Self-Discipline: From Commitment to Success and Excellence
“We are what we often do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act, but a habit.”- Aristotle
Do you still remember the days when your class teacher used to tell you that you must have self-discipline to achieve success in life? At that time, you might have hardly paid heed to the advice. However, today, you might have understood why self-discipline is more meaningful than it did back then.
So, what do you think self-discipline is about? And why is it important to keep yourself disciplined?
On the surface, the thing called ‘self-discipline’ is about finding powerful reasons to do something then committing yourself to see that activity through to the very end.
Self-discipline required an internal desire, motivation and drive that compel you to chase down your goal. However, this isn’t only about the pursuit of a goal.
In precise words, self-discipline is more about your potential and ability to control your impulses and desires to stay focused on what needs to be done to achieve that goal. It involves committing long-term gains by getting away with the instant gratification along the way.
As appealing as this definition is, it does not entirely define what it means to discipline ourselves to accomplish a task or achieve a goal. We, therefore, are required to break this down another way and fix it back to the process of habit formation.
Keeping that in mind, self-discipline turns out to be a process of creating consistent daily habits that help us achieve our desired outcomes. Or, in other words, it is about taking small but consistent actions that assist you in forming habits that eventually help you hit your goal.
This definition is undeniably better, but it’s still far from giving us a complete picture of what self-discipline is about? So let us break this down even further!
Possessing self-discipline is not just about consistently doing something, but it is about systematically correcting, regulating, and adapting your behavior to the changing circumstances and conditions of your life. Therefore, it’s about proactively and effectively training yourself to follow specific rules and standards that will help you shape and align your thoughts as well as behavior to the task at hand.
Give that, you can clearly see the value of cultivating self-discipline. It not only improves your productivity but also magnifies your self-confidence.
Self-discipline gives you a greater sense of control when working on tasks and projects. This keeps you stay focused for a longer period. Above all, it enables you to develop a higher level of tolerance and get more done in less time with less effort.
How Self-Discipline Makes You Unstoppable
Having and commanding the respect of others is an extraordinary advantage in life. And that edge comes from self-discipline. Highly discipline people don’t have to point a gun at anyone to take what they want; people sense their power and happily give then everything they have got.
Let us see how little self-discipline people have. Ask an employer of any country or any size, and you will hear how major the problems of absenteeism and tardiness are. People do not even have enough discipline to get up early in the morning!
In my dealings, I often find that more than half of people fail to get appointments and meetings on time. Clients miss prescheduled appointments and vendors often miss deadlines.
In the entrepreneurial environment, there is much to be told just for showing up on time. The meeting of commitments and deadlines alone causes an individual to stand out from the crowd like an alien spaceship landed on a cornfield. The ability to get things done right will magically attract fantastic contacts, resources and opportunities to you. All this is nothing but a matter of self-discipline.
And self-discipline targeted and applied at a specific thing is literally a magic power. When you focus self-discipline on a single goal, the whole world will hold the door open and salute you as you walk by.
Successful achievement of worthwhile objectives is rarely easy, but often simple. In fact, it can be understood in three steps.
Awareness: If you are aware of the importance of time, you will have a different concept of time, and how you control your use and other’s consumption of your time to have a reasonable chance of reaching your goals and tapping your full potential. You will have awareness of whether your time is used or abused, invested or wasted, organized or let flow about at random. And, there is always awareness of failings and problems, and of opportunities and successes.
Decision: All achievements follow deliberate decisions, with rare exceptions of accidental achievements, such as tripping over an untied shoelace, falling face down, and seeing a wrapped stack of USD100 bills lying against the curb you would not have noticed otherwise. Apart from that kind of freak accident, achievements can only follow decisions. Once you have understood the importance of your time, you can develop decisions.
Action: I believe in three kinds of actions: implementation, follow-through, and completion. Once you have made a decision, you need to start doing things about it. For some people, it may seem hard, but for others starting is relatively easy. It is follow-through that’s often the hard part. That is where even the tough-minded bosses face a testing time. Relying only on willpower isn’t always successful. You are required to create an environment where high self-discipline can be applied and supported because self-discipline is required and rewarded.
How to Develop and Improve Self-Discipline
There are different opinions on improving self-discipline, test out these proven methods for gaining better control. These methods will help you to develop good habits, get away from the bad ones, and create self-discipline by making a simple change to your daily routine.
Notice all of the successful people around- whether it’s a friend, family member, or a celebrity you admire- and think how they go about their daily lives. You will come to know that each one of them has one thing in common: a commitment to daily excellence. No matter what kind of work you are involved in, it’s vital to strive for excellence every day. If you do this daily, it’s possible that you may not see instant improvements but over time you will overcome your problems. Whatever you do, you should do it with all of your heart.
To build discipline, have self-control, and achieve success, you must have enough sleep. Many people believe that sleep doesn’t have much effect on their mood or work, but it’s a key factor. Make an effective routine for sleeping. Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day. Listening to soothing music will help you out.
Don’t get trapped in small, mundane works and ensure that you are prioritizing your tasks every day. In order to strive towards your goals, you better focus on themes that will drive growth. Don’t think about being perfect, focus on one thing at a time and do the hardest first- these hacks will assist you in prioritizing your days and life better. This will create more self-discipline and control.
Learn to Say ‘No’
This word can be the hardest thing to say, but it is essential to politely say ‘no’ so that you can avoid overloading yourself. If someone asks you to do something, take a pause for a moment and think- what value it will bring to you or your business.
There is no point of losing sleep for a silly mistake. Rather than letting you sink in the pool of guilt or regret, try to learn from it and move on. If you let yourself get disturbed by it, it will certainly affect other aspects of your life and distance you from the goals you have set. Learn from the past, but do not dwell there. Use negative experiences to learn and better yourself. Develop the courage to forget yourself and others who may have wronged you. Move on and be focused on your goal!
Striving towards new goals is not going to be easy, and it will rarely make you feel comfortable. Though it can be uncomfortable, it’s important for you to tolerate and embrace these feelings of discomfort. Stepping out of the comfort zone will push you to do things you haven’t done before. Plus, it will inculcate the feelings of power, motivation and discipline.
A little discomfort will help you learn, grow and change. While experiencing new things, we develop new neural pathways that kick start our creativity. Besides making us creative, new experiences enhance our memory.
Visualize your future with positive intent and you will have an easy time reaching that peak. When you visualize the future of your choice and success, your mind and body will prompt you to reach that place. When you start putting yourself in such scenarios, you will make decisions that will assist you in reaching that place.
Self-discipline is undoubtedly an incredible mechanism that can be used to propel us towards our goals. When used correctly, it can expedite results and accelerate productivity. However, if used unproductively, it can lead us down the rabbit hole of perfection and stagnation. It only depends on how you use it.
Ultimately, self-discipline isn’t something that cannot be nurtured or mastered. All you need is an inspiration to kick in. With inspiration, it turns into somewhat of an afterthought. Because when you feel inspired, the surge of energy naturally drives you forward.
When feeling inspired, you are more committed to the task at hand. Without inspiration, your commitment levels tend to waver, and it eventually makes it more challenging to gain and exercise self-discipline.
Therefore, it’s crucial to keep your commitment alive by seeking inspiration in everything you do. For example, you can get inspiration from people, quotes, books, movies, magazines, through journeying, vision poster, learning experiences, etc. You can get inspired by people who have successfully achieved their goals.
In the end, inspiration without proper actions leads to nothing. You should use inspiration as a tool to help you take big and proactive action in the direction of your goals. This is the only way your self-discipline will grow and thrive and help you achieve your goals.