5 Ways to Enhance Your Self Discipline
Mar 13, 2017
5 Ways to Enhance Your Self-Discipline
As children, we are all repeatedly disciplined by our teachers and parents. But what happens once you grow up? You don’t have anyone watching over you and telling you how to do better in life anymore. This is where self-discipline comes in. Defined as “correction or regulation of oneself for the sake of improvement” by the Merriam-Webster dictionary, self-discipline focuses on changing and developing habits that make it easier to be progressive, adaptive and willful individuals.
However, being self-disciplined is far from easy. The truth is that human beings are inherently resistant to change. According to the 2011 Stress in America survey, approximately 27 percent of Americans said that lack of willpower has stopped them from making lifestyle or behavior changes. Like most other life skills, self-discipline can be learned and enhanced with time. Here are 5 ways to help you enhance your self-discipline.
Identify your triggers
Being forewarned is being forearmed: if you know what causes your thought process to derail – therefore forcing you to give in to your desires and impulses – you will know what contingencies you need to plan for. Your triggers could be anything from stress at work, relationship problems, or even lack of sleep.
Some of these triggers are quite challenging and you will need to create a well-devised plan to counter them, while others (like sleep deprivation) can be easily avoided. According to a study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control, sleep-deprived teens have a higher chance of engaging in risky behaviors like smoking and drinking alcohol. To counter this trigger and boost your self-discipline, ensure that you follow a sleep schedule and get at least eight hours of shut-eye every night.
Learn effective ways of managing stress
If you want to be more disciplined, it is important that you learn proper stress management techniques. Exerting self-control and discipline requires energy, but in stressful situations, you end up using greater amounts of your physical and mental energy to simply get from one day to the next. This state of fatigue makes it tough to deny your need for instant gratification. By learning effective stress management techniques, instinct-based decisions will no longer be an issue. Some common ways include taking up a sport or hobby, spending time with family and friends, and meditating.
Follow a morning ritual
How you start your day often dictates how the rest of it is going to play out. If you are feeling grumpy and depressed, it is less likely that you will be in the mood to exert any self-control. Instead of waking up just before you need to leave for work, set up a morning ritual and follow it regularly. It doesn’t have to be anything complicated – just getting up early in the morning, doing some exercises, and eating a healthy breakfast counts. Exercising and making healthy food choices in the morning will prepare you for whatever the day brings.
Use the 5-minute rule
When you are stressed or feeling depressed, taking the first step to start on a task seems insurmountable. Your mind is likely to wander, and you may end up procrastinating and delaying your work. One way to deal with this is to make the 5-minute rule a habit. This is a very simple technique: tell yourself that whatever you have to work on, you will only do for 5 minutes. Once you start, you may realize that continuing the task even after the proposed 5 minutes have passed is not quite as difficult.
Postpone indulgence a little bit at a time
When you are trying to break any bad habit, the best thing to do is to use the self-discipline strategy of postponing gratification. For example, if you are desperately craving a cigarette, don’t give in; instead, tell yourself that you will have one later, and when that time rolls around, again delay your timeline for indulging. If you are really craving a chocolate cake when you are on a diet, tell yourself you will have some once you lose a certain amount of weight.
Disciplining yourself doesn’t have to be a huge task. Incorporate these habits into your daily life, and you will have built a disciplined life free from bad habits before you even know it.