Empower Your Life through Self-discipline

Successful people have many traits. They are motivated, intelligent and are self-disciplined. The word self-discipline usually conjures up negative thoughts but it doesn’t have to. Improving your level of self-discipline can empower your life and help you achieve your goals.

Early in life I realized that in order to be successful in anything, you need to be self-disciplined. I also realized that nature is disciplined because it follows routines and therefore, keeping routines can help me be self-disciplined.
Learn Self-discipline by Setting Routines

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Creating a daily routine is one of the most effective ways to stay organized both at home and at work. To create a daily routine:

  • Block time each day for certain projects until they are completed. This allows for continued progress toward long-term goals.
  •  Prepare a to-do list and prioritize it to get things done. This will help get the clutter out of your head and on paper, and keep track of tasks until they are completed.
  • Remember to stay organized because it is the key to overcoming procrastination!
  •  Keeping a journal to track your progress can be helpful in making you aware of distractions.

As I began to incorporate routines into my life, I started to notice them everywhere. Nature follows strict routines but it also adheres to cycles known as circadian rhythms. Circadian rhythms are physical, mental and behavioral changes that roughly follow a 24-hour cycle, responding primarily to light and darkness in an organism’s environment. They are found in most living things. With this realization, I began to make changes so that I could work with the rhythms of nature.

Living by nature’s compass rather than a clock

In order to work with the rhythms of nature, I made changes to my daily routine. Based on my experience, the following recommendations have helped me increase my level of self-discipline by organizing my day:

  • Start the night before by going to bed at a reasonable time and waking at a reasonable time. This enhances your immune system by maintaining a consistent sleep cycle. It’s important to maintain a regular sleep cycle even on the weekends and holidays.
  • On the weekends, create a plan for the coming week. This helps you stay organized and keeps you up-to-date on things that need to get done. Life is unpredictable, so update your weekly plan each evening.
  • Most of us can divide our day into three segments. We sleep for eight hours, work for eight hours and after work we have our leisure time. Practicing meditation before each segment will help you stay in sync with nature’s cycles (see my blog on meditation for the effects and benefits it provides).

I have discovered that setting routines for a portion of your leisure time (after waking up in the morning and just before bed time) will help you start and end your day evenly. Nature moves through cycles of activity and non-activity as it renews itself. Creating breaks every two hours in the middle of a busy day will help refresh you.

To fight the boredom that you may feel with routines, fill your life with a variety of activities during the day but always return to your routines during leisure time.

My life became more rewarding as I developed more self-discipline. Keeping routines has helped me to obtain my graduate degrees, open my own psychology practice, and begin coaching professionals, and to author From Change to Transformation & Beyond, a book to help busy executives find life balance and success. I am 86-years-old and still work 11 hour days. I attribute my success to my routines and self-discipline.

I wish you the best of luck as you start on your path to a more disciplined life.

Setting Attainable Goals

Before any attainable goals can be set you must be clear as to how goals can become a source of motivation and inspiration on your journey to success. To make your goal attainable, identify stepping stones that indicate progress. These stepping stones or “mini-goals” as they are called are realistic objectives that are simple, measureable, attainable, reachable and timely, and are well within the boundaries of your capabilities. Once you have your mini-goals, the next question to ask yourself is, “How am I going to make it happen?” The answer to this question will help you to set up strategic plans which must be in place before you can start work on projects that will enable you to work towards the attainment of your mini-goals. For example:

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  • Goal: Aiming at a physically healthy lifestyle
  • Mini Goal (Objective): In order to move toward the goal of being physically healthy, I will strive to lose 20 pounds to attain my ideal weight this year.
  • Strategic plan: To attain my objective of losing 20 pounds to reach my ideal weight within the time frame of my objective: I will work out three times a week under the guidance of a coach and will eat balanced meals under the guidance of a nutritionist.
  • Project A: Implementing the exercise program:
  • Make an appointment to meet with a physician within a week
  • Arrange to procure recommended materials on nutrition and workout, either from his office or local library and, if needed, invest a modest sum to get them within the next week
  • Go to bed at a reasonable time, get up early in the morning and block out a half hour for workout before the family wakes up
  • Start the exercise program the week after and make necessary changes if indicated, unless it runs smoothly.
  • Project B: Eating balanced meals:
  • Discuss nutrition recommendations and request support in implementing them from your spouse/ partner.
  • Arrange to eat three meals and two snacks every day, and not eat anything other than snacks in between meals
  • Make your evening meal the lightest of the day
  • Drink six, eight-ounce glasses of water everyday
  • Drink a whole 8-ounce glass of water 15 minutes before a meal
  •  Assessment: I will monitor progress towards my objective of exercising regularly /eating balanced meals weekly to ascertain that I have lost 2 pounds every week.

