Self-discipline is one of the most important keys to success. Without self-discipline, nothing that you ever learned will work. No matter how many books you read or how many seminars and workshops you attended, if you don’t have the self-discipline to follow through your plan and act on it, nothing will ever come true to you. This is why you need to learn how to discipline yourself in order to accomplish better results and greater success in life.
I bet that when you read the success stories about how ordinary people went on to achieve extraordinary results in their lives, people like Elon Musk, Steve Jobs, Warren Buffett, Bill Gates, Kobe Bryant, etc, they are all individuals with high self-discipline.
Why do you think Kobe Bryant became a basketball superstar? Was he lucky? Well, maybe. Was he in the right place and at the right time? Perhaps.
But what I can tell you is that being lucky and being in the right place and at the right time may still not be enough, you need to be the right person to make it all work.
In other words, you need to work on your part too. And this is where self-discipline comes in.
If you don’t have the skills or what it takes, you will miss the opportunity when it comes knocking.
According to an article from PopWorkouts, here’s Kobe Bryant’s workout routine:
The Kobe Bryant workout routine features a hefty mix of track work, basketball skills, and weightlifting. His off-season workout has been called the 666 program because he spends 2 hours running, 2 hours on basketball, and 2 hours weightlifting (for a total of 6 hours a day, six times a week, for six months).
Haruki Murakami, one of the most successful writers explained his routine and writing habit in The Paris Review in 2004. This is what Murakami said:
When I’m in writing mode for a novel, I get up at 4:00 am and work for five to six hours. In the afternoon, I run for 10km or swim for 1500m (or do both), then I read a bit and listen to some music. I go to bed at 9:00 pm. I keep to this routine every day without variation. The repetition itself becomes the important thing; it’s a form of mesmerism. I mesmerize myself to reach a deeper state of mind. But to hold to such repetition for so long — six months to a year — requires a good amount of mental and physical strength. In that sense, writing a long novel is like survival training. Physical strength is as necessary as artistic sensitivity.
Do you know see why and how these people are able to achieve extraordinary results in their lives right now?
They are individuals with high self-discipline and they focus on doing just one thing until they produce amazing results out of their craft.
This is why self-discipline is important, my friend.
With self-discipline, you are able to commit and follow your plan and work on your routine and develop success habits that make you successful.
Without self-discipline, everything you do becomes a short-term project because you only put in a half-hearted effort that never lasts.
Imagine writing a blog. If you want to build a successful blog, it takes time and discipline to grow it.
Unless you are a celebrity with thousands of fans, you probably need to work on your blog and write consistently to produce great content for months and even years to come.
So are you ready to discover more about self-discipline and how you can gain more of it?
Here are the 10 tips on how you can discipline yourself to follow your plan, to take action consistently, and to achieve much more in life.
1. Remove the temptations and triggers
If you want to develop the habit of self-discipline, one of the most fundamental things you can do is to remove the temptations and triggers.
If you are trying to have better control over your eating habit, just get rid of all the junk food.
Remember this, my friend, “out of sight, out of mind”. When you don’t see the junk food on your kitchen table, you lower your chances of eating them. So put the junk food out of your sight.
When you remove the trigger, the temptation, and the distraction from your environment, you are working on to improving your self-discipline.
If you are someone who often plays games with your phone and you want to stop this time-wasting habit, apply the same method by keeping your phone out of your sight.
When you are working on your computer, keep your phone away. Put it in the drawer or keep in another room that is out of your sight. When it is difficult for you to reach your phone, your greatly lower the chances of playing games with your phone.
For example, every time when you want to work on your blog and write an article, but you are always distracted by the TV right behind you, you can choose to either switch it off, work in another place, or unplug your TV and turn it around.
Make it difficult for you to get distracted. Make it easier for you to focus.
Remove the temptations and the things that will trigger you to NOT discipline.
2. Set up reminders
On the contrary to the first tip, you can set up reminders and triggers so that you will work on your goals and follow your plan.
You want to create reminders to trigger you to be disciplined and to take action.
This is why some gurus suggest you create vision boards. Whenever you see the pictures on the board, you feel motivated to take action.
The moment you see your vision board, you are reminded of your dreams and what you want to accomplish in life. And this, this triggers you to take action and work on your goals.
Like what Jack Canfield, the author of the best-selling book, The Success Principles, said in the book that he wrote his goals on a piece of card and kept in his pocket all the time.
