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Definition of Self Discipline
Before I start this post I thought it would be useful to provide a definition of self-discipline.
Discipline is defined as an action or inaction that is regulated to be in accordance with a specific system of governance.
Discipline is often applied to regulating human and animal behavior.
This means that in the academic world, discipline is a specific branch of learning, knowledge, and practice.
My Thoughts on Self Discipline
I think the final sentence of the paragraph above is particularly important and is why I thought it was useful to provide a definition of self-discipline at the start of the post.
This sentence can help to shape our thinking on how to be more self-disciplined.
Discipline is a specific branch of learning, knowledge and practice.
To me when I read that sentence it means that discipline is something that needs to be worked on all the time in order to get better at it.
We can start the art of training self-discipline and solve the problem of how to be more self-disciplined.
This is the exciting part as I know the more I practice being disciplined it is something I will become better at over time.
I also think it is useful for people who automatically assume that they are not disciplined and have never really thought that it is something that can be learned over time.
There is a common misconception that you either have self-discipline or you don’t.
The Science Behind Self Discipline
There are lots of different qualities that are needed to contribute to someone’s happiness, well-being, and achievements.
However, the most important quality needed to sustain long term results in all areas of your life is self-discipline.
In 2013, Wilhelm Hoffman wrote a study that revealed people with high self-discipline are happier than those with less self-discipline.
One reason for this was because those who exerted more self-control were more capable of dealing with goals conflicts.
They spent less time deciding whether to carry out behaviors that were not beneficial to them and were more easily able to make positive decisions.
The self-disciplined were not distracted by impulse. They made rational, informed decisions consistently over time.
“Once you have commitment, you need the discipline and hard work to get you there.”Haile Gebrselassie
Benefits of Self Discipline
There are many benefits that are associated with self-discipline. Personally, since starting training self-discipline it has helped me to:
- Avoid acting rashly
- Fulfill promises
- Act with more clarity
- Remove temptations
- Maintain simple routines
- Creating new habits
I am sure there are many more scientifically backed benefits. However, the above highlights some of the positive changes I have noticed since working on my self-discipline.
The 9 Steps to Better Daily Self Discipline
Here is the list of actions and training I have taken to help me develop better daily self-discipline:
Have Big Goals
If you set yourself a challenge of achieving a big goal, it is often easier to really commit to what needs to be done to reach that goal.
As you spend more time on trying to achieve the goal, it becomes harder and harder to quit as time goes on.
When you become more invested in a goal, you will find it is easier to keep the discipline needed to reach that goal.
Have Clear Goals
Equally as important as big goals, is having clear goals. You need to clearly outline what your goal means to you and how you intend to achieve it.
If you set a goal to run 5k in 20 mins – how will you achieve this goal? Will you run every day? What time of day will you run? What food will you eat?
You need to be really clear on the goal and the process involved to reach that goal.
That way you know what daily self-discipline is needed for each task to reach your goals.
A Daily Routine
Creating a daily routine that you do on autopilot is a great way to stay self-disciplined.
An example of this is athletes; they know exactly when and for how long they are going to train each day. They will know exactly when they will have breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
By following the same routine day in day out, it becomes second nature and helps them to continue to build their self-discipline.
I know we all can’t commit to as rigid a structure as an athlete but we can all build daily habits into our lives which will help us to build on our self-discipline.
To help with this you can download our free habit tracker, which will help you to track and stay focused on a new habit you want to incorporate into your life.
When you set out on your journey to becoming more self-disciplined it is important that you really can commit to it.
You need to be clear from the start that this is something you want to work on.
If you start without full commitment it will be extremely hard to stay disciplined and it is more likely that you won’t see it through.
It’s a big commitment as it’s one that never ends. You will never get to a point where you say you have mastered daily self-discipline.
There will be new things to work on all the time, it is a lifelong process.
Enjoy Hard Work
If you enjoy what you do it is much easier to stay motivated and to keep your discipline. Focus on continually trying to get your work done faster and better.
Speed is crucial as you have to move quickly in order to reach your goals in a set amount of time.
In general, many people quit far too early. The real key to success is being consistent, and by being disciplined it allows you to be consistent.
The more you see that you are getting results and are getting closer to your dreams and goals, it will drive you on to achieve more and suddenly keeping your discipline will not feel as difficult.
