How to be more disciplined?
How to be more disciplined and achieve success? Often times, discipline denotes a negative thing for us. Discipline implies rigidity, strictness, boredom, mundane and restriction: everything but fun. In a world full of distraction however, discipline is far an ally than an enemy. You already set your goals and want to be more productive so what’s next? Discipline is crucial when it comes to carrying on our projects.
According to Business insider, 80% of people forget their year’s resolutions by the end of January. After the excitement of the New Year, discipline is indispensable. Self-discipline should take over and will help us persevere over time.
Identify the distractions and cut them off
We need to identify what’s holding us back. There is a reason why we are unproductive. We shall take time to examine what’s preventing us from moving forward and taking action. For example, one of the main causes of my inefficiency was my phone. I know too well how it can hinder my organization the next day. Lying in bed at night, I will start to check my social network notifications and it can take up to 2 hours until I get exhausted. Sometimes, I am tempted to watch a movie until midnight which I know will have a negative effect on my productivity the next day. And of course, it negatively impacts everything the next day.
As I identified the main reason for my unproductivity, I now try to turn my phone off and leave it in a different room. This decision changed everything.
You see, if you have trouble executing, it’s never for nothing.
How to be more disciplined: Eat the frog anyway
We can make a list of 3 necessary but unpleasant tasks we’ve been putting off. Assign a deadline to each task. Start and finish them. Immediate action on unpleasant projects reduces stress and tension. If you don’t act on them, they will repeatedly “haunt” you.
Relying on motivation only exposes you to demotivation. We can’t afford to solely rely on motivation because it is inconsistent. A habit instead is an action we integrated so perfectly that it became a second nature. Habits are part of our daily lives so we need to develop positive habits, the ones that lift us up.
Develop a habit and be easily disciplined
It takes 66 days to develop a habit
If discipline sounds like a tedious way of living, it shouldn’t. The key is to develop a habit, long enough for the habit to take over. It takes 66 days to develop a habit. Once we get used to executing something, it gets easier. It is even easier to sustain the new behavior you created. The newly formed habit now requires less effort and less focus to maintain. In this sense, you would know how to become a disciplined person.
The key then is to regularly work on a habit, consistently act in the way you should. For example, I learned that by working out regularly, it can become a lifelong habit. Equipped with this theory, I hit the gym three times a week and disciplined myself to do so for two months. Little did I know it would get easier, – even a pure moment of bliss- to go to the gym and work out. Health plays a key role in success so we might as well develop a habit in this domain first.
Rank your tasks in order of importance and execute
Identify one to five things we must accomplish for the day
Creating content and writing consistently on this blog is the first task I do. It is my most important task as it gets me where I want to go. Our most important task depends on the goal we want to achieve. Concretely, we identify one to five things we must accomplish for the day. We then need to pick one task you absolutely must do first. We sometimes unconsciously think that procrastinating will help: as if the tasks will get solved by itself; but it never does. Once we accomplish our most important task of the day, the rest of the day seems much easier. It gives you energy and that positive feeling sets the tone for the rest of your day. It is as if we create ourselves a momentum that will help achieve our project. The next day, do the same thing, all over again.
Give yourself a set time to work and time block a specific task
First, turn off your mobile phone, turn off the internet connection and focus on the single task ahead. Decide to block a specific time, and do nothing but the task you promised to do.
Alexander Graham Bell said, “Concentrate all your thoughts upon the work at hand. The sun’s rays do not burn until brought to a focus.” Time blocking helps us do so. Put first things first and just do it.
The one constant shared by successful people
Dan Pena highlighted that 2/3 of the richest people in the world have a military background. They became more disciplined and learned to focus. 2/3 of that 2/3 even practice martial arts, another practice that teaches focus and discipline.
If there is one constant that truly characterizes successful people, it will be self-discipline. Setting goals is important but without the necessary discipline to execute and follow through, we will never accomplish them.