Self-discipline and Why It Is Important For Success
This morning, I woke up earlier than I usually do. I changed into some warm clothes, stepped outside and had an amazing wake ‘n bake as I watched the sunrise. I went for a jog, headphones in, bumping some good, positive music. Upon returning home I made a healthy breakfast, ate while doing some reading, and then took an hour on language lessons because I’m attempting to learn Spanish. I followed it up with some home workouts (because the idea of going to the gym during this pandemic still freaks me out) and now I’m sitting here doing something I’m passionate about – writing.
Days like these feel rare although this hasn’t always been the case. Throughout my life I’ve had ups and downs, lows that leave me feeling a bit tired and uninspired. Or maybe I’m simply overwhelmed with the responsibilities life brings which is something that tends to weigh me down currently. As legitimate as these things are, there is one thing for certain that is the reason I’m not on top of my shit – I lack effective self-discipline.
What Is Self-discipline?
You know when you set an alarm the night before, and when it goes off in the morning you climb your way out of bed, even if it is reluctantly, right after it goes off instead of rolling over to hit the snooze button? Or maybe during your day you have a bit of a mental battle with yourself about whether to “force” yourself to go to the gym or put some time into something productive. Although there is a number of different things that can contribute to success, self-discipline is literally everything.
Oxford Languages defines discipline as “the ability to control one’s feelings and overcome one’s weaknesses; the ability to pursue what one thinks is right despite temptations to abandon it.” So when I say self-discipline is everything, I mean that literally. Discipline demands a certain level of self-control – despite the overwhelming amount of distractions and bad temptations life can present you, being able to rise above it and posses the will to overcome it is essential. It also demands strong will power and determination to actual follow through. And, of course, we can’t forget the practice of creating and consistently following good habits.
So, as much I love writing things that can engage and educate others, this is just as much for me as it is for you. When I am being completely honest with myself, I am not exactly where I want to be in life when it comes to some of my career goals, my dreams and aspirations or even with personal struggles like health and fitness. And when I meditate on it long enough, I always conclude with the idea that it is my fault and my perception about what it truly takes to be successful is lacking in some ways.
Self-discipline Begins & Ends With You
One of the first steps to establishing good self-discipline is to create and maintain positive perspective. If you are insecure in who you are or wary about the person you want to become, you probably will never make it to the end of your goals or it will take what feels like an eternity to get there.
It’s good to begin by making a list of the character qualities you want to strive for and then figuring out what you need to change or alter about yourself and your perspective to achieve them. For example, I have found that over the years I have been someone who lacks patience and the ability to simply let things go. Issues with this has come up in everything from past jobs I’ve had to basic social interactions with friends and family. So I began to study ideas and philosophies to help get me to that alternative perspective.
Another tip is to make a list of the things that are most important to you; not so much material things or people, but more so the values and principles you want to live your life by. Are you someone that values their time and strives to be more productive with it? Are you someone that would rather not surround themselves with negative vibes or energy? Is accomplishing your goals a priority, so much so that failure is not an option? Define what is important and construct a blueprint for your life so you embody these principles to the best of your abilities.
These things really serve to boost the confidence you have in yourself. As you begin to create visions of what you want your life to look and the pathways to get there begin to become clear and plausible, it can strike up feelings of inspiration and excitement if you truly want these things. But we can’t stop here – we are not trying to simply be dreamers, and being practical about the long road ahead and the difficulties it will throw your way is definitely important.
The Difficult, Long Road Ahead
Outright failure should never be an option for you, but we have to be honest – whatever your goals are, chances are it will be difficult to achieve. Anything worth loving or being passionate about typically is. But there is one fact that you should always keep in mind – it WILL get easier.
Take for example going to the gym and working out. Anyone who has been an avid gym goer can probably attest to just how difficult it can be getting back into the habit after taking a break from it for an extended period of time. If you’re not really about it you can find yourself trapped in the rabbit hole of saying “I need to go back to the gym” over and over without ever actually doing it. It takes discipline to overcome that and it also takes good discipline to maintain it. But any one who has achieved that rhythm of working out regularly can attest to the fact that eventually it stops feeling like work and begins to feel more like play.
Personally, when I truly get in a rhythm with something, I get so engaged that I become almost intoxicated by it, especially when I feel or begin to see results from my efforts.
But let’s be real – you WILL experience mistakes and small failures along the way. And that is ok. It is up to you to learn and grow from these mistakes instead of using them as an excuse to simply give up. Most people come across road blocks and either run away or cower in defeat, when in reality the best thing to do is allow them to make you stronger.
After defining what you what or where you want to be and figuring out the path to get there, from then on it is all about maintaining consistency. If going to the gym and getting in shape is your cool, then coming up with a practical schedule for when you can go, all that is left is to maintain that schedule. If you are an aspiring rapper or musician that aims to create more, then setting a plan and keeping it in motion is the name of the game. If you are learning a new craft or trying to get better at something, then committing more of your time to practicing is the key to your success. And if you are trying to evolve into your idea of a better person, you have to begin embodying the qualities you are striving for as much as possible.
As cheesy as it may sound you are the warrior and life is the battle. It will present hardships and throw difficulties your way, but there is also an endless amount of beauty to its experience. While many of us love to think about all the possibilities, few of us actually believe in ourselves to think they are actually possible, and even fewer put in the effort to make it happen. But with a solid foundation for a positive perspective and building habits that develop good self-discipline can help you come out victorious.