Hostile? Embarrassed?
Again, it is important that you take note of your reactions as
you complete each of the exercises throughout this self-discipline
program. Your reactions will give you valuable insight into how
much your current behavior is subconsciously affected by the
past experiences you recalled.
Start writing NOW
Before you continue:
Did you actually write the exercise? If your answer to this is
"NO," then you just had an encounter with Hyde and you were
manipulated. Please don't continue until you have taken the few
minutes necessary to complete the preceding exercise.
Day Two
Fear of Success
Self-Discipline in 10 days
Fear of Success
Webster's New World Dictionary defines success as "a
favorable result." Nothing frightening about that, right? So
what's to fear about success? Doesn't everyone want "a favorable
result"? Oh, if life were so simple. Unfortunately, however,
it isn't.
Like a double-edged sword, success cuts two ways. We're
all so enthralled with its good side that we tend to overlook its
bad side. Subconsciously, though, our feelings regarding the
negative side of success are very much alive. A subconscious
negative perception about success can overpower our conscious
desire to attain it. Naturally, when this happens, our powers of
self-discipline operate at half strength; after all, a subconscious
part of us does not really want success because of all the
responsibilities and complications that go along with it.
With fear of success, as with all subconscious forces, we're
powerless to fight it as long as we are not fully aware of its
existence. We all know of at least one person who is his own
worst enemy; who seems to do everything imaginable to keep
himself at a safe distance from success.
Like him, we all to some extent wish to spare ourselves from
the negative consequences of success. But, these negative factors
from which we wish to spare ourselves are nothing more than
shadows; when exposed to light they disappear.
Let's put a spotlight on a few anti-self-discipline shadows,
the things we subconsciously tell ourselves that keep us from
exercising the necessary self-discipline to achieve success.
6. Fear of Success
Following are examples of negative self-talk that make it
difficult to throw our full forces behind our pursuits.
"Maybe I don't really deserve success."
This type of attitude stems from feelings of low self-esteem,
and is frequently related to feelings of guilt. We tell ourselves
that we are not worthy of the happiness and satisfaction that
come from personal accomplishments. We feel unworthy because
of past or current behaviors, thoughts, or actions. This unworthy
feeling usually is related to the unfulfilled expectations of others
(family, friends, lover, etc.). Our transgressions can be either real
or imagined.
Frequently such feelings grew from occurrences that we
couldn't possibly have controlled. Then again, sometimes we
feel guilty because we are guilty. But regardless of why a person
feels guilty and unworthy, such feelings are responsible for much
self-defeating behavior, subtle but effective self-sabotage.
"If I'm successful, people will judge me with
a more critical eye."
Many people fear success because of the attention, both positive
and negative, that would go along with it. They fear that they
would feel a tremendous pressure to live up to their success.
Many artists frequently go into panic immediately following a
well-received novel, song, dance, or play. They say to themselves,
"How can I possibly live up to it. Now, everyone is
going to expect my next work to be just as great, even better."
This feeling has thrown many artists into such a panic that they
experience a creativity or productivity block, unable to work
because of the success of their latest effort.
Self-Discipline in 10 days
Anxiety about success affects everyone. We subconsciously
tell ourselves that if we ever hit a homer we will always be expected
to hit a homer. Then we tell ourselves that if we strike out
after hitting a homer the boos will be louder, the disappointments
greater, the humiliation deeper. So, rather than risk the strikeout,
many of us find reasons (justifications, rationalizations, excuses)
for not going to bat. Or if we go to bat, subconsciously we don't
put everything into the swing for fear of hitting a homer and
having to experience all the attention, pressure, and responsibilities
that go along with being successful.
"It's lonely at the top."
How will others react to my accomplishments? " Will they
be jealous or resentful?" We frighten ourselves into inaction by
convincing ourselves that there are people who will react
negatively to our achievements.
Most of us know that Babe
Ruth held the home run record
seemingly forever, but few of
us know that he also held the
strikeout record. And it is true
that because of his success,
people watched closer than usual
when he went up to bat. But he
knew that home runs could not
be accomplished without risking
strikeouts. Fear of critics didn 't
hinder his swing.
6. Fear of Success
"If I am successful someone close to me will suffer."
A wife whose husband completed only high school doesn't
follow through on her college degree program. A husband whose
wife is noticeably overweight doesn't complete his diet plan. A
man feels uncomfortable about a promotion over his fellow
workers. A woman worries that having her own successful
business will cause her friends to act differently toward her. A
son experiences anxiety about out-earning his father. Each of
these persons fear that their success will somehow hurt someone.
This aspect of fear of success is particularly difficult because it is
based on compassion for someone else, a trait that most us think
of as positive.
"I'll be overcome by responsibility and pressure."
Subconsciously we tell ourselves that when the success starts,
the fun stops. We tell ourselves that life will lose its joy if we
began a daily exercise program, a diet, or any other organized
routine. We tell ourselves that we will lose our spontaneity, that
we will become boring and drab.
Get the idea? Each of the foregoing thoughts, actually
self-talk statements, are based on imaginary catastrophes. They
hardly represent the whole truth. Even so, they take a heavy toll.
We all harbor secret, subconscious fears about the dark side of
We imagine untold pressures, overwhelming responsibilities,
and many other frightening by-products of success. And so it
follows: Subconsciously, we know that self-discipline leads to
success. Therefore, we subconsciously fight against self-discipline
so we won't have to face the hobgoblins to which success might
deliver us.
Self-Discipline in 10 days
Exercise #2 - Exploring Fear of Success
The following exercise is designed to help you discover your
hidden concerns and emotions regarding fear of success. It will
give you some insight about your personal feelings.
On a sheet of paper you are going to explore three past
successful experiences that also created a problem for you. The
only rule here requires that these situations or events must be
what you considered successes at the time they occurred.
As you write about your three experiences, emphasize the
problems that came with the successes. Take them from your
earliest memories. Explore your childhood. Be specific. Name
names. This will give you an awareness about how, when, and
where your attitudes and beliefs about the negative side of
success originated.
Note: Spend no more than fifteen minutes on this exercise.
Hyde will be peering over your shoulder and giving you a load
of reasons to simply think about it rather than write it. Don't
listen to Hyde!
As you write take notice of yourself both physically and
emotionally. Physically: Do you clench your teeth? Do any of
your muscles tighten? Your stomach muscles? Neck muscles?
Do you notice any changes in your breathing rhythm? Faster?
Shallower? Emotionally: Do you re-experience the hurt? Do you
feel frightened? Angry? Hostile? Embarrassed?
Again, it is important that you take note of your reactions as
you complete each of the exercises throughout this self-discipline
program. Your reactions will give you valuable insight into how
much your current behavior is affected by the past experiences
you recall.
Start writing NOW
Day Three
Fear of Rejection
Self-Discipline in 10 days
Fear of Rejection
A Story
Once upon a bright, sunny morning a
man and his young son left their farm to
make a trip into town. The boy rode atop their
donkey as the father walked alongside. Along the
road they encountered a fellow from the nearby
village. "You should be ashamed of yourself!" the
fellow said, admonishing the boy. "You ride comfortably
while your poor, old father has to walk. You have no
respect!" The boy and his father first sheepishly exchanged
glances, then exchanged places.
As the two continued their journey, they chanced upon another
fellow. "You selfish old man!" he said. "You take the easy ride
while your poor son wears himself out trying to keep up. You
should at least let the boy ride also." Not wishing to offend, the
old man helped his son climb aboard. The pair then continued
their journey.
Before long, they came upon a woman coming from the
opposite direction. She, too, found fault with their arrangement.
"I've never seen such cruelty! You two lazy louts
are too heavy for that poor donkey. It would be more
fitting for the two of you to be carrying the animal."
Not wishing to fall from favor with the woman,
the man directed his son to bind the donkey's
front hooves together, then back
hooves together. Meanwhile,
7. Fear of Rejection
the man himself cut a long, sturdy
pole from a nearby tree. The pair laid the
animal down, slid the pole through his bound
hooves, then lifted the pole to their shoulders-the
father on one end, the boy on the other, the donkey
hanging upside- down on the pole between them.
Carrying the donkey, the pair trudged along. As they
crossed the bridge that lead into town, the upside-down
donkey saw his reflection in the water below from an angle
that he had never before seen. The animal became frightened
and suddenly thrashed about violently, causing the pair to lose
their grips on the pole. Before they could grab him, the donkey
fell off the narrow bridge into the water below. Still bound, the
donkey was unable to swim. From the bridge, the father and son
helplessly watched as their donkey sank out of sight, into the
deep water below.
Moral: After a moment of silent reflection,
the father turned to the boy and spoke:
"Son, we learned a valuable lesson today.
We learned that when you try to satisfy
everyone you end up losing your ass."
Self-Discipline in 10 days
Because we all like to be liked, fear of rejection often becomes
a dominant force in many of our lives. Unless monitored, our
need for approval can put us on a long and endless fool's mission.
Fear of losing favor with family, friends, employers, coworkers,
or society is one of the most common blocks to establishing and
pursuing personal goals.
Let's explore some of the ways this subconscious fear affects
self-discipline. A couple of real-life examples will shed light on
how fear of rejection works.
David, during childhood and adolescence, could seldom if
ever please his father. As an adult, one of David's most vivid
memories from his youth is one in which he was being chastised
by his father for muffing an "easy play" during a Little League
baseball game. David's little teammates witnessed the incident.
He recalls the traumatic feelings of inadequacy, humiliation, and
loneliness that haunted him for weeks after the incident.
Although less vivid and less intense, similar recollections of
rejection color David's memories of childhood and adolescence.
Consequently, as he grew into an adult his fears of displeasing
his father grew into a general fear of displeasing anyone with
whom he associated, especially authority figures, but often even
strangers such as clerks, waiters, etc. Whenever he thought of
putting his own desires first, before the desire's of others, a wave
of anxiety washed over him.
Prolonged anxiety always generates feelings of inadequacy
and inferiority, which in turn create a defeatist attitude. Such an
attitude precludes the possibility of self-discipline. So whether
David's chosen task was a diet or enhanced productivity at work,
subconsciously the chosen task wasn't viewed as worthy because
David didn't view himself as worthy.
7. Fear of Rejection
Another example: Ann, as an adolescent, grew up in a
tough neighborhood. She survived by being everybody's friend.
Non-assertiveness, coupled with an extreme willingness to help
anyone, anywhere, anytime earned her a feeling of security. "If
they like me, they won't hurt me," was the message she sent to
herself. Consequently, neither her time nor her desires were ever
her own.
As an adult, whenever she attempted to follow through on
desires that originated from within herself, inevitably she
discovered that someone—friend, family, co-worker— usually
caused her to abandon her plans in favor of something they felt
was more important or appropriate. Because of her background,
she had developed a reputation as someone who never says"No."
Whenever she felt the urge to say "No" those old feelings of
anxiety and fear surfaced, as if she were still the endangered
school girl who had to please everyone to feel safe. Never saying
"No" to others meant constantly saying "No" to herself. Selfdiscipline
cannot grow in such soil.
Frequently, a person who subconsciously fears rejection
doesn't consciously perceive it as a fear. Rather, this type of fear
is perceived as a desire to be a "nice person." Persons in this
position unwittingly spend an enormous amount of time and
energy satisfying others and neglecting their own desires. They
then become haunted by thoughts of "I never seem to accomplish
what I want to," and experience feelings of unfulfillment.
Unfortunately, this "nice person" seldom knows why she never
seems to accomplish the things that she really wants to accomplish.