You will start to enjoy the process.
Every Day Counts
When your alarm goes off in the morning, do you know what the most important thing to accomplish is for the day?
Making every day count is crucial to help you build self-discipline.
It is also good to build the mentality of not wanting to waste any opportunity to get you closer to all of your goals.
As an example, an athlete will know that if they skip just one training session, they are now behind their competitors who haven’t missed one.
Building this mindset will make it easier to build daily self-discipline. You will want to make sure to achieve everything you set out to do every day.
This one may sound a little boring but it is absolutely critical to help you build daily discipline. You need to make sure you are organized if you want to build your self-discipline and achieve your goals.
An organized life is a disciplined life. Start small and do one thing each day to get yourself more organized.
Start by filing away the documents that have been lying around on your desk for weeks.
Then move onto sorting out that big pile of clothes you have lying around.
As the momentum builds you will start to notice that these seemingly insignificant small actions are starting to have a big impact on your life.
Since reading The One Thing I have incorporated time blocking into all areas of my life and it has been extremely beneficial in helping to develop self-discipline and increase productivity.
It is pretty simple, you block out a period of time in your diary to focus on something that you have already predetermined that you want to do.
For example, from 5 am to 6 am I have blocked out an hour of time to write a post for my blog. In that time you remove all distractions and just get on with what you set out to do.
In your professional life, you can use it too. For example, if you work in sales, you can block out an hour to make sales calls and just focus on that for an hour
You will find by time blocking you get much more done than if you were flicking between tasks. It allows you to focus and helps you to build self-discipline as it is tempting to switch between tasks or get distracted by your phone.
The Mental Fight
You need to win the mental fight with yourself. You know the times where you are having an argument with yourself about whether or not you should do something or not.
This requires a lot of hard work and will mean you have to forgo the pleasure of instant gratification to reap the long term benefits of self-discipline.
To do this it helps to try and separate yourself from the feelings that can stop you such as laziness, tiredness, and self-pity.
You have to try and rise above this and look at the bigger picture.
4 Best Books on Self-Discipline
Mindset: The New Psychology of Success
Professor Carol Dweck is one of the leading figures in the positive psychology field. She has contributed vast amounts of literature on the subject.
This book is very straightforward but equally highly informative for anyone that wants to learn about fixed vs. growth mindsets.
The book is based on psychological science, however, don’t let that put you off as you won’t be reading through piles of data. The book is presented in an easily readable format with lots of anecdotes that highlight the key principles.
No Excuses!: The Power of Self-Discipline
Brian Tracy has written many books on goal-setting so his work on self-discipline sits nicely alongside them.
In the book, he emphasizes the nine disciplines he centers his approach around. These include daily goal-setting, hard work, and persistence.
The general tone of the book is pretty motivational and is a nice enjoyable read. You can move from chapter to chapter and cover off the topics as you like.
The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We do in Life and Business
Charles Duhigg is one of the prominent writers on everything to do with habits. In the book, he looks into how our habitual behaviors often lead to the downfall of our best intentions and play a greater role in our life than we think.
Duhigg introduces the 3 stages of forming a habit which include a cue, the habit itself, and the reward. Getting an understanding of this is really helpful in forming new habits.
Towards the latter stages of the book, he highlights strategies for changing habits and regaining self-control.
The Now Habit: A Strategic Program for Overcoming Procrastination and Enjoying Guilt-Free Play
This book has lots of techniques to help anyone who procrastinates and also perfectionists who are looking at ways to increase their productivity.
Dr. Neil Fiore dives into the root causes of procrastination and helps us all to get a better grip on their unique nuances and how we can deal with them in the right way.
A very practical and actionable book that will help you make positive change ‘Now’ by either forming positive habits or breaking bad ones.
Final Thoughts on Self Discipline
If you are able to master the art of self-discipline it can have many positive repercussions throughout all areas of your life.
Luckily for us, it is something that can be worked on all the time, and something we can get better at over time if we continue the habit of training self-discipline.
It is a process that needs commitment but once you start to get into the flow it will become easier and the rewards greater.
Hopefully, this post has answered the question of how to be more self-disciplined and you can now start to put into practice some of the actionable steps and start your journey.
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