Everyone wants to succeed, and the only way to do that is with strong self-discipline.
While achieving self-discipline isn’t necessarily easy, it’s completely attainable as long as you go about it the right way.
Bettering yourself isn’t always a walk in the park, so to help you on your journey to a better, happier life, check out these six major tips to improve your self-discipline.
These tips are all backed by experts, so you will find a great benefit from them.
Need some more self-discipline motivation? Check out 10 brilliant ways to master your own self-discipline!
1. Remember That You’ll Survive.
When setting goals and facing challenges, you may be hit by that awful feeling in the pit of your stomach. You’ll occasionally feel like you’re doomed to fail, and many life changes can feel uncomfortable at first.
Whether you’re interviewing for a better job, going on a date with the apple of your eye, or trying something that puts you way outside of your comfort zone, just remember that at the end of the day, your heart will still beat.
According to acclaimed neuropsychologist Theo Tsaousides, people often fail to achieve their goals because they imagine a plethora of terrible outcomes that won’t actually harm them in the long run. To learn more about the deep psychology behind our failure, check out his article at psychologytoday.com.
In most cases, failure will only result in embarrassment or shame. Everybody feels these emotions at some point, and you need to learn to accept them and move past them rather than let them dominate you. These nerve-wracking moments won’t kill you, so you may as well just put in as much effort as possible and hope for the best.
Life’s challenges may feel dreadful, but even if you drop the ball and blow it, you’ll still be lucky enough to wake up tomorrow and enjoy a brand new day. When you consistently play through the pain, you become less sensitive to fear and doubt, and perseverance simply becomes a habit.
2. Don’t Become an Inspiration Junkie 24/7.
Many people start their journey towards self-discipline by reading a self-help book, seeing an inspirational quote, hearing a flowery pep talk, or something similar.
While these things can be a great springboard at the start, you don’t want to overdo it. After all, time spent reading a book or watching a video is time spent not actually pursuing your hopes and dreams.
In this interesting article at Psychcentral, clinical psychologist Ben Martin notes that psychologists are hesitant to recommend self-help literature because they’re often full of dubious claims and unrealistic promises.
If people are led to believe that a simple self-help book can solve all of their problems in no time, then they’re certain to be disappointed when they discover that these claims are simply too good to be true.
After a certain point, self-help can become a trap that accomplishes the exact opposite of its intended purpose. A good piece of inspiration may give you the boost that you need now and then, but you really shouldn’t become a life-hack glutton. Your time is valuable, and chasing the self-help dopamine rush will only make you an unproductive consumer in the long run.
While self-help shouldn’t be overdone, that doesn’t mean that you can’t look up good quotes or browse the web on occasion; you just have to moderate your use and browse responsibly.
These behaviors are fine as long as they do not get in the way of normal, productive routines. Before consuming any self-help media, you should assess whether you’ve accomplished your goals for the day, and it’s a good idea to set a strict time limit on the session.
3. Set Goals for Success, Not to Impress.
You’ve probably come up with some goals that you find lackluster or embarrassing. That’s fine; you have to start somewhere.
According to this article by Dr. Samatha Clarke, you’re much more likely to aim at goals that are relevant and realistic. It may be tempting to aim super high to overcome these problems in particular, but at the end of the day, you need to devise goals that you find useful and can plausibly accomplish.
Setting the bar too high just because you think that your problems are trivial or embarrassing will surely lead to failure. If you keep failing, then you’re more likely to give up and abandon your long-term goals altogether.
Let’s use social media as an example. Maybe you spend over a certain number of hours per day sifting through socials, and you just can’t seem to peel yourself away from the screen. A long-term goal may be to scroll for less than one hour per day, and that’s great, but you have to approach it intelligently.
You may be tempted to start by limiting yourself to one hour per day because you think that’s what a “normal” person would do, but is that a goal that you can actually achieve in the short term?