To develop self-discipline you'll need to overcome feelings of
guilt, anxiety, and insecurity for saying "No" to others and "Yes"
to yourself. You'll then find that your desires take on a greater
importance, which in turn means that your inner resources will
rally around your efforts at turning those desires into reality.
Self-Discipline in 10 days
As you can see, one's inability to say "No" can have dire
consequences. You will do well to know also that fear of rejection
has a second face that reflects our subconscious terror of being
told "No." Whether we risk hearing "No" to a job application,
a marriage proposal, or a pay raise, fear of rejection rears its
ugly head.
One of the chief reasons for a high frequency of drug abuse,
emotional breakdowns, and alcohol dependency among artists,
writers, and performers is that they constantly live with the fear
of rejection. Indeed, to publicly perform or show one's art work
is to risk having it rejected, maybe even ridiculed. Many artists
feel, however erroneous, that a rejection of their work is a rejection
of themselves. Because members of the Hollywood arts community
have finally come to recognize the emotional toll of rejection,
workshops and seminars that teach artists how to deal with it
have begun to spring up all over Tinsel Town.
Perhaps because of their emotionally sensitive natures, artists
are more susceptible to the emotional pain that occurs as a result
of rejection. But, like artists, we all quake in the face of rejection,
regardless of its form. No one is exempt. We all do our best to
avoid rejection, even if it sometimes means engaging in selfdefeating
behaviors. Simply stated, being told " No" hurts. And
because we are human beings, we don't like to risk being hurt.
For some of us the prospect is terrifying.
7. Fear of Rejection
We learn about the pain of rejection in childhood and
adolescence; and it follows us throughout our adult lives.
Fear of rejection subverts our ability to employ self-discipline
because we feel as if someone is constantly looking over our
shoulder, judging and evaluating us. Thus we find ourselves
constantly second-guessing ourselves, our choices, and our
methods. We then hesitate to throw the total weight of our inner
resources behind our endeavors. This approach results in false
starts and half-hearted efforts.
As a learned philosopher with whom you're acquainted said
to his son as they watched their donkey drown: "When you try
to satisfy everyone, you end up losing . . ."
Self-Discipline in 10 days
Exercise #3 - Exploring Fear of Rejection
The following exercise is designed to help you discover your
hidden concerns and emotions regarding fear of rejection.
On a sheet of paper you are going to explore three past
experiences in which you did something you didn't really want
to do, or you didn't do something that you really wanted to do.
The only rule here requires that in these past situations or events,
your behavior was based on a fear of being rejected by friend(s),
family, coworker, or society.
Take your three experiences from your earliest memories.
Explore your childhood. Be specific. Name names. This will give
you an awareness about how, when, and where your attitudes and
beliefs about rejection originated.
Note: Spend no more than fifteen minutes on this exercise.
Hyde will be peering over your shoulder and giving you a load
of reasons to simply think about it rather than write it. Don't
listen to Hyde!
As you write take notice of yourself both physically and
emotionally. Physically: Do you clench your teeth? Do any of
your muscles tighten? Your stomach muscles? Neck muscles?
Do you notice any changes in your breathing rhythm? Faster?
Shallower? Emotionally: Do you re-experience the hurt? Do you
feel frightened? Angry? Hostile? Embarrassed?
Again, it is important that you take note of your reactions as
you complete each of the exercises throughout this self-discipline
program. Your reactions will give you valuable insight into how
much your current behavior is affected by the past experiences
you are asked to recall.
Start writing NOW
Day Four
Fear of Mediocrity
Self-Discipline in 10 days
Fear of Mediocrity
How often have you considered yourself a perfectionist?
Probably quite often. But how often have you looked beyond
your perfectionism to try to get a glimpse of what is behind it?
If you are like most people, probably never.
But if you took a long look at perfectionism do you know
what you would find? You'd discover that perfectionism is the
socially acceptable Siamese twin of a subconscious feeling called
fear of mediocrity. Because perfectionism is socially touted as a
positive personality trait, we consciously accept its existence
within us as desirable. But within the hard-core perfectionist,
fear of mediocrity stands unseen off stage and pulls the strings.
So, even though perfectionism enjoys acceptance, it creates a
pattern of self-imposed pressure that we tend to avoid. This
avoidance, in turn, leads to procrastination and self-defeat.
An ice skater who once competed in a
Winter Olympics spoke about the early
days of her figure skating career. She
lamented about having been so overwhelmed
by the pressure of perfectionism that she
had a nervous breakdown and lost most of her hair.
In another case, the pressures of perfectionism
prompted writer Dorothy Parker to explain her
inability to meet deadlines by saying that for
every five words she wrote, she erased seven.
Moreover, Parker's ongoing difficulties with
alcohol were probably related to her intense
perfectionism. These reactions to perfectionism are
not at all uncommon.
8. Fear of Mediocrity
Remember: Perfectionism is really a subconscious fear of
appearing mediocre either to ourselves or to others. Attempts to
escape our fears often lead us down self-destructive and selfdefeating
Fear produces anxiety, and anxiety produces a host of other
undesirable physical and psychological conditions, including
such reactions as alcoholism, drug abuse, and depression.
When we fear falling short of perfection, our self-discipline
power suffers because we subconsciously send ourselves a
message that says: "My efforts might turn out to be less than
perfect, maybe even mediocre. Better not to even try than to
risk that devastating possibility." In the meantime, while we
subconsciously send ourselves that negative message, we're
faced with the reality that perfection is impossible. Our selfdiscipline,
then, suffers a defeat before we even begin our task.
Consequently, regardless of our chosen task, we fight ourselves
every step of the way: "If I can't do it perfectly, then I really
don't want to do it at all." This inner tug-of-war will shadow our
every attempt to exercise self-discipline until we replace our
subconscious fear of mediocrity with a realistic, rational point of
view: Chasing perfection is like chasing the fountain of youth—
it's a fool's mission. Immediately divorce your self-esteem from
Remember: None of us is perfect; nothing we do is perfect.
We're all human; perfection is the domain of the Gods.
Self-Discipline in 10 days
Exercise #4 - Exploring Fear of Mediocrity
The following exercise is designed to help you discover your
hidden concerns and emotions regarding fear of mediocrity.
On a sheet of paper you are going to explore three past
experiences in which you were held back by a fear of mediocrity.
The only rule here requires that in these situations or events, your
course of action was based on a fear of not doing something well
Take your three experiences from your earliest memories.
Explore your childhood, but you need to know that this particular
fear grows stronger with age. So you might want also to explore
your teen years. Be specific. Name names. This will give you an
awareness about how, when, and where your attitudes and beliefs
about being mediocre originated.
Note: Spend no more than fifteen minutes on this exercise.
Hyde will be peering over your shoulder and giving you a load
of reasons to simply think about it rather than write it. Don't
listen to Hyde!
As you write take notice of yourself both physically and
emotionally. Physically: Do you clench your teeth? Do any of
your muscles tighten? Your stomach muscles? Neck muscles?
Do you notice any changes in your breathing rhythm? Faster?
Shallower? Emotionally: Do you re-experience the hurt? Do you
feel frightened? Angry? Hostile? Embarrassed?
Again, it is important that you take note of your reactions as
you complete each of the exercises throughout this self-discipline
program. Your reactions will give you valuable insight into how
much your current behavior is affected by the past experiences.
Start writing NOW
Day Five
Fear of Risks
Self-Discipline in 10 days
Fear of Risks
"Better to be safe than sorry," says a proverb that dug its way
deep into our inner-most being during childhood. For many of us
security and safety have become all. In areas where we have selfdiscipline
difficulties, we've gone beyond simply following the
old saying that advises us to "Look before you leap." In certain
areas of endeavor, many of us unfortunately shy away from
either looking or leaping. The unknown has come to be something
we equate with danger. Like all the rest of our fears,
fear of risks operates undercover. Our only clue to its subtle
manipulation lies in its result on our lives: repetition that leads
to stagnation.
Many of us feel comfortable only in the presence of sameness,
things to which we've grown accustomed: same foods, same style
clothes, same friends, same recreation, same, same, same. Life
becomes a rut when we subconsciously come to view risks as
dangerous threats to our security rather than as opportunities for
growth. The only difference between a rut and a grave are the
dimensions. But how, you might ask, does fear of risks interfere
with the development of self-discipline?
I've found that persons who fear risks are persons who doubt
their ability to function successfully in unfamiliar situations. The
concept to focus on here is self-doubt. When self-doubt intrudes,
your self-discipline effort never receives the very important "I
can do it" message that supports its growth.
So while at first glance the connection between self-confidence
and self-discipline might appear to be a loose one, it actually is a
most important one. For as we learned previously, self-discipline
isn't an entity unto itself; it is a collective composed of many
diverse psychological forces which add up to a larger force, much
the way that a tornado is a collective of little breezes that create
an irrepressible wind by working together.
9. Fear of Risks
Moreover, our self-discipline muscle gains strength only
through frequent exercise, exercise that leans heavily on
self-confidence. So, if we live our lives in a rut, our sense of selfconfidence
falls into a state of atrophy, wasting away because
of insufficient use. We seldom become aware of its loss until a
situation arises in which we need it. We then discover that our
self-confidence is useless to serve us. Think of self-confidence as
you would a suit of clothes that you stored away years ago: You
haul it out expecting to slip into it and cut the same dashing
figure you did in bygone years, but you find that what hangs on
the coat hanger is a moth-eaten, shapeless ghost of its former self.
Likewise, when you stop taking risks your self-confidence
muscle won't be usable when you reach for it. Therefore you
don't have the use of one of the most important elements of selfdiscipline:
self-confidence. Furthermore, if a person continually
refrains from taking risks, for even a short period of time, a
subconscious fear of taking risks sets in. To address this fear is
to awaken your sense of self-confidence, which in turn will give
your self-discipline a psychological boost.
Remember: Self-confidence supports self-discipline.
Self-Discipline in 10 days
Nothing ventured nothing gained. That's the ticket. Begin to
think of risks as opportunities, not dangers. When you are faced
with a risk that you wish to take, but feel immobilized by fear
and anxiety, practice self-talk. Ask yourself "What is the worst
thing that can happen?" Chances are, if you pursue this question,
you'll find that your catastrophic expectations are probably
exaggerated. Of course, this isn't an invitation to transform yourself
into a foolhardy daredevil, but simply a method to get your
self-confidence muscle into shape.
It needs repeating: Self-confidence and self-discipline feed
off each other. No self-confidence, no self-discipline. You won't
start that diet because you don't think you'll stick to it. You
won't start that business because you don't think you can make a
go of it. Indeed, a large part of self-discipline requires that you
genuinely believe in yourself.
Remember: Self-discipline can be hindered by fear of risks,
but this fear can be overcome by a change of attitude, which is
entirely under your control.
9. Fear of Risks
Exercise #5 - Exploring Fear of Risks
The following exercise is designed to help you discover your
hidden concerns and emotions regarding fear of risks.
On a sheet of paper we are going to explore three past
experiences in which you took a risk and ended up sorry. The
only rule here requires that in these situations or events you
ended up saying, "I wish I hadn't done that."
Take your three experiences from your earliest memories.
Explore your childhood. Be specific. Name names. This will give
you an awareness about how, when, and where your attitudes and
beliefs about taking risks originated.
Note: Spend no more than fifteen minutes on this exercise.
Hyde will be peering over your shoulder and giving you a load
of reasons to simply think about it rather than write it. Don't
listen to Hyde!
As you write take notice of yourself both physically and
emotionally. Physically: Do you clench your teeth? Do any of
your muscles tighten? Your stomach muscles? Neck muscles?
