Self-discipline is a hard skill to learn, but once you’ve learned it, it will vastly improve your life. Being able to discipline yourself will help you at work and in your day-to-day life, with everything from overeating and addictions to persevering and overcoming obstacles. For those who do not know how to practice self-discipline, do not fret! You can develop it as a skill, just like anything else.
Understand your weaknesses
Often, failure and hardship lead people to give up. People hit one obstacle and decide that whatever they’re doing just is not for them. But if you go out of your way to understand your weaknesses (as well as your strengths, of course) you can work on improving them. Working on yourself and these weaknesses will help you not only feel more confident, but it will also make it much easier to overcome future obstacles!
Find a source of motivation
It is much easier to stay focused on a task if you have something to look forward to. It doesn’t need to be something big or fancy, it could be something as little as a work party or a day off, or something bigger like a promotion or raise. If there isn’t a particular reward that will come with achieving your goal, you can try listing the reasons you want to achieve the goal instead. These might be reasons like:
- Losing weight will help my health conditions
- Going to the gym will help me to meet more people
- Not going on my phone at work will get my work done faster
- Working hard this month will demonstrate my worth as an employee
You can then remind yourself of these reasons whenever you feel your motivation faltering.
Hold yourself responsible
Nobody likes to fail. It can be really difficult to accept that you have not quite made the mark. But holding yourself responsible is essential when trying to maintain self-discipline. Just like acknowledging your weaknesses, acknowledging your failures helps you to get yourself back on the right path and to improve.
If you never accept your failures, you will not get the chance to reevaluate your behavior and will succeed. Seeing where you went wrong shows you where to change things, which you can do by using self-discipline!
Monitor your progress
Keeping an eye on how you’re doing as you work towards your goals can really help you in both achieving the goal and in practicing self-discipline. By seeing your successes written down in front of you, or by thinking about them, you will positively reinforce your own behavior.
Alternatively, seeing your failures can help to motivate you to work harder, especially when you’re motivated and working towards something big!
Reward small achievements
Alongside acknowledging your failures, it is really important that you acknowledge your achievements and reward yourself for them. Whilst you have an overall goal with its own rewards, setting smaller goals within that goal and rewarding yourself each time you hit a mini-goal will encourage you to keep working towards your overall goal. Positive reinforcement really can work wonders for your self-discipline.
Remove any temptations
Practicing self-discipline is usually required when trying to reach certain goals; these might be health and fitness-related, work-related or even social goals. Perhaps you need to hit certain KPIs this month in order to obtain a raise, or you want to fit into that bridesmaids dress by June – regardless of what it is that you’re trying to achieve, there will be things in your life that distract you from your goal.
These temptations will get in the way and may be what leads to your resolve breaking. That cake sitting in your cupboard, the social media apps installed on your phone – whatever the temptation is, it could be what stops you from reaching that all-important goal.
So, remove the temptation, or at the very least, resist it! Chuck out that cake. Uninstall Tik Tok. Whatever temptations might distract you from your mission, remove them!
One way to make sure you stay focused is to practice mindfulness. When you find yourself struggling to stay on task or to do a specific job, stop for a moment and think. Tell yourself that you have to do whatever task it is and list the reasons why you have to. Then, when doing the task, if the urge to procrastinate should arise, tell yourself why you must not stop.
If you are really struggling, try the Pomodoro technique alongside mindfulness and do the task for 20 minutes at a time. During which, you must only do the task. When the urge to do anything else turns up you can bargain with yourself (‘only 12 minutes left!’) or tell yourself why you cannot stop.
Ask for help
Self-discipline can be really difficult to start off with, and one way to encourage yourself is to ask those around you to hold you responsible. Holding yourself accountable is all well and good, but it can be hard, to begin with – whereas those around you will find it much easier to nudge you in the right direction when needed. Simply ask your friends, family and partner to encourage you to complete necessary tasks and act the right way in order to make reaching your goal that little bit easier!
Implementing these habits and skills into your life can really help you to buckle down and reach any goal you set your mind to. So start today and begin your journey into self-discipline!