• Tahlia Asinate

Secrets For Building Self Discipline

This is the second instalment of a three-part series on self-discipline. In the first instalment of this series, I shared why I believe self-discipline is the key to happiness and freedom. If you haven’t read that, head here to read it first. If you’ve already read part one, keep reading to find out how to approach self-discipline so you can maintain it for the long term ... You’ve probably woken up early before, which can be hard if you’re not used to it. But if you have a deadline or flight to catch, you can usually muster enough willpower to do it. What’s difficult is if you try to do it every day, especially if you go to bed late. On the first day, you might snooze the alarm twice, the second maybe three times, and by day four you haven’t set an alarm, because let me guess … you’re not a morning person. When it comes to self-discipline most use this same approach, where they try to change their behaviour through sheer willpower, and ultimately end up failing. Then, when they see others who exercise self-discipline, they assume they’ve got superhuman ability or that they’re torturing themselves to do it. But this isn’t true because if you know anyone that’s consistently disciplined, you’ll notice they do it with ease, and that they enjoy it. Which then begs the question, how do we approach self-discipline so we can be consistent? Let’s take a look … Focus on habit formation — Many equate self-discipline with willpower and motivation and rely on both to exercise it. And while this works initially, both tend to fizzle out, making it difficult for one to stay consistent. For sustainable results, focus on forming habits where your priority is the cumulative effects that good habits bring. This will make you more likely to maintain those desired behaviours because your focus isn’t on overnight success. Instead, it’s on forming long term habits that become a natural part of your routine.

Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going. — Jim Rohn

Tell stories that serve you — If you tell yourself you hate doing something, that you’re not the type of person that does that, or that you’re not good enough, chances are you won’t be doing it for very long. Therefore, when looking to increase your self-discipline, make sure the stories you tell yourself support your efforts. Ensure they focus on the benefits self-discipline brings, and how it allows you to be your best self.

Make your hopes, standards — Everything in your life is a result of the standards you keep. Meaning, if you sincerely want to change something, you must make it a standard. If you want to quit alcohol, make sobriety a standard. If you want to improve your health, make optimal wellbeing a standard. Whatever the desired outcome, it’s imperative to make it and the necessary actions required to achieve it, standards in your life.

Change comes from lifting your standards, not your dreams. — Sam Ovens

Stop being a perfectionist — When setting gout to be disciplined, many assume they need to be disciplined one-hundred percent of the time. And while this is an admirable goal, it’s also a recipe for failure. What’s most likely to occur is that you’ll burn out, hate the process, and ultimately give up. Therefore, instead of aiming for perfection, also allow yourself time to not be disciplined. To have time for flexibility, relaxation and to simply follow your bliss. Reward yourself — Being disciplined is hard, that’s what makes it discipline. However, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t look for ways to enjoy the process and increase your chances of success. To do this, reward yourself any time you complete a difficult task that requires self-discipline. In choosing a reward, ensure it supports the new behaviour you’re looking to implement. Whether you’re enjoying a coffee after your morning run, or booking a massage once you’ve completed a project. In either case, the reward doesn’t take away from the action and is something to look forward too. At the end of the day, building discipline is like growing a muscle, both require consistency and dedication. As with muscle growth, it’s not necessarily about mastering it in one day but in building your discipline muscle over time. By incorporating the above suggestions, and taking a sustainable approach, each of us can consistently strengthen our discipline muscle, and in doing so it’s only a matter of time before self-discipline becomes second nature. Love, Tahlia X P.s. This is the second instalment of a three-part series on the benefits of self-discipline. I’ll be sharing ‘Part Three’ shortly where we’ll explore three necessary actions to build maximise your self-discipline. Be sure to check back in for it, or sign up to be notified when it’s published.