Self-discipline is a very important skill. We need strong self-discipline in order to get things done, especially things we don’t feel like doing. You may have noticed that once you left your parent’s home, perhaps for university, you might have had to learn self-discipline. Without there being someone to hold us accountable and punish us for not getting things done, we can end up shirking our responsibilities.
Accountability is Key
In the adult world, it is our job to hold ourselves accountable. Once we learn how to do that and improve our sense of self-discipline, there is nothing we can’t achieve! Keep reading for some useful tips on how you can build self-discipline – a skill that everybody needs.
Identify your weaknesses
In order to build self-discipline, we need to figure out where we struggle. Is it focusing on a task for an extended amount of time? We need to start pinpointing where we struggle and where things start to go wrong in order to move forward. Successful people put effort into tracking their own actions and weaknesses. If we don’t know where we struggle, then we don’t have anything specific to improve on.
Your weaknesses could be anything
Maybe you struggle to get things done in the morning or earlier on in the day and always seem to end up trying to complete a task at the end of the night while you’re half asleep. Maybe you are easily distracted by friends or social media.
Once we identify some specific weaknesses, we can create actionable steps to improve.
In order to improve, we need to set clear and achievable goals to help us get there. For example, in order to avoid distraction during study sessions, you might set the goal of leaving your phone at home without allowing the absence of your phone, by itself, to be a distraction. If you can manage to accomplish small goals like these, you’ll soon realize just how big a difference they make in allowing you to be focused and productive.
Identify your strengths
While tracking our weaknesses, we can also track our strengths. If we know what some of our strengths are, we can focus on those when we need to get things done. If you know you work better alone rather than in a group setting, you will plan solitary time when you need to commit yourself to completing a work-related task. This can be hard at times. Many of us prefer study groups and this type of setting can conduce to productivity while also providing a social outlet. However, if you are not one of these people, then it is important to exercise self-discipline and do what you need to do in order to complete your assignment to the best of your ability. A good idea might be to plan to see your friends after, so you don’t feel like you’re missing out on socializing with everyone. In order to become a self-disciplined person, steps like these are necessary.
Once we know some of our strengths, we can create new habits based on those strengths. Some examples of new and healthy habits you can start to develop in order to cultivate self-discipline and self-control might be eating a balanced meal in advance of buckling down for a big task or getting your workout in during the morning so you don’t go stir crazy when you have to sit down and get something done.
Set Self-Discipline Goals
In order to accomplish the big task of pursuing success by developing self-discipline, we need to set self-discipline goals. These can be small habits we practice on a regular basis. Goal setting is a very powerful tool used in a reasonable manner. We don’t want to set our goals too high or set too many. To achieve success, we need to take baby steps by consistently setting small goals.
Don’t Stray From Your Comfort Zone
We also want you to stay within your comfort zone. Don’t do things that feel completely wrong to you. For example, if you think you need to be pulling all-nighters like your schoolmates, but doing so doesn’t feel right on your body, then don’t do it! You know what’s right for you and your success.
Draw On Good Habits
Part of achieving success is to set goals that will have the effect of weeding out bad habits while drawing in good habits in their stead. Self-regulation is a very important part of overall success. Do you notice that you’re very tired all the time? It might be time to look at your diet.
Pay Attention to Overall Well-being
The reason professionals always push the same things: getting enough sleep, eating right, exercising, etc, is because these all tie in with overall well-being. If you aren’t doing these basic things to look after yourself, you’re not going to achieve success.
Look after your physical health if you want your mental health to thrive. In order to thrive at school or work, and have a healthy sense of self-discipline, you need your brain to be powered correctly through basic good habits, and in return, you will have a better life. You will notice how much easier it is to break bad habits and give yourself the extra push to get things done. Be aware of your body, your brain, and how you work.