Do you notice any changes in your breathing rhythm? Faster?
Shallower? Emotionally: Do you re-experience the hurt? Do you
feel frightened? Angry? Hostile? Embarrassed?
Again, it is important that you take note of your reactions as
you complete each of the exercises throughout this self-discipline
program. Your reactions will give you valuable insight into how
much your current behavior is affected by the past experiences.
Start writing NOW
Self-Discipline in 10 days
Don't underestimate the value of the preceding information
and exercises. Whether or not you're aware of it, positive
psychological changes are already taking place within you. In
the dark subconscious corners of your mind, you have thrown
a searchlight on negative forces that have operated under the
cover of darkness for years. Simply by becoming aware of these
goblins, you have defused much of their power. In terms of your
overall personality, when negative forces are weakened, positive
forces are automatically strengthened.
Before moving on, make sure you're thoroughly familiar with
all the subconscious fears we have explored. Don't forget that
within all human beings these fears are present in varying degrees,
and often operate simultaneously (yes, you can have a fear of
failure and a fear of success). But even though you won't ever
completely eliminate these fears, you certainly can minimize
their influence. In other words, you can feel:
...but forge ahead!
Tip: Write the above fears down on the left side of sheet of
paper. Then write a number from 1 to 5 at the right of each fear.
Number 1 goes next to the fear that you think you are most
influenced by, and so on down the line. This is a simple way of
imprinting your most influential fears solidly in your mind so
that you can easily recognize them when they are affecting your
behavior, thoughts, or decisions.
Fear of Failure
Fear of Success
Fear of Rejection
Fear of Mediocrity
Fear of Risks
9. Fear of Risks
You have been exploring the subconscious fears that put an
unseen wall between you and self-discipline. You have recalled
past experiences that play a key role in your present behavior.
You now are in a better position to recognize these psychological
saboteurs, and minimize the self-defeating influences of the past.
Now that you are building self-discipline, Hyde is about to
pounce upon your progress with renewed determination.
A part of you does not want self-discipline.
To repeat: We all have a Hyde inside us. So, accept that in
matters of self-discipline, we are our own most difficult problem.
Whenever you feel that Hyde's negative self-talk is slowing
your progress toward improved self-discipline, go back and skim
the section called "Meet Hyde." In fact, you might find it a good
idea to do that periodically as a precautionary measure. It'll keep
you on track.
Part Three
Subconscious Belief Systems
Five Power Tools
Subconscious Belief Systems
To further strengthen your positive psychological forces,
and weaken your negative ones, you will now begin to
develop an awareness of the underlying attitudes and beliefs
that created the subconscious fears about which you have
been learning. For behind each of these fears lies an irrational,
self-defeating belief. Upon these beliefs, attitudes are
formed. These attitudes, some of which we all subscribe
to, determine our daily actions and inactions.
The following section of this self-discipline program
provides you with information designed to make you aware
of self-defeating beliefs and how they operate.
Important: You need to know that most
elements in the self-defeating belief system
operate subconsciously. So before you can
neutralize their influences on your behavior,
you must first become aware of their existence,
then recognize when they are at work, then you
can minimize their influence. In other words,
to improve your self-discipline you need to
shift your self-defeating beliefs from your
subconscious into your conscious. Then and
only then can you effectively deal with them.
So, until you deal with your self-defeating
beliefs, you will be plagued by never-started
projects and half-finished projects; and you
won't know why.
. . . plus five Self-discipline power tools
In addition to telling you about the subconscious beliefs
that inhibit the development and application of selfdiscipline,
this section will provide you with five power
tools that will quickly build up your self-discipline
muscle. But here is the key to using these tools: Timing!
To be effective, each tool needs to be used at a specific
stage of the self-discipline process. Psychologically
speaking, whatever you do (or don't do) happens in stages.
When you consciously guide each stage to your desired
outcome, you are practicing self-discipline. You may not
be aware of it but during the self-discipline process you
are applying specific behavior tools to get you started
and move you along from beginning to completion.
Self-discipline problems occur when people don't apply
the appropriate tools that work best at a particular stage.
The main four stages of the self-discipline process are:
Most people wrongfully start the self-discipline process
at the Action Stage, when in fact they are psychologically
at the Decision or Preparation Stage. That is why so much
exercise equipment ends up gathering dust in the garage,
why so many diets are prematurely abandoned, and why
so many business plans never hatch.
Decision to act
Why do so many people begin every new year with
personal calendars, schedule books, activity organizers,
etc., but stop using them in a few weeks? These wonderful
tools don't work because people try to use them prematurely.
These are tools for the Action Stage, but if the person using
them happens to be at the Preparation Stage, these tools
are almost useless. In other words, it is useless to use a
screwdriver to sink a nail or use a hammer to turn a screw.
Both tools can be tremendously helpful, but only if they
are used at the right time.
Each of the five power tools you are about to receive
were designed to be used at specific stages of any task
you attempt, regardless of whether the task is a one-time
endeavor or an ongoing life change. The success of each
stage depends upon how much attention you paid to the
previous stage. Don't attempt to built the penthouse before
you build a solid ground floor. If you pay proper attention
to the Decision Stage and the Preparation Stage, you
maximize your chances of success at the Action Stage and
the Completion/Maintenance Stage.
Remember: Self-discipline is a process with stages
and steps, and problems occur when people don't recognize
what stage they're in.
Important: The Decision and Preparation Stages
must be worked on before the Action Stage. Later you'll
learn about how the different stages work.
To repeat: Each day for the
next five days, you will be
presented with a brief explanation
of a common subconscious belief
that works against self-discipline.
Also each day, you will find a
description of a psychological
power tool. Put these tools to
work immediately!
Day Six
"All or Nothing"
Self-Discipline in 10 days
The "All or Nothing" Attitude
"There are only winners and losers,"
"There is only one right way to do it."
"Either do it right or don't do it at all."
The preceding statements represent a belief that fosters selfdefeating
behavior. Every bit of research in human behavior
reveals that life isn't simply black or white, win or lose, good or
bad. Life, for the most part, is lived in the grey area, somewhere
between the two extremes.
The prevalent but irrational "All or Nothing" attitude is what
keeps gambling houses worldwide pulling in billions. The "All
or Nothing" gambler always ends up with nothing. This extremist
attitude spawns many of the subconcious fears we previously
explored. "All or Nothing" thinking paralyzes our efforts at
getting ourselves into a pattern of self-discipline because we
feel, subconciously, that we might stumble. And because "All or
Nothing" thinking equates a stumble with a fall, we feel that it's
safer not to even try to pursue our goals.
Besides, under this belief system success means living a life
of funless workaholism. Who wants that? Certainly not Hyde.
And what about the part of self-discipline that says you need to
break big jobs down into small, bite-sized tasks so you won't
feel too overwhelmed to get started? Well, unfortunately, if all
you can see is the whole overwhelming project, you will never
get yourself to begin because you can't feel comfortable taking
small steps; you must do it All. It's an "All or Nothing"
proposition you tell yourself.
10. "All or Nothing
Since it is seldom possible to do any project all at once, you
do nothing. Well, of course. With images of "All or Nothing"
hanging over your head, you will find reasons to prevent
attempting endeavors that require step-by-step self-discipline.
And finally, you subconsciously tell yourself that if your plan
doesn't work, you will be Nothing, a loser. If you define yourself
only as either a champ or a chump, then everything is defined in
terms of life and death. This stress provoking proposition alone
is enough to harpooon your self-discipline efforts. Under such
terms, your inner sense of self-preservation will keep you from
starting something that you might not finish. The irony, of
course, is that you cannot possibly finish something unless you
start it. And getting started is usually the most difficult step of
any project.
To approach life in "All or Nothing" terms is to multiply your
negative psychological forces tenfold. This means that in essence,
you're working against yourself. This type of inner battle will
drain you of the energy necessary for perseverance toward any
goal. "All or Nothing" thinking is an important element in subconscious
fears, which are self-discipline's greatest obstacle.
Self-Discipline in 10 days
Power Tool: Visualization
Visualization is one of the easiest and most effective selfdiscipline
tools at your disposal. It also works well as a time
management technique. The best part about visualization is that
you already do it. You do it when you remember something from
the past, when you contemplate the present, and when you
fantasize about the future. Visualization refers to all the movies
in your mind. Subconsciously you use visualization thousands
of times a day. Consciously you use it at least a hundred times a
day. So, how does this relate to self-discipline?
All of your actions and non-actions are directed by the mental
images that you create about your chosen goal or project. When
you choose a goal or project, your mental images will either
support your efforts or oppose your efforts.
Important: Hyde's fears and doubts, the ones that weaken
your self-discipline, frequently take the form of images rather
than words. These negative images can be consciously
transformed into positive images. Visualization is simply
self-talk that uses mental pictures rather than words.
A few pages back you learned about verbal self-talk. You
learned that the specific words you say to yourself are important
in your self-discipline efforts. You know that you can use
specific, concrete words and phrases to support every step of
your goal or project. But words work with only a part of your
psychological system, your intellect.
Hyde mixes the poisons that you learned about earlier with a
variety of negative mental images and uses the mixture to sidetrack
your self-discipline efforts. When this happens, you need
to repeatedly visualize the positive aspects of your goal or
project. You need to use visualization at every stage of the selfdiscipline
10. "All or Nothing
Visualization is self-talk in Hyde's favorite language. So to
offset Hyde's negative influences. You need to replace Hyde's
self-defeating mental images with supportive mental images.
When you choose a project or goal, you can also choose mental
images that make you less susceptible to Hyde's resistances
while simultaneously programming your subconscious mind to
motivate you and magnify your powers of perseverance.
Consciously create vivid mental movies that involve your
senses. Let's say that your goal is to start rising an hour earlier
to exercise. Then every day for a week or two before you rise
earlier for the first time, visualize yourself doing it. Hear the
alarm. See yourself stretching and rising. Smell the morning.
Then see yourself doing specific exercises.
The key is to include many specific details in your visualizations.
During the week prior to going into action on your
project, each day visualize yourself in action as often as you
possibly can; ten times, fifty times, a hundred times daily. Your
visualization needs only a few seconds to be effective. Sure, it
would be more effective if you close your eyes and visualize for
thirty minutes each time.
But if you can only catch twenty or thirty seconds, here and
there, fine. I repeat, practice visualization every day for a week
before you go into the action stage of your project. Each time you
visualize yourself actually doing your project, or the various parts
of your project, you gain self-discipline support from your subconscious,
and simultaneously weaken Hyde's ability to stall
your action.
Self-Discipline in 10 days
Visualization prior to action will firm up your commitment,
increase your confidence, validate your ability, motivate you, and
most important, it will reduce Hyde's influence.
In other words, the simple act of visualizing yourself
confidently and adequately doing the in-between steps of your
overall goal will maximize your inner strengths and minimize
your subconscious fears and doubts. Visualization will enlist your
subconscious mind to help you accomplish all the steps in your
project. Once you get your subconscious mind working for you,
it will continue working for you even when you are unaware of
its supportive activity.
Remember: Visualization works best when you visualize
all the specifics of the activity you want to do. In your mind: see,
hear, smell, taste, and touch the location, clothes, room, temperature,
details, details, details. Make it real. The more you practice
visualization the easier it will become. So, mentally, many times
a day, for a few seconds, use visualization to experience yourself
doing what you want to do. Visualization is quick, easy, and
remarkably effective.
Day Seven
"I Must Be Perfect"
Reward Systems
Self-Discipline in 10 days
"I Must Be Perfect''
Earlier we explored a subconscious goblin called Fear of
Mediocrity. Now we are about to examine the belief system
underlying it: "I Must Be Perfect."
