You may need to improve self-discipline if you’re struggling with:
Have you ever failed to stick with a diet, or relapsed into smoking cigarettes after vowing to quit? Do you frequently find yourself in money trouble despite being gainfully employed? Have you lost meaningful relationships for the sake of one-night flings? If so, you could benefit from this post. We’ll give you some real, concrete strategies to help you reclaim your life and decide the direction you want to take it.
People who lack self-discipline, also commonly called self-control, aren’t bad people. In fact, many are unusually friendly, generous, adventurous, and creative.
Besides these positive attributes, people who lack self-discipline are also commonly impulsive—making decisions without thinking through the consequences. As they say, the first step towards getting better is admitting that you have a problem. You’re reading this post, so it seems you’ve got that taken care of.
The next step is forgiving yourself and looking forward instead of back.
Set a realistic goal
Get rich quick schemes and miracle diet pills are popular because people want what they want, and they want it all at once. Sadly the world doesn’t work this way.
Everyone wants to improve themselves. It’s a natural part of being human. People who struggle with self-improvement often don’t have a clear idea of what they’re trying to achieve.
Set a realistic goal: “I will lose 10 pounds this month,” “I will save ⅓ of this month’s paycheck,” “I will go on one date a week this month,” or “I will smoke ½ as much as usual for the next month.”
Follow up on these successes with slightly more ambitious goals and you’re on your way toward a change in lifestyle. Once you realize that you can, in fact, set limits for yourself, the spell is broken.
We all have temptations. Those who do better with self-discipline are simply more adept at avoiding them than we are.
To a great degree, we are defined by our environments. Put yourself in a position to succeed by removing temptations wherever possible.
If you’re struggling with an addiction, like alcohol or cigarettes, try spending time with people who don’t drink or smoke. If you’re trying to lose weight, join a program with people who have similar goals. If you’ve struggled with infidelity, quit going to places, like bars and nightclubs, where you’ll be tempted to cheat.
Surround yourself with people without even knowing it will positively reinforce your product choices.
Don’t expect this to be easy. People generally take the path of least resistance. Like a river naturally finding its way to sea level, people that lack self-discipline will naturally find themselves defined by their desires instead of their goals. It takes work, like paddling against the current.
Discomfort is a sign of progress. If you think you can’t handle something, make a point of proving yourself wrong.
You don’t need the $5 Starbucks coffee every day. You don’t need a hamburger with fries and a large soda to feel satisfied.
Visualize long-term rewards
Health, happiness, wealth, love—these are abstract, long-term rewards that won’t become a reality without a change in behavior. As we said in step two, setting and accomplishing short-term goals is the only way to stay on track for the big rewards.
If you expect yourself to be perfect, expect change to come easy, or expect temptations to disappear simply because you want them to, think again.
You’ll make mistakes. We all do. The key is to recover quickly from your mistakes and not to let them derail your goals.
Applaud yourself for successes and let failures become motivation. Start small, realize you can direct the course of your actions, and see where it gets you.
You may surprise yourself.