Self-Discipline (7)

The Importance Of Perseverance

If success were accessible without hard work and determination, life would be uninspiring. It would be easy to commit to multiple pursuits because we would be overconfident in our ability to win at everything. The only problem with this would be difficulty in finding your niche and mastering a specific field. 7814602087?profile=RESIZE_400x

Setbacks pave the journey to fulfillment and challenge us to fight harder for our dreams. Victory is always much sweeter if accompanied by stories of the struggle along the way. There is something about stories of persistence and perseverance that inspire one to put all the effort to assure victory.

Never lose sight of the vision.

If your vision is important to you, you will not quit at the first sign of resistance or rejection. Giving up shows holes in your conviction. We often drive our children to succeed at the exact things we quit and failed at.  Your dream should inspire you to fight setbacks instead of imposing your dream on your children. It is, therefore, imperative to keep sight of the end goal at all times so that the stumbling blocks do not entice you to quit. If failure comes to a person determined to win at all costs, its impact is less likely to derail the vision. It becomes easier to pick yourself up, dust yourself up, and try again, which is the winner’s mindset.

Do not camp around failure. 

Thomas Edison tried over a thousand ways to build a light bulb and never failed once. What most people call failure, he called it, finding things that did not work. We use electric light bulbs in this present age as a testament to his perseverance. Had he chosen to quit at the tenth or nine-hundredth trial, his name would never have held any significance in the history books.

Behind every success story is a series of failures. The idea is drawing lessons from each one to help shape the dream better. When you fall in any endeavor, do not get comfortable on the ground. Do not over-analyze or second guess your ability. Instead, use failure as a light that shines on what works and what does not. When asked about the number of times he failed, Edison denied the label of failure and said he had just found a thousand ways not to build a bulb. Carry the same attitude, and you will persevere.

‘Do not change the goal; change the approach.’ Tony Robbins.

Patience pays.

The Chinese bamboo tree grows from a seed, which only breaks from the ground after five years. Imagine watering and nurturing a plant you cannot even see for five years. It is not a simple task, even though plenty is going on underground that you can not see. It takes a lot of patience and persistence to go through the whole routine year by year with no visible progress. If you drop the consistency of watering the seed at any point, it dies. In the fifth year, the seed breaks through the soil to grow upward at the recorded rate of three feet per day, which adds up to the full ninety feet of the famed tree being recorded within a month. Five years of labor with no results is easily swept away by the one month of remarkable growth.

It is equally important to be patient with your personal goals. You may not see the progress in the first few weeks or months or years, but if you are consistent in investing in your dream, the rewards have no choice but to come. Never drop the ball when watering and nurturing that dream, lest it dies before you can see the splendor of the impending victory. 

Do not cave even if you are the only believer left. 

As humans, we often depend on our family, friends, and colleagues for moral support. Sometimes, things can take an unusual turn from what we expected. It could take longer to build the dream. The same support system you started with can start doubting your vision. It often begins with slight hints that gradually become amplified. The first thing you will hear is, “at least you tried.” Understand they mean well when they say these things, but they are deadly. Get away from them. After that, they will start telling you to try a different avenue just because they do not see immediate results. Do not give in to those calls of defeat. If the vision is convincing, you would rather go it alone than give up because someone else does not believe in it. If you persist when they no longer believe, it is more rewarding when victory finally comes. The important thing is to stay the course, no matter how people around discourage you.

Quitting will always seem easier in the face of adversity, but easy always comes at a price. Giving up will always cost you as regret follows closely on its heel. You do not want to live with regret because you did not dare to push towards your dream.

Never stop doing what you love because you have encountered a snag in the race. Obstacle courses are more fun anyway.

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Introduction 

Everyone has habits that cause a lack of productivity is some form or another. Whether you spend too much time on social media, spend too much money on clothes each month, or eat an unhealthy snack every night before bed, habits can become very powerful and hard to break. 