When splitting your long-term target into short-term goals, it’s important to stick with something that you’re fairly confident is achievable with a reasonable amount of effort.
If you determine that you can only realistically limit your usage to 3 hours per day, then just go with that at the start. You may feel shame or embarrassment at how high that number is, but if it brings you closer to the ideal version of yourself in the future, then it’s still a good goal. You’re the only person who is going to benefit from your goals, and you’re likely the only person who knows what your goals are.
You don’t need to impress anyone; you simply need to do better than you’re currently doing, and that’s only achievable by taking small steps.
Once you’ve proven to yourself that you can succeed with five hours, then it’s time to update your goal and limit your game time even more.
Rinse and repeat until you’ve met your final goal. This idea applies to any goals you may have. When it comes to bettering yourself, throw your hubris and shame out the window. Just do whatever yields the best results.
4. Consistent Recording, Assessment, and Updates.
Dr. Gail Matthews’ compelling study featured in this news article indicates that regularly writing down your goals makes you 42% more likely to achieve them.
On top of recording whether you’ve completed your goals on a daily basis, you should also strive to set some time aside every week to take a look at how well you’ve been accomplishing your goals.
Without adequate self-reflection, you won’t know where you stand in terms of meeting your long term targets. If you notice that you’re having trouble completing a certain goal, then you can find the root of the problem and update your expectations and behavior from there. Likewise, if you’re crushing your goals and hitting every target, then it may be time to set the bar a little higher.
5. Meaningful Routine.
At drdanielleforshee.com, Dr. Danielle Forshee asserts that a solid routine decreases stress and anxiety while setting you up for success.
Although a routine is necessary, not all routines are equal. You may be tempted to come up with a long checklist of things to do every day, but a novel-length list is unnecessary.
After all, you only have so much time and willpower in a day, so it’s best to limit your checklist to the basics.
Here’s an example of a brief yet effective daily checklist:
- By 6:00: Get out of bed
- By 7:00: Shower, brush teeth, and eat breakfast
- By 7:00: Shower, brush teeth, and eat breakfast
- By 7:30: Start the morning commute
- By 6 p.m.: Daily workout
- By 7 p.m.: Meditate and/or night routine
- By 22:00: Record completion of goals and go to bed
Your daily routine doesn’t need to look exactly like this, but it should be simple and straight to the point. Remember, you still have goals to complete, so your daily routine shouldn’t be so complex and time-consuming that it interferes with your goals. The longer your checklist, the less likely you are to get everything done, so keep it simple instead of setting yourself up for failure.
6. React Correctly to Failure.
It’s almost inevitable that you will fail at some point. That’s fine. Everyone fails every now and then, so unless you’re a robot living in a vacuum, it’s perfectly normal not to succeed in every endeavor.
While you should strive to succeed as much as you can, you have to remember that you’re only human.
According to psychology professor Kristin Neff, self-forgiveness is vital for anyone who wants to accomplish their goals after failure. To learn more about the benefits of self-compassion when pursuing self-improvement, check out her awesome article at self-compassion.org.
When you slip up, you may feel ashamed, but you shouldn’t dwell on it so much that you give up entirely. It may feel pretty bad, but you simply need to pick yourself up and move forward.
The only time you should focus on your failures is when you’re assessing yourself and trying to figure out what needs to be adjusted to facilitate future success.
Self-pity and despondence will only lead to more failure and greater shame, so it’s extremely important to make a strong effort to avoid pointless negativity and overly harsh self-criticism.
There you have it! Self-discipline can be had if you follow expert advice and try to better yourself to help you on your journey to a productive and happier life!
If you need more inspiration you should check out these 9 habits that all productive people swear by!
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Hi, my name is Rebecca and I am the face behind Everything Abode! I am a lifestyle and wellness writer based out of Vancouver Island. When I’m not writing or exploring mountains and beaches with my furry rescue, I love spending time learning creative ways to manifest a healthy home. Thanks for stopping by!