Three Keys to Self-Discipline: One of the varied ways self-discipline is often defined is the ability to control oneself and to motivate oneself to work hard or behave a certain way without needing someone else to tell you what to do. Easier said than done, however, something that is crucial for us to master if we wish to be self-determining and self-reliant. Whatever our personal definitions of success, this definition of self-discipline (i.e. how we achieve that success) cannot be disputed. So, since there are no shortcuts to self-discipline, (and therefore, no shortcuts to success,) here are a few pointers on how we can cultivate the former to achieve the latter.
Take small steps
Getting up at 5am for cardio training, practicing meditation, allocating specific times to respond to emails: everyone has their own ideas of how to regulate their time and energy to make the most of their time. Having a structure and routine is important for your body, mind, and soul. However, expecting to adopt and sustain an iron-cast timetable in a short space of time is naïve and destructive. If we want to create and build positive habits we must do so slowly over time. Taking small measured steps and building positive habits over time will give you a better chance of maintaining consistency in the future.
Stick to your principles
It is said that principles maketh the man, and it’s true. Self-discipline requires us to stand over our beliefs and have them dictate our course of action. Personally, I’ve never met a successful person who didn’t stand very strongly for something, whether it was social justice, professional ethics, or their faith, they have all been strongly principled individuals. We derive strength and discipline from our core beliefs.
Assert your standards
Just as the practice of self-discipline requires you to stand on your principles, it also requires you to set standards and to ensure you never deviate from them. You should always be clear on what you expect from any given situation, whether it is how you are treated, how you are rewarded, how you wish to perform. The perseverance and persistence you need to achieve your goals will come more easily once your standards are set in stone.
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