Self discipline starts with the ability to control your behaviour. That means motivating yourself to do what you need to do, and stopping yourself from doing things that are not productive for you. The “ability to control” is just the start, though, and real discipline is when you have trained your mind in such way that you consistently get the behaviour you want.
Discipline may appear to be a problem of willpower. However, this implies just pushing ourselves harder to do things, even when we feel miserable, or fighting temptations. It’s a good recipe for stress and disappointment, but there are better ways to a disciplined life.
Self Discipline Tips
Have you ever stayed up all night talking about something interesting? Then you know what power the mind has over the body. Sleep can be put off when we are motivated by a passionate discussion, and it doesn’t take much willpower to keep doing something when you are enjoying it. That gives us a key to self discipline.
Try to enjoy what you are doing and be energized. Your willpower goes up and down with your energy levels, so play energetic music, move around, laugh, and look for the interesting parts of whatever project you are working on. Once you identify your best energy boosters and motivators, make a list, and train your brain to use them whenever you need discipline.
Make things easier on yourself. If you feel stressed when you think about doing your tax return, for example, don’t think about it! Just lay out the forms where you can work on them later. Later do just one form, and then another. Whatever the task at hand, you can find enough motivation for some small step. Start training your mind to take that step as soon as you think of it, and the next steps become easier.
Self Discipline And Self Awareness
What if that cake calls to you. Sometimes it’s hard to resist temptation, right? Willpower is a nice idea, but here is a simpler solution: stop standing in front of the cake! It is an easy lesson to understand, so train yourself to apply it habitually. Don’t keep beer in the house if you don’t want to drink it. Don’t go alone to the bar if you want to maintain a faithful marriage. Just stay away from people that lead you to trouble.
Discipline doesn’t mean being immune to temptation. Go ahead and develop the willpower to say no, if you can, but why not also have the wisdom to avoid temptation? Know where your resistance is low, and don’t put yourself in those situations. Does this make more sense than fighting useless battles with yourself?
Fighting feelings is a losing battle. It’s far more effective to learn about yourself. How are you energized and motivated? Where are your strengths and weaknesses? Learn about yourself, and start using what you learn to make the behaviours you want easy. That’s the key to self discipline.