How to Build Self Discipline to Excel in Life
What is Self Discipline?
Self-discipline is the ability to follow personally imposed rules, with order and consistency, using only willpower. It is a virtue that is acquired with constancy. Self-discipline is also the ability to control yourself and to make yourself work hard or behave in a specific way without requiring anyone else to tell you what to do. It’s about self control, resolve, self-regulation, determination and drive. Being a disciplined person means focusing on the goals you want to achieve, whether in the personal, professional or academic sphere.
The ability to self discipline requires the transformation of the discipline into a habit, respecting the rules and regulations imposed by a person until it becomes normal. Self-discipline or willpower is associated with sacrifice. To be able to stop doing something that you feel like doing to do something that you know you have to do.
“Self-discipline is sacrificing part of your present for a better future.” Unknown
You can read books on productivity, take a course on online marketing, learn about design or whatever subject you are interested in, but it is useless if you are not able to really apply that knowledge to turn it into something tangible.
Success needs Ideal Inspiration:
Most people have dreams, goals, they want to live a better life. But as soon as they realize that this requires effort on their part, everything changes. Few are those who are willing to sacrifice part of their present for a better future. Few are willing to stop going out on a Saturday night to stay working on their projects or get up early on a Sunday to do, for example, a course.
What is the difference between those who manage to start and finish the things that are proposed and those who do not?
Let’s set the scene. It’s late at night, you have an important project the next day, but you haven’t started working on it yet. Ultimately, you’ve been waiting for inspiration to hit, which has obviously shocked you when starting the project. The problem is that inspiration and motivation often don’t come when you need it most. Instead, you must “want” to do what you need to do when necessary.
Self Discipline – The Indicator of Success:
This drive to get things done, even when you don’t feel like it, is what we call ‘self-discipline’. Studies have shown that it is one of the most important indicators of success and everyone needs it to excel in life, and here is why:
- Discipline often translates to a better work ethic.
- The more disciplined you are, the more likely you are to maintain healthy physical and mental habits.
- With enough discipline and willpower, you can focus on the tasks you need to get done, even if you feel unmotivated.
At one point or another, you’ve probably come across a person who does so much work that you suspect him/her to be a robot. They will juggle classes, work, clubs, hobbies, and more, all while standing out in almost everything they do.
In some cases, you can put it down to raw talent, but it’s usually incredible self-discipline. However, natural intelligence and skill will only get you so far if you don’t have the drive (or self-discipline) to put them into practice.
“Self-discipline, as a virtue or an acquired asset, can be invaluable to anyone.” Duke Ellington
The Importance of Self-discipline:
Today we are going to explain the power of self-discipline to excel in life. Although wait, do not confuse the responsibility to do something every day at the same time, with doing something that is aligned with your center, no matter when in the day but to do it.
The key to being a person with great self-discipline is not to follow a rigid and immovable schedule. That is ridiculous because tomorrow may not be like today. The only thing we can do is make ourselves the promise that we will continue there even if it can destabilize or whatever happens to us.
“There is a motive force more powerful than steam, electricity and atomic energy: the will.” Albert Einstein
Something that I do very often is my various routines. The times I wake up or go to bed, the order in which I carry out my High Holistic Performance algorithm, the minutes I use for each super or micro habit, the order of professional tasks. Why?
- Because the day organically pushes you to do so.
- Because if you don’t, I’m going to believe that it can always be like that and that will be devastating and suddenly when things change, they will change.
How to build self discipline?
To build self discipline it is necessary to have the determination and to practice it whenever possible so that it becomes a habit. To do this, it is important to take into account some points to start to strengthen this virtue.
Self-discipline is like a muscle. You need to exercise regularly until it becomes part of you, like a good habit.
“Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working.” Pablo Picasso
In the following sections, we’ll go over several steps to help you methodically build your self discipline.
1. Do something every day that you don’t feel like doing:
Simple gestures such as making the bed in the morning, washing the dishes right after eating or getting up earlier, will train that self-discipline muscle so that it becomes stronger when facing a greater challenge.
“Whether you call it Buddhism or another religion; self-discipline, that’s important. Self-discipline with awareness of the consequences” Dalai Lama
2. Set goals and hold yourself accountable to them:
To exercise self-discipline, you will need to set S.M.A.R.T. goals for yourself. This can be any goal you want, from getting in shape, increasing your productivity at work, getting up earlier and just about anything in between. Having a goal to work on will allow you to appreciate your progress as you go along. Also, it will give you an excuse to exercise your self discipline every day.
To begin, make a list of the areas of your life that you want to improve. This can include habits you want to build or projects you want to tackle and more. Then, plunge them into two categories:
Short-term goals: Short-term goals have their own importance and one of the best sources to keep yourself motivated. For example, forcing yourself to wake up earlier is something you can accomplish overnight. However, you will need the self-discipline to stay on track.
Long-term goals: Getting a promotion at work is a great example of a long-term goal. To be successful, you will need to improve your performance in the office, impress your superiors, and remain productive even when you don’t want to.
Once you have clear goals, we recommend that you try a system that helps keep track of your progress. For example, you can use the ‘To Do’ list or apps to cross off each goal as you achieve it or to see when you’re making progress.
3. Don’t think, just act!
If you’ve made a point of going for a run or going to the gym every day after work, as soon as you get home, change your clothes right away!
Do it without thinking, don’t give time to that little inner voice that tells you to stay at home, that nothing happens for a day.
Everything is in your mind, don’t think, and just act.
4. Always remember the initial motivation:
When we set ourselves a goal, at first we have a lot of desire and motivation but little by little we get tired and return to the usual habits.
