Have you ever made plans to start your day take on a new challenge but can seem to get yourself to do it? If so, you’re not alone. On the other hand, can you think of someone who always seems to be crushing it, no matter what comes their way? What qualities do these people have that seem to set them apart from everyone else? It’s most often self-discipline.
Self-discipline, as defined by Merriam Webster, is the correction or regulation of oneself for the sake of improvement.
Self-discipline is the most important quality to your success. I personally believe self-discipline is like a muscle. With exercise, it can be strengthened. Without exercise, it can weaken. Self-discipline is doing something that is good for you, even when you don’t want to.
So how do you practice and improve your self-discipline?
Turn positive actions into a habit. Rather than facing yourself with a decision to eat healthy, exercise, study, read, work, etc., instead turn those things into habits. Once it becomes a habit, then you no longer are faced with the decision of whether or not to do it. You just do.
Take on the tough things. I like to set aside my morning for these activities. Taking on the toughest thing, it could be the most time-consuming, boring, or challenging thing, first will give you a sense of accomplishment for the rest of your day. You won’t go about your day knowing that you must take on this thing at some point. IT will build momentum and set the tone for how you approach everything else. And not to mention, the small stuff won’t seem like a challenge, once you’ve knocked off that big thing.
Gary Keller and Jay Papasan touch on this “One Thing” principle in their book, The One Thing. They teach the readers to do the One Thing that if done, makes everything else easy or irrelevant. This is a brilliant, yet simple strategy for being the most efficient you can be.
Reward and Fear are both good motivators. Chances are, one motivates you more.Use these to your advantage.
If it’s reward that motivates you, then think about how you’ll feel after you accomplish a task. Think about how productive, organized, and capable you’ll feel. Use these feelings to help you take on that challenge, activity, or task.
If it’s fear that motivates you, then do the opposite and think about how you’ll feel if you don’t accomplish the task. Will you feel like you wasted time? Will you feel like you failed yourself? Think about these things and use them fo fuel to accomplish that goal you’re avoiding.
By practicing these things, you’ll begin to build your self-discipline.
If you feel your willpower getting weak, don’t throw your hands up in defeat. This is normal. In fact, this is when it’s most important to keep you foot on the throttle an power through those emotions. Don’t give into excuses, no mater how good they sound. Once you say no to that negative thought just once, you’ve become that much more self-disciplined. Next time it’s even easier. You build that self-discipline up each and every time you exercise it.
So take on new challenges. Constantly work to improve yourself. Become the best version of yourself you can image. With a good amount of self-discipline, you’ll be well on your way to building a lifestyle you deserve.