Depending upon your personal situation, some additional mini goals you could be set to enable you to maintain healthful living may include blood pressure normalization, overcoming tobacco, alcohol, or prescription drug abuse. Goal setting using this process enables you to set progressively meaningful mini-goals because the goal remains a powerful source of inspiration to motivate you towards the fulfillment of a healthy lifestyle. You could use this process to set goals in other aspects of your life such as spiritual/ religious, professional, financial, family, and social and community service.

Tips to Motivate Your Employees

As managers and executives, we want to motivate our employees. After all it’s good for business.  Determining the right strategy can be difficult.  You should know that motivation is a personal mind set, and what motivates one person might not work for another. You can empower each employee by fostering an environment that encourages motivation.

As a manager, you can only set the stage for your employees to grow. Motivation evolves and is sustained by the relationships and interactions between workers on the team and in the company.  The bond that develops creates a support system that sustains the members of the team through difficult times.

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When creating an environment to foster motivation:

  • Act as a role model – help employees find out what they are passionate about at work.
  • Schedule some face-time with your employees – find out what is important to them.
  • Help each employee set individual goals – help create a personal development plan in line with company goals.
  • Let employees know their accomplishments are also the company’s – if they are successful the company is also successful.
  • Get feedback and act on it – listen to everyone’s opinions and let them know that their voice matters, and is heard.
  • Recognize and show appreciation for effort and achievement – increase their sense of progress and reward positive behaviors.
  • Ensure job satisfaction – make sure employees are satisfied with their work.
  • Align company policies and procedures to support employee motivation.

Employees want to be recognized as individuals, shown appreciation, and be given opportunities to grow.  Motivation emanates from individuals who want to accomplish something meaningful from their own free will. Creating a corporate culture based on sharing, mutual reliance, friendship and collaboration is the most powerful incentive to remain motivated.  It’s important that the entire team is collectively creating the future.

Managing the Demands of Daily Life

We all experience stress. Read the statements below:
  • I do not have enough time to do what I need to do.
  • Day in and day out I feel pressured and hassled.
  • At the end of the day I feel totally exhausted and all I want to do is to go to bed after dinner.
  • I don’t know my spouse and children anymore.
  • Often I wonder if it’s all worth it.
  • I don’t know how to lead a happy and productive life anymore.

What is Stress?
Stress is the pressure to perform when we are faced with something that:

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  • we  perceive to be beyond our capacity or;
  • challenges our integrity as a person.

You can create your own stress by the way you perceive the circumstances in your life. Stress is not an automatic reaction. We make two appraisals that influence our level of stress in a particular situation. The appraisal involves the value we attach to the challenge we face and the perceived threat to that value.
For example, a professional who values his/her job, compared to one who does not, would be stressed if there was a real or perceived threat to the job that he/she values.
Strategies for Dealing with Stress
Stress is becoming a normal part of our lives. The following stress management techniques have been found helpful in effectively coping with stress.

  • Autogenic training:  The practice of autogenic training involves the repetition of affirmative verbalizations that inducerelaxation. Autogenic means self generation and refers to the manner in which our mind influences our bodily functions through self regulative systems.  Some autogenic phrases are: My heart beat is calm and regular; my forehead is cool and calm.
  • Progressive relaxation: Since muscle tension accompanies anxiety, relaxing the muscles will reduce anxiety. Progressive relaxation focuses on the difference between the feeling of tension and relaxation. This technique involves alternatively tensing (10 seconds) and relaxing muscles (20 seconds) in different parts of the body.  Start from your toes and work to the crown of your head. For example, to relax your hands make a tight fist in both of your hands until you can’t tighten any more, concentrate on the tension you feel. Let go and let your hand relax. Focus on the sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach.
  • Guided imagery:Imagination is the most powerful tool individuals have to reduce stress. This techniqueenables you to use your imagination to transport yourself to a place and/or time where you felt relaxed. For example, transport yourself to a pristine beach in Florida and imagine yourself on the sands of a brilliant blue ocean under a clear blue sky…
  • Self-hypnosis: Hypnosis is a state of intense mental inner awareness even though the body goes into deep state of relaxation.  In this state, the mind becomes alert and receptive to thoughts and ideas you or someone you trust presents to you. Self-hypnosis enables an individual to enter a deeper level of relaxation with a lasting impact. Self-hypnosis can be practiced with a learned routine or by listening to recordings made by a person you trust. Commercial recordings are acceptable, if they are made by reputable professionals who specialize in helping clients practice self-hypnosis.
  • Meditation: Meditation enables the mind to restore to normal functioning. Our minds work 24/7, as indicated by frenzied daytime activities and dream work at night, this results in mental fatigue. Meditation is best learned under the guidance of a trained professional. However, meditation recordings are available to supplement your training, particularly if the recordings are made by your teacher and/or the ones trusted by the teacher.

