A Handy Guide to Self-Discipline


self-disciplineSelf-discipline seems to be the thing that everyone else has. Few are fortunate enough to be so self-motivated that self-discipline isn’t necessary. Self-discipline is the ability to do something that you don’t feel like doing. We each have a limited supply, but we can grow our capacity for self-discipline over time.

Those with high levels of self-control have been found to be happier than those with low levels. It’s believed this is due to reduced internal conflict. Those with less self-control are constantly struggling to make decisions between competing goals. Those with more self-control make decisions more rationally and much more quickly.

Increase your ability to control yourself:

1. Success without discipline is a myth. Successful people appear to have ten times more talent than the rest of us, but successful people work very hard to be successful. The ability to control your thoughts and actions creates success. Hard work requires discipline, because it usually isn’t fun.

2. Avoid waiting until you feel inspired to take action. With all the forms of entertainment and distraction we have available, it’s logical to assume that we should feel inspired to do the things that need to be accomplished.

  • Quality of life and comfort are often at odds. Self-discipline can be used to engage in activities that aren’t comfortable. Only then will you enjoy a high quality of life.

3. Learn to complete tasks. Let finishing become your code. Become a finisher. Regardless of the task, see it through to the end. Is the dish rack full, but there are still a few more dishes to wash? Make room and get it done. When you start something, finish it.

4. Do the hardest thing first. Your self-discipline is highest early in day. SO get that tough item crossed off your to-do list as soon as possible.

5. Learn to stay with discomfort. Do you have the urge to go to the kitchen for a snack? Make yourself wait another 30 minutes. Whenever you’re feeling uncomfortable, make yourself stay with it just a little longer. Teach yourself that your discomfort is only a suggestion. You don’t have to cave in.

6. Take time to enjoy yourself. This is the best way to replenish your willpower. Stress, hunger, and fatigue drain your ability to exercise self-discipline. So eat a good meal and get a full night of sleep. Take part in enjoyable activities.

7. Know your outcome. Whether the outcome is a shoveled driveway, a new bass boat, or a completed novel, be aware of the desired outcome. Self-discipline becomes easier when you’re able to maintain a long-term perspective.

8. Develop habits. Creating a habit of vacuuming the living room every Wednesday eliminates the need for discipline. Habits are powerful. Put yourself on autopilot and use the power of habits to your advantage.

9. Meditate. Studies have shown that mediation strengthens the part of the brain responsible for self-control. Buy a book or find a local meditation group.

10. Use affirmations. When you feel your resolve weakening, recite positive affirmations to yourself. Keep your mind occupied on something positive while you get your work done.

11. Give yourself frequent breaks. Setting a schedule that’s too aggressive will quickly diminish your self-discipline. Give yourself regular breaks to ensure that you stay alert and fresh.

How much self-discipline do you have? Your level of self-discipline can affect your diet, health, fitness, finances, career, and relationships. Self-discipline is a learned behavior, so you can develop your self-discipline if you choose. With enough self-discipline, you can achieve any goal.

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