Perfectionism, as we established during our exploration of
Fear of Mediocrity, reigns as one of life's greatest anxiety
provokers. Its consequences include: procrastination, insecurity,
alcoholism, drug abuse, broken relationships, and more. We all
occasionally suffer bouts of perfectionism, when we find ourselves
in terror of an error. But some persons find themselves
in a continual wrestling match with this self-defeating belief.
"I must win this contest"
"I must perform this job perfectly."
"I must be the best"
Please notice that lingering behind such perfectionistic selftalk
is the word "must." Even when the word "must" is unspoken,
the implication is there nonetheless. Whenever you feel you
"must," you've climbed into a pressure cooker. You've fallen
victim to the attitude that says "Any performance short of
perfection is unacceptable." But human perfection does not exist.
A part of you realizes, of course, that the concept of perfection
is only an ideal to motivate you to seek the best in yourself.
Indeed, this part of you wants to develop ideas, plans, and goals
then turn them into reality. However, another part of you, the
part chained to perfectionism, refuses to let the ball get rolling.
11. "I Must Be Perfect"
Your logic tells you that no matter what you do, most likely
it won't be perfect. For someone hung up on being perfect, the
psychological pain, humiliation, and self-loathing that result
from falling short of this impossible standard is too much
to endure.
The consequences? Whenever the part of you that desires
achievement begins to walk toward the door of self-discipline,
the perfectionist part of you greases the doorknob. This behavior
is an attempt by Hyde to avoid the impending anxiety that you
have connected to imperfection.
The point: You will generate a lot more self-discipline and
accomplishments by accepting that the "I must be perfect"
attitude is a hindrance, not a help, regardless of your endeavor.
"If you don't do it right, don't do it at all," usually means that it
will not get done at all. But if you dispute this irrational belief
whenever it arises, you will quickly come to realize that: The
reality of getting it done is more satisfying than the dream of
getting it perfect.
Caution: Hyde will try to keep you tied to perfectionism and
away from self-discipline by telling you that, "You don't want to
write a poor report, do you?" "You don't want to do sloppy
work, do you?" You don't want to be called incompetent, do
you?" Don't allow yourself to be tricked. Different projects, of
course, require different amounts of attention, time, and effort.
Trust yourself to know the necessary and appropriate level of
effort you wish to put toward any given project.
Self-Discipline in 10 days
Perfectionism weakens perseverance. And perseverance
produces more achievements than talent, smarts, or luck. Indeed,
the path to accomplishment lies in perseverance.
"Nothing in the world can take the place of
persistence. Talent will not: Nothing is more
common than unrewarded talent. Education
alone will not: The world is full of educated
failures. Persistence alone is omnipotent."
Calvin Coolidge
Here is a simple, enjoyable, productive exercise that you can
use to teach your subconscious, which is where it really matters,
that absolutely nothing bad happens if you don't do a particular
project perfectly.
Try this: During the next few weeks purposely write a few
mediocre letters to a few different friends. Do not try for wit,
genius, or perfection; but do not say in any letter that you are just
dashing it off. In other words, in the body of the letter don't make
excuses for being less-than-perfect. You are not writing the Great
American Novel. Do not tie your self-esteem to the act. Do not
spend much time being methodical; the point is to write a quick,
mediocre letter—and live. Any considerations about content are
yours. Regarding length, keep it short. Again: By no means are
you to acknowledge your purposeful mediocrity in the body of
the letter itself.
As you do this exercise, you actually are reprogramming your
attitude, both concious and subconcious, about perfectionism.
11. "/ Must Be
Power Tool: Reward Systems
Have you ever used a thoughtfully constructed, systematic
reward system to help you get your projects started and finished?
If not, then you will need to develop one. You are about to learn a
simple system that will motivate you to action. This system will
also reduce the conflict between you and Hyde when the time for
action arrives, when you are actually faced with doing the steps
that lead to your goal. But first, a word about rewards.
In the human behavior field rewards have been historically
used to support desirable behaviors. Tons of research underscores
the benefits of using rewards. A systematic reward is the golden
key that opens the door to your self-discipline, painlessly. With
that said, let's quickly address some of Hyde's mind tricks before
they get started here. One of Hyde's favorite tricks is to start
saying things like: "I don't deserve a reward for doing something
that I should be doing anyway." "I don't feel right about giving
myself a reward, it feels like a bribe." "A job well done should be
reward enough for me."
Don't buy into it. Hyde uses such deceptive lines to prevent
you from using the power of rewards to fuel your self-discipline.
Do you feel bribed when you collect your paycheck from work?
Of course not. And, unfortunately, "a job well done" will not
reinforce your positive actions enough to insure that you repeat
them. For that, you need the psychological motivation that only
tangible rewards can provide. Successful self-discipline requires
that you learn and systematically use the benefits of rewards.
Believe me, rewards are the easiest, most effective psychological
motivators available to get you started and keep you going until
you complete your projects.
Self-Discipline in 10 days
People who have attended my seminars, workshops, and
classes greatly benefit by using a personalized reward system
that includes: Private Praise, Contracts, and Gradual Steps.
Private Praise: Every time you perform even the smallest
step toward a large goal, immediately follow you action with
private praise. That's right, immediately congratulate every
positive thought, feeling, or action, no matter how small and
seemingly insignificant, with supportive self-talk.
For example:
"It makes me feel good to get this done."
"Congratulations! You did it!"
"Good going!"
The beauty of this technique is that you can do it any time and
any place. Over time, these little supportive phrases will begin to
weaken your resistance to doing things that you need to do but
don't really want to do. Give it a try. Soon you will begin to feel
more and more comfortable when you take a step toward your
goal. And by immediately patting yourself on the back following
a completed step, you are boosting your self-esteem, which is a
key ingredient in the self-discipline recipe.
Tip: Try to use the words of someone from your past who
once gave you support for your accomplishments. Try to hear
the sound of that person's voice. This will give you added
subconscious power when dealing with Hyde, the side of you
that does not want self-discipline. But remember, this technique
is only one third of the reward system that you will be using. So
do it a lot, but keep the words short and simple. Quick phrases
like "Good work!" "Don't give up!" and "You can do it!" said
in a strong, solid, supportive voice will work psychological
wonders. This technique is too easy not to use constantly.
11. "I MustBe Perfect"
Important: If you slip in your self-discipline, do not berate
yourself. Don't call yourself stupid, lazy, or stubborn. This
type of self-talk is counter-productive, it's a subtle form of
punishment and works to lower your self-esteem. Punishments
do not change behaviors as well as rewards do. So when you slip,
and you will slip because you are human, say to yourself, "So I
slipped. No big deal. I'll do better next time." That's right, let
yourself off the hook. And even though you might feel that you
should be harshly criticized for slipping, the real truth is that
you will be much better off in the long run if you do not punish
yourself in any way. So, when you hear Hyde's put-downs,
immediately replace them with a soothing, understanding word
or two for yourself. And be sure to smile when you do it, so
your subconscious mind will know that you really are not angry
with yourself.
Contracts: Self-contracts are powerful psychological
devices that you can use to reward yourself for every step
you make toward a goal. You contract with yourself just the
same as you would with another person. When you contract
with yourself always be specific about your actions and the
reward involved. Sometimes translating the agreement into
numbers helps.
For example:
"Every time I work for thirty minutes at a task on my to-do
list, I will reward myself with thirty minutes of guilt-free, junk
television, because I will truly deserve it."
"For every box I fill up and move out of the garage, I will put
five dollars into a fund that will be used toward the guilt-free
purchase of that new _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ that I've been wanting."
"For every pound that I lose, I will put ten dollars into a fund
toward that weekend trip to _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ that I would love
to take.
Self-Discipline in 10 days
Tip: Simple written contracts with yourself will give you
more self-discipline power than verbal ones. The act of writing
involves you in your agreement physiologically as well as psychologically,
thus adding even more power to your efforts.
Gradual Steps: This might just be the most important
element in any reward system. Remember that all of your
self-discipline projects need to be based on a step-by-step
approach, and each step needs to be rewarded. This holds
true no matter how small the step or how small the reward.
Because the first few steps of a project might seem too small
to deserve a reward, many people make the mistake of withholding
rewards until after they take the bigger, more visible,
difficult steps of their project. This approach is counterproductive
because it overlooks the psychological benefits
of having a solid reward system that operates throughout
the entire project.
In other words, use rewards at the beginning of the project,
then when you hit the middle and end stages you will get a
psychological boost from knowing that the entire project has
had enjoyable benefits for you, not just the outcome. This can
keep you going when you hit the parts of your project that are
outside your comfort zone. It will also help you get started on
your next project.
Rewards give you extra power to negotiate
with Hyde. You, more than anyone else on
the planet, know what your Hyde likes. Use
this knowledge to get Hyde working for you rather
than against you.
11. "I Must Be Perfect"
Exercise: Design a reward list
Now it's time to put together an easy reward system based
on your personal pleasures. Don't just think about this exercise,
write it. You will need it later. All you have to do is grab a sheet
of paper and a writing tool. Then you need to list all the things
you can think of that you would like to do for fun, I repeat, for
fun. Think of movies, travel, classes, television, conceits, adult
toys, clothes, small indulgences, big extravaganzas, etc. The
longer the list the better.
When you initially run out of ideas the list is not done. You'll
want to keep your list active. Add to it whenever you think of
additional pleasures. Always add to your list as soon as you think
of things. Make sure that each item on your list has a number on
the left side. Don't concern yourself about the order that your
reward items appear on the list. The important thing is that you
keep each item short. One word, such as "Movie," works great.
Keep this exercise simple, don't make it a chore. You are
talking about rewards here, so make doing the list fun! Generate
lots of irresistible pleasures. Each reward on your list will be a
powerful tool in your negotiations with Hyde. So, do not take this
tool lightly. Your reward list is as important to self-discipline as
any to-do list. Moreover, it is important for you to actually write
your rewards down, rather than just think about them. We will be
using your list in combination with the Action Plan that comes
later. I repeat: A reward system is a key ingredient in your selfdiscipline
recipe. So, use rewards generously and self-discipline
will taste much better.
Self-Discipline in 10 days
Example: Rewards List
My Guilt-Free Rewards
1. Go to a movie
2. Rent a video.
3.Dinner at a special restaurant
4. Buy that pair of too expensive shoes
5. Fifteen minutes of long distance talk
6. Dumb TV, with popcorn, one hour,
7. Relax on the Beach for one hour
8. Weekend vacation
9. Week vacation
10. Go feed the ducks
11. Entire video movie day
12. See a play
13. Fluff novel, one chapter
14. Fluff novel, entixe Box
15. Buy magazine
16. Read magazine
17. Playa music, one hour
18. Go hear live music
Day Eight
I Can Achieve
Without Discomfort"
& Vitaminds
Self-Discipline in 10 days
"I Can Achieve Without Discomfort"
"Maybe I will get lucky and..."
"Eat, drink, and be merry, for tommorrow... "
"Why put myself out.. ?"
These are the beliefs of persons who refuse to accept that
there is no such thing as a free lunch. In order to achieve anything
special, a person would do well to accept the reality that
one must accept a certain amount of trade-offs.
Trade-offs can be viewed in terms of goods given for goods
received. These "goods" that one gives can take many forms:
time, money, immediate gratification, psychological comfort,
or physical comfort—to name but a few. In other words, every
journey to self-discipline requires that you cross the comfort
zone border.
