How to Create Self-Discipline to Achieve Your Goals
Self-discipline is a byproduct of knowing your why and knowing what needs to happen in order to accomplish your goals whether they are business or personal.
Think of a pyramid. At the top of it is your WHY, your goal, compelling future, what it is that you want out of life. You must have a compelling future, a reason why to get out of bed in the morning.
This is where your drive comes from. When it comes to accomplishing your goals, driven by your why is where self-discipline comes in.
Self-discipline is a muscle and it is a practice.
It isn’t always perfect. No, ma’am, it is not. Generally, I have a strong sense of self-discipline but there are definitely those days when I eat a little too many sweets, drink a little too much wine, scroll through social media, you name it. but everything single day is a new day and we all have the gift of life.
Compelling future/what you want out of life/goals - your WHAT
Drive/inspiration - your WHY
Self-Discipline - is the HOW
First, you have to know what you want out of life. What are your goals for both business and personal? Do you have a compelling future statement that gets you excited, that you feel inspired by? One that you think positive thoughts about?
Quick insert, Napoleon Hill, Think and Grow Rich, our thoughts are things. Our thoughts create our emotion(they produce a feeling), that leads to an action that produces a result.
We are where we are because of our thoughts.
Does your compelling future, your why, trigger a thought that makes you feel inspired, to take action and produce the results that you want?
If not, either you need to change the way you think about your compelling future or you need to tweak your compelling future/goals.
The second piece is your WHY.
Why do you want that compelling future?
Is it because you want to create financial freedom, time freedom, will it allow you to be at home with your kids more? Something to be careful about is wanting something because you believe it will make you happy. Often times we want and/or think we need more money to be happy. Or we believe that a different job or spouse will make us happier and our problems will go away when it is the thinking of and about that thing is what is causing us unhappiness.
It is truly learning to be happy at the moment regardless of outside circumstances.
Let’s look at the HOW, the self-discipline piece of it. Goals and having a why are great but unless we take action on them it is difficult to achieve them.
Self-discipline is the how but it is also a byproduct of having a compelling future and why that helps drive us. When you have something to “fight for” something to achieve, you’re more likely to create self-discipline in your life. Plus it is much much easier to practice self-discipline because you know it is worth it.
A quick example is, it is a Thursday evening and you’re out with friends or at a social event. You know that you have a pretty important task you need to finish Friday morning for your business (assuming you have a side-hustle), this is taking place before you work your full-time job. While you’re out with them you have a choice to make regarding alcohol consumption. Knowing that you need to be on your A game in the morning so you can be fresh to work on your business, do you consume beverages and if so, how many? The choice is yours. (which in an upcoming episode I’m going to talk about making decisions of ahead of time vs in the moment).
When you know your why and have a compelling future you can use that momentum and inspiration to carry you through and create self-discipline.
Now, not every time will be perfect. I have certainly had one too many glasses of wine when it was definitely in my best interest not to. This is why self-discipline is a practice.
Self discipline, it is like a muscle. When you begin to see the results you create a stronger drive. But the key is to still maintain the drive even when the results don’t immediately show.
Here are a few ways to practice self-discipline in order to achieve your goals and create an internal drive to reinforce your why:
Change your words. Those with strong ability to discipline themselves are hyper aware of the language they use and how it impacts their life. They’re very careful to not use phrases that leave them feeling uncertain. You will rarely hear them say “I don’t know” and the reason why is because saying “I don’t know” is a buffer and is a procrastination method. Because when you say “I don’t know” you’re giving yourself permission to not actually come to terms with what it is that you do need to do. Takeaway: Anytime you find yourself about to say “I don’t know.” Encourage and challenge yourself to change it do an action statement. For example “I’m figuring it out by doing blank blank.” One trick that has always helped me is that if I truly thought that I didn’t know the answer to something I’d then follow up and ask myself, “But if I did know, what would it be?"
Live by a growth mindset. There are two different types of mindset: growth and fixed.
Know the difference between being productive and busy. Productivity is based on results, not how much time you spend on an activity. When you sit down to work, you sit down to produce, not just do something. I know I’ve been guilty of days where at the end of them I’ve felt like I’ve work sooo hard and in reality when I reflect on what actually what I did that day, I did just about everything except produce something. I spent the day mixing work tasks with chores like laundry and dishes with checking email, starting a project but never finishing it, taking a long lunch, checking social media, getting on phone calls with friends and family. Now that isn’t to say that those types of days will happen but instead of just happen stance, they plan those days.
Plan your days strategically. The know when they’re the most productive doing certain types of tasks throughout the day. Example, do work for your business before going into your full-time job because they know that they’re less likely to work on their business after work, regardless of the best intentions
Spend time taking massive action. What is passive action? What is massive action? What is the difference? Why do most people avoid taking massive action? How can you get yourself in a position to take massive action? Passive action is listening to podcasts, reading books, doing something that is passive and doesn’t require taking a ton of action. Now there are definitely times and places when passive action is the best thing you can do. For example, if you’re driving into work, instead of listening to music, you chose to listen to podcasts (like many of you do when you listen to She Did It Her way - which I’m so grateful for!) and at that moment, you’re doing the best you can do. On the other hand, massive action is when you implement and take physical action. It is the difference between planning out your goals, your website, your product and building your website - pressing live, taking action on your goals - potentially failing along the way, creating the first iteration of your product and doing it again because you need to improve the first version. Something to be mindful of when you take massive action is that it can and most likely will be uncomfortable. You’ll hit roadblocks, experience failure, be met with resistance. All of that is normal. If you can get comfortable with the discomfort,
Create environments to succeed by where you work, who you surround yourself with, down to the furniture you have in your home, what is the status of your car is (is it clean or does it become a garbage can on wheels?) Continue to alter your environment to build the right habits. Change your consumption habits - what are you feeding your brain on a daily basis. How can you swap out watching TV with a book that will help you grow? How can you swap out music for podcasts?
Once you’ve found the desire how do you exercise accountability with yourself? How do you create the discipline within yourself? If you want to take control of your habits and choices you need to learn to know thy self.
Keep your promises to yourself. Don’t break them.
Know your weaknesses, know what distracts you.
Remove temptations, remove distractions
Set clear goals and a plan of execution
If you have 25 minutes to complete something or better, produce something, know your outcome for those 25 minutes. What do you want to produce? How can you take your big goal and break it into bite size chunks? What do you want to produce in those 25 minutes?
Build self-discipline - this is a muscle. If you’re someone who gets easily distracted by your phone. First, going back to #2 removing temptations, but if for some reason you’ve attempted to remove the temptation but you need your phone near you…every time you get the urge to pick it up, can you create a pattern interrupt of your habit of “getting the urge, and satisfying it by picking up the phone” by doing something else. Like jumping up and down? The more you interrupt and break that patter, the strong your muscle will be in creating new neuro pathways.
Take action anyway - Even when something feels uncomfortable with what you’re about to do, know that that is normal.
Remind yourself of your WHY - In moments of potential weakness or distraction, remind yourself why you’re doing it.
Set real deadlines and hold yourself to them. It is easy when you work for yourself to extend your deadlines or push them off until later in the evening or to the weekend. Doing so can be inefficient because now you’ve rescheduled it but also if you allow your weekend to be a buffer and a place a time to do work, you allow yourself to be procrastinate. There’s is nothing wrong with doing work on the weekend if it is intentionally planned vs. “Oh, I have the weekend to get X completed.”
To achieve your goals you must first know your outcome and be committed to the end result, along with being committed to the discipline.
And stay focused.