Self-discipline is the key ingredient to success. You can have great ideas on your mind, but without self-discipline, it might be a waste of effort.
Therefore, to improve on your self-discipline and achieve the goals you wish, follow the three practical strategies below:
Strategy One: Ease things
Work with your momentum
Don’t make a habit of sitting down on your coach after finishing a task. Work towards your goal! As soon as you sit down and become comfortable, overcoming that inertia takes incredible energy amounts. So, avoid the sofa to be on the safe side!
In case you still have stuff to be done and need to sit down to refresh a bit, just perch on your coffee table in your lounge. This will allow you to sit in a way that you can get up when necessary. Likewise, AVOID GOING HOME FIRST if you intend to another place after work, like the gym.
Stopping things and starting again is much difficult than making things to keep going. So, Work with your momentum.
Find out if there is an easier way to gain desired results
You may need to improve your fitness levels, but the activities involved in the workout effort might be detrimental. Some people hate to drive out of the house, cram bags into lockers, look for the available equipment and try not to be late since it seems hectic!
Many find it comfortable to roll out of bed, without even brushing or combing their hair, and do a YouTube workout. YouTube offers an easier way to improve your fitness while at the comfort of your home.
Make working towards your goal a priority
In case you sleep with your gym clothes on, then, as you wake up, continue to wear them until finish your work out. Removing and later wearing your gear takes extra effort.
In another instance, it is better to remove every tempting food and eat what remains in your cupboard. Buying cheat food during the day takes extra efforts. If you are going to work, avoid buying things during the lunch break by leaving money at home.
During work periods, focus on your work and avoid time wasters. Distractions and procrastination take extra efforts. Download apps to block timewasters on social sites like Facebook. Or, if you find it a great problem, Download “Offtime” on your smartphone.
Capitalize on high energy states
After having a long and hectic day, cooking a healthy meal might not be possible. That’s why I prefer doing that on weekends when my cooking moods are up. Since no one bothers me at those times, I can comfortably prepare 2 to 3 meals in a single sitting and freeze them to eat later. If you have started making one meal, then, preparing another two or three meals at that time takes minimal effort.
Simply, work more when you feel very energetic. For my case, at the moment it reaches 10 pm, I go into a shutdown mode; so I have to be productive before that time. Sometimes the energetic sessions might differ. For instance, during the weekends, I head straight to doing stuff after waking up. Whereas, my boyfriend starts the day with leisurely activities and becomes alive at night. So, tailor your tasks to when you feel most energetic.
Schedule in advance your work
Today, we have busy lives to the point that the difficult thing is not actually what we are supposed to do but when to do it.
If you are like me, you so often think to yourself “right, I am going to do this stuff tonight.” But, later you get distracted and say “never mind I will do it tomorrow instead.” And then, tomorrow comes, do nothing. If such a scenario carries on, you might find yourself making promises, and nothing happens throughout the week.
If you decide in advance that “Tuesday in my practical day,” then stop overthinking which brings about the ‘planning and re-planning cycle.’ That day is your day! No more deciding and negotiating!
Strategy Two: Make Tasks Pleasurable
Bundle your “wants “with your “shoulds”
According to research done by the University of Pennsylvania, an effective way to do essential stuff that you consider not pleasant is to create a temptation bundle. What that means is to put fun things when working towards your target.
For example, you might decide to go to a coffee shop and get your favorite cup of chocolate when writing. Or you decide to watch a favorite TV programme as you stretch. Or you may choose to listen to an exciting podcast while out running.
Obviously, the challenge will be to exercise self-control and not to do fun things while not working. Nevertheless, working becomes enjoyable in that way.
Find out if there is a more enjoyable method to get the desired results
Different methods are available that can help you achieve your goal. Take losing weight, for instance; you will find chunks and chunks of diet plan in any book store. So, it will be up to you to choose the diet plan that works for your case.
A good example is when my friend at one instance decided to try all kinds of “eat in moderation diets” that came along. But, after the struggles, he didn’t lose any weight! By good chance, he stumbled upon the Slow Carb Diet from Tim Ferriss; a guide that advocates eating meat and vegetables for 6 days and later a cheat day once a week.
