by Josh Millar
When we look at the most successful people today, whether that’s athletes, artists, business professionals, or anyone else, one commonality we often see is self-discipline. It might look different from person to person, but if we want to achieve ambitious goals and grow a successful career, we need a level of self-discipline to stay on track. The good news is that this is something we can develop and strengthen. So, whether you feel like you’re starting at zero or simply need a little boost, there’s plenty you can do to step up your self-discipline. Here are 4 important areas to consider:
We don’t usually achieve massive goals overnight. Major accomplishments require commitment. It’s often easy to commit to a large goal in the beginning, but as time passes, it can be more difficult to maintain the same level of focus. This is where self-discipline is so important. It helps us to renew that commitment repeatedly until we reach the endpoint. It might be as simple as reminding yourself of the importance of a certain goal, or it could be establishing clear checkpoints for yourself to stay accountable.
When we put in consistent work towards our goals, we tend to see faster results. This is often easier said than done for busy professionals with a lot on their plates. Self-discipline can help us maintain that consistency, even with a demanding schedule. Though you might be tired, distracted, or ready to check-out, self-discipline can motivate you to put in the work. Skipping one day of work towards your goals can quickly turn into one week, and pretty soon it’s slipped off your radar. Using self-discipline to keep yourself on track and putting in regular effort is a powerful strategy for progress.
Self-discipline doesn’t have to be boring. There are plenty of ways to make this more interesting for yourself, so get creative. A great way to do this is by making some incentives and rewards for yourself. Give yourself something to look forward to. If you put in the work you need to every day this week or this month, treat yourself to something you enjoy. We can even be creative in the way we strengthen our self-discipline. While you may be looking to improve professionally, you can build your self-discipline in many different contexts, and the results will often carry over. Maybe you commit to running every morning or meditating every day for the month. Self-discipline is like a muscle, and the more we use it, the stronger it will get.
Instead of thinking of self-discipline as some type of punishment, we can think of it as doing what’s best for ourselves. However, we need to ensure this doesn’t go too far. We need to know when to draw the line. If self-discipline is pushing you towards burnout, it’s probably time to back off. Having compassion for yourself and honestly checking in about where you’re at and what you need to perform at your best is important. If it means mindfully taking a day off or toning down your efforts, that’s okay.
How self-disciplined are you? And what are your biggest challenges? It’s not always easy to stay on track, but the more disciplined we can be with ourselves, the more likely we are to achieve the things we want. If you have any tips for improving self-discipline, I’d love to hear your thoughts.