Becoming a more disciplined person - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 23 Old 12-05-2009, 05:18 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi!
I have never posted in this section before, and actually never been in it before. I am looking for a discussion on self-discipline. If there has already been one, feel free to let me know
Basically, I feel that both my husband and I (I know that I can't do this for him, just setting the context) could really be much more disciplined people. I know that it would truly make our lives better and, most importantly, our children's. Every aspect of my life could use improvement in this area. I could be more disciplined in what I eat, when I exercise, keeping an organized & clean house, keeping consistent routines with the kids. It's simply a recurring theme that I don't like at all.
I would love to hear from others who are disciplined or who have improved their self-discipline in any way, shape or form. I'd love to hear about tools, techniques, personal mantras, exercises, books, tips, or anything that anyone has found helpful in this regard. I am not sure if this should be tackled as a big issue of "lack of self-discipline", or rather the individual sub-issues, such as "how to keep a cleaner house" or "how to maintain a healthy routine", etc. I have tried tackling each individual issue in the past, with different levels of success, so I thought that I'd attempt to address the underlying theme. Maybe it's the wrong approach, but I just thought that I'd try!
I want to be a good role model for my children and improve our lives - please help!!
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#2 of 23 Old 12-05-2009, 05:30 PM
 
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There is a book I have found very useful called Time Management from the Inside Out.

Also do either of you have any health problems?
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#3 of 23 Old 12-05-2009, 08:47 PM
 
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I think personality types play a big part in how disciplined you are. Some types are just naturally that way and some of us have to struggle. Are you familiar with personality types? I like Myers- Brigg and I am an ENFP ( I like the book please understand me II by david keirsey. I really like him more than Myers- brigg, you can google his site too).

Ps are naturally less structured than the opposite of Ps which is a J. Less structure often plays out as less self-discipline, more spontaneity. If you are both Ps, this could be a real issue in your family life. My DH is a J and is my saving grace with schedules and getting things done. We each have our strengths and weaknesses and fortunately complement each other well.

It is hard to read organizing advice from people who are not similar to you in personality. I am never going to be like an ESTJ who is a supervisor type and much more interested in keeping the house and life running along the orderly way they think it should be ( and usually they way they think everyone else should too). It took my dh pointing out to me that it's not fair to me to compare myself to people's self-help advice from different personalities and then beat myself up over it. I had to become comfortable with who I was and be careful about what advice I sought out. I am still much less disciplined that I want to be, but at least I don't drive my self crazy trying to match up to others. Just an alternative way to look at the issue.
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#4 of 23 Old 12-05-2009, 09:00 PM
 
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We have found (dh & I) that creating accountability is what works best for us. I would love to just say "I will workout every 2nd day for one hour" & do it, but for ME that is just simply not enough. Now if I am meeting someone at the gym for a workout at 5:00 I would not dream of breaking the date.

With the house we regularly invite people over because we will always make sure the house looks presentable for guests. This way the house never gets out of control (ok, rarely).

For eating I have found having ds helps considerably. I don't want him to eat all sorts of junk so therefore we also are eating a lot better 'cause we wouldn't eat junk in front of him.

I kind of feel self-discipline is not a real thing so much as a difference in personality types. Some people just thrive on having everything just so all the time & therefore appeared very disciplined. So it's a matter of finding a way to reach your goals while working with your own personality.

Surviving sleep deprivation one day at a time with dd (Oct '11) & ds (Oct '08).

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#5 of 23 Old 12-05-2009, 09:02 PM
 
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Also make sure you are not trying to do too much. You can't fit 36 hours of stuff into 24 hours of day.
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#6 of 23 Old 12-06-2009, 04:22 AM
 
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SUBBING. I wanted to post a thread asking this same question ages ago but I was too lazy.

I think that is the main thing I want to work on this year. I have never been a very disciplined person and I truly think that my friends, family and myself all suffer for it. I want to be more disciplined with what I eat, what I do to keep myself healthy, how much I get done in a general day, etc etc. Pretty much I just need some serious help.

Thanks for posting

Kris - married to Nate since 12/06, mom to Toby since 1/08. Also servant to two felines. Done having babies for medical reasons.

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#7 of 23 Old 12-06-2009, 04:34 AM
 
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I definitely need to be more disciplined. In all aspects! DH and I have recently stopped buying all junk foods. But now I bake the cookies and sweets myself. Ugh! That's just one example.

Hmm, another for instance, I should probably head to bed instead of sitting here reading all these posts, because I have to be up earlier than usual tomorrow...

But I'm joining you!!

