What is discipline?
Discipline is a set of guidelines that aid in a process. They might be mandated by society, one's family, friends, or school. In that scenario, it might be self-imposed and known as self-discipline, which is considerably harder to cultivate in oneself but offers the greatest benefits.
The good news about discipline is that it is not an innate quality like other traits are. We don't actually have this from birth. Few people—possibly very few—are born with a gene that makes it simple to develop discipline. It's not the same sort of character as your eye color or hair texture.
It is something you can work on in order to improve yourself. When we think about it, discipline is something that can be learned and acquired over time. That's great news, but the terrible news is that no one is to blame. You bear alone responsibility for training yourself to be disciplined.
Discipline is a lovely attribute that may elevate anyone from novice to expert. There's a saying that has been my favorite throughout the last several months, and it says, “Every master was once a disaster.”
I scribbled this quotation in my planner and refer to it every time I start a new class or learn a new skill. When something isn't working as well as I expected, I can become discouraged. Then I look at that quote and think, “Okay, I just need to work a little bit more and over time I can also become a master.”
If you've been following my YouTube career since the beginning, you'll know that I'm constantly learning new skills. You've probably seen my About page, where I talk about how important education outside of the classroom is to me. I really believe in self-improvement, self-growth, and self-development. I believe that broadening your skill set and knowledge is the key to success.
Given that I am self-employed, it is vital that I maintain self-discipline. I must deliver videos on time, post content on my Patreon page on time, and attend lectures and seminars on time.
In general, I consider myself to be a highly disciplined individual. Previously, though, it was something imposed on me by others. Now it's something I have to force myself to do in order to complete my goals and projects on time. Over the years, I've developed a number of rules for myself that have shown to be effective.
Some of these rules may or may not apply to you. This is something you must determine for yourself. These aren't just rules I read in a book that might or might not work. These are the guidelines that have shown to be beneficial to me. And I'm hoping that by sharing it with you, they can also benefit you.
Set your goals on paper and add reference visuals/images
It is critical for me to see what I need to do on paper. When I write things down on paper, it relieves my mind of the task at hand. Then I have this call to action written down.
Finding pictures or photos on Pinterest also helps me a lot; it's where I usually go for examples of imagery that I identify with our goal, task, or aspiration.
For example, you’d like to design a particularly neat and clean office desk where you work.
Have a picture in your mind of how you want it to feel, and then go to Pinterest.
Look it up and find reference photos that will inspire you to build something similar. Get ideas from everywhere.
Jot down the goal of establishing an exciting workplace, and then gather those images into an album or folder on your phone.
Keep going back to that folder, looking at the task and the images, and truly putting that idea into action.
I'm not sure if it's magic or the universe aligning with whatever you believe in. But it actually works. When you juxtapose a call to action with a picture that you aim to produce, you create an emotion in yourself that drives you to action, and you get it done.
The example I provided was simply about tidying your workspace. It could be about exercising; you could write in your journal that you wish to exercise three times each week. You could browse for reference photographs of gorgeous bodies that you desire to imitate or build for yourself.
It may be having a lovely home, then discovering images in your thoughts that correspond to that image of a great home. Thank goodness for Pinterest and all of the wonderful images accessible for us to save and screenshot and refer to whenever we want to feel inspired.
That will motivate you and provide you with the discipline you require to complete the task.
Start from small tasks
These are the tasks that need the least amount of energy and those you enjoy doing, something that doesn't require much friction for you to begin.
I used to believe or was told, that you should begin with the most difficult schoolwork and work your way down to the easier tasks. That didn't work out for me over time.
What works for me is always starting with the tiny things that keep nagging at you and reminding you that you need to get it done. Get it done first since it requires less energy and there is less friction between you and the work, so you don't keep postponing and then delaying it all the time.
Get it done; once completed, it will be removed from your planner. You see this small tick on the side, which makes you feel good about yourself. That puts you in the mindset of someone who gets things done. I claim it's a doer's mood, and I can do it. I can keep going if I have already completed two items on my to-do list. This gives you a lot of energy, allowing you to take on more and bigger responsibilities.
