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We all have goals for many areas of our lives. Some of us want successful relationships, some like to get more money, others want simply happiness in their lives and others seek better health with less weight. These are common goals, and we sometimes fail or succeed in achieving them. The general question is: Why we don’t achieve those goals? Why we don’t become successful in these goals? The general answer is a lack of self-discipline.
Self-control also has to act against many obstacles like truly understanding what self-control really is about; or about deficiencies of the desire to alter and improve. And it has to act against solid and uncontrolled emotional responses. Also, do not allow self-control to be considered a restricting and unpleasant activity.
How do you develop self-control? You first find out what areas of your life need more self-control and these could be: Drinking, Betting, Smoking, Obsessive behaviour, Eating and then attempt to identify emotions that lack control, like being angry, dissatisfied, sadness, resentment, delight or fearfulness. See if you can isolate the thoughts and emotions that push you to act in an unrestrained manner.
Last decade of research in human psychology has revealed many ways in which one can improve the willpower or the self-discipline. A Stanford psychologist, Kelly McGonigal, identifies following four methods of improving the willpower.
The journey toward good self-discipline must begin with a deep sense of belief and conviction.
You must have a strong, unshakeable belief that self-discipline is not only achievable, but also that possessing such a discipline is vitally important in life.
Placing a high level of importance on developing self-discipline will mean that you’ll be more inclined to seeing the job through. Things that are unimportant; that have little or no value are the things that are often shelved or pushed to the one side.
When you place a high value on something, you are then more likely to devote more time and effort toward achieving it.
Arriving at a place therefore where you can realize that an undisciplined life can be seriously inhibiting and destructive, then hopefully this will be a problem of enough importance for you to work on and address.
For most people there is a tolerance level for this kind of self-denial. At some point people will rebel against self-imposed limitations and just ‘spend it’ on something. It may be something they believe they really need, but more often is on something they really want.
People are naturally disinclined to postpone short term gratification for long term gratification. We live in the present. We want things now. If you deny yourself everything you could possibly buy and live in some form of self-imposed poverty just to save money you and or your family will rebel eventually and spend it. The danger there is that the break out from this self-imposed denial is not controlled and you could end up spending far more than you should.
As it requires little but consistent steps to grow, so does it requires little steps to take to grow into becoming a disciplined person. You cannot be discipline overnight. People who have tried it give up and reverse back to their early life of indiscipline. Discipline takes time to develop, but you have to be determined. The more you try to take disciplined steps, the stronger you become. For example, start with something small that makes you feel happy. It could be exercising for 15 minutes daily, waking up 10 minutes earlier etc.
One of the most common ways to improve willpower is through more sleep.
Lack of sleep actually prevents us from operating at most willpower capacity. If we are sleep deprived, our prefrontal cortex doesn’t activate enough, which means our restraining mind is not in action and we easily give in to the impulses.
It is important to get a good night’s sleep. For most people 7 hours is what is required. If you haven’t slept 7 hours and even if you don’t feel sleepy, your cortex is still not working full capacity. Hence its very important to sleep 7 hours.
Meditation is one of the tools that can be effectively used to help with the increasing amount of sleep you can have.
Often when you are building skills, such as self-discipline you have to use other skills to achieve your goal. Observation – I don’t care who you are, if you lack observation skills, you will also lack the ability to build the skills you need to reach any successful point in life. If you are building business skills, now is the time to put observation in focus. Observation is your tool that allows you to examine, study, and reflect on what you learn. Observation in fact builds opinions, commends, thoughts, etc., which obviously also builds communication skills and self-discipline. To learn how to face your discomforts, you will need to learn to observe your behaviors, actions, thoughts, and so forth. When you keep track of what you do, it helps you build the skills you need to achieve your goals.
Creativity and imagination are enhanced. Creativity is so important as it helps not just solve problems, but solve them in a unique way. There are no limits to how a problem can be solved. Ideas flood the imagination and provide a multitude of ways to handle a problem. Most people think in narrow channels and fail to broaden their scope. They don’t think outside the box.
Act with conviction in whatever task you have taken upon. Have a written list of goals to accomplish and a detailed plan of action. Make a promise to yourself that you would complete a task within a given time. So that it gives you the right frame of mind and will help you to stop running away from challenges. Reward yourself for each small accomplishment. Focus on one task at a time. Do not divert your attention and always go according to a definite action plan. Start slowly, but gradually increase the pace as you develop your own skill sets.
Reap the benefits. Effective self-discipline becomes a habit, something you do without conscious thought. Many times we think about it in terms of ‘I have to xxx’. Usually we do not stop to think about the time and other resources it frees up for us to use for fun. When you consistently use Tools 1 and 2, you need to reward yourself, at a minimum, for avoiding crisis management – the worst resource depletion we have. As difficult as it may seem, it is critical that we make time to put ourselves first! Taking this step refreshes our outlook on life, work, family, relationships, and a host of other benefits. Remember that it typically takes thirty days to develop a habit and the next sixty days to firmly cement the new behavior.
When you keep the commitments you make with yourself, one of the greatest benefits, which will flow to you, as a result of acting on great ideas when they come to you, is a feeling of contentment and satisfaction. How great do you feel when you keep commitments you make with yourself? The art of self-discipline breeds, self-worth, which in turn helps you to feel better about yourself and your self-esteem, improves too. The more positive you are and the greater your belief in yourself, the greater the chances that you will succeed at the things you attempt. This will inspire you to always try your best
Self-discipline is critical for your persistence and perseverance. There is no point pretending that life should be easy. That is both an unrealistic and unhelpful expectation. Life isn’t fair and you will struggle from time to time and face lofty demands. Some of these demands will have been self-inflicted as you create challenging goals to help you improve yourself and the quality of your life. You can then break your goals down into small bite-size actions which you can perform on a daily basis. Using your self-discipline to complete these actions will ensure that you reap the rewards you deserve from life.
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