Staying self-disciplined is important in developing your mental strength. Having a sensible plan to achieve your chosen goals and targets provides the structure required to be resilient. However this can only work if you can be sufficiently self-disciplined to make things happen consistently and reliably. It requires sacrifice and this is becoming increasingly difficult in a world full of distraction and instant gratification.
Here are 4 ways that will help you become self-disciplined.
1) Know your purpose and articulate your goals
Knowing why you are doing what you do – your higher purpose – and believing passionately in this purpose helps you feel comfortable in your own skin and on track in your life.
Converting this purpose into a structured system of short to medium term goals and targets and then further into daily routines, processes and habits may just be enough to force your self-discipline to happen.
Self-discipline is easier when you are happy with your cause and therefore you are very comfortable with the sacrifices that you are making. Being distracted by yet another video on your smart phone just isn’t an option if it stops you achieving the goals that you cherish and strive hard to attain.
2) Just do it
Once you know your ‘higher purpose’ and why you are doing it. You know what you have to do to achieve your goals and targets.
Now just get on with it and do whatever it takes to stay focused; attach time frames to specific goals you want to achieve; write your goals down and keep them visible; strongly reject opportunities to procrastinate or be distracted.
I find using a derivation of the Podomore technique really helpful – being focused for 45 minutes and then having a 15-minute brain break to do other things (cup of coffee, read a basketball post etc.) If I am distracted in that 45 minutes I just put it on my list to deal with in my next 15 minutes break.
Two more important factors are being persistent and consistent. In being persistent your approach is to ‘never give up’ and if you can’t achieve something don’t find excuses to give up – look at solving problems another way and keep experimenting until you find a better solution. Being consistent is about doing something every day to get you closer to your goal. This also helps you mentally in that you have the sense of continual progress and forward momentum.
So as Nike famously say ‘Just Do It”.
3) Manage your emotion
One of the attractions of robots for employers is that they don’t have emotion that gets in the way of being consistent and reliable in completing their task. Put another way, one of the advantages that you as a human has is that you have emotion BUT you need to control and manage this emotion. This plays out in many ways but in terms of being self-disciplined you cannot let the ‘way you feel’ get in the way of you completing your routine. Not doing something because you don’t feel like it or you are off colour is not an acceptable excuse in the context of achieving your goals.
It is rare to feel perfect every day, so learn to complete your routine whether you feel low or happy or in between. Get yourself to work regardless of the emotions you feel. Just like a robot would.
4) Start small
Don’t view your self-discipline as all or nothing, that you have it or you don’t, or that you can achieve it by flicking a switch. It’s an incremental pursuit, being patient and taking lots of small steps day after day after day. All that matters is that you make progress towards big, permanent results. If you improve 1% every day, by the end of the year you’ll have improved by 3800% thanks to the compound effect. Compare that to trying to achieve a 100% gain in one or two big steps and its likely that you will have made up some excuses why you wont achieve it because its too hard or you aren’t feeling right to achieve that big goal. Practice self-discipline by doing small things.
For more on becoming self-disciplined and building mental toughness contact us.