Stress is a part of our lives. In order to manage our stress we must keep stress levels within functional limits by practicing one of the relaxation techniques discussed above. For the best results practice, your chosen technique twice daily, mornings and evenings.  You should also set aside some time for self-re-generation at bedtime through reflection and contemplation.

Do You Know Where You’re Going?

“Standing on the crossroads of your life, I ask you where are you going? You may ignore me, frown at me or tell me ‘none of your business’, but it is time now that you find out where are you going?”– Excerpt from From Change to Transformation & Beyond: A Personal Guide for Aspiring Individuals by Dr. Om Prakash.

At one point or another we have asked ourselves this question. It could be we want to pursue a new career path but are unsure how or want to advance to the next level in our current careers. The book From Change to Transformation & Beyond – Maintaining Balance on the Fast Track: A Personal Guide for Aspiring Individuals by Dr. Om Prakash can help you find your path to a fulfilled life by enabling you to discover the guide posts to success.

The author Dr. Om Prakash, Ph.D. is a Corporate Performance Coach and a Clinical Psychologist with 35 years of experience in working with corporate leaders, small business owners and individuals who aspire to discover their maximum potential for success in liffe.

From Change to Transformation & Beyond: a Personal Guide for Aspiring Professionals
From Change to Transformation & Beyond: a Personal Guide for Aspiring Professionals

Benefits of Practicing Meditation

Our smart phones allow us to be available 24/7. We have access to social media, email and Internet at all time. Being constantly connected can be exhausting. Meditation can be a powerful resource for individuals in a stressful world.

In order to benefit from meditation you must understand the preventive nature of meditation, it is not designed to solve your problems but to empower you to do so. In addition, you must make a commitment to practice meditation on a regular basis by setting it as a priority and as an investment in your well-being.

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This self-discipline and commitment to meditation can be very rewarding, but it will require patience, persistence and practice to reap the following benefits:

Stress Reduction: It does not matter where the stress comes from, it is the elevated levels of stress that are poisonous, and meditation keeps it within functional limits. This enables you to overcome disorders such as insomnia, headaches, heartburn, ulcers etc.

Present Moment Awareness: Being in the moment enables you to respond to circumstances and events around you and you are able to deal with the challenges you face in life.

Focused Attention: Awareness of the moment in time enables you to develop inner focus that translates into certain levels of inner concentration in meeting the demands of daily life.

Synergy: The enhanced capacity to stay focused in meeting the challenges you face will enable you to create synergy, a positive energy that energizes and motivates you.

Balance:Meditation enables you to respond rather than react to challenges in life by empowering you to establish balance in your life.

Inner Peace: Continued balance leads to inner peace.

Pre-sensing: In a state of inner peace you are able to pre-sense your future and bring into the present your best future potential.

The return on investment of time and energy in practicing meditation is 1 to 6. It empowers you,  the most important resource for personal and professional growth. To ensure these benefits of meditation, I strongly suggest that you learn meditation under the proper guidance of trained teacher. Further, be aware that even though it may take half an hour to learn to practice meditation it takes sustained practice on your part to reap all of its benefits.

Attaining a Balanced, Fulfilled Life

We are all capable of attaining balance in our lives. We can generate powers within ourselves that blend our emotions and feelings into a force that allows us to:

  • Merge two opposites and form a uniquely new dimension to find balance between the opposites. This merging creates a full range of feelings from truth to empathy, beauty, and harmony to compassion.
  • The common point between these feelings is the idea of a new force that opens us to a much vaster world than the one we’ve lived in previously.
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Components of a Balanced LifeThe five major components of attaining, restoring and maintaining balance include: – Centering: Being centered (grounded) means remaining calm through the chaos of life. You can do this through creating inner self-awareness by balancing your physical, emotional and spiritual needs. – Integration: Integration is the process of harmonizing your mind, body and spirit that facilitates and deepens your sense of personal well-being.

