What does it mean to be Disciplined?
Discipline is the ability to control and manage one’s instincts, emotions, desires, feelings, and behaviors. It requires you to be well-organized. Discipline is the difference between talking and doing. It’s being able to set goals and actually going for them while not forgetting about everything else that’s on your plate as well.
It’s about being able to be consistent and persistent in the face of challenges (and failures). And most importantly it’s about replacing bad habits with better ones.
It requires us to be self-aware – and be able to regulate our thoughts, emotions, and behaviors instead of letting ourselves be controlled by them. Disciplined people are aware of their feelings, what triggers them, and how to manage those feelings to be able to achieve their goals.
Many people don’t even have a self-discipline problem. They’ll say things like, “If I had self-discipline, I’d eat better, go to the gym every day.” Cool, but is actually a lack of self-discipline really the reason you don’t eat healthier or go to the gym?
Self-discipline means acting in accordance with our thoughts, not our feelings. It’s our ability to do something regardless of how we feel. Now, let’s contrast that with motivation. Motivation is our desire to do something in the first place.
To illustrate the difference, let’s look at a common fitness goal: “running a marathon”, it sounds impressive, and you figure that doing it will help you lose weight or get in shape, etc. You find a training plan online, and you start following it. But after just a week, you give up. Why did you fail? If you failed because you couldn’t force yourself to get out of bed early to run every day for an hour, then the problem is self-discipline. But if you look a bit deeper, you might realize that you never wanted to run a marathon in the first place. You liked the idea of it, or the idea of having done it, but not the reality of doing it. In this case, the problem was never self-discipline; it was a lack of motivation.
So, before you decide to increase your self-discipline, you should be sure that your issue isn’t a lack of motivation instead. Remember: motivation is your desire to accomplish a goal. Self-discipline is self-control, is your ability to follow through on that goal even when you don’t feel like it.
Motivation gets things started, it’s the spark that ignites your passion, driving you to face the challenges of your goals. Self-discipline, on the other hand, is the fuel that keeps the fire burning, enabling you to maintain consistency and focus on your goals.
Let’s break down how to be more disciplined in 3 simple parts: concentration, forgiveness and believe!
Concentrate on yourself and Remove Distractions
You can’t get distracted by something that isn’t there, so the best way to handle distractions before you begin trying to be more disciplined is to remove them. If you pause working or studying to watch tv, put the remote in a different room, or get rid of the television.
If you tend to drop what you’re doing to look at your phone, hide it from your sight for a few hours at a time. If you eat a lot of junk food and you want to stop, don’t keep it in your house. This step sets you up to succeed, instead of fail.
Forgive and Reward
Perfection isn’t possible, we all make mistakes, and that’s ok! When you behave in a way that isn’t aligned with your quest to become more disciplined, forgive yourself. Review why and where things went wrong, and if possible, change your environment so that it doesn’t happen again.
Reward yourself in a way that involves self-care, because you deserve it and because it will help you stay on track. As much as it can be easy to let the little accomplishments slide, it’s important to keep track of them and reward them because when you add them up, they become big accomplishments.
Believe that you are a person with a lot of self-discipline and willpower.
Beliefs are one of the filters through which we experience the world. To be more precise, beliefs are generalizations that often arise from the past. You have been through something one or more times, and then you believe it always will be.
Beliefs determine what we perceive as possible and impossible and we trust that they are true. However, are they the truth? They are ‘just’ beliefs and not absolutely true and set in stone. Moreover, every moment is new and we are new every moment. Beliefs are maintained but the past does not equal the future.
“Believe you can. With that, half has already been overcome.” – Theodore Roosevelt
• You can develop self-discipline by identifying your motivations, and then writing down your goals so you can track your progress.
• Improve self-control by creating a consistent routine. This will help you get ahead of bad habits. Focus on what you can control: your actions, words and attitude.
• If you are feeling overwhelmed, it can be harder to practice self-control. It helps to focus on your mind-set, says retired Army Lieutenant Colonel Jason Roncoroni. (Founder and president of Ordinary Hero Coaching Inc.) Tip: pick out a mantra or quote about self-discipline to help you stay motivated.
• If you want to change what you do, you first need to change who you are. If you can change your identity, then it will be much easier to change your behavior.
• Start Small, don’t begin your daily work with self-discipline by trying to achieve something huge. This will take too much time to keep you on track and motivated. Instead, work on daily, weekly, and monthly goals. Focus on small steps or details. For example: clean and organize your home little by little, one area every day, one closet at the time, same with your finances, also changing the old-bad thoughts patterns using your favorite mantras and eventually get rid of them.
“Whether you think you can or think you can’t. Either way, you will be right.” – Henry Ford
The good thing about discipline is that with 20 days of consistency it becomes a habit. For example: the first weeks will be the most difficult and you will have to apply a lot of discipline for it. After that it becomes automatic and easier. Do you still have to do that job that you have been putting off for a long time? You just need a small dose of discipline to get started.
“Every action you take is a vote for the type of person you wish to become. No single instance will transform your beliefs, but as the votes build up, so does the evidence of your new identity.” -James Clear
Raquel Torres, MBA
USAT Triathlon Coach Level 1-2 Elite