Do you start lifestyle goals with zeal and excitement, only to have them end with disappointment? If you relate to this, then like about 90 percent of the population, you may be guilty of allowing failure through unclear goals or procrastination.
Whether you desire to lose weight, eat better, become stronger or overcome an injury, there’s one thing you absolutely need: self-discipline. The hard truth is, you’re either disciplined or you’re unsuccessful.
With self-discipline you can defeat virtually any obstacles facing you. It is what you need to finally punch through and reach your life goals.
What Is Self-discipline?
Self-discipline is a dirty word these days. Just ask media advertisers who push fast-and-easy diet pills or absurd exercise equipment predicated on overnight results. Consumers fall for these superficial opportunities because they look for easy solutions.
Self-discipline is the opposite. It’s the ability to overcome your weaknesses by facing challenges with strong effort, attaining strong results. Disciplining yourself to do what is hard rewards you with results that the undisciplined majority simply cannot attain.
The principles of self-discipline are simple. They produce reliable cause-and-effect outcomes. The results are universal. But most people fail to utilize them. The reason: It takes hard work! And most of us simply don’t want to do hard work.
Think of it like progressive weight training to build muscle. The more effort you put into training your muscles, the stronger they become. The less you train them, the weaker they become. Similarly, the basic method to attaining self-discipline is to get out of your comfort zone and push hard toward your goals. Self-discipline will help you achieve your goals, and you will then be able to use more of this virtue to reach greater and higher goals.
How can you put self-discipline to work right now? How can you achieve your goals in life? Here are five worthy goals, five profitable methods that are worth your effort in disciplining yourself. Create structure in your life through these strong habits, use self-discipline to hold yourself to them, even after you slip up, and you will achieve greater success in your life.
1) Get up early.
Go to bed at a set time, even on weekends; don’t just fall into bed when you’ve exhausted yourself and can think of nothing else to do. Plan for about eight hours of sleep. Then rise before dawn. “Just on a practical side, if you wake up early in the morning—like at 4:30 in the morning—you’re going to have some free time to yourself to make things happen, to take care of things that are important to you,” said Navy seal veteran Jocko Willink. Your boss, your family and your other obligations are all asleep at 4:30 a.m., he said, so no one is going to chip away at your time. As the saying goes, you can’t soar with the eagles if you’re up late with the turkeys.
2) Keep learning.
In No Excuses: The Power of Self-discipline, author Brian Tracy states, “If you want to be successful, your first job is to learn what you need to learn in order to achieve the success you desire.” To move ahead consistently with your life goals, read about great lives for inspiration and self-help books to consistently improve your skills and knowledge.
3) Start small, work up to big.
Many people start with big goals and fail big. With improved diet for example, the goal is not to quit bad habits cold turkey all at once. Your body will rebel with cravings. Introduce healthier foods over a period of time and strive for balance and moderation. The same is true for exercise: Jumping straight into intense workouts is a sure way to overwhelm yourself. Begin by disciplining yourself to do 20 to 30 minutes of moderate activity and work your way up from there.
4) Be persistent.
There will always be failures in life, but persistence is the ability to effectively respond to setbacks. Motivation may wax and wane, but only persistent action produces results, even when you don’t feel like doing what is right. A new exercise program will need time as your body adapts to movement, so don’t quit when uncomfortable. Resolve in advance to doggedly stick to your program to get results.
5) Manage your time effectively.
Time is a limited resource and cannot be replaced. Learning how to manage it makes you more productive, more efficient and more likely to meet deadlines.
Keep an eye on the most important and time-sensitive tasks early in the day, with a tight focus on productive endeavors while limiting the amount of time spent on nonessential duties. That way you still have lots of time to get in those crucial lifestyle changes and stay healthy.
Self-discipline isn’t just about self-denial: It means saving now for long-term satisfaction and success. With continued use, self-discipline increases, becoming automatic, habitual and natural as you push through failure and adversity to finally achieve real accomplishment.