Explore Your Core Values
Now that we’ve explored our strengths and weaknesses, we also want to explore our core values. What is important to you overall? Do you simply want to get your tasks done as quickly as possible and get them over with? If you think like this, you may notice you have a very negative outlook on doing things. The problem with this way of thinking is that life is full of boring tasks that we don’t necessarily want to do. If the minute your boss assigns you to a task, all you can think is “great, I’ve gotta do this boring stuff now,” you may be setting yourself up for failure.
Change Your Outlook on Life
To stay motivated throughout our lives, we want to learn how to foster a healthy outlook which involves keeping an open mind and accepting certain realities for what they are. Expect to do mundane things regularly, for instance. Learn how to be content in the completion of tasks no matter how dull. Expect that being in school will entail hours and hours of study and homework. That is life. Then, when you do get a break from it all, you will relish that time that much more.
Plan Fun Breaks
One step you can take to achieve this new mindset is by taking proper breaks. For example, during the week, expect your life to be full of boring tasks and be pleasantly surprised when something fun and interesting arises. To do this, make sure you get a complete break from your normal life on the weekend-even if it’s just for the afternoon on a Sunday. Take some time to plan a fun day, but don’t expect it to fall in your lap. Take the time to make arrangements to do your favorite things.
The most important thing you can do to achieve success in all areas, including developing self-discipline and self-control, is to stay organized in your life. If you do not set yourself up for success by leading an organized life, you are going to struggle. Ideally, your home should be looked after and reflect some level of upkeep. How do you expect to tackle your day when you don’t have clean clothes or food to eat in the fridge? Maintaining balance and some semblance of order is key. Saying that, and you should also remember to take some set breaks from strict organized living. For instance, if Sunday afternoons represent a time when you like to vegetate in front of the television and indulge in guilty pleasure reality shows and munchies, be sure to allow yourself to have this–you deserve it after being so disciplined and organized during the week.
Part of overall success and well-being is staying organized in (nearly) every aspect of your life. The biggest part of staying and being organized is prioritization. If we don’t learn how to delegate or adopt the skill of time management, success may be that much harder to come by.
Treat Failure as a Practice Run
When we fail, it can be really disheartening. We might feel tempted to quit, or start criticizing ourselves. We can’t think like this, because failures are just a normal part of life. Instead, look at failures as a practice run. If you fail, you get to use the knowledge you acquired from the failure towards trying anew. For example, if you set a goal of making sure you study directly after each lecture and you forget to do that a few times, there’s nothing wrong with that! Catch up soon, and start again. It takes time to change the way we do things. We need to re-wire our brains to think in a new way. Always give yourself time to adjust to your new goals and habits.
I cannot express enough the importance of visualizing success. Think about it: we are working so hard to achieve our goals, so much so that we may be making major shifts in the way our brain processes information. If we don’t prioritize taking a minute out of our day to picture what it is that we’re working so hard on, we’ll forget the outcome and lose the will to do the work. A great way to visualize our success is by creating vision boards and putting them in places you see every day.
Create a Poster Board of Your Goals
If you are in school and your goal is to achieve high grades, print out images that will enhance your pursuit of this goal. This can be done on a poster board, for example, and hang your poster boards up. Maybe you want these high grades so you can get into the university of your dreams which will lead to the career of your dreams. Whatever drives your ambition is what is actually key here. Do not feel judged if your only motivation is something like money. Let’s face it, this is enough to motivate most people to work harder even if they do not openly admit it. So if your motivations aren’t world-changing, don’t fret. Your motivations are what they are, so be proud and work hard to achieve your goals!
So, if your biggest motivation for success is money, put images that reflect financial success on your vision board. Put pictures of the things you want to buy with the money, such as a nice car or a big house. Whatever it is, it doesn’t matter – as long as it motivates you!
Monitor your progress
It’s not uncommon to lose track of our progress. However, if we aren’t taking active measures to track our growth, we will naturally take ourselves and our hard work for granted. If your goal is to improve your study habits – keep some sort of graph tracking system to record your study behaviour. Track how often you are able to stick to your study plan, and the grades you achieve in doing so. Watch as your hard work pays off over time and you start to slowly achieve the things you’ve always wanted.