Willpower and self-discipline are closely linked, and both work like muscles. The more you utilize it, the better you'll get. Understanding that self-discipline functions like a muscle, I believe it is critical not to overburden it with too many activities or tasks at once. Because it is tough to get started when you impose a large number of challenging duties on yourself all at once.
Assume you've never worked out before and pushed yourself to complete 50 squats. You'll either never do it again or do it only once. To be self-disciplined, you must begin by assigning little tasks to yourself and then completing them, gradually increasing your effort. When you overburden yourself with tasks, you will either burn out mentally or never be able to develop self-discipline.
Make Your Bed is one of my favorite books, and the basic principle of this book is that when you start your day by making your bed, it is not simply about keeping your room looking nice or being very organized, you will gain a lot of confidence. You feel like you've completed one task on your to-do list. That gives you the impression that “I can do things. I have control over things.”
Checking tasks off your list in the same manner, starting with lesser ones and eventually progressing to larger ones, will help you become more self-disciplined over time.
Optimize your life
I can stay self-disciplined for a long time if I can lessen the friction between myself and the activity that I have to accomplish. Whatever I set my mind to becoming a part of my life. Then I won't have to use too much willpower to get started.
For example, you usually finish two books per month and it takes a lot of self-discipline to get it done in one month. What I recommend is that you keep the books in your line of sight and make them conveniently accessible and attainable within your arm's reach.
What I would recommend is keeping the book with you in the places you frequent the most. Put it on your nightstand, carry it in your luggage, and keep it in your car so you can open it and read a few pages if you're caught in traffic or waiting for someone in the car. You keep it in your bag so that when you're waiting for a new appointment, you may open it and read it.
You are more likely to read a book if it is within reach and available to you. The same is true in every other aspect of your life.
So, whenever there is less friction between you and the action, whenever whatever action you need to perform is attainable and available in your sight, you are more likely to complete it.
Do not compare yourself to others, choose role models
The most crucial rule for remaining self-disciplined is to avoid comparing yourself to others. It is unhealthy for you to compare yourself to them.
You're on your way to bettering yourself. Don't compare your day 0 to someone else's day 100. Or someone who has not yet begun. This can get you off course; instead, compare your daily results only with yourself.
This is not to argue that comparison is always harmful or unhealthy. Because sometimes a healthy amount of comparison is actually beneficial in that it fuels the fire within you to start doing something. What I mean is that you should not compare your level of self-discipline to that of others.
What I do encourage is looking for role models, mentors, or someone you aim to be like in terms of self-discipline. I consider myself to be a pretty disciplined individual, yet I know people who are far more disciplined than I am. And I constantly admire and desire to be like these people. This is not to say that I compare myself to them. I simply admire them and aspire to one day acquire their degree of self-discipline.
Do not wait for the perfect moment, start now
It is not something that will magically appear in your life and happen to you. It's something you have to start, work on, and strengthen like a muscle. I know what it's like to work on your self-discipline since I've been there.
When I was in university, I always wanted to work out but told myself that I would start after my midterms or quizzes were finished. Then four years went by with me never going to the gym.
As an adult who is self-employed, I have a lot of tasks on the go. But I've planned and scheduled the number of times I'll need to go to the gym to work out. This isn't something I do because I want to; it's something I force myself to do. I'm so much more proud of myself now that I've done it.
I used to be the one who waited for the ideal day to come. Now, I'm the type of person who, as soon as I have an idea, I jot it down on paper and get to work. I don't wait for the ideal day or moment to come.
To illustrate my idea, I'd like to share a quote with you that states, “If you do not make time for it, the time for it will never come.”
That is absolutely true and applies to everything we do in life. To end, I'd want to point out that we all have a concept of the kind of life we wish to live.
These are our hopes and dreams, there is an emotion that we feel about something, and there is an action in the center, and self-discipline exists between those emotions and acts. This is the channel that assists us in getting things done so that our dreams and wants might be achieved.
Success does not happen overnight. And those who do rarely last long. The good news is that we can all be successful and accomplished if we focus on our self-discipline and learn how to do so. If I can learn to be self-disciplined, so can you. I hope this blog can help, inspire, and motivate you to improve your self-discipline.