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January 27, 2021

Self-discipline can be defined as the ability to make yourself do things when you should, even if you do not want to do them. With it comes with the ability to live a structured life, make tough decisions and follow through on them, which are qualities that every successful person must develop.

Self-discipline is tied to our ability to become high-achieving individuals in society. In multiple surveys taken across the world, many people claim a lack of self-discipline as the biggest hindrance to their success. However, it may be more a case of misplaced priorities than a total lack of self-discipline. This can be seen as people can deny themselves basic things just to fulfil a desire, such as staying up late to complete a movie when very tired or skipping meals because of video games.

The resultant effects and benefits of the actions, therefore need to be weighed carefully, serving as the determining factor in deciding what to do put your energy into. Self-discipline is in limited supply, therefore it makes sense to do the most important things as early as possible before carrying out less productive ventures.

These are 5 hacks you can use to improve your self-discipline in 2021

1) Study yourself: “Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom” - Aristotle. To develop self-discipline, one must come to understand their habits and “limitations”. This is because as the human brain automates a lot of actions to reduce brainpower on mundane tasks, it is very likely for people not to know when and even why they do particular things ie habits. Deliberate study must be done in order to reveal the processes that lead to our actions.

2) Establish a Clear Plan: No one wakes up one day suddenly blessed with self-discipline. It must be mastered. After studying your shortcomings, you need to come up with a well-defined plan to replace those negative habits with more positive ones. Building self-discipline can be a difficult process to master and will not come by accident. In the formation of habits, neural pathways are built and the more the habit is repeated the stronger and more automated it becomes. Trying to eliminate negative habits with finding a replacement for the extra time will, without doubt, cause a relapse. A plan for replacement habits must be drawn up and followed religiously.

3) Eat the biggest frog first: By starting the day with a jog, a warm bath and meditation, body metabolism is boosted, energy and dopamine levels in the body and are increased and one can fulfil the tasks of the day easily. Mornings are the ideal time of day to get the hardest work out of the way. It is a good idea to tie new habits to preexisting ones, such as “I won’t have my bath until I exercise for 30 minutes.” As bathing is something you do every day, it ensures you will not forget to exercise.

4) Take responsibility for your results: You must know and understand that you are the most important factor in becoming successful. People living as victims can never be successful. This is because they believe circumstances beyond their control are the determinant factor in them achieving more or becoming better people. However, if they can do research, they will find endless testimonials of people who started off in worse off conditions than theirs and still became successful.
If you want success, you must take responsibility for your actions and results.

5) Trust the Process: There is scientific evidence on the process forming a new habit. When you take a new action, a new neuron pathway is created in your brain. The more you repeat an action, the stronger the connection becomes. However, stopping an action does not mean that the pathways already created will disappear. This is why former alcoholics, sober for many years are still at risk of falling back into the habit if they become lax. Building self-discipline is a lifelong process. The more you exercise self-discipline, the better you get at it. You need to be rigorous to the plan you’ve set for yourself. If you miss a day, make up for it immediately.

You also need to be realistic with your expectations. It will be foolhardy for an obese person to think they can start running 2 kilometres in a week. Start with little chunks and build up as you become more comfortable with the habit.

These are 5 of the major ways one can improve their self-discipline and achieve all the goals they’ve set for 2021.

Image Source: Getty Images