A Guide to Developing the Self-Discipline Habit: 9 Simple Tactics.

how to develop a solid self-discipline

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Self-Discipline Is A Habit

Scientific research shows that self-disciplined people are happier compared to those undisciplined because they realize their dreams, use their time effectively, and feel more in control of their lives which translates into a more positive frame of mind. 

Sounds like a good way to live, isn’t it?

So if you feel that you lack solid self-discipline and you want to change that this post is for you because today I’m sharing 9 simple ways to develop rock-solid self-discipline that will enhance your chances of success. 

So without further ado, let’s dive in!

“We must all suffer from one of two pains: the pain of discipline or the pain of regret. The difference is discipline weighs ounces while regret weighs tons.”

1. Develop Powerful Routines

Daily routines are the keys to success in making the most of your time and achieving your goals. They guide you through the day in a planned and well-organized way. They help you to manage your time effectively, simplify your decision-making process and get important things done on time and well without sacrificing your wellbeing. They help you to maintain high standards and a healthy work-life balance so much needed for living a healthy life.

But perhaps the greatest advantage is the fact that having powerful daily routines helps you develop rock-solid self-discipline without you even notice that. Because while developing a routine requires time, focus and effort once is it formed it becomes an automatic behavior that supports your goals. Not to mention that a powerful routine keeps you in a positive frame of mind because you know you’re using your time wisely and you’re making progress on your goals. 

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2. Keep Your To-Do List Realistic

Writing a never-ending and extremely detailed to-do list is very tempting. I’m not going to question that. But at the same time, doing so is a prescription for failure and the best way to disappoint yourself. Because if your to-do list is 3 or more pages long there’s no way you will be able to complete all the tasks done in one day.

As a result, your inability to do the impossible will make you feel defeated and discouraged. Which is kind of ironic, considering the root cause of your disappointment. 

The solution to this problem is to write a realistic and manageable to-do list that will guide you through your day in a productive manner. You want to feel in control of your time, not overwhelmed by your workload- And a practical to-do list will provide you with peace of mind. So when writing your to-do list, make sure it’s not too long. A great way to do that is to use the 1-3-5 rule that not only helps you to avoid planning fallacy but also maximize your productivity levels. This rule states that you should keep your daily to-do list to just nine items:

  1. ONE big thing
  2. THREE medium things
  3. FIVE small things

If you’ve never tried this approach, I highly recommend you doing so because it’s a life-changer!

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3. Use Time-Blocking Method

Time-blocking or calendar-blocking is an effective technique where you define specific time blocks for particular tasks, activities, or events. Each block is dedicated to accomplishing a specific task so that you know what to focus on and how much time do you have to get this thing done.

This simple technique will help you strengthen your self-discipline muscle, build momentum and develop laser-like focus so much needed to get more things done in less time. Not to mention that you will not have time for procrastination unless you block time for it!

We live in a world full of distractions where one lapse in concentration can create a “snowball effect” where if you don’t block time for your key tasks, I can guarantee you that you will find millions of things to do instead. Potential alternatives to your top priorities will pop up out of nowhere like crazy making you think that every task is equally important. To avoid that you need to get in control of your time and attention and time-blocking will help you to do that. 

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4. 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. To avoid this trap you should set tight (but realistic) deadlines. 

5. Control Your Focus

We live in a world full of distractions where everyone and everything is fighting for your attention. Thus, if you want to stay on track and smash your goals you need to „starve your distractions, feed your focus”. And what better way to do that than by improving your focus and concentration skills?

You become what you focus on. The things, people, or even situations you pay attention to influence your thoughts, feelings, and actions slowly but consistently becoming your reality even if they have nothing to do with you. Thus, if you want to achieve your goals 10x faster, live the life you want, and make your future self proud you need to redirect your focus up to you and your top priorities. Everything else should be put aside.

And to help you overcome procrastination and boost your mental focus I’ve created “Procrastination Killer” workbook that you can get for FREE here

6. Take Full Responsibility For Your Life

Once you’re officially an ‘adult’, you are the only one responsible for your life. So whether you still live with your parents who pay the bills, or you are completely on your own YOU ARE FULLY RESPONSIBLE FOR YOUR LIFE. This means, that if you want to create the life you want, you need to do it yourself. No one will do it for you. No one will increase your life satisfaction for you. No one will build a prosperous business for you. No one will get a degree for you. No one will build rock-solid self-discipline for you. No one will live your life for you. (that’s actually a good thing).

