This is an article that contains the best ideas and techniques on how to be more disciplined in life to achieve your goals.
I want to begin by acknowledging that the contents here are straightforward and to the point, yet there is also more detailed material explored that is necessary for you to understand what is required to build a habit of being disciplined in your life.
If you have been researching on how to build self discipline, I am sure you are sick of the cluster of information that bombards us in the digital age leaving us with short bouts of feelings of motivation yet fail to provide us with an action plan to produce lasting results.
That is why I have gathered the very best ideas on what you need to do to enhance your self-discipline in a step-by-step guide that you can look back on if you do find yourself steering off course in achieving your goals.
How To Be More Disciplined In Life
Building self-discipline is a process that requires you to venture into the realm of the unknown. In order for you to achieve what you have never achieved before you have to do what you have never done before.
Therefore being disciplined requires you to push yourself to the very limits in order to tap into your extraordinary hidden capabilities.
Self-discipline is the ability to do what you need to do regardless if you feel like it or not. It is in my opinion, the most valuable skill that you need to acquire in order to succeed in any given field.
You could learn every single success principle in the whole world yet it succumbs to uselessness if you don’t have the ability to put what you have learnt into consistent action.
As you begin to learn more and more about the to keys to success, you realize that attaining your goals is much less about your IQ and genetics but rather your ability to stay self disciplined and keep moving forward in the face of adversity.
We ultimately want to be disciplined to achieve our goals. The surest way to ensure that becomes a possibility is to be consistent with our actions and mindset.
That is why you need to need to learn the ideas that I will be sharing with you and manipulate them to reap the successful results of action.
Building self-discipline is analogous with progressive weight training. Just like a weight lifter does repetitions of heavy weight to grow muscle, it is necessary for you to push yourself out of your comfort zone to become more disciplined over a steady course of time.
I need to bring attention to the fact that building self-discipline, like with any other task in personal transformation, is difficult. A key factor that will distinguish those of you who commit to these ideas and those who don’t is your ability to embrace the pain of failure and discomfort.
As I have stated above, building self-discipline is an idea that will lead you to fail, as you will push yourself to the very limit.
Just like a weight lifter does that last repetition and fails midway because they cant take any more, you will fail because you will push yourself to a level that you have never experienced before and wont be able to handle it for too long before taking a break.
What I mean by saying this is that it is necessary for you to embrace what you fear and seek to do that what is unfamiliar and uncomfortable. If you are not feeling discomfort everyday then you are not doing a lot to change your ways.
This is not a quick fix method and in order to provide results that last, it is necessary that you do the work and when you fail, which you will, you get back up and keep going instead of beating yourself up.
The power of clear thinking
Pursuing a high level of self-discipline in your field of practice requires you to master the art of clear thinking. Thinking is what determines the decisions we make on a daily basis, which influences our actions and thus goes on to influencing our results.
It is important to think clearly so you are conscious of spending your time in the most useful way. To put this into practice it is my highest recommendation for you to incorporate daily mediation and solitude into your life.
I say this because these two practices enable you to calm your mind and detach from the complexities of our lives in the digital age. If you are a beginner to these practices it is recommended that you build a habit of performing these rituals for small durations of time to begin with.
Start with mediating with a simple 4-second count of inhalation and exhalation for a period of 3 minutes and then increase this duration to 5 – 10 minutes over 2 – 3 weeks.
This advice might be perceived as unimportant to you but you have to understand that the approach to acquiring high levels of self-discipline is holistic in the sense that it requires you to exert and train various components of your mental capability.
The key to successfully visualize and bring clarity to your hearts desires is to learn the art of daily goal setting.
At the end of this section I want you to take out a pen and paper and write down what it
is you want to do, who you want to become and what you have wanted to achieved by the end of this year for it be a success.
Follow the S.M.A.R.T acronym and make your goals specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timed. You want to make sure your goals are as specific as possible and you also don’t want to get overwhelmed by the amount of things you need to do, so pick a maximum of 5 key areas that need to be worked on.
Examples of good goals are:
- Lose 10kg by the 31st of December by doing high intensity workouts 3 times a week as well as dieting 6 out of the 7 days of the week.
- Get at least 80’s in all my assessment works for this semester by planning my study time in advance, hiring a tutor and attending all supplementary help lessons whilst measuring my progress with a study log.
Read your goals out loud every morning and just before you go to bed at night and I can guarantee you it will do amazing things for your productivity and ability to become more disciplined.
This tactic will provide you with a foundation to fall back on when times are tough and you feel like doing something easier instead of what is really important. It will also program your subconscious mind to get to work, as you will shine a spotlight on the trouble areas in your life that need to be addressed.
Where are you right now?
