Whether you’re chasing after big goals or small goals, it’s important to be persistent and consistent. In the pursuit of achieving those goals, you’ll find that it takes a tremendous amount of discipline to be successful. Ask anyone who has achieved a high level of success, and they’ll tell you that discipline got them where they are today. But not all of them were able to tap into that self-control at first. However, they eventually achieved a productive level of self-discipline that helped propel their success.
Although everyone wants to be an instant expert in discipline it may not happen for you right away. But don’t lose hope! Everyone can develop a high level of restraint and control, and everyone should, because it’s essential for building success.
What to Expect
On your journey to becoming a master of self-control there are a few things to bring awareness to.
- It’s going to be challenging.
- You’ll have days where you want to ease back on your intensity.
- You won’t be satisfied immediately.
- Impatience and frustration will be hard to fight off.
We aren’t telling you these disclaimers to steer you away from becoming more disciplined. We’re trying to prepare you, because we know that with preparation, you’ll build up your self-restraint over time.
What You’ll Need
Aside from knowing how difficult the process is, we also want to provide you with knowledge of what may help you along the way. The following list features characteristics that will make the process of building your self-discipline a little less challenging.
- Positive mindset
- Unwavering patience
- Strong work ethic
- Willingness (to learn, to grow, to ask questions, to seek direction)
- Effective organization
- Prioritization skills
Working on these abilities will help tremendously in your efforts to become more disciplined.
How to Begin
To start developing self-discipline, you must first work on self-restraint. If you can’t find the willpower to cut out things that are keeping you from getting closer to your goals, you’ll struggle to become disciplined. From this 9-step article about cultivating more self-discipline, there are four steps that we want to emphasize.
1. Eliminate distractions and irresistible things.
Everybody has activities, products, routines, and even foods that are unhealthy and tempting (a dangerous combination). Doing away with those distractions will undoubtedly get you closer to success. This elimination will leave you with more time to refocus your energy on healthier outlets.
2. Specify your goals and plans to achieve them.
To get yourself on the right track, set clear and reasonable goals. If you don’t have a direction to work toward, you’re starting off on the wrong foot. Establish a clear idea of what you want to accomplish next, and then a plan to do it! This way, you’re not killing time thinking, “What should I do next?” because you’ll already have a plan.
3. Start healthy habits and throw out the bad ones.
Self-restraint is all about getting rid of the old habits that didn’t set you up for productivity or efficiency and replacing them with new habits that do. No more trying to remember every single obligation … write them down! Gone are the days of staying up late watching TV when you know you have to be up at 5 a.m. Start telling yourself, “I’m not doing that anymore. This is what I’m doing now.”
4. Connect with people that you trust.
Last, but definitely not least, find leaders that you trust and look up to. They can help you through all of the things mentioned above (and even more.) Build strong relationships with others, and they will help keep you accountable and consistent.
How to Proceed
If you start to notice yourself falling back into old routines or giving into temptations, there are plenty of methods to maintain discipline in your day-to-day life. You can:
- Plug in to your support network (friends, family, leaders, etc.)
- Set deadlines for yourself.
- Appeal to your sense of motivation. Are you reward or punishment driven?
- Prioritize your tasks. Find the tasks that are time sensitive and do the ones that will give you the most progress toward your goals, first.
- Constantly remind yourself of the big reason why you’re disciplining yourself.
At the end of every day, while you’re eating dinner, or getting ready for bed, pause for a minute of reflection. Think about all the things that went right during your day and everything that didn’t. You’ll know which actions were effective, because of the outcomes they produce. The more often you reflect, the faster you can respond to actions that aren’t working and change them before they become habits. Strengthening your willpower is hard, but the energy and time that it takes to master self-control is worth the results.
When you’re caught between, “I said I was going to do this,” and “I really don’t want to,” stop going back and forth. Follow through with the actions you committed to. If you struggle with following through, read our blog about developing your ability to do just that!