He actually loved it! Since it, it enabled him to lose a lost a bunch of weight. However, that kind of diet would not be pleasurable to me as I’m not a fan of eating plenty of meat or saving treats for one big blow out at the end.
If I take that method and give it a shot, I might be doomed to thinking that I can’t lose weight, when, in fact, that approach doesn’t fit me. To be on the safe side, try diverse approaches from different teachers and text. In that manner, you will easily stumble on what fits you and seem enjoyable to do.
Make it fun with friends
Instead of treating your friends to a coffee or meal, take a walk, yoga practice, study, or cooking learning session with them. If you find a friend has a similar goal to you, buddy up! It will be a good opportunity to hang out, share the pain, improve together and to some extent entertain a bit of healthy competition that carries you forward.
Each Saturday I do pancakes and yoga with one of my friends. Even if that weren’t the case, I would still do yoga. But, now I have the benefit of doing it while laughing with my friend, who even does yoga better than me!
Track your progress
Getting better at something is perhaps one of the best feelings one can possess. Being aware that your hard work is paying off and you are improving gives you the energy to keep going when the going gets tough!
The reason for this is that it is usually painful to go backward once reach a certain level. In such situations, the very least you can do is motivate yourself to stay at the place you are. The problem is that often progress against your goals feels sooooo slow. Remembering where you came from and how you used to like is actually hard.
Make sure to take at least weekly records of whatever you are undertaking to measure and track your improvement; whether your weight, time doing 5km, new moves you just learnt or the number of words you have written. In this way, you will build enough confidence to approach the next level. Setting SMART goals is crucial when working.
Reward yourself for progress
Although similar to temptation building, you reward yourself after you have worked on your goal. For instance, you can reward yourself a pancake for successfully doing yoga on Saturday. You may also choose to buy yourself a new kitchen gadget for just losing one stone of weight. Or get a gym gear for attaining a new personal best. Or even acquire a new magazine for turning up early to Italian class. Or better still, taking a spa day for just successfully finishing an exam.
The main thing to keep in mind is not to allow your reward does to undermine your set goal: meaning, no chocolate for simply attending a gym session.
Strategy Three: Just Do It. (Even if it feels hard and horrible)
This is the difficult strategy out of the three that shows what discipline really entails, yet it remains the most valuable one to practice.
DON’T let emotions rule our lives. If you are in employment, there are a couple of times where you feel not to get out of bed to head to work, but, you will have to do it as you risk being fired and becoming broke if you fail to go to work. In such an instance, if you rely on emotions, you are bound to suffer consequences.
Usually, when it comes to personal goals, no such consequence exists. Or at least you will not see any consequence until way, way down the line.
Take these examples;
- You didn’t feel like going to the gym, so you didn’t. No one bothers you about that. Come the next day, and you don’t even look any different.
- You didn’t feel like writing your novel, so you didn’t. You lose nothing. No one bangs on your door for your book to be published.
- You didn’t feel like taking a guitar practice, so you didn’t. No one cares. Your potential future fans don’t even know you exist yet.
It may take a long time, say 3,5, or even 10 years to realize the gap between your current status and what you envisioned your life. You may wake up and realize the gap is now so large that it is almost insurmountable to cover.
All because you didn’t feel like it!
There is a lot you can do to easily and enjoyably achieve your goal. But, the reality still remains that if you truly want to be the person you desire, then you will have to do stuff you don’t want to do
EVEN IF THERE IS NO IMMEDIATE CONSEQUENCE AND EVEN IF IT IS PAINFUL TO DO!
That is surely the secret to success.
Honestly, there is no magic bullet to getting over this but to just become an unfeeling robot and do the necessary.
(By the way, being disciplined and always doing the difficult thing/taking the hard option is the nearest to a magic bullet that I have found People use to build their identity. For example, Jocko Willink, David Goggins.)
I hope these resource were helpful. You can check other helpful posts on these blogs.