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#8 of 23 Old 12-06-2009, 04:39 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Krisis View Post
SUBBING. I wanted to post a thread asking this same question ages ago but I was too lazy.
me too me too! i need a thread like this--i have time management issues in a bad way

....slightly OT, but I'm an INTP and DH is an INFJ--my time/planning issues drive him crazy

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#9 of 23 Old 12-06-2009, 03:46 PM
 
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I need this too! I am an INFJ, but I get so stuck in "anazlysis paralysis" that I can't do certain things I need to...like declutter or organize the house.

I get lost in my own world too much! LOL.

belly.gifMama to a Little Scientist (09/08) and our Ray of Sunshine (05/11).
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#10 of 23 Old 12-06-2009, 04:06 PM
 
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Originally Posted by mi_amor View Post
I need this too! I am an INFJ, but I get so stuck in "anazlysis paralysis" that I can't do certain things I need to...like declutter or organize the house.

I get lost in my own world too much! LOL.
I'm the enfp and I love research and analysis, so I do this too. Then my natural tendency to slack off takes over, and I get nothing done.
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#11 of 23 Old 12-07-2009, 06:36 PM
 
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Originally Posted by enfpintj View Post
I'm the enfp and I love research and analysis, so I do this too. Then my natural tendency to slack off takes over, and I get nothing done.
nak

I love research too, so I can get lost on the web for hours! I need more self-discipline so I don't stay on the computer for so long and research everything to death.

belly.gifMama to a Little Scientist (09/08) and our Ray of Sunshine (05/11).
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#12 of 23 Old 12-08-2009, 02:45 PM
 
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nak

I love research too, so I can get lost on the web for hours! I need more self-discipline so I don't stay on the computer for so long and research everything to death.
I need more discipline so I don't stay on MDC for so long!! I spend way too much time on here Hi I'm enfpintj, and I'm addicted to MDC


I'm trying to limit my time now because I have been a bit overboard lately due to poor health. It's easier to sit on the computer when you don't feel well. I swear I'm going to limit to an hour/once a day. That's it. No multiple times a day just cuz I'm avoiding or bored or in pain.
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#13 of 23 Old 12-08-2009, 03:11 PM
 
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I am in need of help in this departmant as well

Mama to 9 so far:Mother of Joey (20), Dominick (13), Abigail (11), Angelo (8), Mylee (6), Delainey (3), Colton (2) and Baby 8 and Baby 9 coming sometime in July 2013.   If evolution were true, mothers would have three arms!

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#14 of 23 Old 12-09-2009, 08:00 PM
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I blame it on birth order! (I'm a 5th-born.)

"Our task is not to see the future, but to enable it."
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#15 of 23 Old 12-10-2009, 02:00 AM
 
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"9 times out of 10, talking about things is just a way to avoid doing anything" (paraphrased from "Dealing With Dragons" by Patricia Wrede)

I need to figure out a way to have that ... oh, of course.
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#16 of 23 Old 12-10-2009, 02:22 AM
 
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I'm right there with ya'll. And after I post this I promise I'm going to get off my butt and do my dishes!

But, one thing I found that helps me is a timer. I seriously use it all the time. I allow myself to do fun things, knitting, video games, whatever, but I set my timer for 20-30 minutes and when the time is up I stop and work on whatever I need to work on. Sometimes I ignore the timer and keep playing . But most of the time it works. It also works when I have some task that I am dreading. I set the timer for 15 min. and tell myself that when the timer goes off, I can stop. It helps me get over dreading it, and just get started, and sometimes getting started is the hardest part, and once the timer goes off I don't mind finishing up. My timer also has helped me learn how long it really takes me to do things, so that I know what I can realistically accomplish in a given amount of time, instead of thinking of all the things I need to do in a day, and then feeling bad for not doing half of it because my list was way too big.

Okay, stepping away from the computer.

Mommy to DS1 July '09 and DS2 Oct '12
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#17 of 23 Old 12-10-2009, 02:46 AM
 
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ok dishes accomplished. I need to do a load of laundry, but the baby woke up to nurse.

I could use some ideas for disciplining myself to practice my piano. I have some goals set of what I'd like to accomplish, but I'm having a hard time coming up with the motivation to do the work needed. A big part of the problem is that I don't have a teacher right now. If I had a lesson to go to every week where it would be transparently obvious that I hadn't practiced, I'd have an easier time making myself do it. We just really can't afford a teacher right now. I'm hopeful that we'll have the money for it this spring at the latest, but I don't want to waste the time I have now and have to relearn things because I'm out of practice. Maybe some kind of reward for myself once I get to a certain number of hours? Thoughts?

Laundry time...

