You’ve seen the people who seem to go from one project to another and thrive as they work on each. You’ve seen the athletes that push themselves hard and achieve the near impossible. No one needs to sell you on self-discipline, you’re already there.
There are dozens of references that can help you step-by-step through the beginnings of self-discipline. The reasons for doing it are clear. But there is a secret to it that we don't often see discussed, something hidden that might make all the difference in your journey.
You have to realize that no two people are the same. You’re unique and being unique you’re going to have to do what works for you.
It sounds trite, like a platitude, but the fact is that what works like magic for one person isn’t necessarily all that great for another. That’s normal. So how does this relate to learning self-discipline?
· Find something small on which to focus. Maybe something huge like quitting smoking isn’t the place to start. Maybe it’s as simple as remembering to floss after you brush your teeth. The point is, learning any self-discipline is an ice-breaker. Getting the neuropathways to start on a new track means that the next time you start a new habit, you’re going to find it easier than if you had started with a large challenge.
· Like plowing a road after a bad snowstorm remember that it’s easier once you get in motion. Starting is the hard part. Knowing this means that a hard push right at the beginning of the process is all you need to get that momentum going.
· Find your goal. No one knows you as well as you do. You know what works for you and what doesn’t. If your goal is to exercise more, only you know if it’s better to play football or bowling or archery. What works for you? What’s going to hold your interest, especially if you’re going to do it every single day?
· Practice your strengths, at least at first. The areas where you are weak will also get a boost because you're practicing making self-disciplined decisions. If you need to reach a goal, ask yourself how you can get there doing something you enjoy doing? What can you do that will maybe bring you instant gratification while you’re holding out for the long-term goal?
Self-discipline is about putting aside the immediate in favor of the result. But in doing so, ask yourself if you will be willing to do something you do not enjoy. Are you willing to keep up with it day after day? If you can’t find a way of doing something you like to achieve your desired result, then be sure to reward yourself often for doing what you don’t like. At least that way, you’re more likely to stick with it.