A lot of people lack self discipline. They wander around without any routine or habits, leading to problems when trying to reach personal goals. Luckily we have some tips to learn how to be self disciplined and work on your personal goals.
In this post we'll see the importance of self discipline on achieving goals and getting where you want. Later, we'll go through some tips to learn how to be self disciplined
What’s Self Discipline?
Self discipline, defined as a whole, is the ability to control your impulses and feelings and stay on track towards to your goals.
This concept has gained a lot of importance on goals-seeking and everyday goals (source).
Among the different theories explaining how disciplne and willpower work, the Energy Model of Self-Control seems to be (at least to date) the most precise and accurate theory.
The Energy Model of Self-Control
The Energy Model of Self-Control was created by Baumeister, 1994, a social psychologist who dedicated his main work around control and discipline behaviour.
The Energy Model takes the brain as another muscle.
As another muscle, the brain can also be trained and strengthened (study)(study). The brain is a dynamic body undergoing several changes throughout lifespan.
Trained brains show a higher capability to overcome difficulties and react against them.
As you train your brain, it becomes more efficient at using and producing energy. A trained brain will be better at staying on track because of the larger amounts of energy and mental strength(study).
Athletes implenting this knowledge show incredibily better results (study)
The Importance of Self-Discipline on the Long Term
The biggest benefit of being self disciplined comes in the long term.
Life is an everyday job, and you won't see significant results overnight. It's the "doing it everyday" what puts you where you want in the future.
When it comes to big goals, self discipline is a 'must-do'.
You can't concieve an ambitious goal without having to work everyday and putting a lot of effort on it.
If you know how to be self disciplined, you'll to get where you want by progressively grow towards your goal.
Self-discipline aims for a continuous and constant progression on your long term run.
There'll be breakdowns on the way and many other adversities. Self-discipline can help you overcoming those.
I force myself to write 1h on a post for the website every morning before going to university. Some mornings I don't want to get up that early, and I don't even see results in the short-term. But I know this everyday work will get me where I want sooner or later, and I still do it.
The Relation between Self Discipline and Motivation
Motivation is the driving force for our actions in the direction of our goals. However, it lacks perseverence and continuity. And that's where self-discipline comes into play.
Motivation and self discipline is the best synergy relation to achieve your goals.
Motivation is not always there, and is in those moments where self discipline can help us staying on track.
In this study , those more motivated showed more discipline and commitment. They did not only performed better during the season, but also achieved significantly greater results (study).
"Motivation gets you going, but self discipline keeps you growing"
How to Be More Self Disciplined
What can you do to be more self disciplined ?
In the next 3min, we'll go through easy and quick tips to help you be more self disciplined!
Are you ready?
TIPS TO BE SELF-DISCIPLINED
- Organize your agenda
- Write your goals in a visible place
- Make a priority list
- Create small habits
- Make a 'cross-table'
- Make the bed right after waking up
- Go for a daily walk
- Learn to say 'no'
- Avoid distractions
- Evaluate the progress
- Be consistent and persistent
Organize your agenda
Organization is key when it comes to self discipline.
Get an agenda and write everything you need to do before the day ends.
This way you'll be more conscious of all you need to do.
With an agenda and a plan drawn, you can easily manage your time to be self disciplined and get the most out of it.
Write your goals in a visible place
Self-discipline is about staying on track, but you slowly forget where the track was taking you.
To remind yourself, put a sticker on your desk or in the fridge, and write your goal, required activities to achieve it and date of submission.
Make a Priority List
Everyone has the same 24h. The question now is; how do you manage that time?
You need to know what's more important for you and put it first on your 'to-do' list.
Set your priority list and make sure you put those when you are more productive
Create Small Habits
If you want to be self disciplined, you SHOULD create habits.
Start from the bottom and go for small habits. Read 15min before bed, take a shower in the morning, write your next book for 30min a day.... whatever. Everything works, as far as you do it everyday and train your self-discipline.
A recommended book to train the 'habits building' is Atomic Habits - J. Clear. Give it a read and work on your habits and self-discipline.
Make a Cross Table
I haven't seen this anywhere else than in my room, but it certainly works!
Make a weekly calendar with all the activities you need to do to achieve your goals.
In the x-column put the days, and in the y-column the different activities. When you complete each activity on the day, go to the table and cross it. Do that with all the activities done during the day.
This is one of the best ways to be conscious about the progress and short-terms achievements.
It converts the process into a game. Now, the goal is to fill out all the cells to get to the 'next level'.
As Jordi Serra i Fabra said in this interview:
"I try each day to live a small life of 24h" - Jordi Serra i Fabra
Fill up your cross-table before you go to bed. The best way to stay on track, enjoy the process, and productively use your time.
Make the Bed after you Wake Up
This is the best thing you can do to train your self discipline.
Waking up is one of the hardest things we do all day (study).
Making the bed right after you wake up trains your brain to create habits. It tells your brain that it's time to get 'on hands' and get started with the day.
Go for a Daily Walk
This is another way of creating small habits and training your self discipline. Book a time slot for a quick walk and make it part of your day.
During this daily walk, don't be on anything else (e.g: electronic devices, music, podcast,...). Use this time to think on yourself and everything you have done during the day.
Going for a quick walk helps you clear your mind and releaving all stress and concerns.
Learn to say 'No'
Peer pressure is sometime too strong for it to resist, and you may end up falling into bad decisons.
Saying 'yes' when your inner you was saying 'no' can be frustrating and overwhelming. It puts things out of control.
In this post you'll see different situations in where 'no' is as valid as saying 'yes', and the world is not gonna end because of your answer.
Start by saying 'no' to yourself. Food cravings, sleep-in, drink alcohol, have a smoke,... say 'no' to those and resist.
We are full of distractions. This over-stimulates your brain, and makes it easier to get distracted.
This makes it so hard to focus and be disciplined on your daily activities.
Book short time slots to focus and do the activity you were meant to do, and alternate with short breaks.
This is called the 'Pomodoro technique', and it improves your focus and productivity (study)(study).
Evaluate the progress
"You can't improve what you don't measure".
You may be doing things perfectly, but how do you know if there's no means of evaluating and measuring the progress?
To evaluate your self-discipline over a short period of time, make a balance of all "important" and "trash" activites you've done during the day.
If the latter overcome the first ones, then you have to be more self disciplined!
Be Consistent and Persistent
Self-discipline is a long term aptitude. It's about training your abilities to be more productive, use the time efficiently and don't lose control over your life.
Don't try to be that person overnight. That's not gonna happen.
The success here comes after overcoming all the barriers along the journey.
If you give up along the journey, you'll lose all the achievements. You give up, but the knowledge and habits were still being built. If you don't train them anymore, they'll fall into nothing.
Be consistent and persistent. Don't try to be discipline overnight and wait for results. Enjoy the process and take the best learning out of it.
Self discipline is the ability to control your impulses and feelings and stay on track towards your goals.
In long term goals, self discipline is crucial. In this post we saw 11 easy tips to learn how to be self disciplined!
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