“There are two types of pain you will go through in life, the pain of discipline and the pain of regret.” — Jim Rohn
People often confuse freedom with lack of self-discipline and these are the ones who suffer commitment to positive habits. For the majority starting and finishing small tasks like waking up early in the morning, hitting the gym, or reading books is a struggle. Yeah! Most people are struggling with making their life happier and comfortable every single day. While these people struggle to make themselves do the little things, some don’t spend even a second debating about things they know are in their best interests. Things that are necessary are done seemingly without effort. Can you tell the difference between the two kinds of people?
I think you got it. It’s self-control.
The people in the former category find it hard to resist their short-term temptations and give in easily. While the ones in the latter category do not face such difficulty. They are consistent in making the right decisions leading to the right actions. The only thing that separates the two kinds is self-discipline. Those who have mastered self-discipline are far ahead in life. All the advantages are missed out on by those who haven’t yet learned the power of it. You also might be that person as of now. But no worries since you are here now, you are probably looking for a transformation. And that’s amazing. Because that’s exactly what I am about to share with you in the next few minutes.
Self-discipline is an incredibly useful tool to develop for getting what you want from yourself. So, here are some strategies to help you master the art of self-control and defeat temptation. It’s not going to be easy. But it’s definitely going to be worth it.
Know Your Weaknesses
Even the person with exceptional self-control has had some weaknesses. But they find a way to control them. You too can overcome your weaknesses by first identifying and accepting your shortcomings. We all have certain things that we find hard to resist despite knowing the effects aren’t good or beneficial. You have to acknowledge these things and then start working on them. If your weakness is playing video games for hours on end, deleting the game would be the right step. If controlling your cravings for junk food feels impossible, replacing all kinds of junk food with healthy food would help you control your cravings. Addictive of scrolling social media mindlessly? Turning off mobile notifications will lessen the urge to check your phone every now and then. Simply removing the temptations from your sight has a great impact on how often you fall to them.
Set Clear Goals and Create a plan
You hope to achieve self-discipline. Fine! But what for? Unless and until you have laid out clearly what exactly are the goals you aim to accomplish in a specific time, you won’t be able to achieve self-discipline. Having clear goals in mind and an outline of how you want to reach them gives you a direction to follow. So make sure you set realistic goals for yourself and create a proper plan to achieve both the short-term and long-term goals. This way you can stay away from distractions on your path to becoming a self-disciplined person.
Change Your Approach towards Self-Discipline
Most of our actions are derived from our attitude. Therefore it becomes imperative to develop the right attitude when learning to incorporate self-discipline in your life. Looking at it with contempt and frowning upon the idea of getting things in control will take you close to failure, which you probably want to avoid. Not surprisingly, 95% of people choose to have that kind of attitude and fail miserably. To stand out and be different from that population, you need to develop a different attitude than the majority. When you realise that a self-disciplined life is much better and pleasurable than a life with daily need of motivation, you no longer find learning the art hard at all.
Start Small, Start Slow
Building new, positive habits by starting small is the key ingredient to sticking to your plans. Let’s suppose you aim to lose weight and you want to cultivate the habit of running with that purpose in mind. Now, if you have never had the habit of going running before, making a goal of running 5 KM each day would prove fruitless. Avoid making such extreme changes if you want your habits to last longer. The correct way is to start slow and build momentum while developing any new habit. Changing a pattern like smoking, watching TV, eating junk food cannot be done in one day. But it’s possible to get rid of bad habits through moderation. So, take your time and change things slowly. It’s always better to take one step at a time instead of staying at the same place because you are too afraid to fail.
The 2-Minutes Rule
A great way to beat procrastination is using the 2 minutes technique. Here’s how to do it. Make yourself perform the task for just 2 minutes and you can stop doing it if you don’t feel like continuing further. This method helps you get started because you allow yourself to discontinue the task if you don’t like it. Besides, 2 minutes doesn’t look like a big deal to your mind. However, you are most likely to stick even after two minutes. The trick here is to get started as completing it won’t seem much difficult thereafter.
Have a Backup Plan
The first thing in the morning you must do is visualize your day. But even more important is to envision all the obstacles that may come your way. And then think of ways to deal with those problems. This prepares you for any difficult situation you may face and prevents you from losing your willpower midway. Your initial plans would stay intact and this will enable you to achieve your targets for the day despite the small hurdles that may arise. Since now you have already imagined the possible disruptions and have the backup plans in place, there’s no need to worry about making immediate decisions when you confront difficult situations while working on an important task.
Rewards work well with children and adults alike. Especially when a task requires a lot of effort, the only thing that can encourage us is an attractive reward waiting at the end. All too often, we keep stretching our willpower to the last point without taking necessary breaks. Consequently, there comes a time when we feel drained and out of willpower, and we are back at where we started. To avoid this from happening, pause to celebrate your small victories and reward yourself every time a goal is realized. When you reward yourself for every small target you achieve, there’s an excitement to get things done. Practice giving yourself a treat every time a goal is accomplished so that you have something to look forward to while on it.
The ultimate aim of reading motivational content is to get yourself to do the work. But is motivation working for you? Are you checking off the tasks on your do-to list every day? Most probably you aren’t. Guess what happens if you rely so much on feelings and impulses to get your work done. You may feel pumped up once in a while and complete many things that day. But expecting to have the same level of enthusiasm all the time will keep your tasks unfinished and your mind anxious. What you need is not motivation but self-discipline. Master the art using all these strategies and get what everyone wants- freedom in every aspect of life.