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#18 of 23 Old 12-10-2009, 04:09 AM
 
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I am a list-maker. I have multiple lists, and I think i get hung up on making the lists and don't actually DO the stuff on them. My DH never makes lists--he just knows what needs to be done, and he can prioritize in his head. I think i get mental ADHD or paralysis--I look around and by the time I register the 5th+ thing that needs to be done, I just go, "ok, I'm gonna chill on the computer for awhile"....

I think i have this issue with authority, or being told what to do, that's so extreme that I even "rebel" against a limit I've set for myself. ridiculous, i know, but why else would i have such trouble sticking to my own carefully crafted, logical routines??

For example, I'll tell myself to go to bed at a certain hour, even set an alarm for that time....but it comes and goes, and I'm still up on Facebook or whatever. I am chronically late, always have been Same with deadlines. It's like I cannot mentally buckle down and get any work done unless it's 2.5 hours to the deadline.

anyone else dysfunctional like me? who's got some ideas to get over this??

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#19 of 23 Old 12-10-2009, 10:49 AM
 
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Well, I'll offer thought processes on these. I'm an INTP and am not naturally organized (well in my own ways I am!), good at time management, or anything like that. DH is ISTJ but is not here during the day and doesn't really clean house, so I do all that stuff. Actually for a "J" he's pretty messy but I blame that on him being soooo busy for work.

Anyhoo, for things like clutter and a neat looking house I've found some useful info: I read that visual clutter leads to stress and a stressful mind. Now I know this to be true for myself (I was raised by all "P"s and they were very messy, messier than me). I don't want my life or my daughter's life and homelife to be stressful. So I work on keeping it neat. Now, practically that means I don't have a lot of crap. I work on decluttering constantly and I pick up thruout the day when we're home. When the house starts to look pretty cluttered I pick it up. If I wait till it becomes a huge mess I'll put off cleaning and then the cycle repeats itself. My goal is simple home, natural minimism. The less stuff you have, the easier it is to clean and pick up.

Time management: hmm, I'm still not really good at this but I'm not often late so maybe I'm not that bad. I just watch the clock often because I know I have a tendency to get bogged down in something and not realize that 30 minutes have past and I need to leave NOW! I like the timer idea. I do this sometime, like when I know I have only a *few* minutes to research something before I have to leave (for example).

As far as regular housecleaning goes (not picking up clutter or dishes, trash or laundry...that's a daily affair, but actual cleaning): I do hardcore cleaning on Mondays (bathrooms, floors, finish up ALL laundry, change sheets on beds, wash counters). That way I start the week with a clean house and it's easier to keep it clean if I start out that way. The only exception is vacuuming, in which I ask dh to do because I have bad allergies.

Fitness: no help there, I am not self-disciplined enough to work out regularly. I have tried and failed so many times. Basically, I know how much I can eat before I have to lose weight. I "allow" myself to gain 5lbs then I have to back off, so it's more weight management. For actual health and fitness, I really really need to do more of this. Admittedly, where I use to live, where the weather was often nice and I could go somewhere scenic to walk, I used to walk regularly. Here there's no real incentive unless I need to lose weight. I hate the gym, find it mind-numbingly boring....

Obviously, lol, as an INTP, I have to intellectualize everything and come up with ways to convince myself *why* I should or should not do something. And it's often a lifestyle change, like when I quit smoking.

I'm following the thread for others' helpful advice...

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#20 of 23 Old 12-10-2009, 01:22 PM
 
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I'm thinking some of y'all are still trying to do too much at one time.
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#21 of 23 Old 12-11-2009, 04:52 PM
 
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Ok, I'll chime in with another thing I do. I make a to-do list everyday, but I am only allowed to put 6 things on the list, and they must be things I can reasonably accomplish in that day. The first two items are always dishes and laundry (I wash diapers every other day, and my regular laundry in between, just one load every day) Any errands I have to run also go on the list, if I have several short ones, they get put on as one item. Other items are other chores I need to do, or time spent working on long term projects (I'm specific here: "spend 1 hour working on x.") If I'm sick, or there's something else going on (family visiting, or whatever) the list is just dishes and laundry. I've found if I can just keep up on those two things, the house will run relatively smoothly until things can get back to normal. Having a list helps me remember what I should be working on when the baby finally goes down for his nap. Allowing only six things on my list really makes me prioritize on what I really have to get done that day, and it keeps me from having my expectations set too high. There are plenty of times that I don't even finish all six things, but I can usually get pretty close, so I don't feel like a failure.

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#22 of 23 Old 12-12-2009, 10:52 PM
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I'm right there with ya'll. And after I post this I promise I'm going to get off my butt and do my dishes!

