Tuesday, October 4, 2011 Post By: Grayne Wetzky

Developing self-discipline

Self-discipline is the starting point for doing great things. It means the ability to make decisions that are aligned with your goals rather than follow whatever fancy you have in the moment. Self-discipline is the key to accomplish great things rather than go for the easy out.

Self-discipline gets a bad wrap. Most people associate it with depriving yourself, pain, and difficulty. Many even feel that self-discipline is a almost mythical quality that is reserved for those who commit years of their life to master it. In reality self-discipline is something everyone has, and everyone can develop further.

Strong self-discipline means taking control of your life. It means acting in accordance with what you think rather than how you feel. It is the ability to say no to a piece of pizza you really want because you know your goals depend on you not eating it.

Everyone has self-discipline, but most of us would like to have more. The good news is that self-discipline can be learned, the bad news is that it is going to be difficult and take lots of work.

The first step towards better self-discipline is to get clear about what dreams and goals you really have in life. Most people have a hard time putting their goals into precise language. They have a vague idea of where they want to go, but they have not taken the time to clearly define their goals. With fuzzy goals self-discipline becomes almost impossible. If you are not clear on what you want to accomplish and how, it is a lot easier to put things off, make excuses and move the goal posts to where you don't have to make difficult decisions.

To set clear goals for your life is a good idea for many reasons, so if you feel that your goals are a bit vague take the time right now to write down what you want in your life. Refine your list until you have a set of clearly defined and measurable goals. If you have already done this, great, then go over your goals and adjust them as needed.

When you have a clear idea of where you are going, it is a lot easier to decide on the steps you need to take to get there. When you can clearly see that a certain action will bring you closer to one of your life goals it is much easier to resist the temptation to do something else.

The second component of self-discipline is courage. Doing the right thing can be both difficult, scary and painful, it takes courage to go ahead with what you need to do despite this. Courage is another quality that many people think you either have or you don't, but courage can also be learned.

Courage is like muscles, the more you use it the stronger it gets. When you need to do something you fear doing it can be so uncomfortable that it's put of for a long time. However, if you push through something that scares you and do it anyway you will feel great about yourself, and the next time you have to do something similar it is less scary. You have developed more courage.

Whenever you find yourself in a situation where you need to take a certain action, but you really would prefer to do something else, make it a point to do what you should be doing. Don't put it off, even for just a few minutes. Accept the discomfort, pain or embarrassment and then perform. Your courage will grow and with it your self-discipline.

Building self-discipline is a lifelong project and a very difficult thing to do. Remember that nothing great can be achieved without hard work. If it was easy, everyone would have stellar self-discipline already. But if you are willing to do the work the reward is great. With excellent self-discipline, anything is possible.

  1. Absolutely! Living with priorities and goals is a habit to develop like anything else. My whole perspective changed the day I heard some woman say, "I don't think I want to put anything else in my body." That's self-control and awareness!

  1. @Austan thanks for your comment!

    Self-discipline and awareness walk hand in hand. It is impossible to impose your self-discipline unless you are aware of what you are thinking and feeling.

    Self-discipline is hard, but mostly because we lack clarity of mind and purpose.

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