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Self Discipline Is The Key To Success In Life
Have you ever wondered why some people reach extraordinary success in achieving their goals while others struggle? Is there some secret knowledge or some mysterious power of the mind that some possess and others not? Well, you could call it that. Highly successful and effective people have one thing in common: they are insanely self-disciplined. Of course, there are some other skills, abilities and mental capacities such as problem-solving, critical observation, willpower, persistence, patience or positive mindset that significantly facilitate goal achievement but self-discipline is paramount.
So if you want to increase your own chances of success both personally, and professionally you should focus on building self-discipline. This ability to control yourself will not only enable you to do high-quality work even when you’re tired but also it will help you to stay focused on your goals even in those days when you struggle with motivation.
So, without further ado, here are 10 extremely powerful but still relatively simple ways to master self-discipline and become unstoppable in pursuing your dreams.
1. Know Your "WHY"
The first step in building unbreakable self-discipline is to define your “WHY”. While this may seem trivial at first glance, it’s the most important thing to do. Because without knowing what is the purpose of your life, finding a legitimate reason to even get out of bed becomes extremely hard, if not impossible. So, if you’re struggling to break from the fog of not wanting to get out of bed in the morning you should ask yourself this simple question: “What is the purpose of my existence?” Once you answer that, the rest is easy.
Having a clear purpose in approaching your life is the first step on your journey to build lasting and solid self-discipline. Not only because it creates a deep motivation to get out of bed even when life gives you give you a million reasons to sleep forever, but also it gives you enormous pleasure in doing so. So, if you haven’t already defined your “WHY”, I think you should focus on that.
Living a purpose-driven life will make you more capable of pursuing ambitious goals, facing life challenges and creating opportunities for personal growth. Not to mention that it will help you to save more energy and stay focused on what’s truly important. Discovering your own meaning in life will not only give you the motivation to get out of bed in the morning but it will also help you to build unbreakable self-discipline so much needed to achieve success in life.
2. Develop A Clear Vision
Every great achievement starts with the clarity of vision and well-defined life goals. Highly successful people know it very well so even when things don’t go as planned they don’t give up. Winners never quit even if they fail on their way to success. Instead, they embrace failure and use it to succeed. Those who, on the contrary, struggle to function after they have failed or even think to give up, most likely don’t have a clear vision of their future.
It happens because, when you know when you’re headed and you have predefined goals, no temporary failure can defeat you or stop you from realizing your dreams. There is a reason why one of the most common job interview questions is: “Where do you see yourself in five years?”
People who have a clear mental picture of who they want to be in the future work extremely hard to turn their vision into reality because they know that success is not obtained overnight. Real success is never a coincidence, but the result of hard work, self-discipline, continuous effort, enormous sacrifice, persistence, commitment to excellence and unwavering self-belief in one’s ability to achieve their life goals. So if you want to put yourself on the road to success you need to create a clear vision of your future, set smart goals, master self-discipline and work consistently to achieve what you want to achieve.
3. Find Your Optimal Schedule
One of the easiest ways to build and master self-discipline is to plan, organize and schedule your days for optimal productivity.
Schedule means getting things done. That is why you should not underestimate its importance, especially if you consider the monetary value of your time. And let me tell you, even if you are not at the working place in a particular moment, your time has still monetary value because you either saving money or investing them in your future.
So take some time at the end of every week and schedule an upcoming week for maximum productivity (learn how to become more productive HERE). Write down everything you need to accomplish in a new document (Google calendar, Outlook) on your phone or on your computer. Prioritize your tasks and set deadlines for any of them. Plan for maximum productivity BUT don’t overschedule. Be rational and always negotiate with yourself. Do not be your own tyrant. Design your ideal week and set yourself up for success. Start creating a successful future right now!
- Create a powerful, productive and positive daily routine
- Fill up your Calendar before others do (I highly recommend Google Calendar!)
- Plan Your Day According to The 3 x 8h rule (8h of work, 8h of productive “me time”, 8h of quality rest. A 3 x 8h rule it a great way to achieve work-life balance. You don’t believe me? Just try it and see how it works for you.
- Set 3 MITS – the most important tasks (get them knocked out in the early morning, as soon as you can when your mind is fresh) You can use the 20/80 Pareto Principle to set your priorities, eliminate your distractions and focus on personal and professional growth. 24 hours a day can be enough to get the most important things done if you eliminate distractions and time-wasters (in every area of your life).
- Set realistic but challenging daily goals (and deadlines)
- Break down your goals into more realistically achievable steps
- Create a reasonable plan of action to accomplish your goals
- Create motivation through intentional action (I cannot stress this enough)
- Rember that being busy doesn’t necessarily mean being productive. So be productive!
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4. Eliminate Non-Critical Decisions
How many unnecessary decisions and non-critical choices do you make every single day? And more importantly, how are much valuable time and energy you could save if you eliminated unnecessary tasks? I bet you could free up 1-2 hours every single day just by getting rid of some non-critical decisions such as what to wear, what to eat, what to read, what Netflix show to watch, when to workout and all that.
