Entrepreneur, it’s French in origin and sounds evocative. And like the term ‘startup’ it once sounded attractive, even exciting. You’re trying to push this new business forward. But there’s a maddening frustration that you can’t get things done. It seems your “to do list” just keeps growing.
You’re supposed to be your own boss now, but mastering yourself is a lot harder than you thought. This unfulfilled feeling won’t go away. You’ve got to try something different. The good news is you can learn how to build self discipline right now with 7 strategies. Self-Discipline is defined as, “the ability to control one’s feelings and overcome one’s weaknesses”. It’s your weapon to get things done when inspiration falters. Let’s jump into those 7 strategies.
1. Slay Temptations with Jedi Willpower
Now is your chance to join “the resistance”. Except it’s not Star Wars. The battle is against instant gratification. It’s a war for your attention. To resist impulses. To resist the urge for social media, snacking, checking email, caffeine, online shopping, YouTube and on and on. Recognise and weed out these enemies. Because long term goals are linked to delayed reward.
Vow to stop consuming and start creating. Self-discipline is the vehicle between your worthy goal and your prize. Block out your morning to get that hard work done. Let everyone know you can’t be disturbed. See your whims and desires for what they are. Switch your smartphone off and put it out of sight. Resist those urges to surf the web. You have to be ruthless! Persevere and you will start feeling powerful again.
2. Banish Excuses One Step at a Time
Self-discipline is about growing new habits. Like building muscle, it takes effort. Instead of taking big leaps, focus on small changes. If you’re a night owl, it’s pointless trying to wake up two hours earlier from day one. Set the alarm a half hour earlier. By also changing your evening routine you’ll gradually start improving. Change takes time. Regular progress in one area is better than trying to change everything in one day. Intentional small steps lead to that better habit and excuses start to disappear.
“99% of the failures come from people who have the habit of making excuses.” – George Washington Carver
3. Breakdown Smart Goals with Planning
Goals are wonderful dreamlike ambitions, but without a plan, they’ll remain in fairyland. Long term goals need to be brought into better focus. In ”the 12 Week Year” Brian Moran refers to this danger as ”we mistakenly believe that there is a lot of time left in the year, and we lack a sense of urgency”.
Say you want to reignite your reading habits of old. You’re aiming for 12 books this year. To read a 250-page book in 31 days is 8 pages daily. That’s only 30 minutes to an hour of reading. It seems a whole lot more achievable when broken down. Keep on track with SMART goals that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound.
Planning is a map that helps you stay more disciplined. As James Clear put it, ”You do not rise to the level of your goals. You fall to the level of your systems.”
4. Organize an Environment to Win
Everyone struggles with keeping on top of things. I’ve seen university professors with offices that could be mistaken for a paper shredding room. So don’t sweat it. Make no mistake, being organized is a part of self-discipline. It has a calming effect by keeping you on track to win.
Being tidy and organised will help you with a mindset for getting things done. Give everything a home. Declutter and get rid of useless junk. At the end of the day, clear your desk and reset for tomorrow. Your workspace, your house, your car; it’s all a reflection of you.
5. Adopt a Positive Attitude for Success
When you’re always chasing something, it’s easy to forget what you have. Feeling gratitude for the untold opportunities at your fingertips helps you stay grounded. Negativity can drag you down and stifle everything else. Don’t waste a millisecond on things you can’t influence or change.
You can choose how you react to temporary failure or life’s dramas. That’s the difference between those disciplined to get up and push on and everyone else. They have more control over their thoughts and attitudes. They have a purpose and a powerful reason. And more often than not, they rise on the side of positivity.
6. Persistence to Victory
Committing your goals to paper and working on them demonstrates faith. So whether its micro changes or bigger leaps, keep momentum on your side with your daily effort. In fact, Earl Nightingale defined success as, ”the progressive realization of a worthy goal”. Sharing your tasks with a partner or accountability group will help you stay persistent. Sacrifice clears the road for persistence. Persistence is having the will to persevere in spite of setbacks, emotions or temporary failures.
“We must all suffer from one of two pains: the pain of discipline or the pain of regret. The difference is discipline weighs ounces while regret weighs tons.” – Jim Rohn
7. Profit from Balance in Life
Maybe your further down this path. Business is on the up and you already have a lot of these qualities. But there’s a hidden danger lurking. Overly focusing on work and the expense of all.
You’ve let exercise slip or maybe you’re eating too much fast food. Even family time and duties are suffering. Imbalance in life can destroy achievements. It takes self-control to balance everything. It’s one of the hardest things to achieve because of all the demands.
Don’t let imbalance wreck what matters the most. Recharge, get out of the artificial world and into nature to revitalise your wellbeing and make a strict routine for sleep, exercise and family time. Having the discipline to balance life will enrich your work.
Remember that feeling when you let temptations dictate? That unfulfilled sinking feeling? It zaps your energy and spirits to move forward. The scary thing is, when left unchecked you stop believing and lose momentum.
Banish those excuses by focusing self-discipline on one area at a time. From the list above start to implement one strategy today. You could see your output soar. Best of all, you’re feeling better and conquering the day.