Whether in the gym or the workplace, you must have noticed someone who was able to succeed in their goals. For instance, they wanted to have a healthy gut and develop abs, but they got what they wanted after a considerable amount of time. Similarly, your colleague who had joined the office around the same time you finally got a promotion that he was vying for.
What is the reason behind these incidents? Of course, you can come up with convenient explanations, such as the guy in the gym had a good trainer, so he got the six-pack abs he wanted. Also, the colleague must have a good bonding with the boss, or someone must have lobbied for him/her. However, the truth is that none of the reasons is more significant than the individual’s effort and dedication.
Why is it easier for some people while harder for others? First of all, it is not an easy task to achieve a goal due to several obstacles, and secondly, there are several distractions that we can’t seem to keep at bay. Hence, the obvious question that comes to people’s minds is how do some people achieve goals consistently? How can we accomplish as much in our personal lives and professional careers?
You may or may not know the answer to the questions; however, part of the answer lies in self-discipline, which propels us to deliver on our best intentions and goals. Also, it pushes us to continue to move forward with the required tasks despite our utter unwillingness.
What is self-discipline?
Self-discipline is the person’s ability to regulate or monitor their emotions, thoughts, and behaviour; it also refers to pushing oneself forward, staying motivated, and taking action regardless of how they are feeling. For instance, you exercise self-discipline when you intentionally choose to pursue something better for yourself and do it despite distractions, hard work, or unfavourable odds.
However, it is crucial to understand that self-discipline is different from self-motivation or willpower. Besides, the concept of motivation and willpower is related to why you should do it, which is the internal reasoning that forces you on a path towards achieving the goal. At the same time, self-discipline relates to the amount of effort one puts in to achieve the goal.
Why should you incorporate self-discipline in your life?
Self-discipline is an excellent measure through which you can achieve any desired goals; it pushes people to contribute efficiently to any work. Also, during those days when you feel defeated and low, self-discipline gives you the strength to avoid procrastination and move ahead. Similarly, you may have set up many goals that you want to accomplish, but you could eventually get distracted; self-discipline enables you to be on track and help you succeed.
Furthermore, studies have shown that self-disciplined students can retain more knowledge than individuals without self-discipline. Hence, it can significantly improve learning and performance in any field, so is self-discipline hard to acquire? The answer to the question depends on the person who wants to incorporate it into their life. Also, it is noteworthy to mention that it is an inhibitory control aspect that becomes stronger with time and practice.
Written below are some of the best ways you can develop self-discipline:
Know your strengths and weaknesses
Strengths and weaknesses are an integral aspect that makes up an individual’s personality; for instance, the desire for alcohol, tobacco, and late-night partying with friends. At the same time, others might have an addiction to food, social media or playing video games. Similarly, we all excel at something or the other; no matter how useless one might call you, you might be good at something.
However, some people tend to take the phrase, ‘’ignorance is bliss’’ quite literally; they think it is OK to avoid their weaknesses and let their strengths go to waste. But on the contrary, self-awareness is crucial to getting out of the comfort zone and the safety bubble that we confine ourselves in very conveniently. Hence, to raise our self-awareness, we constantly have to focus and acknowledge our shortcomings and faults.
For instance, eating junk food is a common practice for many of us; however, prolonged consumption has often caused stomach upset, bloating, loss of appetite and indigestion. Hence, we must take an appropriate step toward eliminating junk food from our diet; it might not be easy initially, but over time we will succeed. So, instead of pretending that we don’t have any weaknesses or succumbing to them, we can own up to them and do the needful to reduce their effects.
Set a goal
Did you know that humans are goal-oriented beings? Every small task that we take up is a goal that we work routinely to complete; without goals, we cannot aimlessly live, as that would be morbidly monotonous and unproductive. At the same time, it is vital to understand that you must first attain small goals to reach the ultimate aim.
For instance, let’s say that you want to become a proficient orator or public speaker; you need to develop excellent communication skills. Besides, to develop good communication, you need to follow a couple of additional measures such as practising speaking fluently and learning to express your views clearly. Hence, you need to schedule a fixed time to dedicate yourself to practising your speaking skills.
Moreover, you must set SMART goals( Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound); the key is to break the main goal into ultimate smaller goals.
Identify the obstacles
Obtaining your target is not as easy as it is to set in the first place because you will be inundated with obstacles. For instance, it could be family commitments, friends asking to go out the night before an exam, a relative who called in for an urgent favour, etc. Similarly, it could be any of your weaknesses that have been the cause of your failures all along.
Hence, once you have identified your obstacle/s, you need to take the necessary step to overcome them. Unfortunately, it is easier said than done, but self-discipline is all about identifying the hurdles and manoeuvring your way to stick on the path. So, postpone the party that can hamper your concentration and avoid the junk food detrimental to your health.
Replace old habits
When you are trying to cultivate self-discipline, you will be trying to eliminate a bad habit more often than not. For instance, you have been avoiding studying for a long time as whenever your friends invite you for a party; you cannot refuse and go partying the night away. However, your exams are coming up, and your parents expect you to pass with good marks, so you need to act accordingly.
Hence, you need to replace the old habit of falling for your friend’s requests to hang out with them so that you can focus on your study. But quitting a habit is challenging, so you can let go of it step by step; initially, you can hang out for a limited time and gradually stop at least until you complete your goals.
Avoid distractions, as you know those are the causes of the major failures, but at the same time, don’t let the fear of failure or occasional setback discourage you.
Monitor your progress
Self-discipline is a core part of self-improvement; one needs to be consistent to implement a lasting impact and incorporate a natural shift for a progressive outlook toward life. Also, it is necessary to determine what changes you have made in your life and how it has affected you. Besides, it is a way to monitor the progress and reasons for failure so that you can take further mitigative steps.