The Aftermath of Sustained Self-discipline

Recently, at a business meeting we congratulated one of our self disapline wordsgroup members.  She had recently maintained extreme discipline to meet a particularly physically, demanding goal.  Time management was extremely important in this formula to succeed and involved running a business, clients, a family, a social calendar, and more to maintain.

I’ve always been fascinated with galvanizing energy, determination, and gumption as one starts a journey to accomplish a major feat or goal. Depending on the person and the goal, the necessary sustained effort and self-discipline can last from weeks to years.

Some examples of this from my own life range from having a good-sized party in my home to reaching a certain target of clients, from an exercise regimen to a weight loss plan, from writing and learning a speech to putting on a professional event.

As I may have mentioned in other blogs, I can be extremely focused.  Sometimes so focused, that I neglect other aspects of my life.  No major catastrophes though.  Then, after intense focus and sustained effort and having reached my goal, I want to dissolve into a TV-watching, seldom moving, and snack-eating kind of slouch. That may be accompanied by a definite change in sentence forming and intonation slightly resembling baby-talk.

In an article by Tara Mohr, entitled, “You Don’t Need More Self Discipline,” she explained that, “[Self-discipline] referred to situations when there was an instructor and disciples (the word “discipline” comes from the word “disciple”). There was a clear and absolute authority who had control over subordinates. Somewhere along the way, this idea began to be applied within the self .The idea was that one part of us could be the “instructor” authority figure over the rest, and discipline the rest of the self into orderly action.”

It definitely feels that way to me when I embark on some kind of project requiring sustained effort.  That is, there seems to be the instructor or authority part of me and the subordinate, perhaps if not straining, then exerting great effort into action.  That feeling creates a curiosity and deep interest for me in knowing if that is how others feel.

There’s an excellent article, “Developing the Self-Discipline Needed to Achieve a Goal” by Adam Sicinski, which, in part, explains that it is necessary to regulate and correct your behavior, and discusses the ingredients, such as, reasons why, serious commitment, accountability, rewards, penalties, etc. for successful self-discipline.  I can find a lot of commentary on just that – accomplishing a goal.  What, in fact, fascinates me, however, is how people behave after an accomplishment that required great energy, effort and discipline.

I certainly have seen politicians after grueling campaigns go on vacation, and in fact, that is what the person I mentioned in my first paragraph did after her grueling achievement.  I doubt, though, that everyone can or wants to go away on a vacation following a time when they exercised much self-discipline to achieve an important goal.  Therefore, I am wondering what other people do.  Do they react as I described and fold back into a lump of something quite the opposite of efficient?  I realize that when I had small children, when I was responsible for sick parents, or when running my business and was responsible to both clients and employees, for the most part, I had to keep it together and function normally.

Yet, I am wondering how others behave after an extended period of sustained effort and strict self-discipline.  And, would there be a wide range of behavior in this circumstance? I’m just very curious about this.

1 Comment

  1. This is a curious question, and I am sure varies for every individual…how do we crash and recover is more like it. Being compelled to finish and complete tasks, by the time I get on a plane for a vacation, I usually pass out before take off from sheer exhaustion. With luck, I arrive at destination somewhat restored, so I can get away from it all for a few days or a week. I have also found a nice getaway in WI, to help me recharge more frequently…that has been a lifesaver as business and caretaking elderly parents take precedence in my life.

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