Self-Discipline in 10 Days - Day 7


Day 7 is another problem I have - perfectionism. And this ties with the previous problem when it comes to me and tasks like writing - I see a blank page as a deterrent because I want more than anything for my words to come out perfect the first time, when in reality, getting the ball rolling and editing later is the best course of action. You, in effect, “see the whole board” rather than having to edit and critique and write in one go.

There are several tools and exercises in this chapter - one is to purposefully do something that is mediocre. I feel like I do this every day with 750 words, and will be doing something similar with NaNoWriMo. The book’s example is hilarious - write a average email to a friend - this hits home because I usually check and recheck everything I write.

The next tool is world-opening for me - private rewards - give yourself a private praise for any even mildly small task of success. I’m such a pessimist that my internal monologue is filled with either emptiness or constant disparagement. IF I do accomplish something, I immediately say - wow I could have done better, I can do better in the future, what can I do to get better - which is essentially criticism. I have no praise in my internal monologue, and it solves the problem of finding rewards that don’t contradict my own system. The book specifically says to try to give that voice of encouragement the same voice of someone in your past who used to give you encouragement - I’ll have to think about this, because I don’t know if there ever was such a voice. But it emphasizes to use this quickly and constantly.

Contracts are another exercise - but I’ve never really understood them because I don’t really have that many rewards, nor do I have many wants. Until I really started thinking about it. If I do this, I’ll buy the XX that I really wanted - usually it deals with material possessions, which I don’t want. And the few times I really indulge in food - well it’s random and I go ahead and do it. But one example from the book has to do with putting down money for a specific vacation or something like that. For me it would be training programs. What would I want?  But more than that - a hypnosis lesson. A Biofeedback lesson or device. A meditation course.  My problem is that my life has been pared down to two things - things I must do. And spillage. So - when I think of getting a DSLR camera I think - this is something I must do. When I get a nice meal at a restaurant - it’s spillage. And I think my rewards have to be things that don’t really fit - a hypnosis course would be great, but I think of it as an excess that is frivolous - it’s expensive, and I don’t need it now because I’m not ready for it.

The book says to actually write these down. This gets all the more confusing because I write about travel, something I love so that’s not exactly a reward, it’s more of work.

The last bit of advice is to use rewards for bits of a project rather than for the entire result - my life has been so maniacally result oriented that I forget that it’s the action undertaken that makes the difference - which is the root of my perfectionism and procrastination, and therefore depression.

Exercise - make an active list of rewards (and the books says keep it active, simple in writing, and fun) “irresistible pleasures” - I’ve come up with a list that’s equal parts courses, random things I’ve selected from the internet, and random pinterest selections.