Whenever his hand put into his pocket, he will tough the card and that instantly reminded him of his goals.
You can do the same too. Or write your most important goal on a piece of paper about the business card size and keep inside your wallet.
So every time when you take out your wallet, open it, you will see your goal there. And this creates a trigger to remind you of what you need to do.
If you want to develop the habit of jogging, put your sports shoe next to the door so that you will see it often and it makes the whole thing easier to change and go for a jog.
It depends on what kind of self-discipline habits you want to build, use this technique to help you lower your resistance and increase your motivation to act.
3. Exercise regularly
Do you know that exercise can improve your discipline?
Take jogging as an example. Before you go for the run, I bet that you already have a goal or a target as of how many miles or km or rounds or duration you are going to run, right?
And when you get tired, your mind will come up with thoughts to ask you to stop and quit. For instance, you will have thoughts such as:
“I’m tired, this is where I should stop.”
“I don’t have the stamina today, maybe I should just stop.”
“I can’t go on anymore. I’m too tired to continue to run.”
Do you see that it is your mind is the one that is telling you to stop? Hence, this is a great place to build up your grit (read Angela Duckworth’s book, Grit) and at the same time, grow your self-discipline.
Just ignore your inner talks and continue to run. This way, you learn to grow yourself to become more resilient, to be grittier, to have more self-discipline, and to have a higher commitment to hit your goal.
This is why most highly successful people exercise before they go to work. If you want to learn how highly successful people spend their mornings, read the book by Laura Vanderkam, What The Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast.
Therefore, people who exercise regularly not just that they are going to be healthier, but they are people who have better self-discipline.
Thus, commit to exercising regularly. You don’t have to hit the gym every day, just come up with a plan that works for you.
Work out and exercise at least two or three times a week, my friend.
4. Be decisive and committed
So you want to have more self-discipline and take consistent action without being distracted or procrastinate? Just be decisive and put in 100% commitment.
The problem with most people who lack the discipline is that they are simply not committed. They say that they are going to lose weight, but they don’t do anything about it. They watch TV and continue to eat junk food.
Most people want to be rich and be financially free, but that doesn’t mean that they are going to do something to achieve it.
Remember, what you say you will do and what you do are two different things.
You can say that you want to be a millionaire and build a super successful online business, but whether you are going to do it is another story.
This is where being decisive and committed come to play.
Learn to be decisive by sticking to the decisions that you have committed. When you say that you are going to exercise twice every week, every Tuesday and Thursday, then that’s it.
It is a done deal. No more negotiation. Regardless of whether it rains or it snows out there, you stick to your plan and exercise every Tuesday and Thursday.
This is how you build self-discipline, by being decisive and staying committed to what you have decided.
There is a great quote to describe this behavior:
“Successful people do what they need to do even when they don’t feel like it.”
If you want to be successful, do the things that need to be done. Stop negotiating with yourself and keep the promise that you have made to yourself.
That’s self-discipline, my friend.
5. Plan and schedule your day
Another great tip on how you can train yourself to have more self-discipline is to plan your day and schedule your work and tasks.
Think about how you go through your day today, do you have a plan?
When you have a plan of what to do, where to go, or who to meet, it doesn’t mean that your plan will be executed perfectly. However, having a plan is much better than having no plan at all.
If you have no plan for the day, you become reactive and you respond to things that come to you.
When you have no plan, you choose to play games with your phone and you waste time checking social media. Since you are free and nothing to do, right?
But when you have a plan and you know what you need to do, you become more proactive. Instead of waiting for things to come to you, you are the one that makes thing happen.
This is why self-discipline has a lot to do with planning.
Highly disciplined individuals know what they want and what they need to do. They seldom go through a day without planning or without having a clear mind of what they want to do.
Disciplined people clarity with what they want in their lives and they are always making progress. They are proactive and not reactive.
So plan for your day and schedule your tasks and find out what you need to do each day, each week, and each month.
This is how you can build self-discipline.
6. Start small with mini goals
How can you be disciplined when you don’t have a clear direction in life, a goal to pursue, or even know what you need to do right now?
You don’t have to set big goals, just start with mini goals to build discipline.
In other words, find out what you need to do today and then do it. If you set a mini goal to be done by today but you are not following through, you know you don’t have much discipline for it.
Mini goals are a great way to measure your commitment and discipline. They are also a great technique you can use to grow your self-discipline.
