No amount of talent, passion, or brilliance can amount to success without discipline. Results come from action. Therefore, taking action regularly and consistently leads to greater results. This is where discipline comes in.
People aren’t built for perfection. It is human nature to seek out comfort and lust after our desires. Having discipline requires sacrifice. This is a learned behaviour and not instinctual. If you are someone that didn’t grow up in a disciplined environment, you may find it extra challenging applying discipline in your life and business. The good news about learning something new, is it’s never too late to do so!
You can train yourself to become more disciplined, just like training a muscle to become stronger. It will involve practice, energy and patience, but just like working out, the benefits are worth the effort.
You may apply these 9 ways to learn or improve your Self-Discipline to help you reach your goals and achieve success.
Define your Purpose
Having a clear purpose is the first step to keep from waffling on your course of action. Knowing the Why, will always motivate the How. WHY is it that you wish to be more disciplined at whatever? Do you want to be more efficient at work so you have more time with your friends and family? What is the reason behind your financial goals? Are you saving up for a vacation because it is one of your dream destinations on your Bucket List? Once you identify your purpose for becoming more disciplined, it makes it easier to fully commit and say YES every step of the way. Would you rather go out to the movies tonight or save that money for your dream vacation?
Avoid the trap of being vague about what you hope to accomplish by creating SMART goals. This way, you have a clearly defined idea of what direction you are taking and what that looks like EXACTLY, which will make it much easier to stay on track.
S – specific
M – measurable
A – attainable
R – realistic
T – timely
You will need a plan in place for hitting your SMART goals. Routines are another excellent way to keep on track. Plan out your day, week, etc. in advance so all that is left is to follow through, no excuses.
Avoid Death by DDT
Distractions, Decisions and Temptations, that is. These will kill your discipline faster than anything. Create boundaries to deal with distractions and temptations. Automate as much of your day as possible to save time and energy for more important decisions. Even the smallest decisions throughout the day (what am I wearing today? what am I going to have for breakfast? lunch? dinner? what time do I need to leave for that meeting?) compound to a greater whole and can slowly sap your mental cognition. Planning in advance and creating structure is a critical part of this.
Get Your Head Right
Discipline is a mental game. You don’t have to believe in the neuroscience behind meditation & exercise and blah blah blah for it to work for you. Just try it and you will not only reap the rewards of better physical and emotional health, but it will also strengthen your willpower and decision making abilities. Its like the Ouroboros, the snake that feeds off its own tail, in a never ending circle. One act of discipline will fuel another, and so on.
If you have no one to be accountable to, you better find someone! Otherwise, its all too easy to give in to that devilish little voice saying, “just 5 more minutes of sleeping in, or you can finish that project Later, or I’m tired, let’s skip the gym just this once!” Get yourself an accountability coach whether that is a trainer, life coach, a friend or your mom. It needs to be someone you respect and will listen to. Your cat doesn’t count.
Cut the Safety Net
A little bit of stress can be a good thing at times. Take your goals public or create the pressure of an external deadline so there’s no turning back. Planning on writing a book, starting a fitness challenge or launching some new product? Set a deadline and announce it to the world. With the fear of (insert motivator here) in your heart and a fire under your butt, you will surely be more disciplined in moving toward that goal a lot faster than if you had just made the promise to yourself. Or your cat.
Keep Moving Forward
Don’t be too hard on yourself if you don’t succeed on the first try. Focus on what you did achieve and how far you’ve come. Put your energy into solving the reasons why you failed and look forward to getting further the next time. If you don’t forgive yourself for your failures, you may feel like quitting altogether.
Delicious Little Rewards
Remember your human nature and your natural need for comfort and desire. You can make this work to your advantage by rewarding yourself for hitting goals. Give yourself mini-rewards with each milestone and something bigger to look forward to when you complete your entire mission.
For the other 41 shades of discipline, I invite you to use your imagination….. 😉