People tend to be consumed with motivation and how to keep it going, and while motivation is a very encouraging sentiment, it is also fleeting. Motivation, by definition, is “having an incentive or a strong desire to do well or succeed in some pursuit”, but what happens on days when there is
neither an incentive nor a desire? What people actually need, but aren’t aware of, is self-discipline. Having self-discipline is pushing yourself to take action and reach your goals regardless of whether there is motivation or not, and regardless of how you’re feeling. Self-discipline is one of the most difficult skills to acquire, but once it’s acquired it yields and bears much fruit. Before discussing how to acquire self-discipline, it’s important to become aware of signs that might be indicative of a life that lacks self-discipline.
Signs of a lack of self-discipline:
– You find yourself unable to stay consistent in anything because you depend on motivation
– You procrastinate or always wait for the “right time”
– You don’t make the best use of your time
– You are frustrated with yourself because you never reach your goals – You find yourself envious of others when they reach their goals
How to Cultivate Self-Discipline
1- Know your goals
What is it that you are trying to achieve? What and how do you want to commit to it? After you’ve outlined your goals, it’s important to write them down and document the goals you want to reach. Writing it down on a daily or weekly basis will help you track and measure your progress. Tip: Writing small and realistic goals makes you less overwhelmed and more likely to commit to your goals.
2- Know your obstacles
After you think about your goals, it’s important to think about the current habits that are getting in the way of reaching your goals. Is your present lifestyle creating an environment that can foster your dreams? Are the people in your life encouraging your growth or inhibiting it? These are all things to consider when working towards your goals. Distancing yourself from inhibitors of growth can be the first step in walking in self-discipline because this act in itself includes controlling oneself from engaging in toxic and familiar patterns.
Tip: Take practical steps once you identify the trigger. For example: If spending too much time on social media is getting in the way of focusing on your goals then set a timer for yourself with a limit over how much time you spend on social media.
3- Join an accountability group
Find people with a common interest or same goals. If you want to get in better shape, find someone to workout with. Even if you don’t find someone with a common goal, choose someone you trust who can keep you accountable and who checks in with you regularly.
Don’t put off your goals out of a desire to wait for the right time. People tend to wait or associate new goals with new year’s resolutions rather than working on them now. Rather than imagining a future where you finally start new habits, ask yourself how you can start today.
Cultivating a life of self-discipline impacts all areas of our lives and helps us reach our goals. To reach our goals, we need to become aware of the things that hinder the growth and the things that encourage it. It is the key to improving your quality of life and becoming who we were created to be.
● What habits are blocking your growth?
● What areas in your life do you want to be more intentional in? ● What are your goals for this year? What are small steps you can take to achieve these things?