(Editor’s Note: Writer Isaac Peterson shares his thoughts on self-discipline and offers tips and ideas on how to make it work best for you and your goals. KT).
If you’ve been reading my on writing as a BEST website blog contributor for very long, you know I’m a big believer in self-care, as well as setting and achieving goals.
I’ve written about those subjects a few times, but I haven’t written much about a related subject: discipline. Without discipline, self-care and achieving goals are pretty difficult, if not impossible.
Get comfortable while I tell you stuff you already know.
We all know what discipline is: Discipline is drill sergeants rousing the troops at the crack of dawn and making them do all the exercises and drills and stuff that motivated me not to go into the military (remember those TV commercials for the U.S. Army, the ones that said, We do more by 9 am than most people do all day)?
I didn’t think I needed that much discipline; it would interfere with my plans to lounge around all day eating Cheetos.
Another idea on discipline: when your mom makes you practice piano when there were more fun things to do, which when you’re a kid is pretty much anything else.
These can be coercive kinds of discipline, the kind that come from someone outside of yourself.
The kind of discipline I’m talking about is self-discipline, the kind that comes from inside ourselves, the kind we really need while we’re recovering from a brain injury. You are the one making you go through the stuff that’s no fun and is really hard to do. Self-discipline is when you become your own inner drill sergeant and/or mom.
It’s something you’ll someday be glad you did, trust me.
Figuring out what you want to do in your self-care regimen and where you eventually want to be is important, but you also need to figure out exactly how to get there. Try to think of the consequences of not doing what you’ve decided to do for yourself, and do whatever it takes to avoid that outcome.
I think this is important: Decide in advance that you will stick with it and will not give up trying.
I’ve shared about breaking your goals down into bite sized pieces–you don’t want to bite off more than you can chew at one time. Start with small, easy to attain goals and gradually work up to more difficult to attain goals.
You know best what you need to do, how much of it you want to do, and how much of it you can do. Figure out when you can do that work and how often and build it into your routine. The important thing is to stick with it (I can’t say that often enough) and make yourself do it. Build it into your routine and soon it will become a habit. You may be going through some kind of therapy, like physical therapy, but if your experience is anything like mine, you can come up with your own therapy in addition, one that’s expressly for the individual that is you.
I encourage you to do that, but I recommend sticking with your regular therapy as well.
Write out your goals and make the commitment to yourself to do what you need to do, but revise it as you think you need to. If you need to, write your goals down every day until they’re burned into your brain and impossible to forget or ignore. Along the way, remember to celebrate your successes and build on those. The failures aren’t really failures if you learn from them and revise your self-care accordingly. Even a failure is a sort of success—failing means you tried and just need a different approach and keep at it; if something stops working for you, stop doing it. The only way to truly fail is to not try.
Celebrate each success, set yourself up to experience a series of small successes, and success will become a habit.
While you want to achieve goals, don’t push your limits too much at one time. Self-discipline doesn’t mean you have to be a workaholic about it.
If you start to dread doing what you need to do, try to find a way to make it fun. One thing that works for me is reward myself for getting through what I set out to do. If I keep in mind that if I get done doing something, I can do something more fun when I’m done, and that makes getting through it easier to do.
But just getting that thing done is what’s most important. When you meet your goal give yourself credit for accomplishing something big—reward yourself with something that is a big thing for you.
You worked for it and you deserve a big reward.
That boils down to being committed to the goal you set for yourself. Get it done no matter what. If you run into a circumstance where you just can’t get it done right now, get it done the next time you can fit it in. If you’re really committed, you’ll find a way to get it done.
Make sure your reason for not doing isn’t just procrastinating. Procrastinating doesn’t get you anywhere and just pushes achieving your goal further back. (I know that’s easy for me to say sitting here, but I’ve procrastinated plenty).
One more thing to remember is to have the discipline to build some down time into your routine. Life is about more than working hard, but the hard work will let you enjoy living more.
Isaac Peterson grew up on an Air Force base near Cheyenne, Wyoming. After graduating from the University of Wyoming, he embarked on a career as an award-winning investigative journalist and as a semi-professional musician in the Twin Cities, the place he called home on and off for 35 years. He also doesn’t mind it at all if someone offers to pick up his restaurant tab. Peterson also welcomes reader comments. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
On the cusp on her 18th birthday, Erin has been creating, studying and enjoying art since a tender young age.
Since 2016, Erin has been contributing her art and volunteer time to BEST. Erin contributed her original art to BEST’s popular holiday tips and advice article series and a widely-shared special article series on empowerment, self-care and brain injury awareness.
Erin has also assisted BEST with various social media campaigns, sharing her time, energy and her talent.
What’s next for the artist?
This fall, Erin embarks on the next phase of her education and will be attending the University of Washington where she’ll be pursuing a degree in business and marketing. She’ll continue with her passion for art and will be appearing the Superhero show, BEST’s community art installation at the Tacoma Art Museum in October.
