Why self discipline is important? Why should you care? And how to build it? Let’s talk about these things.
But first things first,
What is self-discipline?
When I was a kid, I would always wonder what’s this thing?
Self-discipline is the key to success. It was written right on the gate of my school, and I had to face it daily (early in the morning).
So it made me curious, First I am not native, and second native people themselves don’t know it properly( It’s okay!).
Hey Google, What is self-discipline?
“Self-control, an aspect of inhibitory control, is the ability to regulate one’s emotions, thoughts, and behavior in the face of temptations and impulses. As an executive function, self-control is a cognitive process that is necessary for regulating one’s behavior in order to achieve specific goals” (Wikipedia)
Seems quite an easy definition to understand (😀).
Jokes apart, Self-discipline is about self-control, Which means
- Controlling your emotions.
- Doing what’s important.
- Working on boring things.
- Being on time.
It means getting control over life, It means things are not happening you are doing it. You are conscious of your decisions.
Why self discipline is important?
Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishments — Un known
The highest successful people have one thing in common, They are disciplined
Take the example of Micheal Jordan, He became the greatest basketball player in history, The secret ingredient behind his success was self-discipline.
I am confident to say that, Because he has seen a lot of failures in hi-life, and without discipline, he would not be able to get over it.
let’s dive deep into it.
1) Ryling On Willpower
We often rely on willpower, When it comes to getting things done. I am sure willpower is misunderstood, we are always told to increase willpower.
practically it’s not a good idea to increase willpower, and you can’t do it, Because willpower,
- Works for the short term.
- They are temporary feelings.
- No strategic approach.
- When things get hard, you quit.
More on this here, don’t increase willpower.
So instead if you become Disciplined, you will stay busy regardless of how you feel. It becomes a habit to keep improving even if you don’t see the results.
Back to Micheal Jordan,
When he was in high school playing basketball, He was expelled from his team, Because of a tall boy.
Now in this situation willpower doesn’t work, You are out, Dreams are crushed, The game is over. Your competitor is taller than you, You can do nothing about it.
But, Micheal was disciplined, He didn’t train for the results, He trained for greatness, He knew that the only way he can be good at basketball is training daily.
It became his habit to train, He did practice daily Even if he was out of the team. If it was willpower, He would procrastinate one day and train another day.
2) Relying On Motivations
You name a motivational speaker, I know him ( most probably).
That’s because I was that guy Who relyed on motivations more than discipline. Whenever I felt low, I would tune into youtube, and type (Best Motivational speech).
“ Fail big, Dream big …” and boom I am charged enough for the day, But the day after I need a new video to get going.
Should You Watch Motivational Content
I don’t deny the fact, That everyone needs motivation at some point in life. But there has to be a limit, don’t use motivation as fuel.
Some days are really tough, and that’s why you need some supporting words to hear, it’s better to heal your heart, Don’t be so harsh at it.
And the other days are just normal, so you have to keep on going no matter if you feel like it or if you don’t.
So for the long run, switch to self-discipline.
3) It Is A Muscle
Let’s have a closer look at muscles, How they function?
Did you ever hit the gym? if yes, then you know how a muscle reacts to training, The more you train it, The more it grows and becomes stronger.
But building muscle not only requires training also feeding. You need to eat the right food with the right amount, Then only you can grow muscles faster.
The same goes with self-discipline, The more you practice it the more you learn it.
4) It Forms Habits
When you repeat things daily over and over, It creates a habit.
Think about your school, or office, or whatever you are doing on daily basis. When you wake up early in the morning the first thought that comes into your mind is, Going to school ( Let’s say you are a student).
- You walk on the same route.
- Goto the same class.
- Meet the same people.
- Read the same books.
You are doing this daily, But still, it doesn’t feel so difficult, even if you hate studies you are able to go to school and take your class.
Point To Be Noted
Did you ever say? Oh, this route is so boring, Why I always go through this? I don’t like it, I will find a new way tomorrow.
No way, You never thought it, Neither did I, you are enjoying your way to school with the same path daily.
So it turns out the habits are easier to follow, You don’t need to inspire yourself each and every day. And that is what self-discipline teaches.
5) It’s A Long Term Game
We know it,
Slow and Steady Wins the race.
Success is a long-term game, Success overnight is an illusion, There no such thing you need to be consistent if you want to be successful.
One of the most successful athletes in this world is, Micheal Phelps. He showed with consistency and hard work you can achieve anything.
Once he announced that he is going to break the world record of 7 Gold medals in one Olympics. Now that was not a child’s play.
He trained 12 hours for 4 years, This is a really huge effort, Just because of this discipline, he was able to break that impossible record.
