Self-discipline is the ability to set yourself to act – to do what you need to do, regardless of your physical, mental, or emotional state, whether you feel like it or not.
Take some time to internalize this article, and it is advised to read it a couple of times, and make separate notes of your own, so these sayings become a part of you.
According to Marcus Aurelius, these are steps for mastering self-disciple:
Marcus Aurelius believes that we each have a purpose, something we were created to do, to pursue and to be in this life. Having a clear understanding of this purpose makes it more likely to instill self-discipline. Read the article, Redefine your Purpose for more information.
If you have a clear understanding of your goals and how your tasks fit within them, you are much more likely to complete it. That is what gets you out of bed each morning, it keeps you going, and you are on autopilot mode, you just do it, because you fully understand your purpose and that gets you going regardless of what is happening at any given point in time.
The biggest source of self-disciple is to have a reason for completing the task. For example, why are you having a day job? You are keeping a job because you must pay for your bills and maintain your lifestyle. Another example, if you have a flat tire, why must you fix the tire? So that you can quickly get on your way and reach your destination. That is your reason for changing the flat tire, you have a reason for changing it, meaning you are more likely to complete the task.
Self-discipline is about finding compelling reasons to do something than committing yourself to see that task or activity through to the very end.
Now that you know what to do, you need to start planning how you will get there, meaning come up with an action plan. This is a set of steps you will follow to get to where you want to be and commit to that plan. We must be fully committed to do all that it takes to stick to our plan and reach our goal, no matter what may come our way.
Self-discipline is the ability to set yourself to act – to do what you need to do, regardless of your physical, mental, or emotional state. Whether you feel like it or not.
It comes with understanding that everything we want and wish for in life, depends on our ability to take necessary steps to get to it, whether we feel like it or not. If we are not doing anything about it, we will never realize what we want in life.
When you are set out to achieve something in life, devise a game plan. This is the plan that outlines a series of steps to be taken to achieve the goal on sight. Your goal plan must include time frames within which certain milestones need to be achieved. Setting out to achieve small chunks of a bigger picture or goal, will not only motivate us to continue, but will further strengthen our self-discipline and will to act.
What you are ultimately trying to avoid is succumbing to being overwhelmed. Overwhelming can quickly digress to procrastination, and procrastination can subsequently lead to stagnation and, of course, where there is stagnation, self-discipline cannot exist.
This can be caused by setting goals that are too big to be achieved at one stride, it will be like aiming way too high. Instead of doing that, we break a big goal into smaller chunks of goals to achieve, which lead to a bigger goal. In so doing, we avoid feeling overwhelmed, due to not seeing results. But if we see results of small goals we set, we get inspired to continue. This we can only do if we depend on ourselves.
Self-discipline is more about keeping and maintaining the momentum of doing something, to a point we can do it on autopilot. What this means is that we need to do something consistently. We need to put in the work consistently before we can start to enjoy the rewards of our work.
As much as many may know the purpose and draw up a plan for achieving the goal, most fail at achieving the goal, simply because they are not consistent. We must be resolved to do something repeatedly until we can do it without think about it. This is called consistency.
Take for example, you need to be physically fit, which is the goal and purpose. Now, what is the game plan? You need to go to gym. Now, you must plan and adjust your life, in such a way it aligns with our goal. But because change is never easy, no one can expect they will automatically be going to gym 24/7. This requires consistency and constant showing up to gym. This is self-discipline. After maintaining consistency for extended period, you will rest assured that eventually, you can do that on autopilot.
Again, maintaining consistency and being effective, requires us to strongly believe in the purpose and goal. If you do not strongly believe you have to keep physically fit, you will succumb to procrastination, and procrastination and self-discipline cannot co-exist. You must cultivate the will-power and strong believe in the purpose or reason for acting. That will impel you to act, and always show up.
This means constantly testing ourselves and by making life routinely uncomfortable in some way.