You have the power to achieve your goals, reach your dreams, and build an awesome life you’ve always wanted but first, you need to take responsibility for yourself and your present experience. Your future is in your hands. So don’t wait for others to make your dreams come true for you. Your life is YOUR responsibility.

And remember “It is only when you take responsibility for your life that you discover how powerful you truly are”

7. Manage Your Energy

Productive flow, mental focus, and energy levels are constantly changing during the day. That’s completely natural. Most of us experience peak productivity hours in the morning and try to get through the midday slump to get the work done by end of business today. So, one can say that our workday is nothing but a mathematical sine wave in terms of our mental and physical energy levels. And we should use it to our advantage instead of fighting with our natural tendencies so that we stay focus and keep smashing on our goals. 

The best way to do that is to balance your time with energy-giving activities and energy-taking activities so that you give yourself the opportunity to restore your energy and recharge your batteries after finishing a difficult task. So basically all you need to do when creating your epic to-do list is to mix productive tasks with restorative tasks. Honestly, it’s the best and most effective way (I know) to make the best use of your time during the day. 

Energy-Taking Tasks: writing a report, administrative work, responding to emails

Energy-Giving Tasks: physical activity, Mindfulness practice, delicious coffee break, listen to a podcast

8. Don't Punish Yourself For Falling Off-Track

It is 100% normal to get distracted and fall off track even if you’re truly committed to achieving your goal. When it happens instead of punishing yourself for not staying consistent and insanely self-disciplined you just need to bounce back.

The beauty is, you can bounce back at any point and as many times as you need. Because you compete only with yourself. What other people think about you going off track doesn’t matter. So when a momentary lapse of attention and loss of balance happens, don’t fall into a “Self-Shame Spiral”. You don’t need to punish yourself for going off track. 

Besides Self-shaming, blaming, and feelings of guilt will not get you any closer to achieving your goals. What you should do instead, is to give yourself a break, express compassion toward yourself, take a deep breath and bounce back on track!

9. Embrace The Power Of Accountability

Holding yourself accountable is more than just being responsible for your words, moods, or actions. True accountability means fully owning the choices you make and the consequences they bring. But it also means being proactive and actively create your life experience, instead of sitting back and waiting for things to happen.

Accountability is the key to getting exactly what you want out of life. Because once you „accept the terrible responsibility of life with eyes wide open” you become a creator of your reality, a true master of your own universe. You put your own fate exactly where it belongs – in your hands.

From this moment on, nothing can stop you from achieving your goals and creating the life you really want to live. Because even if obstacles appear you are mentally prepared to keep pushing forward. You no longer wait for motivation to strike you because you know that action creates motivation. Action is the remedy to lack of motivation, fear of failure, and self-doubt.

7 Proven Ways To Hold Yourself Accountable

  1. Review your performance daily
  2. Track your progress
  3. Create a system of rewards and consequences (and implemented it)
  4. Find an accountability buddy that will support your work 
  5. Make a self contract
  6. Ask for honest feedback from someone you can trust (friend, family member, colleague)
  7. Create a favorable environment to enhance your chances of success 

Conclusion

Developing rock-steady self-discipline is a process that requires time, effort, and patience. It will not happen overnight. So start small and don’t rush the process. Start with simple rituals and habits, then focus on creating your morning routine and track your progress. Make a self-contract for your goal of strengthening your self-discipline muscle and stick to it. Keep that promise to yourself and reward yourself for hard work and efforts. 

Grab Your Free Printable Workbook

Stay positive

Be Mindful

and develop rock-solid self-discipline!

xo Kate

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Hey, I’m Kate. I create content about reaching YOUR goalstime management,  personal growth, & living your best life, particularly for procrastinators, self-doubters, and dreamers (my favorite people!)

If I am not here it’s because I’m enjoying my creamy cappuccino in one of my favorites coffee shops… 😎

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