There are many important qualities that can contribute to a person’s achievements and happiness, and self discipline is among the most important. Whether you apply self discipline to your diet, fitness, work ethic or relationships, self discipline is the number one trait needed to reach goals, be healthy and achieve happiness.
When you are acting based on disciplines you have set up for yourself, your choices are not dictated by impulses or feelings. Instead, you make informed, rational choices without feeling overly stressed or upset. Improve your self discipline by establishing good habits, breaking bad ones, and gaining control by making simple changes to your everyday routine.
Remove temptations. Self control is often easiest when abiding by the old saying, “out of sight, out of mind.” Removing all temptations and distractions from your environment is a crucial first step when working to improve your self discipline. If you are trying to have better control of your eating, toss the junk food.
Eat regularly and healthily. Studies have shown that low blood sugar often weakens a person’s resolve. When you’re hungry, your ability to concentrate suffers as your brain is not functioning to its highest potential. Hunger makes it difficult to focus on the tasks at hand, not to mention making you grumpy and pessimistic. You are much more likely to have a weakened sense of self control in all areas of our life – diet, exercise, work, relationships… you name it.
In order to stay on track, make sure that you are well fueled throughout the day with healthy snacks and meals every few hours. Allow you brain to focus on your goals and priorities instead of your hunger.
Don’t wait for it to “feel right.” Improving your self discipline means changing up your normal routine, which can be uncomfortable. Charles Duhigg, author of The Power of Habit, explains that habit behaviors are traced to a part of the brain called the basal ganglia – a portion of the brain associated with emotions, patterns, and memories. Decisions, on the other hand, are made in the prefrontal cortex, a completely different area. When a behavior becomes habit, we stop using our decision-making skills and instead function on auto-pilot. Therefore, breaking a bad habit and building a new habit not only requires us to make active decisions, it will feel wrong- but its not about how you feel.
Schedule breaks, treats, and rewards for yourself. Self discipline does not mean your new regimen needs to be entirely hard core. In fact, giving yourself zero wiggle room often results in failures, disappointments, and giving into your old ways. While practicing self control, schedule specific breaks, treats, and rewards for yourself. Try giving yourself permission to have one cheat meal each week.
Forgive yourself and move forward. Instituting a new way of thinking won’t always go according to plan. You will have ups and downs, fabulous successes, and flat out failures. The key is to keep moving forward. When you have a setback, acknowledge what caused it and move on.