Self Discipline …
So often we will fudge on our diet and eat things we shouldn’t.
We say we are going to do something around the house and it hasn’t been done for months since we first mentioned it.
When we work, we might eliminate distractions like social media, and promise ourselves not to check email until noon. Yet we find ourselves compulsively checking our inbox every 30 minutes.
Ali Hale wrote an excellent article on dumblittleman.com about how lacking self discipline feels and how we can teach ourselves discipline in our lives. Ali also writes the blog Aliventures.com where she writes about living productively and with a purpose.
“It’s frustrating, because without a certain amount of self discipline, you know your goals are going to slip away. But there are strategies for building up your strength and will power:”
Ali shares five very useful tips on how to overcome an undisciplined lifestyle. She concentrates on highlighting rewards that are automatic, given the changes, and the rewards that we should give ourselves for remaining disciplined and making the right choices.
Self Discipline Tips …
1. Don’t Beat Yourself Up
She points out that this doesn’t solve much and can have you feeling down in the dumps which will certainly hurt productivity. She says you should ask yourself some simple questions so you can figure out went wrong.
You should have a plan of how you are going to face each problem and never just jump into doing something. Always develop a plan beforehand. A good plan will include what you do when you are triggered to break the rules.
2. Focus on Specific Behaviors
Start to notice what you do with your days and when you tend to slip with your self discipline. Ali gives an example that she won’t give up junk food completely, but she will eliminate stopping at McDonalds when she comes home from work. Effective small steps are the best to take and a great way to get started.
3. Find Tools and Techniques Which Help You
You can’t do it all with just self discipline. There are always a bunch of tricks to stay on track that hold us more accountable and increase our will for success. If you are dieting, for example you could start by writing down what you eat. This will help you eliminate the bad things.
As far as social media is concerned, when I sit down to write a blog post for example, I disconnect the Internet. I do my research beforehand while on the Internet and copy and paste information into Microsoft Word. Then I take my computer to a place that I will be comfortable with minimal distraction for a couple hours. Find some sort of technique to help ensure you have eliminated distractions and are keeping track of your own discipline.
If you are quitting smoking as an example, think of something you get as a reward if you get through the day smoke free. You can also use smoking aids to help you such as gums, lozenges, patches, and smoking devices that help you quit. Take advantage of all the tools and techniques to see if they work for you. The more help you get with becoming disciplined the better.
4. Keep Track of How You’re Doing
This step is important so that you can visualize your progress and reward and allow yourself to truly believe you are doing what is best. Seeing how far you have come towards a goal is part of what will drive you. Ali recommends keeping a journal and marking your success on a calendar.
5. Seek Support From People Around You
Ali believes we are easily swayed by a crowd and form similar habits to those we are closest to. She believes there is a huge payoff in surrounding yourself with people who have great self discipline.
When you see your friends doing well it encourages you to do positive things in your life. They may even persuade you to reach goals together such as exercising together a few times a week, or supporting each other and helping each other stay on track in a diet.
Telling your friends about your goals can make you more accountable. You want to follow through and achieve the goals you have shared with your friends. You want to show them you have succeeded. Don’t underestimate the power of accountability.
Let’s face it though; having self discipline can be really difficult. It’s so easy to procrastinate and get sidetracked.
Self Discipline Defined …
I just shared 5 Tips for creating self discipline.
Now that you know how to do that we can take it one step further and make it so you can achieve your goals without having to rely on your own self discipline.
You can do this by creating new habits.
Each and every one of us has our own individual goals. Some of these goals are short term and some of them are long term dreams. Regardless of the nature of these ambitions, they all demand commitment on our part.
The simplest stage is to set targets …
The next stage is the harder part because it requires you to take action and exert the effort to hit your targets. This stage is where self discipline and motivation really come into play. This also brings changes in our attitude and lifestyle. Change is a challenging process and self discipline alone will often fail us.
Ali points out that it takes more than willpower to reach our aspirations, it is important to make those little changes by starting with our habits.
“Exercising willpower or self discipline takes up a lot of energy.
When you’re using your willpower to make changes in your life, you’re going against many of your established habits.
It’s much easier to use your willpower once to set up a good habit than to keep on struggling again and again to overcome a bad habit.
When you’re trying to establish a new routine, do your best to find ways to break old habits.”
As Ali mentioned, self discipline will need a lot of commitment and this means making changes down to the little things we do on a daily basis. It could mean changing your regular activities. This can be very challenging since in doing these things we all seem to be set in our way.
Create new habits that contribute to achieving your goals. This will eventually replace the old routine and you’ll be surprised how these new ways will become your regular routine.
Change is not easy to accept.
Since habits can be challenging to break, it is important to take little steps and work on one habit at a time.
Identifying the habits that go against your objectives will really help and will challenge you in developing a new goal-appropriate behavior to replace it. Replacing old patterns with new ones can aid you in staying on track towards your target.
Having new habits sets new routines that will be more beneficial for you in the long run.
Change is definitely inevitable and the changes you initiate to improve yourself are the best kind of change. It requires a strategic use of willpower to get you closer to your aspirations.
Although self discipline is the key mover to this whole process, a careful transition is still proven to give a longer lasting result compared to a drastic transformation. Don’t throw all of your efforts away by spreading your willpower too thin. After all, goals are not achieved overnight, you will just have to do things one step at a time.
Use self discipline wisely.
Don’t keep struggling to overcome a bad habit. Instead use your self discipline more wisely and embark on a mission to replace all the bad habits with new ones.
Don’t even allow yourself to indulge in bad habits that are not relative to your goals. Be honest with yourself, if your drinking habit is dampening your desire to make money on the side on the weekends then maybe it’s time to replace it with reading a book and applying the knowledge you learn from it right way.
Ali talks about many bad habits that people have and how you can eliminate simple indulgences, such as using your credit card, or stopping for fast food after work.
Each step doesn’t have to be big. “We didn’t say we couldn’t put aside money to go shopping, we said we won’t use the credit card.” “We didn’t tell ourselves we can never have fast food we said we wouldn’t stop for it after work. “
Even if your intention is to rid yourself of the bad habit for good small steps like this are what will bring you to your goals.
Do you have any tips for improving self discipline or creating habits to eliminate it all together? Please share your thoughts in the comments.