We gathered Erin’s thoughts on art and what she loves about superheroes. Check it out below.
Erin’s Connections to BEST:
“I have a family member with a brain injury, and I have been a BEST volunteer since 2016,” Erin explains.
Erin’s Connections to Art:
“I enjoy creating digital and traditional drawings that reflect some aspect of my personality,” shares the artist. “I enjoy creating these types of pieces because they allow me to share who I am with the world.”
Erin’s Favorite Art Themes to Create:
“Empowerment,” says Erin. “I create my characters in a way that resembles confidence through their clothes, facial expressions, poses, and so on. My main goal when putting my art out in the world is to empower others to be themselves unapologetically.”
Why Art is Special to Erin:
“To me, art is therapeutic. It is a chance for me to connect with myself and convey my emotions, passions and ideas in a creative way,” explains Erin. “Art is special to me because it has always been my favorite way to share who I am with the world.”
Erin’s Favorite Superhero Characteristics:
Here’s her list: selfless; confident; caring; and dauntless.
To learn more about the Superhero show, community art installation program, the Tacoma Art Museum (TAM), and how you can participate as a local BEST artist, please click here.
Cards are like special paper hugs sent through the mail, especially beautiful handmade cards made with love and care.
Diane Rasch is happily (and quite busily) providing those gentle and wonderful hugs to the community through her creative work with her business, Heartfelt Tidbits of Creativity. The business, started in 2013, began with cards sold locally. Today, Heartfelt Tidbits of Creativity has expanded to include sweet hand-crafted gifts as well as cards.
Now that’s a LOT of hugs being shared.
Even better? New shops are coming into the fold on a steady basis.
Her personal and business theme and message are straightforward.
“Heartfelt Tidbits of Creativity was founded on art that speaks from the heart, and about loving and honoring each other,” says Rasch.
It is that very message that captures the spirit and imagination of the community; along with Rasch’s warm smile, kindness, determination and deep passion for her work that naturally draws businesses and customers alike.
Her workshop, located in at Our BEST Space in University Place, Washington, is always abuzz with excitement, positive energy and activity. Rasch is busy fulfilling orders, sharing her passion with BEST Space patrons and local brain injury support group members, and leading creative activities at the Space every Wednesday. She has also participated in multiple local community art shows over the years with her multi-media collage artwork.
Currently, Rasch’s art will be appearing in the upcoming Superhero show, a BEST community art installation at the Tacoma Art Museum this fall. Her work is also featured on the museum website advertising the show.
When she is not creating, she’s checking in with shop owners and scouting new locations for her work.
And of course, she enjoys spending time with her loving husband John, beloved children and grandchildren and dear friends.
Despite all the excitement with her art and making her dreams reality, Rasch is mindful. She is a brain injury survivor. She works just as hard at taking care of herself and supporting fellow survivors. It’s important to her to practice self-care, along with caring for others and spreading the message of brain injury awareness through her personal story and journey forward.
And that journey began right at the Brain Energy Support Team (BEST), as one of Rasch’s early card making projects launched. Rasch decided to send BEST support group members special hand-crafted birthday cards. People were touched by the gesture, but there was one person who reached back out to Rasch that touched her heart profoundly.
“I received a thank you card back for the birthday card I sent,” shares Rasch. “There was a handwritten note that said how much that card meant to that person. They told me it was the only birthday card they got.”
“I felt so moved by this response, I just cried. This really touched me; therefore, I just love getting into making cards.”
Her Birthday Card Project continues to this day, brightening the birthdays of BESTies.
Rasch has further expanded her role at BEST serving as the BEST Creative Consultant for Arts and Education and the BEST Gratitude Specialist.
Everything Rasch does is part of her plan to continue to send a positive message and touch the lives of others.
She is passionate about with her quest to encouragement, kindness and special hugs of love through her personal life and work across communities, near and far.
“Encouragement can change someone’s day or life. And kindness. Kindness is huge!”
Have a question for the artist? Interested in learning more about her work? You are cordially invited to Our BEST Space. Take part in Rasch’s Creative Time activities held each Wednesday from 11 am to 3 pm and create alongside the artist. This is a free activity (donations are warmly welcomed and appreciated). No experience is necessary.
You are also welcomed to browse through our Superhero Shoppe, that proudly features Heartfelt Tidbits of Creativity items during your visit. Cards for all occasions and special gifts are on display and available for purchase. As an added bonus, proceeds from the Superhero Shopppe benefit the brain injury community and their families.
To learn more about Heartfelt Tidbits of Creativity, click here.
If a thankful heart is a happy heart, then our hearts are the happiest EVER!
We give happy thanks to our beloved BESTies and their families, volunteers, community partners, our generous donors, and online and BEST Space communities. You make the difference, you are the difference.