6 Tricks to Improve Your Self-discipline

Self-discipline is often confused as self-denial. We feel that being disciplined means exercising austerity in all aspects of our life. In reality, being disciplined means that we do our work responsibly and also have pleasurable activities (like play or watch movie) routinely without missing or overdoing. It also ensures that we are not doing any harm to ourselves in the long run.

Sometimes, exercising self-discipline may not bring instant pleasure. With self-control you are just delaying some of your gratification. You will feel that you have more control over your life. As you get better at self-control, you will find that your likings are exactly matching with what is good for you.

To improve your self-discipline, try to follow 6 simple rules.

1. Form one habit at a time

Make self-discipline a habit - a habit for good life. When you start a desired activity, for example exercise regularly, you wouldn’t feel much of discomfort when you skip exercise for a day. But within several weeks of regular exercise you would find that you actually feel discomfort for skipping the exercise schedule. That’s the power of forming habit.

Habits are automatic choices and come naturally. For habitual activity, we do not feel stress for doing those, instead, we feel uneasy when we skip that part. The table has turned now and you don’t have to push yourself for exercise anymore.

Try to form one good habit at a time. After that habit is set, then start for another good habit.

2. Just start it

Don’t wait for the mood. You don’t need good mood or feel like doing to start it. Just start it and the mood will follow soon. But remember not to push too hard – just one small steady step at a time.

Start small and each time you are getting used to it, make a small increment until you have your desired level. For example, if you want to exercise every day for thirty minutes, then start with two or five minutes each morning depending on what you are comfortable. Within a few days it will become very easy and you can make a small addition to your daily workout.

Don’t push yourself too hard but push it a little at a time. Try not skipping it once you start. If somehow you miss it for one day, don’t let it miss for a second day. Within a few weeks you will feel discomfort if you miss it.

3. Focus on goal

Always try to focus on the end result. Whenever you get distracted, focus on how you would feel after you have achieved your target. If you feel depriving yourself from a donut, visualize instantly on a slim and healthy you. Remind yourself how much you would like it.

Next time when you are thinking to clean up your room, don’t focus on the work that has to be done but focus on how good the room will look when you are done.

4. Use your mental energy wisely

Studies showed that we have a finite amount of mental energy. After a stressful day at your workplace you may feel lack of self-control. Forming a new habit needs mental energy, that you are short of when you are stressed.

When your office workload is at its highest, don’t try to quit smoking. When your final exam is at the door, don’t try to start an exercise program. When you are about start a new business, don’t try to improve your son’s math grade. Know the limits of your mental energy and use it wisely.

5. Maintain proper sleep schedule and eat healthy food

When we are working hard, we often feel too busy to sleep or eat properly. The price of improper sleep or poor diet is high. When you are sleep deprived, you will find it harder to concentrate. Your mental energy will be too low to keep up your discipline.

When you are hungry, your blood glucose level is too low to keep up your body and mind working properly. Studies revealed that low blood glucose level is also responsible for poor decision making.

Maintain proper sleep schedule. Sleep as comfortable as possible. A good night sleep will refresh you more than anything. It helps you to stay focused and disciplined.

Eat healthy food. Eat frequent small meals than larger bulk. For small snacks, try to eat fruits and nuts.

Don’t eat sugary foods and soft drinks. Complex carbohydrates (such as brown rice, oatmeal and whole-wheat breads/cereals/pastas) are better than simple carbohydrates (white rice, refined breads/cereals/pastas). Fruits, vegetable and complex carbs gives you energy for longer period without fluctuating the blood glucose level very much. Sugary food and soft drink gives sudden rise of blood glucose followed by a sudden fall and thus do not give a constant energy level.

6. Give yourself time

They say “slow and steady wins the race”. For self-discipline this is very much the case. If you want to have six pack abs then you must give yourself several weeks or even months while doing your exercise.

Practicing self-discipline is like a building a muscle - the more you train the stronger it gets. Forming one good habit will ease up to form next good habit. It would take some time in the beginning. But the more you practice the easier it gets. You need patience to achieve a desired level.

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