But, one thing I found that helps me is a timer. I seriously use it all the time. I allow myself to do fun things, knitting, video games, whatever, but I set my timer for 20-30 minutes and when the time is up I stop and work on whatever I need to work on. Sometimes I ignore the timer and keep playing . But most of the time it works. It also works when I have some task that I am dreading. I set the timer for 15 min. and tell myself that when the timer goes off, I can stop. It helps me get over dreading it, and just get started, and sometimes getting started is the hardest part, and once the timer goes off I don't mind finishing up. My timer also has helped me learn how long it really takes me to do things, so that I know what I can realistically accomplish in a given amount of time, instead of thinking of all the things I need to do in a day, and then feeling bad for not doing half of it because my list was way too big.

Okay, stepping away from the computer.
That's a really good idea!

"Our task is not to see the future, but to enable it."
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#23 of 23 Old 12-12-2009, 11:54 PM
 
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I currently am considered to have a lot of self-discipline - I work from home, I run a business with a 100% flexible schedule, and I have two kids and a dh who always want something. In order to get everything done that needs to be done, I need a lot of self-discipline. But I am NOT by nature self-disciplined. So, how do I do it?

First off, it is a learning process. Self-discipline is a skill, much like cooking, entertaining, financial management. You can read a book and get advice from others, but only by practicing (and failing and trying again) will you actually learn how to do it.

Second, I had to learn a bunch of stuff to allow me the space to become more disciplined.

1. Work to your strengths, and mitigate agains your weaknesses.

In other words, accept who you are. Are you terrible about assessing time? Okay, accept it, but work with it - if you know you are bad about it, and hate being late, esimate how much time you think something will take you and double the time allowed.

Me, I work well in fits and starts. I am not good at doing stuff every day, little by little. There are some days I have a lot of energy to get stuff done - and I am insanely productive when this happens - and other days I am a total sloth. So my systems (household, business, social) takes that into account. I never create processes or filing systems that require me to put stuff in a specific folder or to spend more than 2 seconds on an item - BUT I can find it all again when I do get that spurt of energy to actually sort it out.

2. the key to happiness is expectation management.

In other words, keeping your expectations within perspective can make your outlook a lot less stressful. And keeping other people's expectations reasonable will also make you look a lot better and feel a lot better.

Look at your to do list and give a quick estimate of how much time it would take to do each item marked "Today". Double that time (especially if you are prone to underestimating). Now, is this list reasonable? Drop off everything that is not a top priority - and if you are only doing something because you promised someone else, remember that next time someone asks for something.

I love to bake, but I never have the time needed bake homemade stuff for the kids' school snacks. They get store bought and they like it fine, and I "forgive" myself for not taking the time to bake.

I also look for ways to give to my community (like the church, kids schools, etc) in ways that are easy for ME - no, stuffing envelopes at the school is not an option, but you need a website? Sure! Just give me at least 3 weeks lead time.

3. Look for time savers. Stuff like:

* buy birthday cards and birthday presents in bulk so you always have a stash to grab at the last minute

* figure out what errands are near each other and combine them.

* combine tasks or do 'em in parallel - like right now, I am doing laundry, and doing dishes, and on MDC. S'okay, I run the laundry for 35 minutes, move to dryer, come back, etc. etc.

* Get a family calendar (google calendar is awesome) and block out time on it to get stuff done - I find the sheer act of looking at my week and thinking of all the stuff I gotta do is very useful in realizing "well, crap, I gotta complete that report for Wednesday BUT I am out all day Tuesday volunteering at the kids' school. I guess I'd better do it on Monday." I also block out time for cooking, exercise, socializing, date night, or else it tends to not get done.

4. Prioritize by impact. I find the best way to focus me on what needs to be done is to think about the impact of not doing it. If I don't do laundry tonight, my kids won't have their Tai Kwon Do uniforms for Monday (which means if I only have time for one, I will do the whites first). If I don't finish this proposal on Monday, I may not win the work, which means I will have problems making payroll.

And, if there is little to no impact, why do it?

5. recognize that there are three resources available to everyone, in different quantities: energy, time, and money. And of the three, energy is the most valuable. You can get anything done, given an infinite quantity of any of the three. But no one has an infinite quantity. Me, right now, I have (a little) more money than time or energy, so I outsource a heck of a lot (we have a house cleaner, plus I hire people do do the leaves, lawn, etc). Friends of mine have tons of time so they do more stuff themselves than I do. But whatever the decision about how to get it done, we all have limited resources, and we need to respect that fact.

Hope this helps.

You know the attributes for a great adult? Initiative, creativity, intellectual curiosity? They make for a helluva kid...
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