A key ingredient to success involves taking responsibility for your own actions and behaviours. You are in the driving seat of your life, but too often you allow yourselves to be so dictated by events, you end up forgetting to manage the most important thing, which is managing YOU! Not managing yourself is a recipe for disaster. If you manage yourself properly, you will rise to your true potential, if you don’t, you won’t.
“There are three secrets to managing. The first secret is have patience. The second is be patient. And the third most important secret is patience.” -Chuck Tanner
How do you manage yourself, your personal life and your work life, and at the same time, maintain health, peace and joy? Life can be extremely challenging and when pressures gets to great, without the proper resources, something can break down within us, resulting in decreased performance, and the overwhelming effects of stress.
You need to start taking conscious control over your life. It all starts with you managing you First!
Psychologists generally agree that a “sense of control” is the key to feelings of happiness, confidence, energy and personal well-being. And a sense of control is only possible when you practice self discipline.
Your choices and decisions thus far have combined to create your entire life to this moment. To change or improve your life in any way, you have to make new choices and new decisions that are more in alliance with who you really are and what you really want.
Self discipline is the single most important habit that you need to develop to achieve success. George Washington said, “Nothing is more harmful to the service, than the neglect of discipline, for discipline, more than numbers, gives one army, superiority over another.”
Self-discipline involves acting according to what you think instead of how you feel in the moment. Often it involves sacrificing the pleasure and thrill of the moment for what matters most in life. Therefore it is self-discipline that drives you to:
- Carry on working on a project once the initial enthusiasm has faded away
- Go to the gym straight from work no matter how appealing your couch and TV may feel
- Wake early to work on yourself
- Say “no” to that temptation of a chocolate bar when on a diet
- Only check your google adsense earnings a couple of times a day
- Break away from the office for family commitments
Self-discipline is one of the most powerful tools of your personal development. Thomas Huxley defined self discipline as “doing what you are supposed to do; when you are supposed to do it; even though you may not feel like doing it at that particular time. The absence of strong self discipline skills is the biggest barrier to success that you will face.
“Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishment.”Jim Rohn
To develop and enhance your level of self discipline requires courage, hard work, will power, focus and persistence. But the rewards of being in control of your circumstances and destiny far outweigh the sacrifice.
Stephen R. Covey once wrote, “the undisciplined are slaves to moods, appetites and passions (i.e. their emotions)”.
Self discipline helps you focus on your priorities and control your tasks. As you control tasks, you build more self-discipline. As you build more self-discipline, you build more and better “you” management skills. As your “you” management skills grow, you level of self-confidence develops further. And once this happens, your self-discipline habit grows stronger preparing you for the next challenge. That’s really what life is all about – every time you solve one challenge, you earn the right to a greater one.
Self-respect is the root of discipline: The sense of dignity grows with the ability to say no to oneself. Abraham Joshua Heschel,
Personal courage is needed to help you push through the barriers you will face to develop your self discipline skills. However, as this skill develops and you begin to achieve small measures of success, the more courage you will have to tackle the bigger challenges waiting ahead for you.
The power of self-discipline provides you with the fire, the drive, the emotional energy to complete your goals. Let’s look at how you can develop your self discipline:
1. Take Responsibility: Acknowledge your own responsibility. Admit that if you sit around doing nothing, you will achieve nothing. You are in charge of your life, no one else is. If you want to succeed it is up to you.
2. Create a Purpose: Determine exactly what you really want to achieve. This gives you a cause, a reason for making the effort. It lights a small spark inside you that will soon begin to burn as your emotion and drive increases. Have goals: realistic and achievable ones. Why? Goals help you map out your journey. Goals are one of the key ingredients that help us build the resilience and courage to stay focused on what is possible and stake our claim to it.
3. Find Role Models: In order to believe that you can reach your goal, it is important for you find others who have achieved a similar goal. These models provide you with two key ingredients — the belief that your goal can be accomplished, a sense of possibility — and a plan you can follow. They’ve achieved it, why can’t you. This sense of possibility combined with a defined purpose further feeds our emotional fire.
4. Focus on it: Change what you focus on. For it will become the source of motivation. Focus on exactly what you want, and why you want it.
5. Visualise your achievement: You can intensely see yourself gaining the rewards of achieving your goal. The vision comes alive. You can see, touch, smell, and feel it, you go from “I think I can do it” to “I know I can do it.”
6. Emotion: Your vision becomes real once it is charged with emotion and passion. With this passion you are now motivated to keep on going until you reach your target.
7. Planning: You determine exactly what you need to do to reach your goal and how long it will take. This step further fuels your passion and stokes your emotional fires by turning your vision into a definite plan. Start to plan each day, the day before – make your “next day” plan the last thing you do before you go home. By having a daily plan, you give yourself a clearer picture of what needs to be done that day. The clearer the picture, the more likely you will hit your goals for that day. When creating your daily plan, ask yourself two questions. First, what is the one thing I must get done today? Secondly, what could stand in my way of getting this key task done? By knowing your key task, you have more clarity. By thinking about what obstacle you might face, will give you time to figure out a solution to it or at minimum, a way around it. In addition, this process helps you to “own your goal.”
8. Knowledge and Skills: Once you have a plan to reach your goal, you have to acquire the skills and knowledge necessary to implement the plan. You must develop the confidence that you can learn. Each time you master a skill, your confidence in your ability to succeed increases, you get closer to your goal, and the passion from which you draw your motivation energy further increases.
9. Take Action: Start to take on those tasks or challenges, that in the past you would have avoided until the last minute or just completely ignored. These are the challenges that are within your level of ability but like everything worth doing, they’re going to stretch you, maybe even take you out of your comfort zone. start tackling those things that you put off because you might be lazy; you don’t feel like doing it or just don’t like to do it. Be kind but firm with yourself. Finish what you start. Follow through on every project. Focus on one task at a time. Don’t spread out your attention.
10. Persistence and Perseverance: Persistence is sticking with your vision, seeing it through to the end no matter how long it takes or how difficult it may be. Perseverance is persisting despite physical and emotional pain, setbacks, and difficulties. Do not give up when you experience some failures or setbacks.
Let your dreams fuel your hard work and let it bring you nearer to your vision. Life doesn’t just happen. Decide today to give up the blame game, stop using excuses and take responsibility for your own life by adopting the habit of self-discipline. You can achieve anything you put your mind too once you do.
“With self-discipline most anything is possible.” Theodore Roosevelt