7 Ways to Improve Your Self-Discipline
Let’s face it, motivation can be hard to come by for both personal and professional projects. Whether you are looking to live a healthier lifestyle, pursue a passion project, or grow your career — discipline skills are essential to success.
There is no silver bullet to becoming more self-disciplined. It takes hard work, dedication, and ongoing accountability. But remember that there are tools and resources out there that help you mindfully practice discipline. At the start, you might do with a lot of trial and error.
Do I need a planner to keep myself on track? Do affirmations make my days brighter and easier? Do I need to keep specific routines to achieve daily goals? Am I being kind to myself on this journey?
These are just some questions to ask yourself as you begin to grow your discipline. Of course, there are some practical ways and tools to improve your self-discipline. So, let’s talk about some of them in this blog
First off, why is discipline important?
Busy agendas, family and social commitments, long work hours, and daily chores can sometimes feel overwhelming. We often hold endless to-do lists in our mind, which are hard to execute and push forward. Self-discipline enables us to take small, consistent steps towards success.
Remaining disciplined in pursuing your goals can help your reach your objectives faster. At the same time, discipline takes the stress and anxiety out of important life projects. It creates a sense of daily achievement, so you can feel how you inch towards your goals.
Your health might also benefit from becoming more disciplined. This is particularly true if you practice discipline for mindfulness, exercise, or healthier life habits in general. Ultimately, being more disciplined can improve your quality of life. You’ll be closer to achieving your long-term goals, enjoy better mental health, and feel healthier overall.
Sounds great! So, how do you get there?
1. Cultivate self-awareness
The first step to becoming more disciplined is understanding yourself. You need to be honest with what drives you and your major weaknesses.
For example, if you know it’s difficult for you to wake up early for exercise, then you take small, disciplined steps towards cultivating better sleeping patterns and exercise habits.
But, if you don’t realize that mornings are your problem area, then you won’t be able to build a healthier morning lifestyle. It’s not enough to just know what your strengths and weaknesses are, you should also constantly acknowledge them. This means rewarding yourself for things you do well and understanding why you do things poorly. This will allow you to find ways to improve. Try writing down your reflections daily, and take stock of them each week to find areas for improvement.
2. Set clear goals
In addition to knowing who you are, you need to know what you want. It’s much easier to motivate yourself with a clear and achievable goal in mind. For example, “I want to be rich” is not a very good goal. It’s quite broad and is open to interpretation. Instead, try to set a clear objective, such as how much money you’d like to make or what you’d like to afford (such as a vacation, car, house, etc.)
Your goals can be as small or as large as you want. In fact, it’s helpful to set a range of short-, mid-, and long-term goals. Then, you can start working towards each one through small milestones and really feel the impact of your actions as you achieve each “goal level”.
3. Plan your time
When it comes to staying on track, planning and organizing is crucial. This means creating schedules and to-do lists that you can follow. There are many ways to plan, so pick the one that works best for you.
You might work best by setting weekly goals and scheduling objectives to be completed by Friday.
Or maybe you need to go into more detail, planning your days by the hour. Don’t shy away from the tools at your disposal to become more self-disciplined. Keeping a physical planner can be a very powerful way to visualize your planning and progress.
Little is more satisfying than crossing completed tasks off your to-do list and feeling a sense of accomplishment as you do so. You might need to try several ways to plan before you find the perfect option that works for you.
Daily planners can be particularly useful because they allow you to break projects into small milestones and create routines along the way (more on that in the next section). You may also plan weekly, monthly, or even annual achievements, helping you stay motivated in the long run.
4. Create habits and routines
A big part of self-discipline is working toward long-term goals. Often, this means taking larger projects and breaking them down into smaller milestones. It’s unlikely that you can complete big life projects in just one day or with little work. So, make it a habit to work towards those objectives on a regular basis.
For example, if you are learning a new language, you may want to practice for 30 minutes each day. You might also write down 10 new words each day in your planner. Then, you’ll find yourself in the habit of ongoing learning. You’ll also directly see the results of your hard work and feel motivated to continue.
Research shows that it takes at least two weeks to form a routine. But once you’ve gotten used to doing something on a regular basis, it’s easy to repeat that behavior. This an excellent way to stay on track!
5. Take care of your health
It’s difficult to stay focused without good physical and mental health. Feeling sick can really break up your routines and throw you off course. So, it’s important to take care of yourself and your health as you pursue those big life goals. In fact, there is a circular relationship between self-discipline and health.
By staying healthy, you’ll be able to stick with your routines and plans. And by remaining disciplined, you’ll be able to keep up your healthy habits. Some ways to take care of yourself and stay productive include healthy eating habits, daily exercise, mindfulness, and good sleep.
Of course, you also need to make sure that you give yourself enough rest time amid your busy schedule. This is a huge part of self-discipline — good rest will make you more productive and you’ll be more likely to stay on top of your goals.
6. Search for inspiration
There is no reason to do it all alone. You’ll need inspiration along your journey and there are many ways to renew your passion for projects and ideas. One way is to find a mentor to help you along the way. Mentors can bring invaluable insight and inspire you to be better. They can also share their tips and tricks to staying on track.
Another option is to find a friend who can hold you accountable. If you know that self-discipline is a difficult task, have someone check in with you and remind your why you’ve set those goals in the first place. Sometimes, you can even work towards a goal together, pushing each other to succeed.
Finally, make sure to remind yourself why your goals are important. Inspirational quotes and reminders can go a long way in growing your daily motivation. Wake up and read an affirmation quote to get your day started on a positive note.
7. Be kind to yourself
Discipline skills can be very difficult to practice. Also, failing to stay on track can come with feelings of guilt and self-reproach. As such, a big part of cultivating self-discipline is being kind to yourself. Acknowledge when you fail, figure out why it happened, and then forgive yourself. This process goes together with self-awareness. You can’t expect perfection all the time.
Becoming more disciplined is a long-term goal in and of itself. Affirmations are a great way to remain positive through this process of growth and self-discovery. For example, keeping affirmation cards can remind you how far you’ve come, what you’ve achieved, and where you are on your journey.
Finally, don’t expect to become self-disciplined overnight. It will take time and work to create the habit of discipline. Allow yourself to enjoy the growth you’ll experience in this process.
After all, you’re cultivating the best version of yourself by practicing discipline and dedication to your future.