Is there a goal that you want to achieve but that you seem to be unable to achieve? Maybe you know exactly what you need to do, but apparently can’t? Perhaps you are frustrated because your lack of self-discipline affects your self-confidence. Then, you need to explore this piece on How to Build Self Discipline to excel in Life.
If you’re ambitious and ready to take your life to the next level, but just need a little more follow-up support, read on.
What is self-discipline?
Self-discipline is defined as:
“The ability to control yourself and make yourself work hard or behave in a certain way without someone else having to tell you what to do.”
It’s about self-control, self-regulation, willpower, determination, determination, and energy. This is how you get yourself to do what needs to be done to move forward and excel in life.
The importance of self-discipline
Fitness experts, successful trainers, doctors, and gurus for personal development emphasize the importance of self-discipline.
It’s a deciding factor in whether you want to lose weight, eat better, exercise more, spend less, be more productive, less hesitant, be promoted, be more positive, better manage emotions or improve relationships.
Studies show that people with higher levels of self-control “… have higher self-esteem, fewer binge eating and alcohol abuse, better relationships and interpersonal skills, and better emotional responses”.
Others show that people with self-discipline are happier, happier, and happier.
How to be disciplined always
Here are 10 strategies for building and maintaining self-discipline:
- Motivate yourself
Have you ever noticed that you don’t need discipline when you’re excited about something or have an important or compelling goal you want to achieve?
Let’s say you have your wedding or high school reunion ahead of you and want to lose weight to look great and fit in a killer dress. Waking up in the morning for a run and missing out on dessert is now even easier, isn’t it?
Or let’s say your dream job has just opened at work. Getting to work early, staying late, and getting the job done doesn’t seem that difficult anymore, does it?
“Motivation” comes from the root word “motif”. That’s why you’re doing something. The reason and the underlying drive behind it. Leading expert Simon Sinek talks about the power of why.
Knowing your “why” is a convincing intrinsic motivation. It drives the fire and it is very likely that you will stay focused.
- Remove the temptations
Research has shown that our environment influences our decisions. Take, for example, a study at Cornell University.
And those who kept fruit on their counter weighed an average of 13 pounds less. If you want to eat better, put the junk foods out of sight. Better yet, don’t bring them into the house, office, car, or guns at all.
If you want to complete this great project for work, secure a conference room, disable instant messengers, close social media notifications, and put your phone in the other room.
If you work from home and are easily distracted, you should concentrate. That’s exactly why I’m writing from a cafe on the street. I have not tried to fight the temptations around me. I just left.
Your environment can be stronger than your willpower. Make sure it helps the goals you want to achieve. Do not put yourself in situations that are tempting or distracting.
- Create a Goal, Challenge or Deadline
Many years ago my husband worked on his first screenplay. It was a daunting task that he knew would take a long time.
Many of his film students were overwhelmed by this project and struggled to make progress. How he was. Until he has created a convincing goal, a challenge, and a deadline.
His specific goal was to finish the script by the end of the month. This was a big challenge because it was a lot of work in a short time.
Then he created a deadline and emailed all of his friends, letting them know we were having a festive dinner and would mark their calendars.
He increased the stake by saying that if he hadn’t finished his script by dinner, he would buy everyone’s dinner. This was a big challenge as we definitely didn’t have the money to pay for 15 of our closest friends to have dinner!
There’s a reason why every influencer or blogger created a 5, 10, or 30-day challenge. To support you! Just search for “challenge” for what you are looking for and I am sure you will find something.
I have seen people change their entire lifestyle, eating habits, and motivation by joining these challenges – and they have worked for me too!
Define your specific goal or vision, make it challenging, give yourself a deadline, and set off.
- Call a friend
It is always helpful to have a responsible partner. Why do you think so many people hire coaches to achieve their fitness goals, coaches to achieve their personal or professional goals or join a club or group like Weight Watchers?
“If you’re responsible for someone or a group of people for doing what you promised, it’s easy to get things done because you use the power of social expectations.”
Commit yourself to someone other than you. Find a partner in the gym. Hire a trainer to keep you up to date and honest. Post commitments on social networks to stay up to date.
- Start small
How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time!
Changes are difficult and our brains are focused on returning to what feels pleasant and predictable. So big changes can be very difficult. But if you start slowly, you can build momentum without being overwhelmed.
If you want to run 30 minutes a day five days a week, start five minutes a day. If you want to continue after five minutes, do it! If you want to eat better, identify a change you can make in your diet.
If our minds think it will be easy, we can get started often … and then you can use that momentum to keep going.
First steps. It doesn’t matter how small the action is as long as you go in the right direction. Small changes ultimately lead to big results. Remember, action inspires further action and dynamism creates more dynamism.
- The Carrot or The Stick
We are all motivated in different ways. Are you forced to get a reward or risk of being punished? Or both?
The carrot. What reward can you give yourself for being disciplined?
My daughter is eight and in third grade. She had trouble doing homework and staying focused. We tried an energetic approach that didn’t work. We tried to face challenges, for example in 20 minutes. Nah. She was distracted and frustrated.
However, she is highly motivated by rewards, so we created a “treasure chest for homework”. If she stays focused and does her homework every day of the week, she can pick a prize.
Bingo. No more tears, no more late homework, no more fighting. This treasure chest has changed their attitude and ability to stay disciplined.