In order for you to know what you want to achieve in relation with your self discipline it is necessary to be conscious of where you stand in relation to your work practices at the present moment.
Many people, when trying to take on a new routine such as following a new diet give up only after a few short days.
This is explained through the simple reason that people do not know how much they can take on before starting something new and thus get overwhelmed from their drastic changes, for example, trying to eat healthy for every meal of the day for weeks on end.
As a result of this, we beat ourselves up for not maintaining our progress yet in reality all we need is a different perspective on how we should start and see our failures. To put this into practice, imagine a person going to the gym for the very first time and trying to lift an extremely heavy weight.
The person inevitably fails and beats him or herself up for not being able to successfully lift the weight. This is exactly what we do when we try to take on a new routine that is far more advanced for our current level of physical or mental ability.
The fundamental principle that you need to understand when addressing this idea is to find out where you are in relation with what you want to achieve at the present moment and how can you work towards achieving that goal.
To find your starting point, observe and analyze your daily practices and situation in relation to what you want to achieve. If it is weight that you wish to lose, weigh yourself and calculate your body fat percentage and log what you eat throughout your day.
If you wish to improve your grades for school or university, analyze the various components that make up your grade and work towards developing a plan that will see realistic improvements in your overall score.
Big steps in small periods of time usually lead failure so it is important to divide your steps towards achieving your goal in as many little increments as possible.
Find the motivation and start to execute
This section is all about giving you insight on the powerful tool of willpower. Willpower is basically that surge of motivation and energy that enables you to get up and execute your goals.
It is the crossing point between inaction and action and if you used correctly, will enable you to achieve phenomenal results. Most people rely on this motivation to begin to incorporate a new idea into their lives.
What is necessary to know is that willpower is an unsustainable resource that will eventually be depleted over a few day’s or even hours. With willpower depleted, we wonder why we cant follow through with our task that leads us on an endless cycle of frustration and failure.
The major flaw here is that people do not know what to do with their willpower. Uninformed people have a skewed perception that willpower can be reused on a daily basis and that the positive rush of energy you get when you start a task should last forever.
This is simply not the case and it is critical that you use your limited reserves of willpower wisely so you can carry on with your pursuing your goals even in the face of adversity.
To use willpower correctly, don’t concentrate on actively pursuing your goal but rather focus your attention on planning and changing the environment around you so that when you do pursue your goal, it is as easy for you as possible.
To clarify this in an example, say your goal is to lose 10 kg by the 31st December. You look at the videos and images of previous people who have lost significant weight and finally harness the drive and willpower to make this change for yourself in life.
Instead of concentrating on following a diet the next day spend your time in doing all that you can to eliminate any temptations around you to make your environment as easy as possible for you to diet in.
Clear out any junk food that you have in your kitchen, go buy a weeks worth of food that is approved on your diet and prepare your food in containers for the week so you don’t have an excuse to resort to fast food.
The idea is to act quickly while your willpower lasts so when it runs out and you don’t feel like dieting any more, you have a system around you that will make breaking your diet harder.
Whether your aspiration lies in career progression, better marks in school, gaining muscle or anything else, this process can be replicated by simply following the principle of using your willpower to construct a system so that when times get tough all you have to do is just follow what you have already planned.
Different areas that contribute to self-discipline
Self-discipline is multifaceted in the sense that exerting yourself in one area will help you gain discipline in another area.
Just like exercising one part of your body will make it easier for you to perform other exercises, exerting yourself in dieting will provide you with discipline that can be carried on to help you become more productive in your work.
The basic premise is that it is not exactly what you do that helps you build self-discipline but rather going against what is comfortable that will help you expand your perception of what is attainable for you.
Key areas such as:
- Professional work
- Study for school/University
All compliment one another when you push yourself in one specific area. On the contrary, a weakness in one discipline of your areas of focus will result in weaknesses in all your other areas.
Think back to the times where you had a really bad day at work and wasted a lot of time and you found yourself indulging in junk food when you got back home.
This means that your self-discipline in dieting was weakened as you previously weakened your discipline with your work.
Now that we know what to do with our willpower, how do we persist when times get tough?
It’s all well and good for me to tell you that when times get tough you can simply follow your plan but in reality our motivation fluctuates and more often than not we feel like engaging our time with what is fun and easy rather than what is difficult and necessary.
As I have stated before, this is not a quick fix method and if you wish to be disciplined in your field then that equates to you spending many hours of focused work on developing your skills.
The logical perspective is to however not think about the task ahead as a long grind but rather as process that can be digested over a series of steps overtime.
The key is to look at your goal and ask yourself what is the one greatest thing that you can do to achieve that goal and from there ask yourself what is the one greatest thing that you can do to achieve that step.