  • Contentedness: Being connected means staying in touch with yourself as you relate to others. It’s important to balance your interest in others with your own inner self-awareness.
  • Innovation: Innovation is renewing or changing what is meaningful in your life, retaining it in the way you make decisions or make choices outside of your norm. The goal of innovation is to make a positive change by challenging yourself to make a meaningful difference when there is freedom to choose.
  • Self Fulfillment: The pursuit of your dreams and aspirations will bring you a deep sense of self-fulfillment when you live by being true to yourself, proactively connecting with the person you are and things that you choose to do.   

Incorporating Balance in Your Life
Once you have mastered the components of a balanced life, the next step is to incorporate them into your daily life. In support of your efforts to establish, restore and maintain balance, you may consider following some guidelines for dealing with difficult situations.

Maintaining balance is an ongoing process of learning, finding, practicing, maintaining and regaining balance. It involves modulation and searching for the center between extremes, and necessitates dealing with tradeoffs, costs and benefits, pros and cons. By challenging your preconceived notions you can establish balance between three divergent forces that drive the engine of life: ambition, competence and ethics.

The principles that establish and maintain balance between ethics, ambition and competence involve getting feedback and acting on it, learning, listening and choosing to act judiciously by being hard on issues but soft on people. Balance is also enhanced by seeing each problem as a challenge and an opportunity for growth, by using language of hope and achievement rather than defeat. These guidelines will also help you create the potential for achievement, and motivate you to act with confidence in supporting your passion and learning to express that passion by emulating the person who inspired it.

The Crash of the Invincible

December 14, 2009 15:03 | Permalink

The recent media blitz on the Tiger Wood story and not too long ago David Letterman blackmail scandal provide us an interesting insight into to the making of the character structure of successful individuals. One wonders what brings these individuals to the edge and how it impacts on others in their life, and society at large. These individuals seem to go through certain phases in the enfoldment of their real self.
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In the build up phase, as success builds upon success, they accumulate a great deal of goodwill, wealth, prestige and power and become indispensable. Without Woods the luster of golf fades away and late night shows wash out as veteran Letterman fades away from the screen. The power intoxication creates a sense of invincibility, a feeling that they are above and beyond the reach of normal codes of conduct and social norms do not apply to them anymore it. Only ‘small people ‘pay taxes, I don’t, declared the millionaire hotel tycoon not too many years ago. It is in this frame of mind that they cross the line and get away with such transgressions until the bubble bursts and somehow the curtain opens to reveal their true character.

When the reality hits as they fall from the grace, there is a rude awakening to the resulting outrage and shock reaction from the public and sometimes there is expression of guilt and remorse at being found out, and not a genuine expression of emotions and the desire to redress the wrongs and hurt they caused. The internal turmoil begins to set in as those who loved them most are hurt the most. John Edwards caused the deepest hurt to his wife who was suffering from terminal cancer. In his recounting of what was happening in his world, he talked about ‘feeling invincible and beyond control’ and not realizing the hurt he would cause to the one who loved him the most and had significant hand building his national stature as a democratic candidate. Similar consequences ensued from Governor Stanford and President Clinton to name a few.

The rebound and recovery phase is ushered in and hastened at times because of financial loss and/ or loss of credibility. Several other factors also help in the healing process such as the whole that need to be filled and the public looks the other way if they see genuine effort is being made in the reconciliation process. The hardest part of the recovery is the forgiveness and regaining of the trust from the loved one who sustained hurt most.


Why do we have such an outrage when the invincible crash? Why can we not keep public and private persona distinctly separate? It depends upon how the invincible projected themselves. The ‘Squeaky Clean’ image that Woods portrayed, ‘the loving family’ that Edwards professed determined the extent of the reaction from the public. The separation of personal beliefs and state affairs that founding fathers of this country professed is not divorced from the morality that formed the foundation of this nation. We do admire success but we also hold moral values as a sentinel to the very success we so very much admire.

Dr. Prakash is a corporate wellness coach and specializes in helping his clients attain balance in their lives and realize their maximum potential for optimum success in their personal and professional life. He can be reached at:Prakash@airmail.net. For more information, visit his website:coachprakash.com.