Self-discipline is not a walk in the park for many people. In fact, it’s quite hard to muster, and most will fail in their first few attempts. There is no need to live the life of a monk in order to master self-discipline (although they do seem to be awfully good at discipline!), but if you want to succeed, you will need plenty of patience and perseverance. Oh, and you need lots of time, too! After all, mastering self-discipline doesn’t happen overnight. So, what are the elements involved in self-discipline?
Be 100% Committed To Your Goal
Plan and visualize your goal right down to the tiniest details. This step alone takes a lot of self-discipline because you’re basically going to create a road map for your success. And to see your goal to fruition, you’d have to be a hundred percent committed.
To see your goal through to the end, you’d have to exercise self-control in many situations and your discipline will see to it that you finish your course according to plan.
Don’t Be The Biggest Obstacle To Your Success
You might not know it but you are probably the biggest roadblock to your success. Your fears and your insecurities might be holding you back from reaching your goals. This may seem natural for most people since so few are ever successful at reaching their goals. But this does not have to include you.
Do you fear success? Are you afraid of failing? If you answered yes to either question, then you are sabotaging yourself. It's that simple. If you want to achieve something and be somebody in life, then you’ll need to never allow your inner self to undermine your efforts. You have to go after your dreams and work hard every single day.
If you want to be a concert pianist, you’re going to practice for hours on end each and every day. You’ll have the discipline to practice every morning, after school or work, and before you go to bed. Success takes a great deal of personal drive to get what you want.
If you start thinking you’re never going to be good enough, then you will never be good enough. Remember this important point: No one else is going to make you a success. The world owes you nothing. You came into this world with nothing and you'll leave it the same way you came in.
If you want to be somebody or to achieve a special goal in your life, you are the only person who is going to accomplish that.
Say "No" Like You Mean It
Sometimes we say no to temptation the first or second time it’s offered to us. But on the third or fourth attempt, your defenses start to crumble. Then you slowly give in to the tempting and probably mouth-watering offer.
If you’re truly disciplined, you’ll learn to say "no" like you actually mean it. Say no in such a way that the person doing the tempting and distracting will actually understand what you mean. Because if they sense your no is actually a maybe, they’ll persist and continue to knock on your door until you have no choice but to give in.
The problem here is that too often the temptation is coming from within yourself. You must say "no" to yourself and your own desires to be lazy. And you must mean it. Unfortunately, you will know whether you mean it or not. So, it takes a strong person to say no to the temptations of life that distract us from achieving our goals.
Be strong with yourself
This is the most difficult step in self-discipline. We are often way too easy on ourselves. We often take the "easy way out" rather than pushing through the temptation to go easy and stick to the job at hand. And this truth goes for any skill that you want to work on.
Going back to the analogy of the pianist above, anyone can learn the skill of playing a piano. But only a very few ever achieve the status of a concert pianist. The difference is usually in the commitment of the person to the task. Yes, I know that there must also be a measure of talent involved. But, there is no way you can know if you have talent for it unless you push yourself to do everything you possibly can to find out.
If you have the talent, that talent will remain dormant as long as you fail to work at and practice the techniques necessary for developing that talent. You've got to work at it daily, weekly, yearly until you have mastered the techniques and skills of a concert pianist. If you discover then that you don't have the talent to be that famous person, well at least you now have a strong skill to use in your daily life. And you'll end up being the life of the party as you sit down at the piano.
Stay Courageous and Strong
You will also have learned an amazing truth: You will be a disciplined person. You'll be able to develop other talents you may have. You'll be that person who can accomplish anything you put your mind to because you will be that person everyone admires. You've done something most people never accomplish: Self-Discipline.
Once you learn to be strong and willing to work for your goals, you'll be able to apply that truth to everything you do in life. You'll have the skill to stick with people and build strong relationships. You'll stay with your profession and build a strong reputation as the go-to person to get things done. People will admire you. And you'll feel so much better about yourself.
So, here's irony of this subject. In order to build self-discipline you must first learn to say "no" to yourself and really mean it. By denying yourself immediate pleasures for the greater good of building yourself into a strong and courageous person you become the person you always dreamed you could be. And you'll be one of the few around you who did that.
Stick with it. Go for it. Be strong. Be courageous. Be yourself the best you can be.
Herb Sennett writes about life and how to enjoy it more.