Learn seven ways to increase your self discipline. Have a reason, overcome procrastination, work out your patterns, remove temptations that are more fun than your main task, increase your mental strength with meditation, and create habits. Start small and build up, measure your progress, and reward yourself along the way.
- There's no doubt that successful people are the ones prepared to go a bit further than others. To work harder or longer, even when they don't feel like it. There are lots of stories from successful people about how they were exhausted, but they did one more call, or didn't cancel the last meeting and it turned out to be their best ever customer. There will be times when you don't feel like working and tasks that you don't fancy doing, which is when self-discipline comes in.
So if you want to increase your self-discipline, what can you do? Well here are seven ideas. First, the biggest source of self-discipline is to have a reason to do the task. If you have well defined goals, which you can clearly visualize, then you're much more likely to do the work required to get there. If you only have a vague idea that you probably should work harder, then you're unlikely to get around to doing it. Second, find a method that works for you for overcoming procrastination.
The things that you put off will be the big important ones. And if you allow yourself to put off things that are big or difficult, it'll be a serious barrier to success. So overcome procrastination by any method that works for you. It might be blocking out time in your diary or breaking it down into chunks and just doing the first part or promising someone else that you'll do it. I'll cover this topic in greater detail later. Third, work out what your patterns are.
When you're failing on self-discipline, how does it happen? What are your thought processes and then your behaviors as you divert from the path you really should be taking? When are you disciplined and when aren't you? And what's the pattern? Is it noise that distracts you? Is it time of day? Is it environment? Are there some places where you can think more clearly than others? If you can work out the pattern, then you can set up the conditions that will allow you to work best. Fourth, remove temptations.
Whether it's food or the TV or social media when you're supposed to be working, try to have a clean working area, both desk and computer desktop, where there's nothing that's more fun than the thing you're doing. What's your temptation? What's your escape from self-discipline? And could you get rid of it, hide it, or not buy it? Fifth is meditation. This is relevant because, when I tried it, I noticed a short-term surge in creativity and also, a longer term increase in self-discipline.
It's as if I can more clearly see the part of my brain which tries to procrastinate and I have more inner strength to control it. I can't really explain how it works or why it works, but that's what it did for me, so please do consider meditation. Sixth is to get the good habits established by starting small. Either short timed bursts, I'll just read for five minutes each morning and increase it to 10 and 15 later.
Or small bits of progress. I'll read one page a day or I'll read one chapter. The key is to make it a routine that you always do every day, starting so small that it's easy. And then, once the routine is established, you can gradually sneak the amount upwards. And finally, seventh, measurement. If you can measure miles run per week or pages read per week, you get a great feeling of progress, especially if you can see that it's progress towards the overall goal.
And perhaps also reward yourself at points along the way. So that's quite a bit about self-discipline. It's such a key skill or habit to develop if you're going to be successful at anything. And the immediate question is what will you do today, right now, to increase yours just a little bit to start with?