If you have decided to lose weight, quit smoking, or start a blog, it is certain that you are going to have moments of weakness. Write the reasons why you want to do it and always have them in a visible place or use them when you are tired.
Do not take this lightly, writing the objectives on paper has more power than you think, do not make the mistake of thinking that having them in your head is worth it.
5. Take care of your body:
Our body can often be our greatest enemy. Illness aside, some days you just won’t have much energy. You may have a stomachache or headache, or your eyes may be tired of too long in front of the screen.
All of this can negatively affect your productivity and weaken your motivation to do anything. However, with enough self-discipline, you will still be able to move on (as long as you’re not at death’s door!).
However, let’s be honest: it’s a lot easier to be disciplined when you’re feeling good. Given this, the smart move is to start taking better care of your body, so it won’t let you down when you need it to fulfill your dreams. Here’s a quick rundown of how you can become a healthier person:
- Work on improving your sleep habits and getting enough rest each night.
- Take a look at your diet and, if possible, consult a nutritionist to see if you need to make any changes.
- Exercise regularly, it won’t kill you! Spare at least 30 minutes a day to keep your body in shape.
- Find time to relax, so you don’t develop exhaustion.
However, all of this is easier said than done. Developing each of these habits can take weeks or months, and will generally require discipline. However, the better your body feels, the easier it will be to give 100% results to whatever you are working on.
6. Work on your tasks even when you’re not feeling motivated:
The hardest part of building self-discipline is forcing yourself to be productive when you don’t feel like it. Even the word “force” sounds like it’s doing you a disservice. However, it is also the word that most accurately paints the struggle of doing things by sheer will alone.
Even if you feel good and energetic, there will be times when you are not motivated and it doesn’t just affect work. You may not feel like going to the gym or cooking a healthy meal. Neither of these things is the end of the world, but they are perfect opportunities to exercise your self-discipline.
To ‘force’ yourself to work even when you don’t feel like it, there are plenty of little tricks you can use to get a productive mindset:
Sit down and work on something for five minutes, then stop if you don’t feel like doing it. Often times just the act of getting started is enough to find motivation, which is why this trick is a favorite.
- Promise yourself a reward for when you do the tasks you need to get done.
- Work on time, so you always have regular breaks built-in, like with the Pomodoro Technique.
- Find a responsible partner who can get you in shape when you are not productive.
All those tricks are useful. However, at some point, you just need to roll up your sleeves and sit down to work with no excuses. This is what lies at the core of self-discipline, and over time, it should be good without having to trick your brain into being productive.
7. Eliminate as many distractions as possible:
Self-discipline is about getting a productive mindset, even when you’re surrounded by distractions. However, it’s often much simpler to eliminate those distractions entirely, so they don’t affect your work in the first place.
If you work using a computer, you will have an almost infinite number of distractions. You can rely only on self-discipline to stay on track, or you can block the most distracting websites while you work.
It’s more of a reactive step, sure, but who’s keeping score?
The process of eliminating distractions will depend on your work environment. For digital workers, this is what we recommend:
- Point out your biggest time wasters’ sites or perhaps the social sites that are among the biggest time wasters. There are usually browsers extensions available, such as Web Activity Time Tracker or Webtime Tracker available free for Chrome.
- Find a way to temporarily block those websites. As with the previous Chrome extensions, you can also use extensions to block the sites you want.
- Put your smartphone away while you work. For convenience, keep it close, but not so easily accessible.
Of course, depending on your workplace, you will need to find your own ways to eliminate distractions. By not having anything to distract your attention from the task at hand, it is much easier to stay disciplined.
8. Respect your new Habits:
Respect your new good habits and don’t let occasional slips stop you. As we mentioned, self-discipline is something you need to cultivate. To do this, you will need to work to keep your distance and achieve your goals, even when you don’t feel like it.
However, let’s be honest: all the good habits slip from time to time. You could end up procrastinating all day, eating an entire pizza on your own, or something else entirely. The important thing is not to let slippage disrupt you. You can always learn from those mistakes and stay tuned so you can exercise more discipline and improve next time.
9. Surround yourself with positive people:
Surround yourself with right and supportive people. This will help generate more motivation. According to a study, you are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with. Take a look around you and think about it.
It is not about belittling or neglecting your friends or family, but about seeking to expand your contacts with people who share your goals or even who have already achieved them. This will give you strength and motivation to keep going and never throw in the towel.
Besides the above-mentioned 9 steps to self-discipline, we must also practice the following to excel in life. These are:
Use time well: We must schedule our activities to achieve our daily goals.
Identify our strengths: It is important to recognize what we know how to identify and manage our strengths to use them more effectively.
Know the priorities: It is necessary to be clear about the sequence/order of importance of our tasks.
Write down everything: It is a mechanism that helps us not to forget anything. So, keeping a handbook with ourselves and writing down everything is a preferable option.
Making decisions with limited information: getting to be quick in action gives focus to what we want to do and not put it off indefinitely.
Stop being a perfectionist: The habit of discipline takes time. Therefore if we stop being a perfectionist we avoid being always nervous and acting.
Choosing to act: Between “doing or not doing” is always preferable the first.
Of course, this is easier said than done. However, you will likely notice drastic improvements in your life as soon as you start exercising more discipline. Timing is important too, as stopping will slow positive change. Therefore, you must be consistent without being too hard on yourself. After all, you don’t want your newfound self-discipline to make you a restrictive anchor.
We wanted to end the conversation with a quote about habits that we like a lot:
“Sow a thought and you reap an action; sow an act and you reap a habit; and sow a habit and you reap a character; sow a character and you reap a destiny.” Ralph Waldo Emerson
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