Self-discipline is, without a doubt, one of the most important life skills everyone should have. A few other life skills should be time management, communication, speaking, people skills, and business acumen.
Read the last sentence again. Do you know what all these other skills have in common?
If you answered self-discipline, you are correct! Having conquered discipline is to effectively master many life skills too. Self-discipline can make or break a business. It can make or break a relationship.
It would be so easy if we could just flip a switch and turn on self-discipline but we all know that is not how it works. It takes work, hard work.
What is self-discipline? It is the ability to control one’s feelings and overcome one’s weaknesses; the ability to pursue what one thinks is right despite temptations to abandon it.
Can you control your mind, body, and emotions? If you have self-discipline you can. If you have conquered this ability, it will give you the strength to be strong enough to control your emotions.
All humans have weaknesses, but we do not all same the same ones. Do you know not having self-discipline can actually a lack of self-respect?
Overcoming your weaknesses is necessary for you to be successful Why? You simply don’t have a choice. Temptations and obstacles will get in your way to success and it’s important you avoid them at all costs! Giving in means you gave into your weakness.
If you’ve always wanted to achieve or excel at something, such as in sports, academics, arts, music, and more, you need to have the self-discipline to go after what you want, to chase after your dreams. You don’t just sit around and wait for something to happen. Because nothing will happen. You have to put in the work, most probably over a long period of time, so you can achieve whatever it is you’re aiming for.
Know Your ‘Why’
It’s very easy to say you’re going to accomplish something, anything, in the next 12 months. You can say you’re going to be 20 pounds lighter or you’ll be living in Europe after a year or you can even say you’re going to find the love of your life soon and tie the knot in the next 12 months!
You can do a lot of things, be in a lot of places and meet loads of new people in under a year. You have an infinite number of possible goals you can choose to achieve.
Your chosen goal could be in response to a dare from your friends or maybe a personal challenge you want to take on. No matter the reason behind your sudden desire to succeed at something new, you need one very important skill to achieve that goal.
Can you guess what that skill is? It’s self-discipline, of course.
Committing to a long-term goal is the beginning of your self-discipline journey. Once you’ve done a mental handshake with yourself or signed on an imaginary dotted line confirming your commitment to a specific goal, then your self-discipline should kick into high gear.
You need to lock yourself in and buckle up so you don’t get left behind in the marathon to reach your goal. You need the stamina and the strength to surpass and overcome all obstacles in order to meet your goal.
Choose A Feasible Goal
- Before you can begin, you need to know the answer to the question, “What is your why?”
- What do you hope to achieve with your goal? What’s your end game?
- If you don’t know the answer to this question, you need to seriously rethink your goal.
- Is it even feasible?
- Is it something you can possibly hope to do within the timeframe you’ve specified?
If you’ve assessed your goal properly and you’ve done the mental gymnastics to confirm it is indeed feasible for you, then congratulations. You’ve done a great job with the first step!
If you think you made a mistake setting the goal and you don’t think it’s feasible at all, you’re welcome to back out or cross it out of your list and replace it with a more realistic goal. There’s no need to push yourself into doing something that’s highly improbable or even impossible for you to achieve.
Some people may say nothing is impossible. But I beg to disagree. We are not created equal. We all know for a fact that some people have more financial resources than others. Some are just naturally athletic. Some will always be better looking than the people around them. Others still are just really blessed to not have to work hard for something that other people need to work their backsides off for! They are the lucky ones, the exceptions to the rule. They’ve been given a natural head start whether they like it or not (though I’m pretty sure they like it just fine!).
Specify Your Goal
Now that you know your goal is realistic and can be done within your specified timeframe, you need to ask yourself if your goal is specific enough.
Some goals are just too general, for example, wanting to be rich or wanting to be thin in 6 months. These are just generic goals. Anyone can work towards these goals but what does it really mean for you?
To make sure your goal sticks in your mind, to make it appear real, you need to make your goal as specific as possible.
Don’t just say you want to lose weight. For women, you can say something along these lines (if you’re a guy, simply skip to the next example below):
“I’ll do whatever it takes to lose 10 pounds by December so I can wear that hot, red dress I saw today at the shopping mall. My belly won’t sag and I’ll look perfect in that dress. I’ll have my hair made up in a beehive because that’s the kind of hairdo that would look great with that dress. Oh, and I’ll wear my black stiletto too and my feet won’t hurt as it does now because I’d lose all the excess weight!”
To be honest, when you read that paragraph it painted a pretty picture on your mind, didn’t it? And you can see yourself wearing that red dress!
For the guys reading this, your specific goal can be something like this:
“I’ll lose the flab around my belly in 8 months. I’ll exercise every day. I’ll lift weights, do plenty of cardio, and box with somebody in the gym. In 8 months, my girlfriend/wife will be proud of me, I’ll be proud of myself, and we can go to the beach and people will marvel at my well-sculpted body”.
The examples I’ve given above sound so much better than just saying the generic, “I want to lose weight.” A generic goal is not going to drive you to change your habits but a highly specific goal will be.
Visualize Your Goal
At this point, you now know your goal is feasible and specific enough. To make it come to life, you need to visualize your goal. Yes, in the previous section, you saw the goal come to life in your mind’s eye but in this section, you need to make the vision tangible.
You need to put your goal on paper. You need to transfer the vision you saw in your mind to paper. You can look for high-quality photos of your goal. Say, for example, if your goal is to move into your dream house with a red roof and a blue fence within 5 years, you can look for images online of houses with similar characteristics.
If you can’t find a suitable image online, consider having it drawn or painted professionally. Ask the artist to make your vision as real as possible. When we say realistic, make it so that you can imagine feeling and even smell your dream house just by looking at its drawing or painting.
Then, to never lose sight of your goal, make sure you put the printout/drawing/painting in an area of your house that you frequent such as your bedroom or your home office. Maybe even the kitchen. Basically anywhere you can see your ‘dream house’ so you’re always reminded of what you’re aiming to achieve in the near future.
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