Here’s to you Mr & Mrs Jackson* With the rain and wind in my face, I run up the hill for the tenth time. This is one of my fitness sessions – hill repetitions which I believe will help with my stamina and strengthen my joints. To be honest, I didn’t really want to do this session this morning because of the weather, and I could think of lots of other things I could do instead which are less exhausting and painful.
So why do I do it? After forty years of running, I am still looking to improve. In a nutshell, this is self-discipline.
After the first leadership lesson I learned about putting other people first https://leadershipintheraw.org/2021/01/19/the-first-leadership-lesson-i-learned-it-is-about-others-before-you/ this is the second lesson I learned as a young man of 16 at the Army’s Junior Leaders Battalion. How can you manage and lead others if you can’t manage yourself? Self-discipline was always the order of the day.
What is self-discipline?
- The ability to control one’s feelings and overcome one’s weaknesses.
- The regulation of oneself for the sake of improvement.
- The ability to do the things that need to be done
5 Disciplines that will set you free
- Controlling your thoughts and behaviours. Give yourself a good talking to everyday.
- Persistence continuous (perseverance and tenacity) – you are in it for the long game.
- Training. Athletes know if they skip even one training session, they are already behind if they don’t follow through with their plan.
- Surrounding yourself with people who are self-disciplined (and positive). They will inspire you and support you. My family do this for me.
- Commit. Self-Discipline is a practice. Accept you will not be perfect every day. What is important though is to turn up each day ready to go. So, what changes am I going to make today?
7 things I needed to do to maintain self-discipline
- Build routines into my timetable. Once I have a routine, I start doing things automatically, so they become a habit. This morning I went swimming at the local leisure centre at 6am. The previous night I laid out the kit I needed so that I was all set to jump into my car at 5.30am to go to the Leisure Centre. This will now become a habit.
- Set Goals – Setting a goal(s), decide why and how it is going to help you develop, this gives you a laser like-focus/purpose.
- Incremental growth, making small incremental improvements towards my goal(s). For instance, I want to come first in my age group for a Parkrun (5KM) in Colchester later in the year (this is an objective) Each month I will increase my mileage by 10% and add cross training, such as weights, into my programme.
- For some people meditation works – I used to work for someone who regularly took breaks to mediate. For me visualisation works – visualising the achievement of the goal I set. I used this technique to run under 16 minutes for 5Km – and then achieved this time consistently.
- Self-Control – the instant and immediate temptation for self-gratification. At the moment it is trying to control my urge to eat chocalate. I don’t drink or smoke, but it is a constant battle to avoid Mars bars and Turkish Delights.
- Monitor, Review and Evaluate my thoughts and actions especially when it comes to achieving my goals
- Ensure I get 7-8 hours’ sleep then get up early and hit the ground running.
Each time I reach the top of the hill I bow to Mr & Mrs Jackson. Although I didn’t know them, I feel I do in some way, and it is important to pay my respects. There is a name plate on the bench that overlooks Lexden Springs (Colchester) in memoriam of Mr Jackson 1923-1976 and Mrs Jackson 1925–2015. RIP
We all have dreams. But in order to make dreams into reality, it takes an awful lot of determination, dedication & discipline”
Steve Raw www.leadershipintheraw.org