The person who refuses to venture outside the comfort zone,
where trade-offs usually take place, can never hope to incorporate
self-discipline into everyday life. However, the extreme
concept of "No pain, no gain" does not apply here. Actually, the
"No pain, no gain," attitude represents a version of the "All or
Nothing" thinking that works against the development of selfdiscipline.
Here, we are talking about the discomfort involved in
such trade-off examples as: giving up sugary desserts when
you're on a diet; saying "No" to various distractions when you
have a project that you want to work on; or confronting an
important but uncomfortable situation you would like to avoid.
12. "Achieve Without Discomfort"
And although all of these examples are uncomfortable, you
would be engaging in "All or Nothing" thinking if you irrationally
insist on telling yourself that they are intolerable rather than
simply uncomfortable.
Subconciously insisting that everything be easy, without
effort, is but another way to avoid confronting many of our
secret fears and the anxiety that accompanies them. It is also a
way to indulge the part of us that doesn't want self-discipline;
the part of us that hates to wait or to work.
Whenever we find ourselves avoiding a particular task, our
avoidance usually isn't based on the real effort involved in
performing the task itself. Rather, our avoidance is usually based
on a pseudo-horror that we have subconsciously connected to the
performance of the task. Again, the subconscious belief that
creates this type of avoidance is "I can achieve without
The point: Learn to expect, accept, and tolerate periods of
discomfort without mentally inflating them. Without periods
of discomfort you will not accomplish even the simplest task.
Moreover, practice identifying instances in which you act as if
you believe "I can achieve without discomfort."
When you become aware of what you are subconsciously
telling yourself, you can then consciously challenge your selftalk
and replace it with statements that support your self-discipline.
You will be surprised at how quickly your self-discipline is
positively affected by using this easy technique.
Your Choice
Comfort Zone Achievement
Self-Discipline in 10 days
Power Tool: Vitaminds
The technique I'm about to describe will bring about fast and
dramatic improvement in your self-discipline. I'm talking about
affirmations. Affirmations are words or phrases that reinforce
your goals or the steps that lead to your goals. They are like
vitamins for the mind, or as I like to call them, Vitaminds. Selftalk
affirmations work wonders, but written affirmations work
even better. They provide you with simple and easy self-motivation
that works on a very deep level.
Writing affirmations is a very dynamic technique because the
written word has so much power over our minds. When we write
self-messages down we are reading them as we write them, so it's
like creating a double hit of positive psychological support for
our actions, a vitamin for the mind, a Vitamind.
Now is the time to select a goal (or step toward your goal) to
which you would like to apply self-discipline. Transform your
goal or task into a short, single sentence, an affirmation. Use your
name, and write your affirmation three different ways using first,
second, and third person. In other words write:
"I, Ted Brown, practice piano one hour a day."
"You, Ted Brown, practice piano one hour a day."
"Ted Brown practices piano one hour a day."
Keep your sentences in the present tense. Make them specific,
sometimes using numbers helps with this. Try to capture an
action when possible.
12. "Achieve Without Discomfort"
Always state your affirmations in positive sentences rather
that negative sentences. Write, "I Francine Smith, enjoy life
without cigarettes." Not, "I, Francine Smith, don't smoke."
Write "I, Francine Smith, weigh 120 pounds." Not, "I, Francine
Smith, want to lose 40 pounds." Positive sentences work better
for self-discipline than negative ones.
After you have written your three affirmation sentences (first,
second, and third person), copy the group of affirmations
two more times, so that on your sheet of paper you have three
identical groups of sentences. Each group should contain your
affirmation three different ways.
Write your sentences by hand, slowly in a thoughtful manner.
Don't just do it mechanically. Think about what these words
mean as you write them. If you feel any negative thoughts as you
write, or any resistances, or any doubts, then write down your
negative thoughts on a separate sheet of paper. Even if the
negative thought or feeling is only slight, write it down. Really
listen to yourself. If, for instance, you begin to hear yourself say,
"I'm never going to lose weight," "This is going to be too hard,"
or "I am never going to get the garage cleaned out and set up an
office," write it down and then continue writing your three
groups of affirmations.
Self-Discipline in 10 days
After you finish writing your affirmations, look at any
negative thoughts that you wrote. This process will give you a
good look at the methods that you are using to inhibit your selfdiscipline.
Try to connect the negative thoughts you wrote to one
of the self-discipline road blocks we discussed earlier, such as
Hyde's poisons, or one of the five subconscious fears, or one of
the subconscious beliefs that underlie the fears.
Sometimes you will find that a negative thought or feeling can
be connected to more than one of the roadblocks, sometimes
connected to all three. After you discover Hyde's methods, give
yourself a few moments to think about what you discovered.
Then you automatically will begin to counteract Hyde's antiself-
discipline campaign. Your insights will help you develop
positive patterns of self-discipline for any goal you want to turn
into reality.
This trick is quick and easy. Simply take the sheet of paper
that contains your three sets of identical affirmations and separate
the three sets. Put one set where you will see it every day, even
many times a day. How about on the bathroom mirror? Your car
dashboard? Your night stand? Next, do the same with the second
set of affirmations. This will give you a set of affirmations in two
different prominent places. Put the third set into you wallet or
purse, so that you have it with you throughout the day. All you
have to do is remember to read it as many times as you think of
it. Ten times is good; a hundred times is better.
Now turn your affirmations into Vitaminds
12. "Achieve Without Discomfoort
For the rest of your life, use this technique to turn each of your
goals into Vitaminds. Try writing them on index cards. Change
the cards every couple of weeks, or whenever you get so used to
seeing them that they no longer have an impact. Change cards
when you change goals, or when you add new goals to your life.
In addition to making Vitaminds that keep your goals in the
psychological spotlight, you can also make Vitaminds to help
yourself start or finish any task that you don't want to do. This
technique works even if you have two or three different goals
going at once. Every time you write or read your Vitamind, you
are giving your self-discipline a boost. Remember: Take your
Vitaminds daily!
You will soon be combining your Vitaminds with Visualization,
Self-talk, and other techniques. Individually, these techniques
work well. In combination, they work incredibly well. Don't
neglect them. They're all quick, easy, and effective.
Whenever you find an inspiring quote
write it on a strip of paper and put it
where you can see it many times a day.
Also put a copy in your wallet or purse.
Remember to read it frequently. Change
your quote regularly.
Day Nine
"I Can't Change"
Self-Discipline in 10 days
"I Can't Change"
"Some people just can't change,"
"I'm just lazy."
"This is just the kind of person I am."
"I'm just like my mom (or dad)."
How often have you heard these types of statements?
Probably quite often. But no matter how often you have heard
them, they are as full of holes as a screen door. People do
change—constantly. However, there is a catch. Maybe you
remember the old joke that says, "How many psychotherapists
does it take to change a light bulb? Only one—but the light bulb
has to really want to change." Therein lies the rub.
No one can make another person want to change; the desire
for change must come from within. In short, if a person is to
change, then that person first needs to choose, consciously and
subconsciously, to change. And increasing one's self-discipline
easily qualifies as a change. This applies regardless of whether
the self-discipline will be put to use with a small task or a big
About choosing to change: Our behavior, emotions, intellect,
and just about everything else about us, other than biological
considerations, are the result of a series of choices. Many of
these choices are made on a daily basis. Moreover, we decide
daily whether to continue honoring certain past choices;
sometimes this process is conscious, other times subconscious.
Indeed, choice is what links our current behavior to our past
decisions, experiences, and influences.
13. "I Can't Change
We are chained to our past only so long as we choose to be.
"I've been this way for so long, I can't change." "You can't
teach an old dog new tricks." "I was raised to believe..." Such
statements reflect an unwillingness to accept responsibility for
one's present life. Of course, who we are and what we do today
is related to yesterday.
But to allow our yesterdays to determine and dictate our
todays and tomorrows is a choice. The part of you that does not
want change wants you to believe that the past is a steel trap. If
human beings were incapable of breaking free of the past we
would still be living in cold, damp caves, and hunting for our
food with a club. As a species we escaped being trapped in the
past. We invented houses, automobiles, and supermarkets.
Likewise, we as individuals can reinvent ourselves by realizing
that "I don't have to be who I was yesterday. Furthermore, I do
not have to do what I did yesterday." By replacing negative selftalk
with positive self-talk, and by using visualization to
replace undesirable subconscious messages with desirable
conscious messages, you will find yourself enjoying the many
fruits of self-discipline.
Remember: While a positive attitude can create positive
actions, the reverse is also true. Positive actions can create a
positive attitude. They feed and support each other. You are now
gaining the information, techniques, and tools to strengthen
them simultaneously.
Self-Discipline in 10 days
Also, this is a good time to alert you about the positive aspects
of taking personal responsibility for your actions. Consider
Shakespeare's observation that our faults lie not in the stars but
in ourselves. Yet only a few of us ever accept responsibility for
our predicaments.
We are not talking here about accepting responsibility for
situations that are genuinely beyond our control; rather, we are
talking about our refusing to accept responsibility for the
situations that are well within our range of influence. And if we
don't accept responsibility for our own influence on our lives,
then we will subconsciously make all sorts of excuses that free
us of the responsibility to take action toward our goals.
Moreover, if we rely on fate and luck to
somehow deliver our goals to us, then we'd
better pack a large lunch because we're in
for a long wait. Good luck happens when
preparation meets opportunity.
As Dick Motta, one of the winningest coaches in professional
basketball's history used to say, "I'm a firm believer in luck. The
harder I work the luckier I get."
+ =
The point:
Your ability to
develop, employ, and
sustain self-discipline
is directly related to
your readiness to
accept responsibility
for creating your own
13. "I Cant Change"
Self-Discipline in 10 days
Power Tool: Relaxation
By using some sort of relaxation system you can immediately
increase your ability to think, feel, and do whatever you choose
to think, feel, and do. Why? Any decrease in tension, anxiety,
and fear, creates an immediate increase in self-discipline. And
situational relaxation will immediately decrease the tension,
anxiety, or fear that occurs when you are confronted with a task
that a part of you does not want to do.
Now, in addition to learning a few basic ways that situational
relaxation will boost your self-discipline, you will learn a quick
relaxation technique that is tailor-made for use with self-discipline.
But first, let's quickly review how Hyde keeps you from
applying self-discipline. By now you know that Hyde creates
subconscious anxieties and fears whenever you decide to do
something that takes you out of your comfort zone. When Hyde
begins to use the poisons, roadblocks, and self-defeating beliefs
that you learned about earlier, you begin to feel stress. Then the
part of you that wants to apply self-discipline begins to turn away
from whatever task is at hand. In other words, you begin the
Avoidance Process: You begin to move away from the stress that
Hyde connects to the task.
In this type of situation, avoiding the task at hand feels natural.
Why? The Avoidance Process goes like this: First, you decide
to begin a task that requires self-discipline. Next, Hyde uses
various tricks to keep you from doing it. Then, because of the
inner conflict that is beginning to go from simmer to boil, your
stress level begins to rise. When your stress level rises, so does
your anxiety level. Then, as your anxiety level rises, your
motivation drops. Then you say to yourself, "I don't want to
do this now." Then, because psychological stress causes a
physiological reaction, suddenly you don't physically feel like
doing the task.
13. "I Cant Change"
In fact, the closer you move toward the task, the more you
think and feel like avoiding it. As the Avoidance Process unfolds,
you find yourself putting off, avoiding, or escaping a task that
you need to do in order to reach whatever goal you've chosen.
Then, when you start doing some sort of avoidance activity, you
feel immediate emotional and physical relief. This false feeling
of relief occurs even though you know that the consequences of
your escapism and delayism will create problems later. What to do?