Although people often associate habits with ones that are detrimental to your health, habits can also be what makes one successful. Habits come from consistency, and by changing just a couple of aspects of your life each day, you can break these habits and turn them into beneficial ones. 6857469683?profile=RESIZE_400x

By staying consistent with your choices and being committed to breaking these habits, you can create a more productive lifestyle and feel more mentally stable.

Causes of Bad Habits 

Bad habits are often a result of boredom or attempting to forget about the stress going on in life. Bad habits are often easy ways to escape reality and forget about the negative thoughts that go on in your mind. Whether it be shopping to forget about the stress at home or watching the television for an extended period, there are ways to recognize bad habits and shift them for a more productive life. 

Rather than trying never to watch television or never keeping snacks in the house, there are ways to adjust these habits and be practical about change gradually. It can seem impossible for a chain-smoker to eliminate smoking from his life entirely but slowly replacing these bad habits can make the process more bearable and even exciting.

How to Break These Habits

There are many ways to think of bad habits in a more positive light by creating replacements that can be consistent in your life and realistic.

By sticking to a specific goal and being gradual in your efforts, you will be more willing to break bad habits and stay consistent over time.

 

  • Choose a Specific Replacement: If you find yourself watching more television than you would like, but you are unsure of how else to spend your free time, read an enjoyable book. Books have been proven to be much better for your mental health and can keep you engaged and excited. By interestingly stimulating the brain, you will be able to stick to a consistent reading routine that is key to breaking the television habit.

 

  • Work on Breaking the Habit with a Friend: Often, working on changing a habit with a friend can keep you much more consistent and motivated. If you are trying to stop snacking on junk food before bed, ask your husband to do it with you. This will cause you to keep each other accountable, and you will want to feel dependable.

 

  • Get Rid of Any Instigates: Getting rid of things that trigger you to repeat these bad habits will ultimately make you less inclined to break them. If you keep junk food in the house but are trying to cut it out, you are allowing yourself to make excuses for yourself to give in to temptation. By keeping the junk food in the pantry to a minimum, you will be more consistent with your goals.

Why Consistency is Key

If you plan to follow a short-term diet plan or eat less junk food without being specific, bad habits will likely be more powerful than your determination. Making healthy choices in moderation rather than restricting yourself allows you to be more consistent with your lifestyle and get rid of the habits that are holding you back. 

Consistency allows you to stay consistent with breaking these habits and replacing them with new ones.

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Do you want to develop good habits or change your bad habits into productive ones? Understanding the psychology of habit formation is essential to forming new habits or changing your old habits.  Knowing how a habit forms will help you create positive, useful habits and get rid of habits that could hurt you.6823179883?profile=RESIZE_400x

Habits Begin with Goals

Researchers at the University of Southern California found that habits come from a motivation to act.  The desired goal influences why a habit is formed.  The motivation can be positive, such as developing healthy eating habits or good study habits in college. 

Motivation can also come from avoidance, creating habits that help you have by keeping you away from troubling people or situations. Low self-esteem can lead to bad habits.  If you don’t feel that you deserve good things, you may develop bad habits that reinforce your beliefs by bringing you negative results.

Goals are centered on what end state a person wants to accomplish.  When an action brings a person closer to their goal, they will repeat and improve on it until it becomes a habit.  The goal could be general, like staying safe or being a better driver, or it could be more specific, like studying to get a degree or losing ten pounds.  The goal of bad habits is usually to escape some unpleasant reality or focus attention on something other than the underlying issue. 

Habits Develop in Three Stages 

Habits contain three stages in a repetitive loop.  Each time a person cycles through the loop, the habit becomes more formed and ingrained as a part of their behavior. 

The three stages are:

  • Cue or Trigger Stage
  • Behavior Stage
  • Reward Stage 

Cue or Trigger Stage

The cue or trigger stage is the circumstance that causes a person to have a goal.  When something new happens, your mind processes the situation as either threatening or non-threatening.  You quickly form a goal to deal with the new situation by fighting, avoiding, or accepting the input. 

