Self-discipline doesn’t come naturally for most. It is a learned skill set, like typing, good grammar, and cooking. The more you practice it, the better you get at it. What are some things you can do to build your self-discipline?
What is Self-Discipline?
Self-discipline is the capacity to control your behaviors, feelings, and emotions. For example, sticking to your weekly budget allows you to spend less and save more. It takes self-discipline not to eat fast food every day, though. You’ll stay motivated and be more likely to succeed if you learn how to perfect the art of self-discipline.
Five Ways to Help Yourself Develop Self-Discipline
Like any skill set, self-discipline takes practice, so where do you start?
1. Count First, Then Decide
Often, gaining self-discipline means learning to control your impulses. Impulse, by definition, is a knee-jerk reaction or something you do without thinking. The best way to control that is to stop and give yourself time to think. Next time you are jumping into something, stop and count to ten. Then, take a deep breath and think about what you are about to do. If you still decide to do it, so be it. More often than not, though, you’ll talk yourself out of it.
2. Put Your Goals Front and Center
Write down the goal you are hoping to achieve by controlling your behavior and keep it with you. Then, when you stop and count, pull that note out of your pocket. This will remind you why you need to take a beat and consider what you are going to do next.
If you don’t have a specific goal, write an inspirational quote instead. This will help keep you in check.
3. Write Down a Priority-Based To-Do List
If you write down a schedule for yourself, you can use it as a guide to keeping you on the right track. For example, if your goal is to hit the gym after work, then put that on your daily schedule. Set the alarm on your watch as a reminder that it’s time to go to the gym. You are less likely to procrastinate if you have a set to-do list.
4. Get to Know Your Lack of Discipline Well
What is it that you do that gets you off track? The more you understand your distractions and weaknesses, the better you will be at creating actionable solutions. Maybe you enjoy going out to eat with friends. What could you do to satisfy that need without losing sight of your goals? How about you get together at each other’s house once a week and do a potluck.
5. Find Ways to Hold Yourself Accountable
You could tell a friend or loved one what you are trying to accomplish and let them hold you accountable if you fail. You could also keep a measure of some kind. For example, if you want to exercise 150 minutes a week, keep track of your progress and make sure you hit that goal.
Finding ways around your impulses will help you build up your self-discipline skills and apply them throughout your life.