We tend to attach great importance to completely irrelevant things instead of focusing on what’s really important for us. And then we realize it, it’s usually too late because we wasted the greater part of our day doing absolutely nothing meaningful and now it’s time for bed. That’s crazy and incredibly unproductive. Don’t let small non-critical decisions to destroy your focus and productivity. Instead, get rid of as many unnecessary decisions as you can and use the extra time to do something meaningful. Focus on your priorities instead of wasting your precious time and energy on things that contribute absolutely nothing to your life. Set up a highly personalized daily routine, that will create a balance and structure in your day and regain control over your day, time and work.
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5. Set Tight Deadlines
Most people are afraid of tight deadlines because they think that stress and pressure to get things done in a short amount of time will make them unable to focus on their work. But, the opposite is true: a little bit of pressure makes people more productive, self-disciplined and focused on their goals. Furthermore, tight but realistic deadlines force you to use your time more effectively and practice good time management skills. There is no time for procrastination.
While loose deadlines encourage you to wait until the last possible minute to get started on your work. Parkinson’s Law explains this perfectly. According to this principle stated by a famous British naval historian, Cyril Northcote Parkinson “work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion”. This means that if something must be done in a month, it will be done in a month and not a moment sooner.
Let’s take another example: if you give yourself a day to complete a two-hour task it will take you a whole day to accomplish this task. It happens because from the psychological point of view a particular task will increase in complexity so as to fill the entire time you have. Not to mention that if you have too much time to get the job done, there is a high probability that you will be either overcomplicating even the simplest thing or you will be procrastinating most of the time. That’s not a good use of your time.
If you want to be seriously productive and highly efficient you need to learn to estimate accurately the time needed to complete a certain project. And if you’re wondering what’s the easiest and most accurate way of estimating how long it takes to perform a task the answer is quite simple. You need to perform it several times until you find an average value. That’s exactly what you should do if you want to maximize efficiency, increase productivity and build unbreakable self-discipline. Don’t let loose deadlines waste your time. Instead set smart goals and give yourself strict time limits to actually achieve them. Use Parkinson’s Law to your advantage, make your productivity skyrocket, start producing spectacular results and become a highly self-disciplined individual.
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6. Take Powerful Breaks To Avoid Exhaustion
There is a huge misconception that taking regular breaks during your workday will ruin self-discipline, destroy your workflow and ability to focus on prolonged tasks. In reality, it’s the opposite. Several studies have shown that taking work breaks can not only drastically increase productivity levels but also significantly improve your mental wellbeing.
It’s not a secret that our ability to focus is a limited mental resource. This means that, every once in awhile, we need to reboot our brains and restore our mental energy if we want to be productive and efficient. Not to mention that being highly self-disicplined while you’re extremely tired it’s very hard, if not impossible.
Scheduling breaks into your workday may be a hard thing to do especially if you are an ambitious overthinking perfectionist – kind of person. However, what you need to realize is that to live a productive, healthy, happy and self-disciplined life you need to fit relaxation into your busy schedule.
Trust me, taking short active and positive breaks during your workday will drastically increase your self-discipline, boost your focus, restore your mental clarity and increase your life satisfaction. But don’t take my word for it. Try it for yourself!
7. Find Your Triggers To Enter Flow State
Most highly motivated, productive and successful entrepreneurs start their day at 6 am or even earlier because it gives them this extra time to perform their powerful morning routine, revise their work schedule, prioritize their to-do list and drink their coffee in peace instead of doing all of these things in a hurry. They have their MITs already smashed before most of the people wake up. Everything is planned down to the smallest details. There is no coincidence or chaos in their actions. They obtain absolute focus with ease and poise because they have mastered the art of entering the flow state to perfection.
Ultra – productive and highly effective people know that progress is made through focus. They don’t mix professional and personal life or check their email every 5 minutes. They know how to reduce distraction to zero and how to delegate well. They don’t multitask. They don’t make personal phone calls during work hours. And they know when it’s time for a powerful break. They know all of these things not because they’re geniuses but because they have build willpower and mastered self-discipline through the years.
So if you want to be the ultra-productive and highly effective person you need to strengthen your self-discipline muscle, increase your willpower and learn how to unlock your brainpower. Everyone is different and for every person entering the flow state will look looks slightly different but if you struggle with achieving a heavy sense of concentration and sense of clarity here are some powerful ways to induce a flow state very quickly:
- Create a powerful, productive and positive daily routine
- Create rituals around your flow state
- Use time-blocking techniques (The Pomodoro Technique is the best)
- Clear away distractions
- Eliminate time-wasters (no you cannot focus on your work with your phone in your hand!)