6) It Is About Delayed Gratification
The hard thing is, When it’s your favorite show/movie on the screen, But you prefer to complete your work/project or studies.
That is discipline, Willpower and motivation can’t get you a drive when things get tough. It’s your self-discipline that pushes you in difficult times.
Instant Gratification Vs Delayed Gratification
When you do anything for the sake of current pleasure, I mean you want to feel the pleasure right at the moment, it’s instant gratification.
playing games, watching movies, using social media These things give you instant gratification.
The idea of delayed gratification is,
- When you postpone enjoyment.
- When you focus on the long term.
This is what self-discipline is all about, You need to able to do boring things. Those things which you don’t like but you have to them.
Ok, So now let’s head over to how to build self-discipline.
How to Build Self-Discipline
So you know the importance of self-Discipline, and now is the time to build it.
Here I am going to share some of the interesting topics, That will help you build it with ease. I am not gonna make it complicated, It is going to be super simple.
While making these changes, Don’t assume that you are gonna look totally different person, That’s an illusion about self-discipline. People think we will have to turn ourselves into aliens to practice it. But it’s not true.
Let’s actually understand how you can practice building it.
1) Decide it
The first thing that you are gonna do is to decide. Your decision that you are going to change your life and live a better life.
Convince yourself that it’s going to be a little difficult, It’s not going to a cup of tea.
No pain no Gain.
How the decision affects your life
Decisions have a big effect on our lives, They completely transform our life 360 once we really take a serious decision.
I have experienced this in my day to day life, Whenever I decided that today I am going to work really hard, It gave me so much power.
It gives me strength and energy to push myself that day, It’s just the effect of that one moment when I chose to improve myself, then I am able to do it.
It is in the moment of your decision that your disteny is shaped — Tony Robbins
You already made your mind for the upcoming obstacles, You are prepared for it, and don’t need to convince yourself when it’s the time to take action.
2) Strategic approach
You have taken the decision, You want to change your life, and you are ready to list down what you are going to do.
It’s always better to work smart than hard, Don’t work hard for the sake of work hard. Know what’s important, what you should do, and what you should not.
Define Area of improvement
For example, let’s say you are a student, you are not good at studies, and you want to work on self-discipline.
Now if you focus on going to the gym instead of getting better at your studies, You are going in the wrong direction, You forgot what’s need vs what’s good.
Surely going to the gym is a good option, But your first priority is to work on your studies.
Self-Discipline A Myth
Mostly when people talk of self-discipline they think of doing everything, waking up early, doing an intense workout, studying all day, looking very busy. That’s not exactly self-discipline.
It’s about your needs, your strengths, your weaknesses. Your discipline is going to be according to you, only you know what needs to be changed.
Identify Weaknesses And Strengths
Before making any changes, know your limits, your weakness. It’s important to know where you lack powers and where you are a superman.
And at the same time measure the priority, Know if it’s really worth improving or not, Work on the things that need to be improved right now, that you need.
For example, in the case of students, They are going to focus more on studying, How to memorize things, Learning concepts, Building a habit of reading.
Some are weak in memorization, while others are weak in learning concepts, So each student will have to work according to his need and weakness.
Now identified the weak zone, Here is the next step.
3) Little Changes
The next thing that you are going to do is, to bring little change in yourself.
If you try to change yourself drastically, Which a lot of people do, You are not gonna stick to it. Because that’s not possible.
Let’s say you are a lazy dude, Who wakes up at 10 a.m, Watches tv, Checks social media, and Then enjoys some music.
And supposedly you are giving only 2 hours a day to your duty, work, study or gym.
So now you want to change it, You are fed up with yourself, your habits and want to overcome procrastination. But here you are going to make mistake, Which 90% of people do.
The Huge Mistake
The biggest mistake that people usually make is, They try to change things right away.
Ok, It’s over, I am not gonna procrastinate, I will not be lazy any more…
Whatever it takes, I will do it, I will wake up at 4 a.m goto the gym, and read 12 hours a day. I am not gonna waste time at all, Goodbye to enjoyment it’s just new me.
I will work harder, and so on…
This is Not Gonna Work
It won’t be there after a weak, You are going to be exhausted, You won’t feel like doing it anymore.
Because your previous self was so lazy, and the new one is almost an army person, This is not practical. Your personality resists such a big change.
- It feels like a burden.
- You think I won’t get free ever in my life.
- Getting started feels more difficult.
- You don’t enjoy it.
By now you are exhausted, Your heart wants to go back, Somehow it’s trying to convince you to step back and enjoy your life.
Why Does It Happen?
It happens because of motivational content, When you watch such videos or podcasts They emotionally trigger you.
