Self-discipline is the ability to control one’s desires, behavior impulses and emotions. When you possess this quality, you are able to forego instant gratification and immediate pleasure for the sake of achieving higher goals. Therefore, self-discipline is a key ingredient for success in life. Talents and abilities count for nothing if they are not accompanied by self-discipline. A self-disciplined person with average talent can accomplish much more than an undisciplined individual with exceptional talent.
Just like a muscle, self-discipline is something that can be developed. Here are some tips for improving your self-discipline:
1. Get rid of all the temptations
The first step towards improving your self-discipline is to eliminate all the distractions and temptations from your environment. For example, if you want to be more focused at work, remove all the clutter from your desk and switch your cellphone off. If you find yourself easily distracted by email or social media sites, you can use an app like SelfControl to block such sites for a specific period. If you want to improve your eating habits, get rid of all the junk food in your home or office.
2. Don’t wait till you ‘feel like it’
Messages such as “If it feels good, do it’ and ‘Don’t do it until you feel like it’ have pervaded our world today. Therefore, many people only do what they find pleasurable or comfortable. However, self-discipline demands that you do the right thing, whether you feel like it or not. It requires a change in your daily routine, which is usually awkward and uncomfortable. Don’t wait until you feel like it to start waking up early, exercising, eating right, or working on an assignment.
3. Establish some routines
Self-discipline is a learned behaviour which requires repetition and practice. You should therefore establish a daily routine which will help you achieve your goals. For instance, if you want to get physically fit, you could set aside the first 30 minutes of every day for exercise. If you want to stop getting to work late, always leave your house at a specific time. Having such routines will help you establish good habits as well as break bad ones.
4. Finish what you start
Due to lack of focus, many people leave a trail of unfinished tasks and projects behind them. A good way of developing self-discipline is to make a commitment to finish what you start. This could be reading a book, going through a weight loss program, or taking a degree. Keeping in mind the long-term benefits of your decision will help you stay focused. Every morning when you wake up, make a list of all the things that you have to accomplish before the end of the day.
5. Learn to forgive yourself
At times, things will not go according to plan. When you fail in your quest to be self-disciplined, don’t allow yourself to get caught up in frustration, anger, or guilt. Instead, find out what caused the failure and keep moving forward. Use your mistakes as a learning experience for the future. It would also be advisable to find someone who can hold you accountable and help you follow through on your commitments.
The results of self-discipline can improve your mental and physical health, your self-respect, and your general success. So, what strategies do you use to improve your own self-discipline?