How to Master Self-Discipline

self disciplineSelf discipline has to do with the ability to do things which others feel is difficult to do. In this post I am going to stipulate on the seven principles that will help you master self discipline. I am going to start this post with a quote from one of the world renowned motivational speaker, Shannon L. Alder.

According to Shannon L. Alder;

“There are no coincidences in life. What person that wandered in and out of your life was there for some purpose, even if they caused you harm. Sometimes, it doesn’t make sense the short periods of time we get with people or the outcomes from their choices. However, if you turn it over to God he promises that you will see the big picture in the hereafter. Nothing is too small to be a mistake.”

Not to waste much of your time, I am going to list the seven principles that will enable you master self-discipline and they are as follows;

1. Monitor Your Progress

After setting a clear goal for yourself, an effective strategy to stay committed to it is continuously monitoring where you’re going. For some people, they don’t need a tracker to see their progress because they spent years mastering their willpower and self-discipline.

However, for most newbie’s it’s essential to begin tracking every step you make towards a goal. Because without it, you’re more likely to give up and eventually forget about it.

What I learned during the time I kept a journal was that I never realized how much work I actually accomplished until I tracked it. It gave me a proud feeling to see what I achieved at the end of the day. I may have not reached my dreams yet, but I knew I was always closer than the day before.

2. Change Your Concept About Willpower

According to a 2010 study by Stanford University, they discovered that the amount of willpower a person has is predetermined by their beliefs. For instance, if someone believed they only had a limited amount of willpower, they’re bound to meet those limited requirements.

However, if someone didn’t place a limit to their willpower they were less likely to exhaust themselves before meeting their goals. Although scientists are still arguing about the basic principle of willpower, it can be heavily suggested that your concept about it will make it true.

Give yourself a limited belief and you’re going to set obstacles in your way because you’re already setting your limits. Without realizing, you’re telling your mind that you are going to fail, which removes that extra boost of motivation to keep going.

3. Eating More Often

Imagine the brain as a power plant that needs to be frequently replenished. People who often eat have always shown better signs of self-discipline than those who choose to starve themselves.

That isn’t to say that overeating is encouraged because that develops unnatural bad habits. What this means is that the human body needs a balanced level of glucose which carries energy to the brain and other vital organs.

In other words, imagine glucose as the fuel for your brain for it to continue operating efficiently. With a low level of glucose flowing through your bloodstream, you make a poor decision that makes you regret them in the future. That’s why it’s encouraged to start the day off with a healthy breakfast or to eat lightly before a test.

When you feel your body slightly irritated, take the time to eat something small. What normally help me are fruits, small meals, or even a drink.

But as a word of caution, always avoid environments where you’re surrounded by unhealthy foods. You may have the self-discipline to resist them, but it chips away your willpower to continue resisting other temptations later on that day.

4. Use the Out of Sight of Mind Rule

A useful method to master self-discipline is avoiding any temptation you know will entrap you. When you’re continuously surrounded by objects that tempt you, it brings unnecessary battles into your mind.

You’re constantly fighting whether or not you should eat that bowl of candy sitting on your table or if you should watch a television show you see playing. Those difficult decisions then drain your decision making skills and energy to make future proper choices.

If you know you have other tasks to do in the house, turn off small temptations such as your television or the internet. A method I use is forcing myself to get off the internet, avoid all social networks and continue my work at Starbucks. There, I can raise my willpower to complete my assignments without little to no interruptions.

5. Stick to One Goal at a Time

What hurts a lot of people from remaining committed to their goals is giving themselves too many goals to handle. It’s why people fail to follow their New Year’s resolution.

You may be excited when you start your project but overtime as you’re thriving towards it, your conscious becomes aware of how much work you’re putting into them. You then get worn down and drained, no longer interested in the project you once loved.

Work on one goal at a time to maintain a self-discipline mindset. This makes maintaining your willpower much easier because you won’t constantly feel overwhelmed with ongoing tasks that adding to your other decisions.

6. Give Yourself a Backup Plan

A technique that psychologists like to use in regard to willpower is “implementation intention.” That’s when you take situations you normally faced and give yourself an alternate way out of it.

For example, suppose you’re working on eating healthier and you go to a party with some friends. But before going to the party, tell yourself, “If anyone offers me any fatty foods to eat, I’ll just deny it and ask for water instead.”

This gives you a self-intention mindset so you’re not blindly jumping into a situation. It saves you the hassle from simply going with the flow and making bad decisions. You save energy by not having to make any sudden decisions based on your emotional state.

You know yourself better than anyone else in the world. You know your weakness and natural habits. So to avoid falling for any bad traits, give yourself an alternate way to back out of it. Tell yourself what your actions will be if you already know the obstacles that are heading your direction.

If you know you’ll ignore exercising when you get home, declare that when you get home you’re going to immediately put on your workout shoes and exercise. When you set a plan for yourself, you’re more likely to complete it.

7. Build Your Decision Making Skills Like A Muscle

It’s like going to the gym to work on your muscles. Building your self-discipline works the exact same way. The way willpower and self-discipline work together is when you use them towards a variety of different tasks, it slowly drains your energy bit by bit.

The bigger the decision or temptation you fight off, the more energy it drains from you to commit to other tasks that require the same willpower.

When you make the decision to whether you should drink water or soda, you’re slowly draining yourself. Depending on the amount of conscious decisions you make within a day will determine how much energy you have left for personal tasks you personally desire. (Such as losing weight or learning a new skill.)

To build self-discipline so you have the energy to perform other goals means you have to engage in extra activities throughout the day. Start small by making the choice of taking a walk around the neighborhood instead of sitting on your couch. Cook a meal instead of buying one.

The buildup will be as difficult and tedious as lifting weights for the first time or running a mile. But overtime, as you subconsciously become aware of your self-discipline, it makes other activities you strike for much easier.

If you follow these seven tips that I have stipulated above, then you will be able to master self-discipline.

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Austine Ikeru
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