Self-discipline

How many times on average does someone attempt a goal before giving up? Would you guess – one, two or three? The answer is less than one! Many people give up after the first hurdle.

“Mastering others is strength. Mastering yourself is true power.” Lao Tzu

Self-discipline is the success trait that makes the difference to you achieving your ambitions. As a success characteristic self-discipline goes hand-in-hand with both determination and resilience. If you know you can rely on yourself to get the task done, you know that there is a possibility of success.

Without it, it is easy to feel defeated before you even start or to become easily distracted from your target. I work with experts daily who are at the pinnacle of their chosen profession in health care and business. When I’m asked, ‘What’s the difference between successful achievers compared to others that don’t achieve?’, the answer is always rooted in their self-discipline.

Successful people are willing to do tasks that they don’t necessarily want to do or enjoy in order to get the results they want. They tend to put the needs of the goal ahead of instant gratification. It’s all about desire, not denial. They put in extra hours and effort to achieve the outcome they want rather than stopping to question whether they want to do something. Self-disciplined people are more likely to get on with the boring task because they always have an eye on the long-term objective which delivers results. 

You can plan, dream, create and think positively all you want and still not make your business a success if you don’t take action in a self-disciplined way. Without self-discipline, nothing will ever happen and nothing will ever change and you can easily fall behind and lose control. Mastering the art of self-discipline is like investing successfully in time. Those who plan ahead and who complete tasks within the time allocated develop the confidence to know they can achieve their biggest ambitions.

Top 10: Mastering Self-Discipline

  1. Self-discipline creates self-reliance, which feeds self-confidence which in turn feeds successful outcomes. If you know you can rely on yourself to deliver results, you are more likely to aim higher in your ambitions.
  2. Self-discipline goes hand-in-hand with effective planning and time management. It ensures that you are in control and leading the action, rather than reacting to others’ demands.
  3. If you know what you are doing, and when and why you are doing it, you will be less likely to be taken off-track and distracted.
  4. Self-disciplined people have a long-term plan that sets out their goals and ambitions, supported by a short-term plan in the form of a daily ‘do it!’ list. The devil is in the (detail) do its! Don’t just list them – do them!
  5. If you create a plan and stick to it, you will become more efficient and productive.
  6. Being self-disciplined sends a clear message to others that you can be relied upon. You will attract like-minded people to do business with you and work with you.
  7. A self-disciplined approach to life enables your auto pilot on those occasions when the going gets tough.
  8. Self-discipline drives action. It turns targeted thinking into focused doing, even when you’d rather be doing something else.
  9. Self-discipline is easier to maintain when developed as a habit in every area of our lives. Build your self-discipline muscle, daily. Ask yourself what changes in my own approach will make the most difference to my success? Watch your attitude to food, exercise, watching TV, using social media, playing computer games and so on.
  10. What are your main distractions? Do you get up as soon as your alarm clock rings – even when you don’t want to? Or do you tend to press the snooze button and start your day with a delay? Do you eat only when you are hungry or do you tend to treat yourself even though you ‘shouldn’t’? Are you the kind of person who is punctual, who is always on time for appointments? Or do you leave everything to the last minute? Do you spend first and worry about the money afterwards, or do you always save up for what you want?

By becoming aware of your current behaviour, it becomes easier to be increasingly self-disciplined in your choices and efficient with your time. Awareness is key to improving your time management and productivity. 

From the very moment of waking up and getting out of bed each morning, through each area of your working day, become watchful and aware of your very own diversionary tactics you may use to avoid doing essential tasks that are essential to move you towards your goal.

By matching your desires to the actions, you need to make your dream a reality, you can begin to apply the self-discipline required to make your future a certainty. It is a skill that those around you will begin to learn and benefit from too – by following your example.

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