Does Success Require Self-discipline?

success and self discipline

When working toward a goal or striving for success in any endeavor, self-discipline is often listed as absolutely necessary. How do you feel about that?

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Do you cringe at the thought of self discipline? Many people do because it brings to mind visions of sacrifice, denial, and a constant battle against their natural tendencies.

To some, the whole idea of having any form of discipline imposed on them just feels too much like punishment.

Is that how you feel about self-discipline?

The way we choose to approach self-discipline has a major influence on how we feel about it.  One of the most common problems happens when we get all fired up and then try to go from having no self-discipline, to forcing ourselves to undertake a huge and uncomfortable new challenge in the name of success.

Enthusiasm is a wonderful quality that can be very motivating. But enthusiasm can be short lived if we bite off more than we can reasonably manage. If you struggle with self-discipline you will probably benefit from the following three suggestions.

3 ways to minimize the discomfort of self-discipline

1) Change your attitude about self-discipline. One reason you may not feel very disciplined is because you think the activities or chores you need to do will be unpleasant in some way.  The most common reaction to such thoughts is to put those activities aside or avoid them altogether. In other words, procrastination!

What if you adopted a different attitude? What if, instead of procrastinating, you mentally pumped yourself up to get them done as soon as possible?  Could you decide to look forward to the challenge instead of trying to avoid it?

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One way to accomplish this mental shift is by reminding yourself how great success will feel when you get there.  Keeping your eye on the prize and focusing on where you are going will help minimize any adverse feelings you might have toward the task at hand.

2) Make self-discipline a gradual process. Rather than trying to force yourself into submission with a giant list of tasks or activities, try a more gradual approach.

Identify one small task or activity that you can use for practice.  Make it something fairly easy to accomplish each day, and then make sure you do it.  If you tend to forget, you might strategically post a few notes of encouragement to help remind you.

If possible, get this one task out of the way first thing in the morning before you do anything else.  If you make it one of your highest priorities for awhile, it will soon become a painless habit. If you break things down into a series of smaller steps the whole process will feel much more manageable.

This is a great way to build momentum on your journey toward success. Eventually you will probably find yourself  doing the things you set out to do without excuses or procrastination.

3) Commitment. If you’re not fully committed to achieving your goals, you’ll probably have a harder time pushing yourself to work on them.  Make a promise to yourself that you will do whatever it takes to work toward your goals every single day.  Write a list of important action steps and make it your mission to do one or more of them daily.  Reaffirm your commitment to yourself and your success as often as necessary to make sure you stick to your plans.

Consistency is the key

More than anything else, self-discipline is the result of a series of small decisions that you make each day.  It is so easy to chase after things that offer a giant reward with little or no effort. How many times have you done that? How did things turn out? I am reminded of the words of Jim Rohn who said, “Success is nothing more than a few simple disciplines, practiced every day.

What are your feelings about self-discipline and success?
How important is attitude with regard to procrastination?
The lines are open!

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