Well, you already know the poisons, roadblocks, and selfdefeating
beliefs that short-circuit your self-discipline. But
general knowledge is not enough to overcome Hyde's resistance.
You need to know which specific tricks are being used against
you. Then you can usually pinpoint why they are being used.
Armed with why, you can work out a quick deal with Hyde to
relax the inner conflict that occurs when a part of you wants to
do something that another part of you does not want to do. When
the inner conflict relaxes, the roadblocks will begin to shrink,
eventually becoming so small that you will be able to exercise
your desired behavior. So how do you find out what Hyde is up
to? Easy. All you have to do is relax.
Then you can ask yourself the "Why" questions: "Why do I
want to eat something instead of writing this report?" "Why do
I want to watch mindless television right now?" "Why do I think
that filling out this form will be so painful?" "Why am I responding
this way?" And although the specific questions that you ask
yourself will change according to the task you are facing, the
nature of the questions will remain the same. You will need to ask
yourself "Why" questions.
These questions will help you quickly determine the real
reasons for your avoidance behavior. These real reasons will
inevitably be related to one or more of Hyde's various poisons
or roadblocks.
Self-Discipline in 10 days
Your recognition of these mind tricks will immediately diminish
their power. Relaxation is what gives you an opportunity to shift
your behavior decisions from the subconscious into the conscious
part of you mind. In other words, when you become quiet and
systematically relax, even for just a couple of minutes, you can
suddenly hear yourself think. Then, by using your new tools and
techniques, you can quickly transform your hidden negative
thoughts into positive self-discipline support.
Important: If you relax for a minute before beginning an
avoidance behavior, then you will become aware of rationalizing,
minimizing, and justifying the avoidance behavior. This insight
alone will give your self-discipline a gigantic boost. So how do
you do situational relaxation?
A Quick and Easy Situational Relaxation Technique...
What is situational relaxation? As the name implies, it means
that whenever you find yourself beginning to avoid a task that
needs to be done, the situation calls for relaxation. Regardless of
the nature of the task, whether you are about to write a report or
start a cleaning project, a systematic relaxation effort will move
you toward self-discipline. Physical relaxation will automatically
create the psychological state that allows you to put your selfdiscipline
tools and techniques to work. So, whenever you feel
Hyde pulling you away from the task you want to do, take two or
three minutes to go through the following steps. The more you
do it, the faster and easier it becomes.
Take a few deep breaths, slow your breathing, and
say to yourself, "I am completely relaxed." It doesn't
really matter whether you are standing, sitting, or lying
down. Simply try to be as physically comfortable as the
situation will allow.
13. "I Cant Change"
Then as you continue to slow your breathing say to yourself:
"I am tightening my forehead, then relaxing it. I am
tightening all my facial muscles, then relaxing them. I am
tightening my jaw, then relaxing it. I am tightening my neck
muscles, then relaxing them." Continue to go through your
major muscle groups (shoulders, arms, hands, back,
stomach, etc.) first tightening then relaxing them.
Take a minute to really give your body a chance to feel
relaxed. Control your breathing. Use your self-talk to
support your physical relaxation. Use visualization to see
yourself easily doing the task that is at hand.
Quickly ask and answer a few "Why" questions. Listen to
what Hyde is saying to you. Become aware of how Hyde is
trying to trick you into avoiding the task. Then counteract
Hyde's influence by telling yourself the other side of the
story. Be convincing, be forceful, but be relaxed. Focus on
a specific immediate reward for completing the task. Use
visualization, self-talk, or any other tools that feel useful.
Begin to take a small action step toward the task. As you
get closer to the room, table, tools, or wherever you need
to be to start the task, continue to control your breathing
and physical state. Remind your muscles to relax. Every
time you feel or hear an avoidance message from Hyde,
use your self-discipline tools and techniques to replace
that message with a flood of self-discipline messages.
Pour it on thick.
Actually start the first step of your task. Once again, remind
yourself to relax. Control your breathing. And, I repeat,
every time you feel or hear an avoidance message from
Hyde, use your self-discipline tools and techniques to
replace that message with a flood of self-discipline messages.
Self-Discipline in 10 days
Getting started is the toughest part of the self-discipline process.
While this is true with daily tasks like exercises, diets, and skill
development, it is also true with one time projects. Situational
relaxation, more than any other tool or technique, will help you
start, no matter what type of project or task is at hand. Use this
quick relaxation technique every day, throughout the day, and
watch yourself sail through the self-discipline process over and
over. Yes, situational relaxation becomes easier and easier with
regular use. And, yes, you will complete more tasks when you
systematically relax and stop fighting with yourself.
Note: Situational relaxation is especially effective in dealing
with self-discipline challenges that involve consumptive behaviors
such as smoking, drinking, and overeating. These behaviors
become habits when we automatically react to a situation without
first thinking about our actions; without really hearing ourselves
give the order to act, without consciously knowing why we are
choosing to act in a self-defeating way. Moreover, because
consumptive behaviors seem to descend upon you spontaneously
from out of nowhere, you naturally feel that this behavior is
beyond your control. No so, not by a long shot. You actually are
in control of your behavior, or more accurately, the Hyde side of
you is in control.
Remember: Hyde is a part of you and is therefore subject
to your influence. Relax and listen to what Hyde says, your
behavior will then begin to make sense to you. And you can then
come up with ways that will have you doing what you really
want to do rather that what Hyde wants you to do. Remember
also that consumptive behaviors need to be replaced with some
other behavior or you will feel a void where the consumptive
behavior used to be. This void will affect your self-discipline
negatively. So whenever you attempt to stop a behavior, always
replace it with another behavior that you would rather have.
Day Ten
"Something Terrible
Will Happen"
A Goal Sheet
Self-Discipline in 10 days
"Something Terrible
Will Happen"
Open any psychology book and you will find at least one
chapter that deals with the human animal's exaggerated fear
of falling victim to a catastrophic event. This tendency is a
psychological mechanism designed to keep us from harm.
Whenever we approach a situation in which we feel uneasy
or uncomfortable, our anxiety rises from the depths in the form
of an inner voice. This voice acts as a caution sign: "If you try
this, here are all the bad things that could happen to you." So far
so good.
But all too often the subconscious voice then picks out the
worst possibility and begins to hound you with it. Simultaneously
the voice reminds you of past similar instances in which negative
outcomes occurred:
"What? You're going to talk to the boss
about a raise? He'll think you're complaining
and fire you. Remember, the coach of the high
school baseball team called you a whining
complainer in front of the team when you
asked whether you could switch from right
field to first base, and you never forgot the
"What? You're going to give a speech?
You'll probably forget the words, ruin it, and
make a fool of yourself. Remember how you
felt when you blew the pep squad routine in
front of the student body assembly?"
And so it goes, until you are immobilized by the threat
of disaster.
14. Something Terrible
Consider: This subconscious thought process occurs with all
types of activities; riding on an airplane, going to a job interview,
writing a paper or report, almost anything that involves risk.
Now consider: Every time you take a step toward a goal,
you are taking a risk. Whether you are buying real estate, starting
a diet, or cleaning out the garage, something can go wrong. So
to spare you the possibility of catastrophe, your inner voice
over-emphasizes the dangers involved in the risk. Unfortunately,
however, listening to this over-cautious doomsayer will drain you
of the enthusiasm and self-discipline needed to follow through on
your desires.
Sure, in life real dangers do actually exist. But here, we are
talking about the effects of self-created, exaggerated dangers that
serve only to inhibit us rather than protect us. Remember, the
belief we're looking at, Something Terrible Will Happen, operates
in an extremely subtle manner. It disguises itself in many forms.
Do you have difficulty pursuing one of your goals because
you began to feel anxious every time you take a step toward it? If
so, look closely at what you are telling yourself about the goal
that you have chosen. Only you will know when "Something
Terrible Will Happen" is operating.
So, be honest with yourself about whether your procrastination
is based on a catastrophic expectation or based on a legitimate
concern. Don't let Hyde use you mental danger signals against
you. Challenge your fears with your intellect. If you consciously
listen to your rational inner voice, then your emotional voice will
lose some of its power over you. Then, you can move along with
fewer bumps in the road.
Self-Discipline in 10 days
Power Tool: Goal Sheet
Everyone has goals. Unfortunately most people allow their
goals to float around in their heads as dreams. Until you turn your
dreams into concrete goals that you can actually work with, all
they will ever be are dreams, unrealized dreams. You see, dreams
never become reality until they first become concrete goals; then
and only then will the goals have a shot at becoming reality. And
there you have the difference between dreams and goals. So, first
you have a dream, then you transform the dream into a concrete
goal, then you devise a plan to reach the goal. This happens to be
shorthand for the self-discipline process.
Now you are ready to add the Goal Sheet to your tool box.
This tool is the quickest, easiest way for you to transform your
dreams into achievable goals. No matter how large or small your
goal, the Goal Sheet is a powerful tool that will put the selfdiscipline
process into motion for you. The Goal Sheet plays an
important psychological function. Its purpose is to give you
direction, commitment, motivation, and a foundation for action.
You will realize surprising self-discipline benefits. In fact, I
recommend that you make a Goal Sheet for every goal that
requires a concerted effort. For now, however, I suggest that you
choose only one goal to work with.
Important: When you make your Goal Sheet, don't go
getting all serious and tax your brain. Making a Goal Sheet
should be a quick and easy deal for you. This tool is much too
important to take seriously. So,
14. Something Terrible
The Goal Sheet has 3 simple components:
You need to write a specific, detailed statement of your
goal. I repeat, your written goal needs to include specifics.
Don't write, I want good health, or great wealth, or genuine
happiness, etc. Instead write "I want to lose 30 pounds in 6
months," "I want to be earning $100,000 per year in two
years," "I want to learn conversational Spanish in 1 year."
The clearer the picture of what you want, the easier it will
before you to develop a plan that gets it for you.
You need to state why you want to reach this goal. What is
your purpose? Some people refer to this as a sort of mission
statement. Clarity of purpose determines the power of your
commitment, which in turn fuels the self-discipline process.
Writing down your purpose will also help you be sure that
the goal you chose is really your dream and not someone
else's idea of what you should do. Having a written purpose
for your goal is an important part of the self-discipline process
because it gives you enduring motivation. Indeed, for selfdiscipline
to roll along smoothly rather than grind along in a
series of frustrating starts and stops, you need to know clearly
why you are doing what you are doing.
You need to list the steps, as many as you can think of,
that your goal requires. Later you will give each of these steps
a time frame. But for now all you need to do is put down the
steps in short sentence form, very short sentence form. Don't
try to list the steps in order. Just write them down. You can
always add, delete, or modify later. As you list the required
steps, break down the intimidating ones into smaller steps.
The smaller the steps, the better your chances of completing
Start writing NOW
Self-Discipline in 10 days
After completing the preceding exercise, you will need to ask
yourself some questions that will help you know, really know,
whether this goal is something you really want to pursue and
achieve. The questions that I want you to ask yourself will either
solidify your commitment or prompt you to reconsider your
direction. Either way, you will be better off knowing your true
feelings about it. If the thought of pursuing your goal creates
anxiety, don't be too concerned, Hyde might be whispering
hollow fears to your subconscious.
Remember: Hyde doesn't want you to actually do anything
that requires a trip outside of your comfort zone, which is of
course where you will find lots of treasures. The following
questions will clarify your true feelings about your goal. You
need to know the answers in order to keep Hyde from playing
successful tricks on you when you begin taking action steps
toward your goal. Remember as you answer these questions that
Hyde will be putting in an opinion. So be sure to look closely at
any negative opinions that arise; is it you talking realistically, or
Hyde playing games.
