I finished “Self Discipline in 10 Days” some weeks ago, and I’ve started rereading it because I want to review some ideas and do some exercises again, and I just received the paper version in the mail.
This book is actually about goals and the mindset to reach them.I would have called it “How to Reach Your Goals” or something like that. I think it would have been more popular if it had another title. People are usually not attracted to the idea of self-discipline. I’m definitely one who’s not, and I don’t think I would have thought of reading it. I only did it because a psychologist recommended it to me.
But let’s dig into the content. It’s written using simple, casual language, as the author himself puts it: “all psychobabble and jargon have been skimmed off.”
The main idea throughout the book is that there is a hidden subconscious part of our mind that doesn’t want us to do the things that we decide on the conscious level. The author calls this part of us Mr. Hyde. I’m not a big fan of imagining myself as having two parts of me. It resembles split personality to me and I prefer a more integrative view of the human being and personality. But I know that there are hidden parts of our mind and subconscious beliefs that drive us and that sometimes we are not aware of them. I think that what the book is trying to help us do is to bring the subconscious beliefs to the surface. The exercises prompt you to pay attention to and write down the things you say to yourself – he calls it “self-talk.” And he’s giving some tools to replace the negative self-talk and the subconscious beliefs that keep us stuck with positive ones. Some of these tools are: visualization, rewarding yourself for little steps towards your goal, affirmations – called “Vitaminds” in the book, creating an action plan for each goal you want to achieve.
A new idea I discovered in this book that I didn’t find anywhere else is to go through pre-goal stages (decision and preparation stage) before starting to work on a goal.
I found the exercise for the decision stage very useful: to write down the benefits and the drawbacks of pursuing and achieving a goal.
Another interesting tip in the book is to write next to each item on your to-do list an estimate of how long you think it will take you to complete it.
I think this book can be really useful. It has great insights about what goes on in the mind when you decide you want to achieve something and you have to take action towards it constantly and on a long-term. But you have to dig deep into the exercises, with self-honesty and courage. And, of course, you have to do the work required for each stage of the goal.