5 Practical Ways to Develop Self-Discipline

You desperately want things to change.

In fact, you’ve tried making changes several times, but year after year, you’re no closer to achieving your goals. Despite your best intentions, you’ve made little progress.

On the other hand, you have no trouble keeping up with Game of Thrones (or whatever your favorite TV show is) and regularly checking your email and social media accounts.

It’s frustrating and you’re annoyed with yourself for not being more focused and committed to your goals.

The root cause is that you lack self-discipline.

What is self-discipline, and why is it important for achieving your goals?

The Oxford dictionary defines self-discipline as “the ability to control one’s feelings and overcome one’s weaknesses,” while the Cambridge dictionary defines it as “the ability to make yourself do things that you do not want to do.”

Effectively, self-discipline means saying no in the short term, to achieve your goals in the long term. It is a learned behavior and is similar to a muscle, requiring consistent daily practice in order to keep it strong.

Every day we are faced with demands on our time and energy that often conflict with our values and goals. Strong self-discipline is required to manage these frequent demands.

A study by Wilhelm Hofmann and colleagues reported that people with self-discipline were more able to deal with these goal conflicts and control their behavioral and emotional impulses, thus enabling them to achieve their long-term goals. The same study reported that people with high self-discipline were more likely to be happy in the short term. The more self-discipline they had, the more satisfied with their lives they were said to be.

The main reason you lack self-discipline

We’ve established that self-discipline is necessary to achieve your goals. However, as I’m sure you’ve experienced, it can sometimes be impossible to trigger. One of the main reasons people struggle with self-discipline is a lack of clarity around exactly why they want to achieve their goals.

Are your goals your own, or are they goals you were told to pursue? Did you feel pressured into chasing those goals by family, friends, or society?

Knowing why you want to achieve your long-term goals will make it easier to resist daily temptations. Additionally, your goals should inspire and excite you. Self-discipline alone will not be enough to keep you moving forward.

Hoffman’s study found that the urge to watch television, surf the web, check email, and use social media proved to be too much for the participants, and they failed almost half the time when trying to avoid these activities. Therefore it is vital that your “why” is stronger than these daily distractions.

How to develop the self-discipline to achieve your goals

Self-discipline is effectively a habit. According to Hal Elrod, author of the book The Morning Miracle, you can change a habit in 30 days if you have the right strategy.

Follow the link to find 5 practical ways that if followed consistently, will help you to develop self-discipline and achieve your long term goals:


Originally published at https://www.momentsofpositivity.com on Jan 17, 2022.




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