They are telling you, That you can do anything, With bombarding so many examples in front of you. Yeah, that’s right you can do anything but strategically.
And you wake up crying, pounding your chest, wide eyes, and open mouth.
I am going to be successful…
At least that’s what happened to me… I have done this over and over and let me reveal the truth, I went nowhere.
I remained who I was, I didn’t do anything, Neither I stayed consistent, Nor I accomplished anything.
The Non-Ending Cycle
Now this is was my habit, Each time I decided to change, I would bring huge, huge changes in my routine. and guess what? this cycle continued.
These are the downsides associate with this kind of behavior.
1) You don’t get consistent
When you bring in huge changes in your life, You are not going to be consistent with it. It becomes your habit to procrastinate over things and put them on tomorrow.
You goto the gym one day, take 2 hours of training, the next day you are exhausted and you don’t want to see the face of the gym anymore.
2) You don’t believe in yourself
Especially you lose trust over your own self, You don’t think that you can ever accomplish something.
You make goals, but hardly ever make any progress, you never see the results, It’s because you started something, put extra energy into it, and the next day you hate it, you don’t want to do it.
3) I Am A Loser Becomes Your Mentality
I can’t get things done, it’s just so difficult for me, I will never do anything in my life.(Your thoughts)
Because you have broken your trust time and again, and this why you don’t feel that you will ever do something meaningful.
It’s Time For A New You
Ok, So enough is enough, You want to change yourself now, You don’t want to go back in your life.
Then do yourself a favor, Don’t make it look scary, Don’t make it a burden for yourself, But instead make it look easy and fun.
Surely self-discipline is not an easy thing to practice, But if you are a beginner, and you struggle with getting things done Then you should start very small.
Use Two minutes rule
Let’s say you want to be a gym star.
So what you are gonna do is to just go to the gym and sit there. Don’t do anything, have a look around, and see what others are doing.
The next day take exercise for 5 minutes, and then slowly and gradually increase it. Let your mind digest what you are about to do.
And someday if you can’t go, If you don’t feel like going to the gym, Because you are going to train so hard, then change your mindset.
Tell yourself, That you are just going to be there for a couple of minutes, just take a walk to the gym, and you will see that you can’t stop yourself doing workouts.
It’s Because Getting started is the most difficult thing
Remember the most difficult thing is getting started, Once you are in the gym, you will find it easy to work out.
Don’t ever skip a day, Because if you did, It becomes your habit, You will start to procrastinate. Do it for 2 minutes if you don’t feel like doing it, But don’t ever skip it.
Consistency is very important, Which you can achieve if you don’t leave a day off.
When you become consistent, Even if you are working less amount of time, It will give you a sort of confidence. You will realize that you can accomplish things and you are not a loser.
4) Plan Your Day
Now that’s the last step, You need to have a written daily routine.
Make it clear, How you are going to live your day? Manage every minute of your day and don’t spend your time not knowing what you are going to do.
It Creates Urgency
When you have created your day plan, It creates urgency in your mind, You know that you have this specific hour for this task.
You will not procrastinate, Because it makes you feel like you don’ have time, You will always see that you are running out of time.
We procrastinate because we think we have enough time, and managing every moment of the day does the reverse, it puts pressure on you to complete your duties.
How To Manage Your Day
It’s up to you, I don’t think someone knows it better than you, So manage your day according to yourself.
Remember don’t make it scary, leave enough time for extra activities, Don’t make yourself too much busy, Otherwise, you will go back to your previous life.
- Self-Discipline means doing things that are important to be done.
- It’s a long term game So that you don’t have to rely on willpower and motivation.
- It focuses on creating habits, that last longer.
- To be Disciplined, First of all, decide that you are gonna change.
- Go with the strategic approach, Define areas of improvement, know about your weaknesses
- Start small, Don’t bring huge changes, use 2 minutes rule to create a new habit.
- Plan your day, make a daily routine, make it easy to follow.
With that said, I think now you have a good idea of self-discipline about its importance and how to implement it.
Relying on willpower and motivation is never a good idea instead make habits. Start small, keep it doing, and be consistent.
This is the only way you can achieve results in long term. Most of the time we try to become superman within days, and that’s where we go wrong.
Success is never overnight, It takes time, Ask any successful person in this world, He will convince you to be consistent no matter what.
Success is obtained through a series of failures, You have to fail and fail and fail. There is no other way. And if you fail congratulations, You are one more step closer to your destiny.
That’s it for today…
I hope you got the point and some inspiration from the post…
What habit are you going to build now?
Don’t forget to visit my blog ( Motivationalspeaks.com )