This could be not eating for the night, stop smoking, go without social media, donate your clothes to charity, be without your phone for a day, or taking a cold shower. Do it often enough and you will begin to understand what scarcity and hardship feels like and that you can live with both if needed.
This will teach us to withstand inconvenience, such that we do not forget to show up for our goals because of an inconvenience or how we feel physically, mentally and otherwise.
You have power over your mind, not outside events. Realize this and you find strength.
Being distressed, bothered by small things instantly is terrible for discipline. Reinforce to yourself what is within your control and what is out of your control. By so doing, you understand what you need to do, and how you can do it. You don’t waste your time and energy over things you cannot change, rather on things you can change. By rejecting what is out of your control, you will experience tranquility, inner peace, and joy.
Remember this wording:
Do you have a problem in your life?
No, then don’t worry 😊
Yes, can you do something about it?
No, then don’t worry 😊
Yes, then do something, and don’t worry 😊
Do your job without whining.
Have you heard anyone say, “I was born this way.”, or “I never learned anything different.”, or “My parents set terrible example.”
If you have heard someone, say this, they are trying to justify by reasoning why they ought to stay the way they are. They are lazy to make a change and blame their misfortunes to others. They play the why me game.
Never settle for this mentality. It is for people with not enough mental capacity to comprehend they need to take charge of their lives and right wrongs in their lives. Be the bigger, stronger person and understand that if it within your control, then it can be changed. Take matters into your own hands if you can control the situation. This will allow you to step up and be tough mentally to understand that not everything is about you. Stop plying the victim.
Self-pity will just deepen your state of misery even more and you will without a doubt, never progress to where you want to be.
By blaming others or the situation, you relinquish yourself of your responsibilities, and without any sense of responsibility, achieving a task is will never be easy.
Delayed gratification involves the ability to wait to get what we want.
To understand this, putting off what we want now so that we can perhaps get something else better later has more to do with self-discipline.
Think of this scenario: Would you rather get goodies now, at the risk of being out of shape, or have a salad, so that you can get the goodies later, while you can still be able to fit in your favorite jeans?
What we get later is far better than what we get now, just that it is instant. Would you rather get something instantly, instead of getting something even better, but in the later state?
By setting goals and living a proactively progressive life, sets you apart from most people in the world, it is unusual and not many people like progress. Some frown upon progress and feel intimidated by a progressive person. This is true.
So, it is without a shadow of a doubt that some people will try to discourage you and kill your motivation. You must not pay attention to such people. Listening and complaining about such people will be like complaining about the weather, is it out your control and complete and utter waste of your time. Just don’t listen to them.
Surround yourself with people who will offer constructive critic and understand they mean well. Not people to pull you down with them, people happy with living a miserable life. Do not heed their advice.
Now that you are fully resolved for achieving this goal, now it is time to look outwards and see what you can emulate. This could be a living person or someone of the past.
Ask yourself questions like: Who is doing this right now? Who has successfully achieved this goal? Who has successfully mastered this habit? Who has made this change? What can learn from them?
Ask them how they disciplined themselves and apply what they have done to your case.
One of the best ways to become more disciplined is to earnestly scrutinize yourself and find your weak spots. Be brutally honest with yourself.
Practicing evening retrospections on a consistent basis will allow you to become more self-aware through every step of your day. Do this in the evening, as you wind down for bed.
Ask yourself: What did I do well today? Where was my discipline tested? What did I do bad? How can I improve on this?
Answers to these questions will not only strengthen your resolve and discipline, but will groom you into a stronger person, who is on top of his life, graciously stirring his life in the right direction. It will give you the confidence you need to continue and further encourage you to reach your goal.
Be more self-forgiving and cultivate more self-compassion. Don’t be too hard on yourself and remember, there is always tomorrow and that is a wonderful opportunity to improve.
In mastering self-discipline, that is the first step towards achieving our goals.