Now ask yourself: Is this goal worth my time and effort?
Are the rewards worth the risks? How will my daily life be
affected? Is this a good time? What is the downside of my
pursuing and attaining this goal? How will my family, friends,
and career be affected by my pursuit and attainment of this goal?
You don't need to write down your answers, but you do need to
give them some thought. Your thoughts and feelings about your
answers are an important part of the Goal Sheet tool. Don't
forget, keep it simple.
Part Four
Putting It All Together
Now you are ready to put your knowledge into action!
By now you know that self-discipline is a process, not
an inborn personality trait. You know the psychological
causes of self-discipline blocks. You know the self-defeating
subconscious tricks that make self-discipline unnecessarily
difficult. You also know about tools and techniques that
will enhance your self-discipline power. And you know
how to use them. But you don't know when to use them.
Knowing when is as important as knowing how.
In fact, the key to successful self-discipline lies in using
specific tools at the appropriate stage of the self-discipline
process. So don't forget that the self-discipline process,
regardless of the size of your task or the scope of your goal,
occurs in specific stages. Again, certain tools work best
within certain stages.
On the following pages you will learn about the stages,
how they work, and when to use the various tools. In other
words, you are about to receive a big payoff from all
you've learned.
The self-discipline process
occurs in 4 stages
Important: You need to satisfy the requirements of
each stage before attempting the next stage. Otherwise,
you are setting yourself up for unnecessary difficulties. By
far, the most common mistake people make when attempting
to use self-discipline is this: They select a goal and start at
the Action Stage of the self-discipline process, before doing
the necessary groundwork. That's like trying to build a
penthouse before building the first floor.
I repeat, starting toward your goal at the Action Stage,
before taking specific steps in the Decision Stage and the
Preparation Stage, is putting the cart before the horse; sure,
you might eventually drive your goods to market but not
without driving yourself and your horse half crazy. You
will make self-discipline a lot easier for yourself by doing
things in a certain order. Believe me, this approach will
save you a lot of time and trouble no matter what type of
goals you choose, whether you are starting a business,
losing weight, or finally getting the garage cleared out.
Now, let's take a look at the first stage of the self-discipline
process: Decision.
Self-Discipline in 10 days
Decision Stage
As the name implies, this first stage is where you choose a
goal and solidify that choice. There is more to this process than
you might think. On the other hand, there is nothing difficult or
complicated about it. And while the steps in this stage are
quite easy to do, they are an extremely important part of the
self-discipline process. Failure to take the necessary steps here
will usually result in self-discipline difficulty at the Action Stage.
During the Decision Stage your purpose is to build a psychological
foundation, a commitment that will carry you through all
the steps (hourly, daily, weekly, monthly) that your goal requires.
A solid psychological foundation will empower you to deal with
all the doubts, fears, and self-defeating beliefs that Hyde will
send your way (hourly, daily, weekly, monthly). Ironically, the
more important your goal is to you, the more Hyde will try to
keep you from going after it. For Hyde, you see, an important
goal appears frightening and difficult. Because of this, you will
need to be aware of Hyde every step of the way. Self-discipline
is easier when you know exactly what you are up against.
You need to realize that every coin has two sides. Yes, you
can have a clean garage, but you will no longer have the stuff that
currently fills it. Yes, you can have your own business, but you
will no longer have the security of your job with the post office.
Sure, if you stop drinking at the local tavern you will have better
health and more money, but you might lose the company of your
drinking buddies.
In other words, you will always have to give up something in
order to get something. And while you consciously want certain
things, you might subconsciously not want to accept the other
side of the coin, the letting go of certain other things. I repeat: In
order to get what you want, you have to give up something else.
15. Decision Stage
Give up what? You need to answer that question before you
go into action on your goal. A few examples of what you might
need to give up: time, money, physical comfort, emotional comfort,
security, leisure, a personal relationship, other goals (for now),
self-image, parental approval, societal approval, etc., etc., etc.
Important: One of Hyde's favorite tricks is to have you
believe that you must completely (All or Nothing) give up a
certain something that you might not have to give up completely
in order to attain your goal. Sometimes you will be able to
find ways to keep what you have and still get what you want,
sometimes not. Sometimes you can make compromises, sometimes
not. These types of decisions need to be made consciously
whenever you choose a goal, because each goal has a dark side
that operates subconsciously. Hyde, the side of you that doesn't
want self-discipline, will use your subconscious concerns like
emotional rope to tie you to Delayism, Defeatism, Cynicism,
well, you know the rest.
In the Decision Stage you need to bring all of your subconscious
concerns to the surface in order to deal with them, so they
won't ambush you at the Action Stage. Conversely, when you
consciously explore both sides of your goal, "getting" vs. "giving
up," and you are clear about it, then you can deal with Hyde from
a solid position. If, however, you don't bring both sides of the
picture into focus, you will be dragging an invisible anchor. You
won't see what keeps you from moving forward.
Self-Discipline in 10 days
All you need to do here is write down your goal across the
top of a sheet of paper. Then on the left side of the paper list the
benefits of pursuing and achieving your
goal. On the right side list the drawbacks.
Nothing fancy. The point of this process
is to make sure you bring all the negative
aspects of your goal, and the pursuit of it,
into clear focus. Also, take a look at your
Goal Sheet, which has a list of the steps
toward your goal. What must you give up
to achieve each step? When you achieve
your goal, what will the down side be? Again, keep this process
simple, but do it. List the benefits and steps on the left and the
negative aspects of your goal pursuit on the right. Sound
simple? Well, it is. Remember, this simple process will provide
you with a surprising amount of self-discipline fuel. So always
take a few minutes to do it with each goal you want to achieve.
After you do this process with your chosen goal. Then you
will be ready to move to the Preparation Stage. I repeat, by
completing the Decision Stage, you will move smoother, faster,
and more confidently toward your goal.
Start writing NOW
Self-Discipline in 10 days
Preparation Stage
Welcome to the all important Preparation Stage. As an Olympic
Gold Medalist once said, when asked how she turned her average
physical assets into a championship performance, "Everybody
wants to win, but not everybody wants to prepare to win." She
went on to say that dedicated preparation is what won the Gold.
This concept applies to your relationship with self-discipline.
Spectacular success comes from simple preparation.
Traveling from your desires to your goals, you will always
need to go through a series of steps. So, when you decide to
make the trip, preparation is a necessary piece of luggage. Preparing
for action means that you need to make a daily plan. Your
plan will, of course, contain steps that need to be accomplished
by certain times and dates. Without question, self-discipline
flows much better when you receive daily reminders about what
to do and when to do it.
Moreover, self-discipline works better if the reminders are
written onto paper rather than left floating in your head. All we
are talking about here is a simple "to do" list. And, most important,
if your written list breaks each task into small steps, you will find
that your resistance to doing each task greatly diminishes.
Remember: Every daily plan needs to be a simple plan, an
uncomplicated "to do" list. Unless you have a written plan, Hyde
will overwhelm you by subconsciously convincing you that your
goal is just too big for little ol' you to accomplish. But a simple
daily "to do" list reminds you that every big accomplishment is
nothing more than a lot of little accomplishments added together.
16. Preparation Stage
So, on your daily "to do" list be sure to break down each
task into a series of small steps. This simple act will instantly
transform intimidating tasks into friendly steps. Incidentally, this
"simplifying" technique will help you get going again if you
have been hit by a Hyde roadblock.
It's a trial by the mile and hard by the yard,
but a cinch by the inch.
And, surprisingly, ten minutes of daily planning, making a
simple "to do" list, will actually generate extra free time for you.
I repeat: A simple "to do" list will give you access to hours of
time you never knew you had. That new found time can be filled
any way you want, work or play, your choice. So, if daily planning
will give you more self-discipline and more time, then why not
give it a try? It will be the best investment in self-discipline you
will ever make.
But Hyde balks at the mere thought of your making a daily
"to do" list, right? Well, if you promise Hyde that you will keep
your daily lists short and simple, then you will see your resistances
to doing it shrink. And by all means remember to use your selfdiscipline
tools and techniques to keep Hyde from depriving you
of this easy self-discipline booster.
A Daily "quick" Plan
Self-Discipline in 10 days
A 6 Step Daily Plan
Here is a quick and easy method of daily planning that will
give your self-discipline a real charge. Sure, there are many types
of plans that you can use, lots of them are more comprehensive
and complex than the one that follows. But the following plan is
designed to be easy, quick, and simple. It is, in fact, designed for
simplicity. And because it won't take much time and brain power,
you will be more likely to actually do it: Daily!
Look at your Goal Sheets and pick a goal. Do you want to
work toward more than one goal? If the goals don't conflict,
no problem. But don't overwhelm yourself by trying to do
too much too soon. After you try this for a while and get
used to doing it, you will find that pursuing several goals
simultaneously isn't really that difficult. But for now you
will do better to stick with only one or two goals.
Choose a launch date when you want to begin action.
Make a "to do" list for the day you plan to begin. Be sure
to date your list. Write down a few of the easier actions you
need to do in order to reach your goal. No matter what goal
you choose, there is something you can do about it on the
launch day. Then, next to each action step, whenever possible
write a guesstimate for time it will take to complete each
action. Don't just think about it. Write it.
Next to each action step write, in abbreviated form, a reward
from your reward sheet. This will help you recruit Hyde's
cooperation. Don't just think about it. Write it. Remember that
the most motivating rewards are the rewards that can occur
soon after the completion of the action step. Make the size of
the reward equivalent to the size of the step. Some people find
it motivating to have a bonus reward when they do everything
on the list. This will be your call. If you like, you can attach
16. Preparation Stage
one large reward to several small steps. Again, this is your
call. You will quickly find out what works best for you.
Remember: Acknowledge Hyde, and Hyde will respond with
cooperation rather than roadblocks. Also, remember that no
matter what rewards you choose, you always need first to
give yourself a hardy self-congratulations upon completing
any action step, no matter how small.
Upon completion of each step, cross the item off your list.
At the end of the day, review your progress. This is an
important step in the self-discipline process. If you got stuck
on an action step, then you know that you need to take a look
at whether Hyde had anything to do with it. Maybe you
simply misjudged the time needed. But then again, maybe
Hyde slipped in a roadblock on you. Daily reviews are a
simple way to keep track of exactly what you actually do.
Daily reviews will also keep you thinking about what you
need to do to stay on the right path toward your goal, and help
you get back on track when you falter. Sound easy? It is. After
launch day, you will start making a short, simple daily
"to do" list.
Important: The Preparation Stage requires that you use
Visualization, Vitaminds, and Self-talk to psychologically prepare
for action. Use these tools prior to action, on a daily basis. Put
them to work for you as soon as you wake up; then use them
many times during the day; then use them before drifting off
to sleep. These simple tools are your friends. They will help
you get whatever you want. They are a vital part of your selfdiscipline
Self-Discipline In 10 days
Action Stage
Welcome to the Action Stage of the self-discipline process.
But before you enter let's make sure you are prepared. Are you
ready for action?
You need to know:
.. . the psychological information you learned during your ten
day course. You do not need to know everything. But you need to
know the basics so that you can use the tools and techniques that
fit your personality, goals, and situation.
You need to know:
. . . how your personal Hyde works on you. Which tactics? When?
Why? You will need this when faced with uninviting action steps.
You need to know:
. . . how to use all five tools. The more you use them, the more
you will see your self-discipline efforts growing easier and easier.
