September 11

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The Power of Self-Discipline: 9 Best Tips For Developing It

By Dan

September 11, 2022


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Self-discipline is key to achieving any goals that you set for yourself, whether they're personal or professional and these 9 tips will help you get started.

The Power of Self-Discipline

Unfortunately, many people struggle with being disciplined because it can be a hard skill to develop. But the good news is that self-discipline is something that you can learn and improve with practice. 

What is self-discipline?

Self-discipline is the ability to control one's emotions, thoughts, and actions to stick to a plan or course of action, despite any temptations or distractions that may come your way; it’s about knowing what you want and making a conscious effort to achieve it.

The Importance of Self-Discipline 

Self-discipline is important because it helps set boundaries to resist temptation and procrastination and make smarter choices to better manage time, money, and resources. 

People who are disciplined tend to be more successful in both their personal and professional lives because being disciplined often leads to positive habits, such as working hard and consistently, which then lead to achieving goals, regardless of obstacles or setbacks.

With that being said, people who lack discipline often struggle in life because they have difficulty maintaining relationships, jobs, and a healthy lifestyle. Self-discipline is essential to achieving goals and reaching your full potential in any area of life.

Why self-discipline is essential for success?

Self-discipline is essential for success because it allows you to control your thoughts, emotions, and actions in order to do what needs to be done, even when you don't feel like doing it.

Being disciplined is what allows you to get out of bed early to go for a run, even when you're tired, or to resist the urge to hit the snooze button. It's what allows you to focus on your work or studies, even when you'd rather be doing something else. It's what allows you to stick to your healthy eating plan, even when you're feeling tempted by unhealthy foods. 

Self-discipline is the key to achieving any goal, whether it's big or small, which is essential for leading a successful and fulfilling life.

The Relationship Between Self-Discipline and Happiness 

Self-discipline and happiness are closely connected because people who are disciplined tend to have better habits that create a healthier and more full-filling lifestyle which leads to a sense of satisfaction and happiness. 

The Relationship Between Self-Discipline and Freedom 

Self-discipline and freedom are two concepts that may seem contradictory, but they are actually quite the opposite.  

Self-discipline is the ability to control one's thoughts, emotions, and actions in order to achieve a goal or follow a plan. And, freedom is the ability to act without restraint and to pursue one's goals without interference. 

While self-discipline may seem like it would limit one's freedom, it actually provides a structure that can lead to greater freedom in the long run because it leads to positive habits and consistent effort, which then leads to achieving goals and reaching one's full potential.

9 Tips for Developing Self-Discipline 

Here are 9 best tips for developing self-discipline and achieving a more successful and fulfilling life:

1. Mindset is key.

I used to be one of those who thought that mindset didn’t matter and that all that mattered was taking action because that's the way I was raised.

My dad always said, "If you want something done, just do it." so, for a long time, I believed that taking action was the only thing that mattered.

And while that may be true to some extent, I eventually realized that mindset is actually the foundation that everything else is built on. Your mindset determines your actions, and your actions determine your results.

I’ve come to realize that mindset is EVERYTHING because if you don’t believe in yourself and don’t think you can do it, then you won’t do it.

Developing self-discipline requires you to have a strong belief in yourself and your ability to succeed. If you don’t believe in yourself, it will be very difficult to push through the tough times and stay disciplined.

Here are 7 tips that will help you change your mindset and develop a strong belief in yourself so that you can develop self-discipline.

2. But so are habits. 

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: habits make you or brake you. If you want to be successful in anything, you need to develop the right habits because they determine our actions, and our actions determine our results.

Habits are behaviors that you repeat over and over again until it becomes second nature, and like any other habit, it takes time and practice to develop.

For example, if your goal is to wake up early, then you need to develop the habit of going to bed early. And, if your goal is to exercise regularly, then you need to develop the habit of setting aside time each day for a workout.

The key is to make sure that your habits support your goals, otherwise, you’ll find yourself slipping back into old habits.

3. It's not about willpower but self-control. 

The ego-depletion theory, which posits that willpower is a finite resource that can be depleted by exerting self-control, has been challenged by new research.

This research suggests that the observed effects of ego depletion may be due to the belief that willpower is a limited resource, rather than actual depletion of willpower; meaning that your willpower gets depleted only if you believe it does.

If this is the case, perpetuating the idea of ego depletion may be harmful, as it can lead to quitting prematurely when faced with difficult tasks.