Each time you are presented with the same or similar situation, your mind referencesyour previous decision and causes you to act to fight, avoid, or accept it.  Without the cue or trigger, your brain won’t process the situation the same.  Habits are formed first by repeatedly being exposed to the same cue or trigger. 

Behavior Stage

Scientists at the University College London studied the behavior a person does when faced with a cue or trigger.  They found that the more a person performed the same action or response, the more efficient they became at carrying out the behavior.  Over time, the behavior becomes routine and required less thought to perform. 

It takes an average of 66 repetitions for a behavior to become a habit.  Some people develop habits more quickly, while other people need more time.  The emotions attached to the cue and behavior play a role in how fast something becomes a habit.  The stronger the emotions, the more the cue and behavior are reinforced.  

Reward Stage 

The reward for performing an action after a cue or trigger also forms the habit loop.  If an action helps a person to reach their intended goal, the reward signals their brain that the action is useful each time they encounter that cue or trigger.  They will repeat the action over and over to reach the reward. 

As an example, imagine yourself driving a car.  One of the rules of driving is to use a turn signal.  But knowing the rules isn’t enough to form a habit. 

However, if each time you drive and use the turn signals properly, you are able to safely change lanes or make a turn, the reward of safe driving reinforces your action and helps you meet your safety goal. You begin to use the turn signal automatically or habitually, unlike a new driver who must think about using the turn signal when they first start driving. 

Conversely, if you don’t use turn signals and still arrive safely, not using them becomes a bad habit. Your mind won’t make the connection between the action of using the turn signal and driving safely if there is no reward associated with the action.  

Habits Can Be Changed

Once something becomes a habit, you no longer consciously think about taking that action.  Changing a habit requires changing all three parts of the habit loop.  Smoking is a dangerous and unhealthy habit.  To stop smoking, a person must have a different goal than to have a cigarette.

When they are presented with a cue or trigger, like having a drink or after meals, they need to change their action. People trying to stop smoking often chew gum instead when they are cued or triggered to have a cigarette.  The reward of feeling better reinforces the new action until it becomes a new habit and the old habit is replaced. 

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Self-discipline is inarguably one of the best skills you can have if you expect to be successful in life. There are many ways to build self-discipline, of course. And since not everybody shares the same goals, it manifests differently depending on who you ask or observe. But if you look across the board, you will find a pattern. Here are six traits that most highly self-disciplined people have in common.6540173055?profile=RESIZE_400x

                                    Six Traits Of Self-Disciplined People                   

1- Greater Self-Confidence

Do people who have more self-confidence also exhibit more self-discipline? Or is it that those who are more disciplined achieve more of their goals, and thus have more reasons to be confident?

Either way, the first trait many self-disciplined people have in common is greater self-confidence as compared to those with less self-control.

If you want to improve your self-discipline, it’s helpful first to consider your self-perception and self-worth. 

2- Structure & Routine

Secondly, you may have read that successful people rise earlier in the morning than their less-successful counterparts. But many don’t fit this description.

What disciplined people have in common isn’t specific times of day they rise or exact means of scheduling their time. It’s that they value and follow a routine of any variety.

Creating consistent habits in the form of steady routines can help you put much of your life on auto-pilot. Taking the guesswork out of many daily decisions is an effortless way to improve your self-discipline. 

3- Clearly Defined Goals

Third, everybody has goals. But the highly self-disciplined individual will have goals that are crystal clear.

How many people say “I’m going to be a millionaire by the time I’m forty”? That’s a goal, for sure. Someone with a high level of self-discipline would say, for example, “I’m going to be a millionaire by the time I turn forty, and I’m going to do this by…”. They would have a much clearer goal, a plan to execute it, and already be working toward reaching it.

