Results: My 7 Day Self-Discipline Challenge
Just over a week ago I decided to put myself on a leash. Not literally of course, but figuratively. I decided that I wanted to push my own limits and spend 7 days focusing on only the very important things that matter to me and my business. I took drastic action and was very critical about the areas of life that waste my time. I cut things out of my schedule that are very habitual and things that sometimes feel like a necessity. The challenge is now over and today I’m sharing the results – if any of you joined me on the day I posted about it, you should also be finished your challenge by now. The reason I decided to set myself this pure self-discipline challenge is because I realise that I have been slipping in areas of my life. My business and finances are going well but if I’m being totally honest, things could be going a lot better. A lot has been going on around me recently and quite a few events have really forced me to put life into perspective. Because of this, I want to start taking responsibility for my actions and more specifically, the results. In essence, I don’t want to take my opportunity on earth for granted, and it is only me who can make sure that doesn’t happen. The challenge was something I decided to do in order to push my limits and definitely think it has been a success. Before I share my overall thoughts and what I’ve realised thanks to it, I want to look at each area I have worked on and how I think I handled the discipline.
Individual CommentaryI eliminated five main things from my life. Some things were a lot harder to remove from my schedule than others, but they each tempted me to slip up during the 7 days. Here is what I stopped and how their absence during my week-long challenge affected me (in the order I originally wrote them). No Twitter, Facebook or Instant Messaging Up until a couple of weeks ago, I had to use MSN Messenger every single day to talk to the freelancers I hire in order to track the progress of the projects they were working on. Once their jobs were completed however, I had no need for MSN, yet I would still be using it to chat to friends and ex-colleagues fairly often. The same goes for Twitter and Facebook. They don’t really have a need or purpose in my life right now but I use them regularly. This won’t make sense for people who don’t use either site but whenever something cool happened in my life (everyday, obviously ) I would instantly think of Tweeting it or updating my status on Facebook. I honestly think this a bit pathetic and it is certainly not how I want to live my life. As far as cutting these things out goes, I strangely had no problems eliminating them from my daily life. I definitely won’t return to them as often as before. My only concern with this is that some people sent me multiple messages on Facebook because they thought I was ignoring them. No TV I spent over a year in South Africa and in that time I watched less than 30 minutes of Television. I also watch no more than an hour of TV per day in the UK, despite the fact that I’m working from home, so I didn’t think this area would pose any problems. I was so serious about this challenge that I said no to going to the pub and watching my football team (Newcastle United) play their last game of the season. It worked out as a small blessing in disguise – my team lost and they ended up being relegated. I “slipped up” once on the last day of the challenge because I wanted to watch the finals of Britain’s Got Talent which is a very popular TV show over here. Besides that one incident I managed to stick to this successfully and again, didn’t find it too difficult. No Waking Up Late or Staying Out Until 2-3 am The staying out late part of this caused me a bit of a problem. On Friday I went out with my friends to Town for most of the day and then hit up a few nightclubs. In order to really push myself, I ended up leaving them at 12 and took a taxi home. Of course, I just told them I was tired and not on a self-discipline challenge. I think the latest I woke up was 10:30am and the earliest about 6am. My average was about 9am which is fairly good seeing as I can set my own hours. This part of the challenge also made my days feel much longer and helped me to get a lot more done. No Sex or Anything Related This was not as bad as I thought it would be, but definitely the item I found giving me the most temptations. I don’t want to be stereotypical but I also think it is much harder for me as a 20 year old male than any other age or gender combination. I didn’t tell my female “friends” (I don’t do girlfriends, long story) about this and literally just cut off all communication. I knew if I was in touch with them this would be almost impossible so I disappeared off the radar for a week. If I was going to fail on any item of my challenge then this definitely would have been it. I did manage to pass this as well and I’m going to spend the next 7 days making up for it. No Email or Website Stats Checking I run an internet based business so these are fairly important to my success. That being said, I knew that I could go a week without checking my email and things would not crumble in my absence. On the first day of the challenge, I turned on my PC and just caught myself about to open up my inboxes (I have five) but managed to stop. This was not deliberate and purely habitual. After that, I decided to remove most of my bookmarks so that I couldn’t accidentally slip-up and ruin my challenge (which, if you can’t tell already, I took very seriously). I didn’t find it difficult not to check my website stats which is quite strange as I usually check them multiple times per day using real-time analytics. OVERALL In all honesty, this was a lot easier than I thought it would be. As I expected, the last few days were much harder than the first two or three, probably because my motivation was dying down and I knew the end was in sight. One of the realisations I am going to share below did help to make this a lot easier. What I’m really happy about is the fact that I have completed more work in these last 7 days than I have in the last 3 weeks. I have finished a new eBook for another audience, written about 10 blog posts, set-up two new websites and finished some tasks that I have been putting off. It’s great to see how much you can get done when you really put your mind to something.
Two RealisationsWhen I stated what I hope to get out of this self-discipline challenge, there were three items on my list. The first was that I want to test myself and push my own limits. The second was that I wanted to dedicate more time to productive activities and the third was simply curiosity as to how I would react after the challenge and what I would learn. I definitely succeeded in the first two items on my list, I pushed myself hard and I had a very productive week. As far as my reaction goes, I think I need a bit more time to see if I slip into old habits. I am happy to say that this challenge led me to two excellent realisations that I would probably never have had otherwise. They are…
- It’s Only Hard When You’re Free
- Focus on the Tasks’ End Result, Not Something Else