The possession of inner strength and intense, consistent self-control is the act of self-discipline. In order to form great habits, self-discipline is mandatory; it must be maintained before any new habits are formed. Oftentimes, it is difficult to develop new habits because we may not really want to pursue something new, but we know we need to out of necessity and for the greater good.
There are several different strategies you can adopt to develop self-discipline, and in turn develop lasting habits.
Know what you want. More than likely, deep down, you have been thinking about what you want to change in your life.
Remove those triggers. Once you know for sure what you want to do differently, remove the now unnecessary things from your life so you will not be tempted to do precisely what you don’t want to do.
Find those quotes and mantras that inspire you. These quotes are everywhere, and if you hang on to two or three, or even write them down where they are easily accessible to you, they can be used steadfast reminders of your new goal for remaining self-disciplined.
Make a list. This motivational list will keep you centered on what you want to become, but be sure not to list too many goals. Start with two or three to begin with so you don’t feel to overwhelmed and so you can be successful.
Get support. If you have a trusted friend, coworker, or spouse, tell them the ways in which you want to become self-disciplined. Perhaps they can give you daily reminders or be there when you need support. Having a mentor can also help you create self-discipline through their coaching and mentoring.
Once you know what actions you need to take to become more self-disciplined, you may be ready to focus on forming new habits in specific areas. You may want to eat healthier, workout more, be more focused on your work, spend more time with your children, develop a daily schedule and stick to it, or do anything else you want to improve your daily life.
Let’s look at ways to form new habits…and stick to them.
Choose One or Two
At first, only choose a few new habits. If you choose a few, you are more likely to succeed, because forming new habits is not an easy task. Actually, choosing one would be ideal, but oftentimes one coincides with another, so two is a good number.
Go Easy on Yourself
Take it slow at first. For example, if you want to eat healthier, do not change your whole entire diet. Doing it gradually will help you attain your goal and will keep you on track. Rather than eating healthy every day, try to start with eating a healthy lunch. Eat a healthy lunch focused on what you want your body to consume (such as low-fat protein, vegetables, and fruit) and do this for a few weeks. Then add in another meal that is healthy, and so on, until you finally have adjusted to eating healthy every meal, every day.
Prepare a timeline for about twenty days, and if you succeed in keeping up with your new habit for this time period, reward yourself in whatever way that would make you happy. If your new habit is to walk for a specific amount of time each morning before work, and you have met that goal for about twenty days, treat yourself to something you enjoy because you deserve it!
If you hold yourself accountable by letting someone you trust know what you are beginning to do each day, you will feel a sense of responsibility to “check in” with them and let them know your progress. If you wish to keep your new habit private, keep a journal and jot down your daily feelings and progress, so, essentially, you are checking in with someone…and that someone is you!
Be Very Specific
This goes back to number two. Be specific with your new habit. For example, if you want to spend more quality time with your children, rather than saying for your new habit, “I will spend more quality time with my kids,” be specific. Tell yourself, “I will read and cuddle with the kids for thirty minutes each night before they go to bed” or something of that nature. This is probably one of the best lessons I learnt from Tony Robbins London events. He said clarity is power. The more clear you are about what you want to achieve, the easier you will get to achieve it.
When you choose to acquire more self-discipline and develop new habits, you are choosing to improve your life and the lives of those around you. At first, it may seem silly to be so specific and develop your new ways very slowly, but that is the sure-fire way to becoming more automatic in doing, and keeping up, with new habits. As long as you are determined and know that a particular new habit will make you a better person in some way, then you will be able to succeed.
The ability to control one’s feelings and overcome one’s weaknesses; the ability to pursue what one thinks is right despite temptations to abandon it.