If you want to uplevel your self-discipline, work on clarifying your goals. Select meaningful goals that are specific, timely, and have clearly defined steps that you can work on each day. 

4- Prioritize Self-Care

Next, a common trait of disciplined individuals is that they prioritize self-care. They understand that maintaining optimal health is crucial to remaining productive and sticking to their plans even when they don’t feel like it.

They are more likely to exercise regularly, eat healthfully, and get enough rest.

These people understand the importance of balance between work and play and make sure to incorporate enough of both into their lives. To most successful people work, and play is the same thing. You may look at a successful person and tag them with the title workaholic because you have been taught they can not stop working. You were not taught this from someone who enjoyed how they made their living.

How is your self-care routine? Most people could use a little work in one or more areas. Take some time to consider your physical, mental, social, financial, and spiritual wellness.

Commit to improving just a little in one or more areas, and see if your self-discipline increases as a result.

5- See Challenge As Opportunity

Self-disciplined people also are more likely to lean into challenges and adversity. A benchmark of self-discipline is to be relentless in the pursuit of your goals.

The thing is, there are always challenges in life. Things don’t always go to plan. Obstacles get in the way, and what separates self-disciplined people from those who aren’t, is that they believe every problem has a solution.

Additionally, they recognize that the more problems they solve, the more experience they have. They understand adversity only helps them grow, and they use that knowledge as fuel to keep moving forward despite the difficulty.

If you struggle with sticking to commitments you’ve made to yourself, consider why? Is it because you hit a challenge and backed away? Consider how you may change your response the next time something similar comes into play, and how you can grow from perseverance. 

6- Strong Boundaries

Finally, people with self-discipline and self-control have healthy boundaries. They know their worth, the value of their time, and have a clear roadmap for life.

Whereas many people struggle with saying “no” at times, preferring to “go with the flow,” those with self-discipline know the importance of weighing their options. They make decisions to further their goals once the decision is made they do not second guess themselves and change their minds.

How do you feel about your boundaries? How could you improve?

Final Thoughts

People sometimes assume that self-discipline means living a hard life, waking up long before the sunrise even if you’re a night owl), making extreme sacrifices, and living a dull life of all work, no play. That couldn’t be further from the truth.

Self-discipline manifests differently in the lives of different people, yet if you look closely enough, you’ll find common traits that present all across the board.

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You may think that developing discipline is about limitations. This thought has probably been reinforced by previous attempts at changing your bad habits. It is very empowering to create self-discipline. Think back to when you managed to make a change in behavior that was successful, how did you feel? When you overcome obstacles in your path and accomplish something with consistent work, you feel like you can do anything. 6471341479?profile=RESIZE_400x

 When you are not self-disciplined, you often do not accomplish your goals and feel like you are not worthwhile. You tend to put yourself down more and, in general, have a more negative outlook on life.  You may set yourself up for health issues, in particular those related to obesity, or have trouble in your relationships with friends and family. 

Successful people do not get there just because of luck. They make goals, plan how to achieve them, and then use discipline to form habits that help them accomplish those goals and plans.  They do make mistakes. They do have obstacles. They may even modify the goals or go in a different direction based on working on those original plans. But, they do not quit.

If you want to succeed, you need to develop habits through self-discipline. You may want to get rid of bad habits like watching tv, social media, and overeating. You may want to form good habits such as exercising, reducing clutter, reading more books, watching less television, or saving money. You can accomplish these habit changes if you focus on one or two at a time, and consistently act on those goals over time. One is best, though if you are trying to lose weight, you may find it better to combine dietary changes with exercise.

The biggest obstacle to discipline is not lack of willpower, but a desire for instant gratification. Especially in modern society, everything seems focused on having things done quickly. People eat instant oatmeal or cold cereal instead of having a cooked breakfast. You grab a burger at a fast-food restaurant instead of bringing a healthy lunch to work. Television commercials tell you that you can have this or that right now if you pay by credit card. The problem with that, of course, is the interest you later have to pay on those purchases.

