Self-discipline refers to instructing oneself to accomplish certain tasks or to adopt a particular pattern of behaviour, even though one would really rather revert to a passive or non-motivated state. Self-discipline is also known as self-control where assertion of willpower dominates a person’s state of being.
An example of self-discipline is when a person maintains a home-study course over a period of time and completes it within the required time-frame and minimum competency level. Another example relates to maintaining a daily exercise regime despite wanting to do something else like watch television or to lie in bed for a longer period in the morning.
One of the key factors of achieving successful outcomes is the power of self-discipline. Brian Tracy’s courses on “Maximizing Your Performance” state that self-discipline is a key success factor to achieving one’s goals and objectives. He defines self-discipline as “the ability to make yourself do what you should do when you should do it, whether you feel like it or not”.
Self-discipline provides the ability to achieve outcomes faster than you ever thought possible. Once you become a highly disciplined person you can take control of yourself and your life to achieve goals that you previously thought were not possible. Self-discipline requires you to making a sacrifice in the short-term so that you achieve greater rewards in the long-term. You need to action what is necessary first (putting in the effort today) and enjoy the benefits later.
Self-discipline allows you to accomplish a number of activities that we would otherwise try to avoid, including:
- Difficult tasks that require hard work e.g. delivering a presentation in front of a large audience
- Unpleasant activities that we would rather avoid e.g. daily exercise program
- Complex tasks with many steps that require patience e.g. collating receipts and expenses for your annual tax return
- Solving problems requiring specialised skills
The following steps will help you to develop and master your self-discipline:
- Take responsibility – You control your direction in life, therefore, you need to make a personal commitment to self-discipline. Your positive state of mind is also important to achieving self-discipline.
- Develop a plan – Define the purpose, goals and objectives you desire. Develop and document your plan with the activities that need to be actioned.
- Become action-oriented – If you have clearly outlined your plan you must continue to action the activities until you achieve the outcomes you desire.
- Avoid procrastination and distractions – Leave procrastination for another day and remove negative thoughts and habits from your life.
- Commit to consistent repetition – The more often you perform an activity the easier it becomes. For example, as you continue to exercise daily for a period of time it becomes a natural activity that you easily perform. The new behaviour then becomes a habit as neural patterns are created in the brain.
- Be persistent – Life is full of set backs. You need to maintain your focus on your goals and objectives and continue to make small steps towards success on a daily basis. If something goes wrong continue to persevere and get back on track.
It is not too late to start a life of self-discipline. All it takes is the commitment to maintain and repeat a series of actions or activities that follow a plan over a period of at least 20 to 30 days.
Dr John Kapeleris