Time Magazine recently published an interesting article on self-disciplined people and how their discipline also goes toward them being happier.
I definitely think that self discipline is important in our lives. That we do what we know is good for us even if we really don’t want to do that thing.
My biggest hurdle in self-discipline was to actually quit “trying” to stop smoking and actually DO it. Another hurdle was to start a low sodium diet when I had been raised to enjoy a very high sodium diet of “grease, salt and grits.”
Here’s the link to the article and it makes some great points.
The research, which was published in the Journal of Personality, showed that self-control isn’t just about deprivation, but more about managing conflicting goals. Since most people associate highly disciplined folks with being more task-oriented — they’re not likely to be the life of the party, for example, or eager to act on a whim — the scientists decided to correlate self-control with people’s happiness, to determine if being self-disciplined leaves people feeling less joyful.Through a series of tests — including one that assessed 414 middle-aged participants on self-control and asked them about their life satisfaction both currently and in the past — and another that randomly queried volunteers on their smartphones about their mood and any desires they might be experiencing, the researchers found a strong connection between higher levels of self-control and life satisfaction. The authors write that “feeling good rather than bad may be a core benefit of having good self-control, and being well satisfied with life is an important consequence.””… self-control isn’t just about deprivation, but more about managing conflicting goals.” Managing conflicting goals; the problem with the population that lives beyond their means then come crying for relief when they can’t pay the rent
In my life I have had self control and disciplined myself in many aspects, and in others, I have not exercised self discipline and have given into my desires when those desires were not healthy for me. Many people have difficulty with self discipline in some, or in many, aspects of their lives.
I try to run my life in many ways like a “business” and if something isn’t working, then I change to something that does. But while I have tried this, in many cases I have failed, and have given in to my emotions, and frankly, letting your emotions have total control over our life is not healthy for us. Just as living beyond our means financially gets us behind the financial eight-ball, so does letting our emotions keep people in our lives that are not healthy for us.
I look at many examples in the community, young girls having sex before they are emotionally ready for it, and having children as a result, that they are not ready to effectively parent. Being undisciplined though is not confined to youngsters, but to all ages, and social levels. When I was working in family medicine practice, we had people come in to the clinic on a regular basis without health insurance and they wanted a break on the price of the visit because they couldn’t “afford insurance” but I knew that they had a $30,000 bass fishing boat in their front yard. So were were their priorities? I personally couldn’t sleep at night if I didn’t have medical insurance and I would go to great lengths to pay for it. To me, a person who can “afford” a $30,000 toy, and refuses to buy health insurance for their children is abusing those children.
Learning to be responsible in our choices, and to discipline ourselves to make logical adult decisions is an ongoing process as we mature. Unfortunately, there are those people in this world that do not accept responsibility for themselves and continue to behave as if “the world owes them a living.”