Suddenly thinking self-discipline can feel oppressive. You should grab yourself by the neck and put your life on the line or else you are weak and lazy.
Psychology Anu Tevanlinna sees that permanent change is not built on self-discipline, but willpower can be useful in everyday life. Persistently taking small steps towards your own goal leads to big successes.
– In everyday language, willpower is self-discipline. It could be described as a self-management tool. Even the boring things that are required sometimes, such as washing the laundry or filling out the tax return, you just have to take care of it with determination and only then throw yourself on the couch to watch series. Self-discipline can therefore be seen as determination, which helps to get the agreed tasks done and things progress. The load doesn’t get too big.
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– Willpower is investing in yourself, even though doing it in itself may not be rewarding at the exact moment. A good example is going for a run. Everyone knows that exercise supports health, but it often takes a bit of guts to put on sneakers in miserable weather.
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– Self-management must be practiced and repeated so that desired habits turn into routines, Tevanlinna formulates.
Disciplined for the rest of your life?
Hard self-discipline can suddenly seem like an easy route to achieving results. With it, you might be able to go through a couple of weeks of fitness or browse the store’s deli shelves for a long time, but strong will power is not the way to happiness.
– It is an absurd idea to persevere with willpower for the rest of your life, because the core problems will not disappear anywhere. The downside of unnecessarily hard self-discipline is harsh inner speech and joyless boring. Life can easily start to feel like a never-ending process, which can be exhausting.
In permanent lifestyle changes, it is necessary to find a deeper self-regulation capacity instead of just rational solutions, Tevanlinna points out.
– You have to find inner fire, motivation and self-understanding. It can be achieved by honestly thinking about how you could reach your goal with sufficiently small steps that are suitable for your everyday life.
It is also good to think about why the change is important to you. When this becomes clear, even actions that do not feel comfortable at the time of doing them will be successful.
Body and mind needs
The problem with self-discipline decisions is that slipping up exposes you to severe disappointments.
“I didn’t have enough backbone.”
“I just couldn’t, I messed up, I’m bad.”
Such accusations are on the lips of many who come to Anu Tevanlinna’s reception. For example, the kilos shed with the help of a fast diet come back with interest, and on top of that, a big psychological disappointment.
– Slouching is not a sign of weakness or laziness. Permanent change can only be built on flexibility and permissiveness. Mere rationalization, persistence and self-flagellation therefore do not serve anyone’s well-being. It can even be disastrous to go jogging with your teeth gritted if your body is crying out for rest, or to nibble on snacks when your body needs energy.
For example, in tackling emotional eating, it is essential to practice new emotional skills instead of scolding yourself. Sometimes, at the heart of the change lies a complicated relationship between the body, food or exercise, in which case it is worth investing in working on them. Self-discipline is not the solution then. Positive change can only begin when the needs of the body and mind are not ignored.
– You can’t control your own mind, so you have to get to know it, Tevanlinna says.
Stop by yourself
As a child, many people have been taught to push themselves to the limit: shut out all temptations, work hard, eat super-healthy even at parties, or step on a package. Compulsive self-discipline can turn against itself and your whole life becomes one big tangle of obligations.
– Performance-oriented people may try to suppress or bypass their genuine inner needs by constantly doing things.
Tevanlinna recommends everyone to stop by themselves, as there is no clear test or measuring stick for how well everyone is doing. When you find your deepest emotions, you can modify the harsh inner voice to be more encouraging.
– Practicing mental skills is always possible and good for everyone.
A gentle grip on the whip
Completely unnecessary rebellion, self-discipline is still not on the verge of even bigger change projects. Persistence is needed to be able to locate the feelings and thought barriers that prevent change from within. Sisu can also act as an aid that pushes you in the right direction at difficult points. Based on research, it is known that willpower is limited and that, for example, sufficient sleep strengthens it.
– When you are well rested, it is easier to make choices that will only reward you in the future. That’s why after two bad nights of sleep it’s harder to resist treats.
You can find more of the desired self-discipline if you dare to be kinder to yourself. When you live a meaningful life that looks like yourself, you will find more will to cherish your well-being and health. Then he naturally makes good choices that suit him.
– Determination and goal-orientedness are needed, but also a lot of flexibility and permissiveness. Well-being is best supported by actions that fit your everyday life, that spring from inner desire instead of compulsion and that can be modified according to the situation, summarizes Anu Tevanlinna.
No one can stand to be constantly scolding themselves. Instead of flogging, permanent change requires understanding and gentleness. Instead of practicing holding yourself tighter by the neck, you should learn to take yourself kindly by the hand and guide yourself in the desired direction with gentle determination.
This article has appeared in Hyvä tervey magazine. As a subscriber, you can read all issues free of charge digilehdet.fi service
Source: Hyvä Terveys by www.hyvaterveys.fi.
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