Perhaps you are more motivated by the risk of not being able to persevere or remain disciplined? In the case of my daughter, this would have taken privileges (like game dates) if she hadn’t done her homework.
That would have completely backfired and thrown her into a tailspin. But for many, it can be very effective.
For example, if you try to lose weight, you may not be motivated by a smaller size, but you may be motivated by the risk of not losing weight.
If you know that poor health can lead to heart disease, a possible heart attack and early death can be the spark that ignites your fire.
If this sounds like you, identify the worst-case scenario. If you don’t stay disciplined, what’s the negative outcome in your life? Fear can be a powerful motivator.
Determine whether you are motivated by risk or return and implement it.
- Stop going against the grain
Maybe you’re trying to be disciplined about something that just doesn’t work for your wiring. For example, if you always wait until the last minute to study or complete this major project, then why force yourself to try weeks in advance? It is probably better to schedule the time just before the deadline.
Do you remember Arden? She tried to force herself to do the paperwork and operational components of her business, for which she was not responsible. Then she hit herself for not being disciplined, which was neither productive nor helpful.
After relieving the pressure that she was not a failure by avoiding these tasks, she gave herself permission to hire someone to help her. She then had the freedom to grow her business and make sales, which was her strength.
If you find it difficult to stay disciplined, step back, and consider whether it is important that you do what you are hesitating or that it is difficult to assert yourself. Maybe you can hire someone who is much better at it.
Months behind your accounting? Find someone to make books. Years behind organizing your family photos? Find a company (or friend) who likes this type of project. Drown in piles of laundry?
Give it to a laundry service or pay your child for it. Frustrated that you don’t have the menu and dinner on the table every night? Find a meal planner app, order, or use a meal preparation service.
Stop trying everything yourself, especially if you want to swim upriver. Use others’ resources and don’t waste your self-discipline on things that are not important to you, or use your time and talents well.
- Create Habits and Rituals
Performance coach Jay Henderson talks about the power to create habits and rituals:
To fight this subconscious mind, we have to create new habits.
For example, you might want to start running but still need to press the snooze button. We have learned that the more specific we become, the more the spirit helps us with motivation: drive, energy, enthusiasm, concentration, optimism, and creativity.
Research shows that a person who takes the time to think about the “what, where, and when” of a new task is 70% more likely to achieve something.
Creating hyper specificity does this for you. When you run in the morning, you can list specific steps to help you get up and move around.
Step 1: Set the goal of getting up and running at 6 a.m.
Step 2: Put clothes on the previous evening.
Step 3: Set an alarm and put it on the other side of the room. How many steps are there from bed to alarm?
Step 4: Determine to turn on the light while walking to turn off the alarm. How many steps are there to the light and then to the alarm?
Step 5: Go to bed, turn off the TV, and fall asleep at 10 pm with the mental vision to wake up with energy to run.
Step 6: Follow the set steps to the bathroom to splash water on my face.
Step 7: Follow the specified steps for the items of clothing that were taken off the previous evening, put them on, and put on shoes.
Step 8: go to the kitchen.
Step 9: drink a glass of water.
Step 11: Go to the door with the number already counted.
Step 12: warm-up and run.
You understand what it is about. This helps because you involve the senses: mind, power, and heart with clarity through specificity. The mind that wants to make you act like the image you have of yourself then provides the energy, drive, and motivation.
Your chances of getting started are increasing exponentially. This is because there is absolutely no question about what you want in your subconscious, where your habits are stored.
Rituals are also important. A ritual is partially defined as a ceremony that consists of a series of actions that are performed in a prescribed order. You need this amount of specificity to overcome the force of habit. Focusing and using rituals can help you completely restructure habits and behaviors to achieve greater performance.
- Insert the Big Rocks first
The legendary time management expert and author Steven Covey first introduced this concept in the 80s and it is just as relevant if not today.
The idea is that if you do the most important things first, you won’t be distracted by all the little things that can uselessly fill your day.
Studies have shown that willpower is a limited resource.
I have seen this challenge in many managers that I have trained and known. Many of them are so stuck in the everyday elements of their work and the urgent distractions (squirrels!)
That they have neither the time nor the mental energy to deal with strategy. If they don’t block time and deliberately choose how to prioritize, willpower – and results – will be compromised.
Conclusion: Start early in the day and do the most important things first before you run out of mental willpower, time, and energy. A bonus of getting quick profits early also leads to motivation and dynamism.
- Be Nice to Yourself
Change is difficult. New habits are difficult. Our mind is intimate and if you do something new a part of you will fight it. You will face setbacks and failures. Don’t let obstacles cause you to give up your bigger vision or goal.
If you’re not the most self-disciplined person in the world (in which case you probably won’t read this article), you’ll hit the snooze button and miss a run. You will choose chips instead of an apple.
You will lose control instead of staying cool. It will happen. You have to forgive yourself and go forward.
It is a waste of mental energy to think about mistakes and setbacks. You made a mistake, it’s over.
It is a lesson. Stand up, confirm the lesson, and move on. Celebrate your victories and successes no matter how small they are.
You are ambitious. You were driving. You are ready to achieve your goals. You will always be a reason why you can’t do anything. And there is always a reason why you can. You can choose.
Before proceeding to the next step, you should consider this question:
Where would a little more self-discipline have the greatest impact on your life or success?
Then identify which of the above strategies will help you get started and stay focused, and what you need to do.
You just need a strategy. A step. A change to get ahead. You have the power to be more disciplined. You can do it.