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Self-discipline - for those who are "play before work" types

1411 Views 15 Replies 10 Participants Last post by  Seeker99
Any advice on creating & enforcing structure in your own life? How do you discipline yourself to accomplish tasks that there is no one else to motivate you to do (or no immediate consequences)?

I grew up finding school TOO easy (homework was done on the bus ride home, I never needed to study, I pulled projects off at the 11th hour, etc) and my parents did not make me do chores. I have little self-discipline. However, I can muster a LOT of self-motivation if I care enough, and then discipline is not even an issue, as I just do it cuz I want to. The problem is when I don't care, or not enough, but I know I NEED to care.

I'm a play before work type, and I am deadline oriented. This can mean if I have no deadline for a task I don' care to do, then I just continue to goof off. I've tried promising myself some reward upon finishing some task, but that doesn't always work. I've tried denying myself something, like a form of punishment, until the task is done, or if it's done late, but that does not work either.

How do you create motivation for something you really don't want to do but need to do?
I realize a lot of this is mental, so any tips on how to "reason" with yourself to get the right mindset is appreciated. Keep in mind, I don't respond well (or at all) to "tough love".

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I suppose that I was likely conditioned into my current role... some via parents and some via my own doing. There's far too much back story to attempt to explain, but I think in my case, the defining moment came to me at a young age when my father casually, yet matter-of-factly, told me, something akin to:

"There ain't no Santa Clauses, son. If you want something, no matter what it may be, you must go out and figure out a way to get it for yourself in an honest manner. No one owes you ANYTHING, and don't you ever forget it. You only have yourself to depend on. Life isn't fair, period, so don't complain when things don't work out in your favor all of the time, but keep after it and you'll accomplish whatever you want. Just make sure that you want what you're after. You will have to endure a lot of pain and have a lot of discipline, but I promise you it will be worth it. All you really have in this world is your reputation and once you lose it, you cannot ever get it back, so guard yours always. Also, always remember, that you have a choice in everything. One choice may not be desirable, but it is still a choice. The right thing to do is not always popular."

I'm sure I have romanticized it through my own filters, but that's how I remember it and how I have always lived it. Of course, we've had other talks in life as well, and while what I write here isn't remotely meant as a "pep-talk" or anything like that, I'll offer this one last thought that my own father shared with me:

"Do what you have to do, when you have to do it. Then, as you get older, you will be able to do what you want to do, when you want to do it and will owe no one anything."

So, I may not have answered your question, directly, but let me say that, for me, I am often motivated to learn new things. I cannot stand to have something dangling over my head, knowing that I will have to eventually do it. I guess, again, I have an inner drive that jolts me into doing things that may be unpleasant, because I know that, eventually (and it becomes clearer each day to me), I will be able to do what I want, when I want.

Unfortunately, I do not have any unsolicited advice on how to develop this "ability". I wouldn't dare say it's *maturity* (or lack thereof) nor *age difference* since I also know individuals both older and younger than me that are on both sides of this issue. I also will not try the "tough love" approach, but only attempt to explain from my own upbringing.

I hope this was somewhat helpful, even if only at the margins.
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Hm...he sounds like an STJ. That speech would not have affected me, honestly. The "life is not fair" argument immediately sets off alarms - it contradicts my ideals. Life SHOULD be fair, and that is all that matters. If we accept everything as it is, then it will never improve.
Nah, my dad is an xNTJ, like myself. I'm genuinely curious as to why you think that life SHOULD be fair? I don't necessarily disagree with you, mind you, just curious as to the logical reasons as to why.

I also think people DO owe each other things, namely that we have moral obligations to one another as fellow human beings. This should be evident in the way we treat and deal with one another on every level of interaction.
Again, I'm curious as to why you think that Person A owes Person B something by mere virtue of existing. Treating others with respect and the like is just good manners and "moral obligation" is highly subjective.
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