- Practice Mindfulness
- Try guided meditations (they are fun and extremely easy to follow)
8. Set Up A Reward And Consequences System
There is no self-discipline without a reward and consequences system. This handy discipline tool can help you guide yourself towards making better choices. Because let’s face it, being rewarded for following the rules and mastering positive habits encourage you to keep doing a good job while experiencing consequences for difficult behaviour prevent a repeat of the same mistake. So basically, you keep yourself accountable for what you do while you improve your personal development skills.
Without accountability for actions, there can be no progress nor achievement. Because if there is nothing or nobody that hold you accountable what’s the point of even get out of bed? If you carry no responsibility you can just observe how your life is just passing by. But if you are ambitious, you want to take full responsibility for your life because you know that it’s your chance to make the most of this incredible journey.
Responsibility is power. Responsibility is freedom. Responsibility is the key to success. So if you want to enhance your chances for success and stick to your most difficult goals you need to take responsibility for your actions. No more excuses or blaming others for your mistakes. No more minimizing your achievements. It’s time to create a clear system of rewards and consequences!
Reward Yourself For Reaching Your Goals Ideas
- Take a powerful break
- Make yourself a delicious cup of coffee
- Make a gourmet dessert
- Watch one or two episodes of your favourite TV show
- Plan a night out with your friends
- Go on a solo date
- Indulge in self-care
- Dance like nobody’s watching
- Eat at your favourite restaurant
- Take a guilt-free nap
- Go for a hike
- Watch the sunrise or sunset
- Take a mini-trip
- Read a book you enjoy for 30 minutes
- Take a day off
- Release some endorphins through a physical activity
- Fuel your passion
- Experience something new
- Listen to an inspiring podcast
- Watch TED talks
Creative Consequences Ideas
- Punishment Jar
- Self-reflection journal
- Mirror talk
- Clean out the clutter
- No Netflix night
- No solo date
- Take a deep breath and keep working
9. Try Dopamine Detox
We live in a digital era that supports and actively promotes instant gratification. Modern technology, fast information exchange, online shopping with delivery at the speed of light gives us the illusion that we can have everything we want right away. There is no need to be patient anymore. Because everything you want you can have it immediately. It’s convenient. No one’s questioning that. But convenience comes with a price that you need to pay if you want to participate in this instant gratification illusion. This price is dopamine addiction.
Dopamine addiction has nothing to do with real happiness. True happiness is to experience greater life satisfaction, a peaceful mind and emotional balance, whilst dopamine addiction it’s completely the opposite. Dopamine addiction is nothing else than an insatiable urge to experience a flood of pleasure. In other words, you start abusing your brain’s reward system. There is no balance, only abundance. There is no journey, only the destination.
In such a world, self-discipline, self-control persistence or patience are not existent. Why they would exist while you can have everything you want without delay or deferment. But the problem is, this world of instant gratification offers you things or experiences that have little or no value. It’s a distraction that takes away your focus, energy and time. But until you participate in this pursuit of fake fulfilment and false perfection you don’t even realize that. If you want to boost your focus, increase your productivity levels and start creating real results you need to trick your brain to like doing hard things. There is no other way to do that.
Real success is built on hard work and achievement, not on a purchase order or some irrelevant piece of information you can find on the internet. Instant gratification has nothing to do with the real world. If you want to succeed in the real world you need to regain your focus, build unbreakable self-discipline, improve your patience and stop abusing your brain’s reward system. In other words, you need dopamine fast that will help you to reprogram your brain to focus, hard work and patience. A dopamine detox will help you to succeed when everyone else is super distracted. You can learn more about detox fasting here
10. Stop Pursuing Perfection
Perfection exists an abstraction of our minds trying to control the uncontrollable. It’s just an illusion just like a concept of absolute free will created by our subconscious mind making us believe that we have a direct impact of everything in the universe. But the truth is, we cannot control outside factors such as the weather, the future, the past, the global economy, geopolitical situation or the most recent example – the pandemic. Ok, but what this has to do with the idea of perfection, you may ask. Well, in my personal opinion perfection could be attainable if we were omnipotent. But we aren’t and we will never be. In other words, perfection would be possible if we could control everything and everyone, when in fact we can ONLY control ourselves. Not to mention that we no matter how prepared we are, there’s no way we can predict with 100% what outcome are actions will produce. There are just too many variables to take into consideration…
So no matter how alluring and intriguing the idea of reaching perfection is, it’s still not attainable. That’s why we should focus on the process instead of striving for something that doesn’t even exist in the real world. Of course, I’m not saying that you shouldn’t work hard. Bet, you should. Furthermore, you should always give your best shot but at the same time, you should avoid setting standards that are unrealistic or unattainable. Remember that, the more action you take the more results you create. Whilst, overthinking and overanalyzing everything in details to the nth degree creates confusion and leads to procrastination. Not to mention that it last sot you lost opportunity. Keep that in mind. Better done than perfect.
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Start building lasting and solid self-discipline