Self-discipline is a powerful tool that can help you accomplish anything you can dream or imagine. Self-discipline is the act of controlling our emotions, actions, thoughts, words, and personal direction. Some people seem to be naturally self-controlled and some seem to have no self-control at all. Others seem to constantly struggle with self-discipline.
Discipline is learning to say “no” to our primitive uncontrolled cravings and selfish destructive desires. We develop self-management when we begin to distinguish the difference between what is actually needed and what is truly unnecessary.
Because of the ease of modern society and our ability to get anything we want at a push of a button or the swipe of a card, it is far more difficult to exert self-control today than it has been at any other time in human history. Added to this is the brainwashing of advertising that tells us to crave things.
The first step to gaining self-control is to identify the areas where we are out of control. Work on self-denial in the areas you want to change. Deny yourself a certain pleasure each day. Then begin to start small with little victories each day, like eating one less snack or watching one less television show.
A key to discipline is developing routines. People who have routines tend to be more disciplined and accomplish more. If you are one of those people who have trouble with routines, try adding just one at a time. Keep it simple. Work on the things that are most important first. Evaluate yourself regularly to see how you are doing. Reward yourself for keeping at it. Once it becomes a habit, it is much easier to maintain.
Of course, routines can be done to excess, so remember to give yourself a little healthy leeway in case the unexpected comes up.
The power behind some of the world’s greatest achievements is strong motivation and the ability to persist despite previous failures. Motivation is the fire that fuels our efforts toward success. There is no use in trying to master self-discipline if you have no motivation to have it. Motivation is a result of a strong personal desire that directs a person’s actions and thoughts and helps create situations that move toward a specific accomplishment.
Motivation must come from within, not from an outside source. For example, if you diet because your spouse wants you to, it is poor motivation, and you will probably not do well at it. It is only when you truly desire to control your habits and behaviors that you will achieve self-discipline. Motivation brings about true change.
One way to increase motivation is through pressure. Tell your friends, co-workers, and family about your commitment to change something in your life. Peer pressure can be a powerful motivator.
Motivation works hand in hand with self-discipline and organization. Lack in these areas can lead to a greater number of failures and failures lead to poor motivation. When you begin to structure your day and organize yourself, the motivation that moved you to change will continue to add fuel to the fire.
As you work toward change in your life, you will eventually experience failure. The only way to defeat failure is through persistence and perseverance. The most common reason people give up on achieving their goals is that they encountered failure once or twice and they become afraid to try again. Winston Churchill once said, “Success is going from failure to failure without a loss of enthusiasm.” Before you even begin, you must plan to deal with failure. Be ready to persevere. Vow to never give up, no matter what, no matter how long it takes!