When Hyde pulls you away from self-discipline ask "What
specifically am I telling myself that is making me resist doing
this step?" Then wait for an answer, which will come from the
poisons, fears, and self-defeating beliefs that you learned about in
earlier chapters. When you get an answer you can then use your
tools to counter Hyde's influence, and keep yourself motivated. Put
Vitaminds all over the place. When you look at those Vitaminds
use Relaxation for a minute and really take in those messages.
Consciously use self-talk throughout the day, especially before
sleeping and upon rising. During the day Visualize yourself
completing your goal and savoring the payoff. Visualize for a
minute, repeat frequently. Again, use your tools, it's easy and
rewarding. Speaking of rewards: Use them!
17. Action Stage
You need to know:
. . . when Hyde is minimizing the effects of self-discipline breakdowns,
and justifying self-discipline roadblocks. You need to be
ready with prepared responses to Hyde's attempts to sidetrack you.
What you need to do in the Action Stage:
Make a simple daily "to do" list. For your first list you can
use the one you made during the Preparation Stage. Here is
what makes this list different from most: Next to each step
write a guess at how many minutes you plan to work on the
step, not prepare for, but actually do the step. When writing
your steps, always keep them small.
Important: Remember that you are likely to overestimate
the time needed for an unpleasant step, and underestimate
the time needed for a pleasant step.The good news is that your
uninviting steps will be over quicker than you imagined.
Do one minute of relaxation before doing each step.
Put a line through the step when completed.
At the end of the day take a look at your list. Reward yourself,
no matter how few steps toward your goal were completed.
Small steps add up fast. So thank yourself and Hyde for each
completed step, then remember to place each uncompleted
step on tomorrow's "to do" list. If you carry the same step
more than five days maybe you need to break that step into
smaller steps. Or take a look at what you are telling yourself
about that step that is making it difficult for you.
Self-Discipline in 10 days
About time management:
Your conscious use of times and dates plays an important role
in the self-discipline process, especially in the Action Stage. But
don't maximize the importance of time management and minimize
the importance of self-management. Without self-management
no time management system will work for you. Besides, no one
actually manages time. You can only manage yourself. The amount
of time in hours, days, weeks, months, and years remains stable
regardless of what you do or don't do. No matter how you plan
your day, it will never be 29 hours long, only 24.
You can, however, direct your choices and behavior in a way
that gives you more of what you want from each of the days,
those 24 hour time blocks that you regularly receive. So think of
clocks and calendars as friends, good buddies that provide you
with friendly reminders. Do not think of clocks and calendars as
enemies, evil faces hanging over your head like dark clouds of
doom. Think "target date," not "deadline." You will receive a
self-discipline boost when you see a written start time, and Hyde
will be comforted by seeing a written stop time.
17. Action Stage
Important: Use all of your tools during the Action
Stage. Change your Vitaminds regularly so you don't
become so used to seeing them that they lose their impact.
Some people find that changing them weekly works
best. Other people change them every couple of weeks.
The same goes for self-talk. Even after you find that
certain tools work better than others, continue to use a
variety of tools rather than finding one, such as self-talk,
and sticking with only that one. Also, here is where your
Rewards, big and small, will make a lot of difference.
And whenever you have a difficult time getting yourself
to do any of the steps toward your goal, go back and
look over the psychological information that you received
in the Self-Discipline in 10 days course. Also check
your Decision and Preparation work. With a bit of brief
detective work you will find out why you are stalling,
and how you can overcome the problem.
Important: If you occasionally slip up during the Action
Stage, do not get on your own case about it. This is a normal
occurrence; something to be expected. Do not expect Perfection
and berate yourself for not achieving it. Do the opposite; give
yourself credit for at least trying. This approach to dealing with
slip-ups will give you psychological encouragement to quickly
get back into action. Self put-downs is one of Hyde's tricks.
Don't fall for it!
Now, you are ready to go into action.
The next stage, Maintenance and Completion,
will show you ways to keep you going.
Completion /
18. Completion / Maintenance
Completion /Maintenance
When you reach this stage, you will have already completed a
series of steps toward your chosen goal. Maybe you have already
reached your goal and need to maintain it, such as when you have
lost thirty pounds and need self-discipline to keep them off. Or,
you may have actually completed your goal, such as owning a
new auto.
But regardless of whether you need to maintain your goal or
complete your goal, the requirements of this stage are Awareness,
Attitude, and continued Action. Don't take this stage lightly. I want
to emphasize that the Completion/Maintenance Stage is just as
important as the Action Stage, and it requires just as much attention
and effort. In fact, regained pounds after a successful diet is an
example of action without maintenance. So is a cleaned out
garage that gets junky again after six months.
Because you can easily become over-confident due to success
with the Action Stage, you are now especially susceptible to
Hyde's tricks. How does Hyde work against you during the
Completion/Maintenance stage?
Hyde uses the same tricks that were used during the other
stages. Except that during this stage Hyde also uses your success
against you."I worked on that report all weekend, so I deserve a
break tonight, right?" Or, "Heck, I haven't smoked for three
weeks, why not have a few tonight?" Indeed, Hyde uses the good
events and the bad events to block your self-discipline. "I'm so
upset about Joe that I don't feel like even looking at that stupid
report tonight" Or, "I'm so happy about the way things worked
out with Joe that I'm going to celebrate tonight. I'll work on that
report some other time."
Self-Discipline in 10 days
In other words, Hyde tries to erode the commitment you made
during the Decision Stage. So, suddenly, as you near completion
of your project, Hyde brings up all the negative aspects of
achieving your goal. Then, after having used self-discipline quite
sucessfully during the Action Stage, you find yourself making
excuses rather than continuing action. This is when you need to
use Awareness, Attitude, and continued Action.
Awareness: Be alert! Don't let Hyde subconsciously use
rationalization and justification to make you slack off on your
self-discipline. Don't minimize the importance of each little step
you need to take in order to get where you want to go. Use
Relaxation to turn the volume up on Hyde's messages. Then you
can find out specifically what you are telling yourself that blocks
your progress. When you can hear Hyde's specific negative selftalk,
you can counter and replace it with supportive messages.
Attitude: Your feelings play an important role in selfdiscipline.
If you feel you can reach your goal, then you are
already halfway there. During the Completion/Maintenance
Stage, Hyde will try to short-circuit your attitude in many different
ways. You can counter Hyde's influence on your attitude by
using Self-talk, Visualization, and Vitaminds.
Action: You need to be aware of your consistency level
during the Completion/Maintenance Stage, the same as you
were during the Action Stage. People who have self-discipline
difficulties tend to slack off as they get closer to the finish line.
To guard against this tendency you need to pay close attention to
your daily plan. Make sure you are actually doing things, not just
thinking about them. In other words, monitor your progress daily,
especially as you get closer to completion. Here you need to use
Rewards more than ever.
1 8. Completion / Maintenance
So whether you need to complete a one-time project or
maintain self-discipline in a specific area of your life for weeks,
months, years, or a lifetime. You can do it by consciously using
your knowledge and tools. If you run into self-discipline difficulty
during the Completion/Maintenance Stage, try the following
quick, easy exercise to get back into the self-discipline process.
Pinpoint the specific action that you are not doing.
If you are avoiding a series of actions, focus on the
first one. You might find that all you need to do is
break down this task into smaller, bite-size tasks. If
not, go to step two.
Ask yourself: "Why am I putting this task off?"
"What specific poison, roadblock, or belief is Hyde
using?" In other words, "What specifically am I
telling myself about this specific action?" Be alert
for rationalizations and justifications.
What do you gain by putting it off? Uncover
specific payoffs. Ask yourself: "Is it worth it?"
What will you lose by putting it off? Be honest about
your real feelings. Don't minimize the consequences.
What wonderful benefits will you receive when you
reach your goal? Use Visualization to really see
your success. Use your emotions to really feel the
pleasure of seeing yourself complete your goal.
Remember: If you have problems maintaining self-discipline
at this stage, you probably didn't put enough time and effort into
the first two self-discipline stages—the Decision Stage and the
Preparation Stage.
Self-Discipline in 10 days
Very Important: Personalize all you've learned. Experiment
with all the tools and techniques to find out what works best for
you. Do everything your way. And do remember to regularly
alternate tools and techniques. When you use the same tools
without variation they lose their energy. So if you fall into a
pattern of relying on certain tools, at least vary their content. This
means: Use different visualizations. Try new sentences with selftalk.
Renew your Vitamind prescriptions with fresh, energizing
phrases that help you focus.
Very, Very Important: Personalize Hyde. Friend or foe,
Hyde will always be with you. So I suggest that you make the
relationship a supportive one. With this in mind, I strongly suggest
that you give your Hyde a friendly, personal name. Use this name
during all conversations and negotiations with Hyde. Using a
special name for Hyde reminds you instantly that dealing with
Hyde is like dealing with a person different from yourself. Again,
be sure to make the name friendly.
As a young child did you have a nickname, maybe a name that
only your family called you? Your childhood nickname will work
especially well because Hyde, psychologically speaking, is a
reflection of the child you were. So always keep this in mind
during conversations and negotiations with Hyde. Have you ever
noticed how a salesperson calls you by name at every possible
opportunity? They do this because it makes you more receptive
to their proposition. When you deal with Hyde, you are the salesperson.
You want to sell Hyde on the concept of maximum
cooperation and minimum conflict. You want to sell the idea that
if the task gets done, you both win. So take a tip from the sales
world and always address Hyde by a personalized name. Believe
me, you will be pleasantly surprised at how much this helps you
with self-discipline.
18. Completion / Maintenance
A final note!
Remember: Self-discipline is a teachable and learnable
process. Anyone who learns the process can apply it in any
chosen situation. Self-discipline is not a personality trait, not "I
have self-discipline." It is a skill, "I use self-discipline."
Using this skill, like using any other skill, grows easier with
practice. And every time you use it, you're practicing. So
regularly use what you've learned, occasionally refresh your
knowledge, and enjoy your accomplishments!
Additional information
For information about self-discipline courses, workshops,
seminars, articles, and speaking engagements contact:
Theodore Bryant, MSW
c/o HUB Publishing
Box 15352
Seattle, WA 98115
Also, you are cordially invited to share your self-discipline
stories, tips, and techniques with Theodore Bryant by writing to
the above address.
about the author
Self-Discipline in 10 days
About the author...
Theodore Bryant, MSW
For over a decade, human behavior expert Theodore Bryant
has conducted self-discipline courses, workshops, and seminars.
He is the author of Self-Discipline In 10 Days.
Through his many media appearances, Mr. Bryant has helped
thousands of people develop and strengthen their self-discipline.
His self-discipline courses have reached people from a wide
range of fields—from artists to athletes, from business people
to the general public. His dynamic teaching style has often been
described as "painless and effective." Combining wit with
wisdom, he keeps listeners laughing while learning how to
increase their self-discipline—-fast!
His professional background includes experience as a
Psychotherapist, a Gerontologist, a writer, and a speaker. He
is a former clinical faculty member at the University of Utah
Graduate School of Social Work. He has lectured at universities
such as University of Washington, University of Tennessee, and
University of Oregon.
Mr. Bryant has developed numerous staff training videos,
resource guides for consumers, and a variety of handbooks for
local, state, and federal agencies, as well as for private businesses.
He has served as a consultant on projects funded by diverse sources
such as Seattle/King County Developmental Disabilities Division
and Small Business Innovation Research, a federal program.
"Theodore Bryant, MSW, has created an exciting,
powerful, and extremely effective self-discipline
course. His 'crash' course will take you from
thinking, dreaming, and wishing to doing!"
Hub Publishing