“They say the greatest form of discipline, is self-discipline” –Eric Thomas
It can be said that discovering true happiness in life comes from effort and persistence. Self-discipline is a word that is often linked to hard work and ultimately success. I have often wondered why self-discipline is the language of success. But what does it mean? Like many skills, the term self-discipline means different things to different people. For instance, some individuals might view self-discipline as the capacity to cope with a great deal of difficulties life brings. I like the definition often use by motivational speaker Eric Thomas who described self-discipline as the willingness to put some limitations on our behaviours, to gain personal growth, ambition, focus and a positive attitude. For example, a person who struggles with social anxiety does not dedicate himself or herself to attend therapy in order to increase their anxiety, they do so out of a desire to develop tools to interact with others securely.
When people face obstacles in life, it is greatly beneficial if they could recognise how their inner resources can offer strength to deal with challenges and build a new support network. My experience has taught me that self-discipline is something that can be learnt and gradually developed through practice. Below are some healing benefits of self-discipline:
- It allows individuals to continue working on their goals even when it becomes boring or difficult.
- It allows individuals to tap into their inner resources that enable them to push themselves. Such individuals are self-motivated and are equipped and ready to handle failure and setbacks.
- It increases one’s ability to stick to helpful plans, goals and promises which helps the individuals self-confidence.
I strongly believe that people can develop self-discipline over time. It is a skill that can be acquired, and it’s not designed for only certain people to benefit from. Below are some ways to develop self-discipline that may be helpful:
- Engage in a physical activity such as yoga, martial arts, gym, walking, swimming and/or meditation as it can greatly increase your self-discipline.
- If you have a goal (e.g. losing weight, eating healthy, saving up for a holiday) that you truly wish to achieve, you will be more likely to put the necessary work in. Hence, when developing this skill, it is best to stick to goals that are desirable.
- Build self-discipline slowly first, you might set yourself some simple goals then work towards these. As you accomplish more goals, you can set harder challenges. This will allow you to see how rewarding self-discipline can be, and in time, it might become something you naturally feel inclined to do.
- Spend time with people who are trying to develop this skill also, so that you can help each other and be accountable to someone.
- Start to recognise the short and long-term impact of your actions. This does not mean focusing on the future too much but it is beneficial to consider how a few sacrifices now, could greatly benefit you later.
- Keep a diary or a notebook to write down your progress.
- Nobody is perfect; remember even highly respected sports players, lawyers, motivational speakers, teachers and scientists have bad days.
Commitment is one of the key elements to self-discipline. You must find a way, whether through a promise to yourself, accountability to someone else or forming small consistent habits to avoid becoming side-tracked along the way. If you would like some more information on how to develop your self-discipline or any other challenge you are facing, please feel free to contact one of our friendly team members who would love to hear from you!