Conventional goal setting asks you to plan our your steps in a chronological order that goes forward, this process, in my opinion, is more beneficial in achieving your goals as you bring light to the tasks which we often negate in importance.
Keeping with the theme of diet, if you were to ask yourself what is the one greatest thing that you can do to achieve weight loss, you might answer by following a diet for a certain number of days per week.
You would then ask yourself what is the single greatest thing you can do to ensure that you diet frequently; your response might be to prepare your meals so you don’t get suckered into eating junk food.
You would then ask yourself what is the one greatest thing you can do to make that step a reality and that might be to allocate a time where you go shopping for your weekly groceries. You can break this process up with as many steps as possible, the key is to make sure that you have a comfortable starting point so you can know what you have to do.
As I have discussed above, most people get so overwhelmed from the amount of work that is required when taking on a routine that they eventually give up on the plan completely.
The key is to ensure that you have regular intervals of intense work and also frequent breaks where you can recharge. Start this process by concentrating on the here and now and do disciplined, focused work in intervals of 30 minutes with a 5 minute break.
This originally might seem like a short working period but it is the time that most people find that their concentration wanders elsewhere. Conventional thought might persuade you to grind out your work in lengthy periods of time such as 5 hours.
In reality, our average attention wanders after roughly 30 minutes of work and we end up spending 30 minutes in focused work but spend the remainder of our time in stalled progress.
A fantastic way to ensure that you don’t get burnt out over long periods of work is to take a day off once a week where you spend the day the in relaxation (1).
Don’t stimulate yourself by going on the computer and your phone but rather spend time with family or friends or participate in recreation outdoor activities. This is overlooked in importance but it is necessary for you to have the energy to persist when you need to work.
Just like you regularly need to refuel a car to ensure it runs properly you need to ensure you take time off so you can maintain progress towards your goals.
It is vital to continuously remember that self discipline cannot only be learnt but also ingrained in your character through the power of human habits. What is originally daunting and may seem almost impossible to do now will become easier to perform over time through consistent practice.
Studies show that it takes 66 days to build a habit. That is why you need to persist through the initial phase of developing a successful habit of self-discipline and trust that over time, the hard work will be perceived to be easier than it is now.
The key is to be conscious of your actions and frequently ask yourself what is the greatest use of your time in the current moment. To be frequently conscious of our decisions we need to ensure that we follow a system that will up rewire our thoughts to what is most important.
We do this by setting up two periods of the day, the early morning when you wake up and just the evening before you go to bed, as times when you can focus your attention back to your goals. My recommendation for you is to spend 20 minutes in your morning to look over your tasks for the day and read and visualize your goals.
In your evenings you should also spend 20 minutes in measuring your progress in relation with your goals so you are conscious of any improvements that you have made or need to make in attaining your goals.
Journaling is one of the most powerful tools that will enable you to bring clarity to any fuzzy thinking and that will allow you to make better decisions throughout your days when you need to be productive and disciplined.
The Payoff and the consequences
A fantastic method to persist with following through with your actions is to think about the rewards of your hard work. This is often overlooked, as we tend to focus on our immediate state of mind and emotions.
What is important to understand is that the rewards for disciplining yourself to do hard work are immediate. When you pursue to achieve your goals and step into an unchartered level of your ability your brain releases the neurotransmitters that are responsible for making you happy.
As you persist, changes in the way you perceive yourself will dramatically alter. If you are tired of seeing yourself as a person with low self-esteem (2) and worth then this is a must-do to lift your spirits to be more congruent with that of a winner.
Fundamentally it is not the motivation that thinking about our future vision that will reap our rewards but how we feel and act in the present moment so we have the drive to keep on carrying through with our actions that will achieve results. That is why hard work is such a powerful motivator.
The more and more you incorporate discipline in your life, the more likely you are to continue with that momentum and achieve further results.
On the contrary it is important to understand the results of inaction to what it is that you want to achieve. If you are hesitant about doing different things and being a different person then you need to associate feelings of pain with the inaction of your positive intentions.
We all want to avoid negative emotional feelings and that is why when we fail to act towards achieving our goals, we mask the negativity in indulging in what gives us a quick spike of joy such as watching television for hours on end.
You need to associate achieving your goals with a high level of importance in your life and that is why you constantly remind yourself on a daily basis of the benefits of achieving your goals and the consequences of inaction.
Instead of focusing on the actual punishment for inaction, focus your attention onto preventing your inability to act in the first place.
Therefore, you need to remind yourself every morning when you wake up and at night just before you go to sleep on why you have set out to achieve what it is that you want and what will happen if you achieve the goal and if you don’t achieve the goal.
We have now come to the end of this article about how to be more disciplined in life.
I hope that these ideas have been of great service to you and that you go on to achieve phenomenal results in your work, school or anything else!