Building self discipline can and will transform your entire life. Self discipline is the ability to get yourself to do the things which need to be done, when they need to be done; whether you feel like doing it or not. Self discipline is one of the most important but frequently overlooked factors which determine success. Whether you are an employee or, self-employed, you will require a great deal of self discipline if you want to achieve your goals. Your level of self discipline will determine how you approach your work. When you become more self disciplined, not only will you see yourself be much more productive and effective, but these types of habits will carry over into all areas of your life.
Core components of self discipline
The following are some of the most essential habits in achieving self discipline. If you master these habits, you will see dramatic improvements in the results that you achieve.
- Always be on Time.
Don’t ever be late to work, or if you are self-employed wake up late to work for yourself. This shows a classic lack of discipline. If you want to be successful, you have to turn up on time, every time. If you are on time, all the time, you have achieved something which seems to be beyond the majority of people in the world. This is a great self discipline habit to begin with as you get to reinforce it every day.
- Don’t Leave Early.
There’s a breed of person who makes every excuse to leave work early ranging from – they don’t feel good to, they have family responsibilities. When I speak of leaving early, I am not talking in terms of time. I am talking in terms of the important tasks for the day being completed. If you get your tasks done early, that’s fine. However, if you have taken on a job, it is important that you see it through.
Building self discipline separates you from the excuse makers. Of course there will be times when, for reasons beyond your control, you are forced to reschedule your commitments. Excuse makers see this as an opportunity to do nothing and blame others. Those with self-discipline identify the next most important thing that they can do, with the resources available to them, and keep moving forwards e.g. you are at the airport and your flight is delayed, do you sit around doing nothing or do you use the opportunity to catch up on some important reading, make some important calls etc?
When you have self discipline, you do not make excuses and take the easy way out. Your respect for yourself and the respect that others have for you grows. And, most importantly, you improve the results you achieve.
- Be there
We all have many compartments to our lives – work, family, friends, leisure etc. You want to spend time in each area of your life to ensure a balanced and fulfilled life. You must remember that spending time and, spending quality time, is not the same thing. Wherever you are, you must be there -100%.
Have you ever tried to have a conversation with somebody whose mind was somewhere else? It’s practically impossible to have a proper conversation, you cannot enjoy it. The same goes for all areas of your life. If you are with your family, give them 100% of your attention. If you are in work, 100% of your focus must be on work. If you are not fully present you are cheating everybody, including yourself, and you will struggle to get anything of importance done.
- Take responsibility
You are human, you will make mistakes. If you are responsible for something work related and it goes wrong hold your hands up and accept responsibility for your role in events. Not only will you gain more respect for your honesty; when you accept responsibility, you are acknowledging that you have the ability to influence the outcome. You know that if you perform better next time, you will get a better result. Knowing that the ability to achieve the result you want lies within your control is one of the most empowering thoughts that you can have.
Don’t waste time and energy looking for scapegoats. Acknowledge what you got wrong; identify what you can do differently next time and, implement it. This enables you to learn from your mistakes and achieve the outcome you desire. Taking responsibility builds toughness, self discipline and wisdom.
- Over deliver
There will be times when you can identify areas where you can give colleagues or customers even more than they asked for. Rather than focus on just meeting their expectations, focus on delivering the best service possible, with the time and resources available to you. This way, you discipline yourself to always seek the best result from every situation. When you seek the best, you will achieve far more than if you settle for the bare minimum.
- Keep Negativity to Yourself
Complaining and griping is the type of thing that undisciplined people specialise in. It’s much easier to bitch and moan than it is to work hard and find solutions to problems. You cannot prevent negative thoughts from entering your mind but you can choose not to express them. Unless voicing negativity is in the interest of immediately working towards a solution (in which case use the constructive feedback model), the self disciplined act is to remain silent.
- Focus on one task at a time
Unfortunately, people are under the assumption that they can multitask. They can’t. The truth is that when people think they are multitasking, they are just switching focus between tasks. While there are a few people who can rapidly refocus from task to task, for most of us, we need a minute or two to refocus every time that we switch tasks. This adds up to a lot of lost time during the working day.
For most people, multitasking is just wasting time; time that could be spent completing important tasks. Perform one task at a time and do it right. You will get it completed quicker and, to a higher standard; allowing you to shift your attention to the next important task. In addition, do not try to mix work and leisure; work when it’s time to work and play when it’s time to play.
If you want to live the life that you desire and deserve, you need to perform to your best on a consistent basis. While increasing your knowledge and skills will help you to consistently improve on your best; you must not underestimate the importance of self discipline. Self discipline enables you to always demand the highest standards of yourself. You give 100% to everything that you do and commit to learning from, and improving on, your mistakes. When you master self discipline, you raise your game to a whole new level and, you inspire those around you to try and match your performance. This leads to better results for everyone.