With that being said, psychological researchers have found that successful people don't have more willpower, instead, they tend to have better self-control; which can be measured by looking at someone's ability to control their impulses and emotions and is, therefore, a more accurate predictor of exerting in thus case self-discipline.

4. Create a plan of action and focus on one thing at a time — less is more.

Creating a plan of action that can be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART), as well as, focusing on one thing at a time — the highest income-producing activity — is crucial for developing and staying disciplined.

When you have a plan laid out, you focus on what needs to be done and take action because you know exactly what steps you need to take, hence, it’s much easier to be disciplined.

In addition to this, multitasking is unproductive which is why when it comes to developing and staying disciplined, less is more. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself overwhelmed and stressed which will lead to burnout because you're trying to do too many things at once. 

Not to mention, when you focus on one thing at a time and give it your undivided attention, you are more likely to produce better and faster results because you are not spreading yourself thin.

5. Shiny Object Syndrome is a real thing.

Shiny Object Syndrome is the tendency to get easily distracted by new and shiny things. It’s the reason why so many people never finish what they start and why so many people never reach their full potential.

This syndrome can be a major obstacle to developing self-discipline because it’s hard to stay focused on your goals when you’re constantly getting distracted by new ones.

Recognize when you’re experiencing shiny object syndrome and purposefully redirect your attention and focus back to your goals.

6. Avoid distractions and temptations.

While it’s important to recognize when you’re experiencing Shiny Object Syndrome, it’s also important to avoid distractions and temptations altogether because it's part of developing self-discipline.

This means creating an environment that is conducive to productivity and focus and avoiding situations that are likely to lead to bad decisions.

With that being said, it's not realistic or possible to completely remove all distractions and temptations from your environment. Instead, try to minimize them as much as possible. 

For example, if you have a hard time staying off of social media, then delete the apps from your phone or log out of your account on your computer so that you’re not tempted to click on the icon and start scrolling aimlessly.

Or if you have the goal of eating healthy, avoid situations where you’re likely to be tempted to eat junk food by keeping unhealthy food out of your house and office and only buying groceries that are healthy and nutritious.

7. Beware Impostor Syndrome. 

If you’re not familiar with the term, “Impostor Syndrome” it's a psychological phenomenon in which people doubt their accomplishments and feel like they’re frauds. 

In other words, they feel like they don’t deserve their success because they think they’re just lucky or that they’re fooling everyone else.

Impostor Syndrome is extremely common among highly successful people, and it can be a major barrier to developing self-discipline because if you don’t believe that you deserve your success, then you’re not going to be motivated to work hard and stay disciplined to maintain it.

Satch yourself when you start doubting your accomplishments and remind yourself of all the hard work you’ve put in.

8. Take breaks and reward yourself for progress.

One of the reasons why so many people fail to develop self-discipline is because they try to go from zero to one hundred overnight. They try to change everything about their lives all at once and then burn out quickly because it’s just too much to handle (I know I've been there).

The key is to take things slowly and make small changes one at a time. For example, if your goal is to start working out regularly, then don’t try to go from zero to five days a week overnight. Start with two or three days a week and then increase gradually as you get used to the new routine.

In addition to this, make sure to take breaks and reward yourself for progress. This will help to keep you motivated and prevent burnout which directly impacts self-discipline. 

For example, if you’re trying to cut out sugar, then allow yourself a small treat once you’ve reached a milestone, such as going one week without eating any sugar. Or if you’re trying to increase your productivity, then take a break after you’ve accomplished a certain amount of work. This can be anything from taking a five-minute break after you’ve written one page to take a day off after you’ve completed a project.

9. Surround yourself with people who have self-discipline.

Another important factor in developing self-discipline is the people you surround yourself with. If you’re constantly around people who are lazy, unmotivated, and undisciplined, then it’s going to be much harder for you to stay disciplined yourself.

But, if you surround yourself with people who are motivated, disciplined and have similar goals to yours, then you’re much more likely to develop self-discipline. Because, humans are social creatures that adopt the habits and behaviors of the people we spend the most time with and groups we belong to. 

To reach your full potential, you need to develop self-discipline and by following all these 9 tips, you can start to do so.

About the author

My name is Dan, a few years ago I decided to turn my life around and it all started with time management, I'm here to help you navigate how to best manage your time.

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