The Oxford Dictionary defines self-discipline as “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.” Self-discipline gives people power to stick to their decisions and follow through with them, without changing their mind, which is important for achieving goals. By improving our self-discipline, we can reap a variety of benefits including decrease of anxiety, increase of ability to achieve long-term goals, more resilience, and it makes us feel happier.
In order to receive these benefits, we must first improve our self-discipline skills. There are a few easy ways to improve our self-discipline.
• Set small goals.
• Keep in mind why you started.
• Goal Reminders.
• Practice Prioritizing.
• Know your Weaknesses.
• Have somebody hold you accountable.
Start by setting a few small goals first, but do not set the bar too high. Setting big goals first can become very overwhelming; it is best to start small and build your way up. Accomplishing the small goals first can give people the motivation to continue going towards the bigger ones.
A good example of this would be making an ultimate goal to go to the gym 5 days a week for an hour at least. Then set an initial goal to go to the gym 3 days a week for 30 minutes, and as the weeks go on, build yourself up to the ultimate goal.
Keep in mind why you started working towards these goals. It can be easy to forget how far you have come when times get hard. You have to remind yourself why you set this goal and what will be achieved once you have reached it. Imagine being able to take control of your life and accomplish any goal you set. Always tell yourself that you are proud of how far you have come. We tend to forget everything we have already accomplished when thinking about what all we still have left to go. Be patient with yourself, things like this take time.
Remind yourself of your goals weekly! Write your goals down and hang it somewhere you will see it. Reminding yourself of the goals you have set will keep the inspiration and motivation going. However, do not scare or torture yourself into goals. Always make sure your goals align with everything you want for yourself. They should be positive, encouraging, and happy things to look forward to. Writing motivational quotes and hanging them around can also help with the inspiration to achieve goals.
Practice Prioritizing. Instead of holding yourself back because you do not know where to start, start by deciding what tasks should be top priorities rather than pushing them off for another day. You must start somewhere. Organize your days and set plans to study so that you are less likely to procrastinate. This helps because it allows people to give their attention to tasks that are important and urgent so they can focus on the lower priority tasks at a later time.
Know your weakness and always fight them off. If you know that you have things to do early Monday morning, but all your friends are going out the night before, it is probably the better option to skip that activities the night before. When you set your priorities, you also need to set the boundaries of those priorities. Not saying that people cannot go have fun, but just make sure they’re not possibly sacrificing something leading to their goals for a weak spot in their priorities. People can fight their demons; they just need to put the work in doing so.
One last thing we can do to improve our self-discipline is having somebody hold you accountable. Almost anybody can hold you accountable, whether it be a friend, family member, significant other, an admirer, or even a hero of yours. Have the person holding you accountable set a goal alongside of you, so that you can both achieve your goals, and when times get tough, you have each other to encourage one another. You are not in this alone. Everyone struggles with self-discipline. But it is really those who work on improving these skills that set them apart from everyone else.