So set mini goals. Ask yourself what is the one thing you need to do right now in order to progress forward and live your ideal life? And then do it right away.
The key is to find out what you need to do and stick to your plan. Most people don’t have a plan and as a result, they become reactive and directionless, and the solution is to find a worthy goal to pursue.
Albert Einstein said it well:
“If you want to live a happy life, tie it to a goal, not to people or objects.”
Setting goals, following your plans, and making effort to achieving them are the process that will make you someone more discipline.
7. Develop good habits
Sometimes, you cannot solely rely on willpower and motivation to get things done. You are more disciplined and more likely to take action when you have a higher willpower and motivation, but what if you don’t have much of these?
When people lack willpower and motivation, they are easily distracted and lose their self-discipline. Hence, they procrastinate and are not taking action.
What you can do is to develop good habits so that you will need less willpower and motivation to perform the action.
Think about brushing your teeth each morning or checking your emails from your phone, how much willpower or motivation do you need to do so?
This is because brushing your teeth and checking emails have become your habits. And when something becomes a habit, you will do it automatically, without much self-discipline.
So you want to discipline yourself? Build good habits.
8. Give yourself a reward
Giving yourself a reward that you are looking forward to helps a lot in building self-discipline.
Think about how teachers praise the students who did the homework and parents who buy toys give treats to their children when they obey.
And to make this work, you must choose the right reward. Choose a reward that you are looking forward to. Something that will make you feel excited and are willing to work hard for.
For example, giving yourself a reward like an hour of playing games can be a great motivator to drive you into taking action and doing the work that you don’t really want to do.
Just like how people train the animals. Whenever the dogs or the dolphins perform as requested, the trainer gives a treat. Our human minds work in the same order.
Use this technique to grow your self-discipline.
9. Make yourself accountable
Another great way to make yourself more discipline is to make yourself accountable. When you are accountable for what you do and you have someone to report to, highly likely, you are going to get the work done.
This is why many experts suggest we should get an accountability partner. Whenever we feel down or want to procrastinate, there is someone there watching us and encourage us into doing the work.
If you read the success stories of extraordinary people like Steve Jobs, Elon Musk, Walt Disney, Richard Branson, etc, you will see that they all did not start out alone. They started with someone else or a group of people.
Steve Jobs started Apple with Steve Wozniak and Walt Disney has his brother Roy Disney watching his back.
When there is someone who holds you accountable for what you do, you will become more committed and have a stronger self-discipline to complete the task.
Therefore, get an accountability partner. You don’t have to do this all by yourself.
Choose someone who will encourage you and who supports your dreams. And then share with him or her your plans, and more importantly, report your progress to her each week.
Read this study from Dr. Gail Matthew where she discovered that people who are accountable and who send weekly report have a higher chance of reaching their goals.
10. Schedule breaks and leisure time
Discipline is not a sweet word. What is the picture that comes to your mind when you think about the word, “discipline”?
Some people hate the word discipline because they imagine a teacher holding a cane and disciplining her students.
Discipline may not portrait a sweet picture in your head, but having discipline doesn’t mean that it is all about work and no play.
In fact, people who have higher self-discipline understand that they need to have breaks and leisure time so that they can continue to have more self-discipline.
When your energy is high and your willpower is strong, there is a higher chance that you are going to stick to your plan and have self-discipline.
On the other hand, when your energy and willpower is low, your chances to procrastinate is higher.
And one way to have high willpower, motivation, and energy is to recharge yourself regularly. So this is where breaks and leisure time come into the picture.
Read this book, When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing, written by Daniel Pink. In the book, Pink explains that students are reported to have a higher level of energy, concentration, and able to perform higher after the short recess at school.
If you don’t agree that breaks and leisure can boost your willpower and thus, increase your self-discipline, read this article from The Guardian:
So schedule breaks into your calendar. Take time to rest, relax, and recharge yourself throughout the day.
This is how you can be more discipline.
So these are the 10 tips how you can discipline yourself, to stick to your plans, to reach your goals, and to achieve more in life.
Let’s have a quick recap:
- Remove the temptations and triggers
- Set up reminders
- Exercise regularly
- Be decisive and committed
- Plan and schedule your day
- Start small with mini goals
- Develop good habits
- Give yourself a reward
- Make yourself accountable
- Schedule breaks and leisure time
Do you think you are someone who has a lot of self-discipline? Do you think these 10 tips are going to help? Let me know what you think by leaving your comment below. Cheers.