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How do you balance self-love and self-discipline?

How do you balance self-love and self-discipline?

I have written before about how to reframe “falling off the wagon,” but I can’t help but think it is incomplete. Once again, in some habits I am trying to build, I have broken my streak. I am trying to figure out what best to do to rectify this. The situation brings up a philosophical question for me, but it also provides an opportunity to re-evaluate my methods and make changes.

Philosophy, yo

Broadly, I am struggling with balancing self-love and self-discipline. Growing up, I was surrounded by the American ideal that way “the self-made man,” and a large part of that was an iron will that lead to unbreakable discipline.

In sports, you always gave it your all until the very end. You attended practice every day unless you were actively dying. Constant work on improvements day in and day out lead to bigger improvements by the end of the season.

Largely in reaction to my childhood (I think?), I developed a different theory for how best to improve myself post-college. It involved acceptance and love, and finding ways to gently encourage the continuation of a habit without simply “the sweat of the brow” (man, there are a lot of phrases and idioms regarding self-discipline).

Anyway, nowadays I’m tempted to think that maybe there is more to the story. Really, when isn’t there more to the story?

We know the brain really hates change. It’s lazy, that’s how it evolved to be so impressive. Change inherently goes against the nature of the brain. However, there are times—such as during a hyperfixation—where I am engrossed in the subject matter, and learning regardless of the difficulty to my brain. So, obviously, it is possible to learn and develop that way.

So what happens when I want to learn or become proficient in something that isn’t a hyperfixation? I guess that is where the discipline would come in. Or I would have to accept that the activity isn’t something I would become proficient in.

A method to the madness

Relying entirely on self-love and acceptance isn’t working, it seems. The quesiton now becomes how do I balance the incorporation of self-discipline into my existing practice of self-love. I think that’s a tough question, and obviously will be different for different people.

I have thought about some options for improving my habit-formation, regardless of the self-discipline question:

These were the top three things I came up with to try for my next go around at habit formation. Who knows, maybe for me, it will just take a few rounds (with breaks) before my habits stick.

Day 27 of the #100DaysToOffload challenge done!