We all have goals and ambitions—whether it be losing weight, starting a business or progressing your career. Arguably the most important thing to develop in order to achieve your goals is self discipline.
A common misconception people have is that you need to be extremely talented in order to become very succesful, which is not true. While some skill is definitely necessary, talent is useless without discipline. You can be the most talented person in the room but if you cannot push yourself to work consistently, you will not make it very far.
Developing self discipline all comes down to your mindset. You need to figure out a way to get yourself to consistently work towards your goals, even on days where it may feel difficult. While developing a certain mindset is a long-term process that can be challenging, it is doable! Check out these six ways you that can help you develop self-discipline.
1. Set realistic goals
This one I cannot stress enough: be realistic. If you make your goal so difficult and practically impossible to achieve, all you are going to experience is disappointment. It can make you feel as if no matter how hard you work, you won’t be able to succeed. These feelings can make you very unmotivated and push you towards quitting.
Instead of setting impossible standards for yourself, set the bar at a more achievable height. Can you really lose 30 pounds in one month? Probably not. Even if you do, chances are it was not in a very healthy way. Will you really be able to build a huge client base in the first few weeks of starting your consulting business? Not likely.
This in no way means that you aren’t allowed to have big dreams. In the long run, of course you can aspire to one day lose 30 pounds or establish a huge client base. However, make sure you are giving yourself enough time to achieve those greater objectives. Along the way, set short-term goals that can give you feelings of satisfaction on your path to fulfilling your ultimate desire.
2. Get started now
Do you ever find yourself saying that you’ll start on Monday? Or you’ll start tomorrow morning? Stop delaying your start! Getting started on a new task is the hardest part of getting it done. Once your started, there is often an end in sight and it makes it a lot easier to work on it.
Set deadlines and hold yourself accountable. The problem with a lot of personal goals is that there isn’t anyone else who is affected by whether or not they are fulfilled. As a result, it’s much easier to give yourself permission to procrastinate. If you are struggling to find ways to get your work done, check out these 6 real ways to become more productive!
Remind yourself of the consequences of not achieving your personal goals. The next time you don’t feel like getting started, remember these wise words: “The cost of your procrastination is the life you could’ve lived”.
3. Learn how to clap for yourself
Working hard without visible results or recognition is hard. There is not always going to be an applause or external validation for all of your hard work, so you need to find ways within to feel pleased with yourself. There are going to be days where it feels like your efforts are futile. You might have worked super hard on a blog post to not get any views. Or you ate healthy and stayed on your exercise routine for two weeks straight and saw no difference in your weight.
Instead of focusing on the lack of acknowledgement, focus on what you gained from your hard work. Whether or not anyone as recognized it, writing a blog post improves your writing skills, which can help you excel in other parts of life. Eating healthy and exercising makes you feel happier and reduces your chances of developing health issues, whether or not you lose weight.
Form a support system, you can try to turn to family or friends for their encouragement. Never allow yourself to feel like you are just wasting time, always take a look at what you gained. Don’t forget to reward yourself for your work as well, maybe sleep in one day or watch a few episodes of your favourite show!
4. Stay consistent
Consistency is key to success. If you can consistently work towards something for a long period of time without losing your work ethic and motivation, the chances of success increase significantly.
Sometimes you are going to have off days where things don’t go as planned. Instead of letting these completely derail you and turn into off weeks or even off months, get back on track as quickly as possible. Don’t let eating one cookie lead to you finishing the entire box!
Keep yourself motivated. Remind yourself why you are working so hard in the first place. Envision what your life will look like when you succeed. In addition, keep awarding yourself for smaller wins. Find something to celebrate on your journey as often as possible so you can enjoy it and feel motivated to stay consistent.
5. Don’t beat yourself up
You are going to have setbacks. It is inevitable. There are going to be days where you do not end up meeting a deadline you set for yourself or you get off track. Do not beat yourself up over these things.
Becoming self disciplined is a process, it will not happen overnight. Making a change in your mindset or lifestyle can take a while. According to a study, it takes an average of 66 days for a new behavior to become automatic.
Becoming frustrated and angry with yourself for setbacks and failures will only make you think negatively and make you unhappy. If you become too strict with yourself, it can make you feel drained and may even make you see your goal as more of a chore rather than something to be excited about. Forgive yourself easily and overcome failures!
6. Maintain a healthy lifestyle
Being physically unhealthy can negatively impact many other aspects of your life including your relationships, work or personal goals. Taking good care of your physical health can improve your cognitive function, concentration and improve your self control.
Are you in a good mood when you don’t get enough sleep at night? Do you feel energized and excited to work towards your goals when all you had to eat all day is a bag of potato chips? Make it your priority to eat healthy food, do some physical activity and get enough sleep every night.