You can improve things where you are not in debt, are healthy and fit, and have stable relationships, but it will require giving up instant gratification and adopting self-discipline. It will not be easy, but you will find it quite empowering to achieve your goals for a better life.

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One way you can develop more discipline is to use challenges. This makes it more like a game and less like a chore. Also, there can be an element of competition with others and having others help hold you accountable, which improves your odds of success.6470408296?profile=RESIZE_400x

Challenges are very beneficial, and you can find them in many places. Or you can make up your own and share it with a group of people. You also can make your own challenge or use one from someone else to challenge yourself. However, you end up doing it is up to you.  

When looking to see if a challenge will be useful to you, there are some factors to look for, so you can best benefit. Is the challenge realistic? You want to stretch yourself, but not to the point where you have no chance of success. For example, you could challenge yourself to lose 30 pounds in 30 days, but that is not very realistic. You also want the challenge not to be too easy. You need to see if you have the time to devote to it. Be sure to include time for learning new things, For example, if you challenge yourself to build a new blogging website in 30 days, remember that if you have never done one before, you will have to learn some things and that will be extra time above just writing the blog posts. 

If the challenge is a large one over a more extended period, are there clear-cut milestones along the way to help you have a sense of accomplishment? If your challenge, for example, is losing 60 pounds in a year, you need to set up smaller weight goals along the way so you can keep up the momentum.  Milestones also help you see if you need to tweak the challenge, either lower or higher. If you lose 10 pounds in about two months, you are right on schedule. If you have only lost 5 pounds in that same time, though, you may need to lower the amount you plan on losing in a year. Now, to still reach your goal, you will need to either add some foods and or limit the intake of other foods.

When you do a group challenge, you have some added benefits. There is a sense of camaraderie when working together on a goal that you do not get just competing with yourself. Other people can give you ideas, too. For example, if you are in a group losing weight, people can share healthy recipes and support. Just remember that the primary person you compete with is not the others, but yourself and you can enjoy doing a group challenge.

If you are looking to lose weight. I lost over 50 pounds in a year. My experience is in the book "Something Has To Change". Click on the link below to get a copy of my book.

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When you develop self-discipline, you have many beneficial results. These include a sense of accomplishment, more self-respect, and a better understanding of what you can do. The most significant benefit of self-discipline is after a while, you no longer need discipline because it becomes a habit. 6386569269?profile=RESIZE_400x

Discipline is not easy, but it is well worth it. Set a goal and work on the goal every day until the goal is reached, you will have a sense of accomplishment that few attain. You stuck with your dreams and made them materialize. Think back to when you had a goal and worked on it every day until it was done. How did you feel? 

When you discipline yourself to accomplish a goal, you also increase your self-respect. Think of the people you have the most respect for, and why you respect them. Chances are one of those reasons is that they have self-discipline. They set out to do something, and they accomplish it. 

By doing the same for yourself, you can have more respect for who you are as a person. When you do not use self-discipline, you will feel less of a connection to yourself. You will find that you have lower self-esteem as well, and are more likely to fall into negativity. 

You learn more about what you can do. When you set goals and challenge yourself to meet them, you need to follow through. When you do that, you will find out that you can overcome obstacles that you might have thought were too difficult, You learn more about who you are and what you can accomplish when you set your mind to it. 

A lot of times, people put limitations on themselves that is not accurate. Think about something you think is not possible. Is it impossible, or are you setting an artificial boundary? One way to find out is to set a goal and make it happen. If you are a couch potato, you cannot immediately run a marathon, but over time as you build up your body with increasingly more intense exercise, you can. 

 Now it is your turn. Figure out a goal that you want to do and set up milestones along the way. Then each day do something to make those milestones happen. It does not have to be anything major, just one more small step on the way to your final goal. When you reach that ultimate goal, take stock of how you feel about yourself and what you are capable of doing.

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