The Miracle of Self Discipline

Want to get things done and be successful?   It all comes down to your level of self-discipline.

No matter what goal you are trying to reach in your life (fitness, health, wealth, etc.), the number one, most important principal to achieving this goal is your level of self-discipline.  The habit of self-discipline must be cultivated.   You must make those small daily sacrifices in order to reap the rewards down the road. I wouldn’t even really call them sacrifices.  You are merely shifting the way you think in order to have a brighter future.   So, instead of thinking of it as a sacrifice, think of it as a better way to make decisions for your future self.

Make decisions that serve you.   Take your fitness or health for example.  Do you really want to drink that soda? It may taste good and be pleasing in the short term, but is it really serving you?  Is it lifting you up or tearing you down?  If you shift your mind to look at decisions in this way, you won’t feel like you are depriving yourself.  You will truly realize why you are doing this or that and you will be much more successful.  Analyze what you’re doing on a daily basis instead of going through life on autopilot.

Sure, it is difficult to pass up those immediate pleasures of gratification, but that’s what separates those who reach their goals from those who don’t. You must save and invest in yourself (physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually) in the present in order to enjoy the greater rewards later on (like compound interest).  It’s the same principal here.  This is not to say that you cannot be happy right now.  You most certainly can be happy now, but when speaking of the goals you want to achieve, you do have to make shifts in your decision making towards positive actions.   Remember, moderation is okay too.  You are human and you need to let loose every once in a while.  Like your parents used to tell you – dinner before dessert.

What is self-discipline?   It is self mastery and self control.

My favorite thing about self-discipline is that you begin to respect yourself more when you follow through with what you said you were going to do.   Doing what you say you are going to do is a powerful feeling.   You build momentum, self respect, self esteem, and begin to instill the habit of self-discipline.  You may not always want to do that thing, but just do it anyways and you will feel better for doing it.   You will feel proud of yourself for keeping your own word.  Self-discipline must be practiced, and eventually, just like anything else, it becomes a habit.

With self-discipline most anything is possible.   Theodore Roosevelt

If you set goals for yourself, and you’re like a lot of other people, you probably realize it’s not that your goals are physically impossible that’s keeping you from achieving them; it’s that you lack the self-discipline to stick to them. It’s physically possible to lose weight. It’s physically possible to exercise more.   Daniel Goldstein

The first and best victory is to conquer self.     Plato

We are what we repeatedly do, excellence then is not an act, but a habit.    Aristotle

Mastering others is strength. Mastering yourself is true power.  Lao Tzu

Rule your mind or it will rule you.   Horace

The ability to make yourself do, what you should do, when you should do it, whether you feel like it or not.     Kop Kopmeyer

Dr. Edward Banfield stated that long time perspective was the key to upward social and economic mobility in America or anywhere else in the world.   What does this mean?   It meas we need to think long term.  When you set goals far in the future, you can see the big picture and the daily decisions you make move toward that direction.  If you are just wandering around aimlessly in life, you are not going to end up anywhere of significance.  It’s simple.  Make long term goals, far in the future, and make those daily decisions to move in that direction.  Day by day you will move towards that goal and chip away at that monster boulder.  Large goals can be daunting, but if you just chip away at them day by day, you build momentum and get there much faster than you originally thought.

Below are the 9 disciplines from Brian Tracy’s audio book, No Excuses!: The Power of Self-Discipline .   All of them relate to one another and build off of each other.

1 – The Discipline of Clear Thinking

Thinking is the hardest discipline of all.   Thomas Edison

Now that quote is powerful!   Thomas Edison has 1,093 patents to his name, so I think he knows what he is talking about here.

The people who have the ability to think clearly are the highest paid.  How can you improve your thinking abilities?  Set time aside each day to think about a problem you’re having.  Get rid of the distractions around you (phone, TV, etc.).  Just sit and think about the problem and focus on a solution. Be solution minded.  Look at the problem from multiple perspectives.  Look at it from every angle.  Do this: Sit down, write down every detail of the problem, and often times, a solution will just pop out at you.  When you have a major decision in your life, sit down for 30 minutes and just think about it.  A solution will come to you.  Avoid making assumptions because they may be wrong.  Be open to do something completely new or different.

2 – Daily Goal Setting

I write about this all the time.  Daily goal setting, and goal setting in general, is huge.  Write this down: What do I want to do with my life, and seriously answer that question.  Write it down.   Having trouble?   Think about this… What if you had 10 million dollars and 10 years to live.   What would you do with that time and money?  Do not set yourself any limits.  The sky is the limit, as they say.   Do this: Write down 10-15 goals you have in the present.  At the end of the goal statement, state by when you want it to happen.  So for example, I can run a 7 minute mile by 1 December, 2017.  That’s your goal statement, and I encourage you to read it and say it and feel it every day.  Focus on it, because where focus goes, energy flows.

3 – Daily Time Management

Brian states, every minute you spend planning, you save 10 minutes in execution.  At the end of each day, plan what you will do tomorrow.  This will save you tons of time, especially if you outline 3 of your most important tasks.  Do them first thing the next day if possible and see your productivity skyrocket.

4 – Courage

What’s the biggest obstacle in your life?  Your self doubt.  Force yourself to do what you should.  Overcome the fear of failure.  Failure isn’t a bad thing.  Failure just shows you what doesn’t work.  Don’t say “I can’t”.  Catch yourself stating that and either tell yourself to erase that thought, or just simply correct it and say “I can”.  It’s all in the mind.

Whether you think you can or you can’t, you’re right.   Henry Ford

With any quality you want in yourself, act in every instance where that quality is called upon.  This is how to cultivate the habit of courage.  This goes the same for any quality you want.  When you see an opportunity to do it, then just do it!  Tell yourself over and over again that “I can do it” and then go for it.  Convince yourself that you can do it.  When you act as though you already have it, you do have it.  If you still can’t find the power, then try this.  Whenever you face a situation, act how your role model or someone you admire would in that situation.  Imitate them and you will also have that quality.  Smash the fear and it will go away.  Identify a fear in your life, and just face it head on.  I guarantee one thing, you will grow as a person.  Once you do it, you will overcome that fear.

5 – Excellent Health

Design your ideal body and think long term.  What are the choices you should be making to live to 100?   That soda?  Hardly a good idea in the long term.  Get rid of those things that will give you immediate pleasure but will hurt you down the road.  We all know what’s healthy, it’s no secret.  The hard part is having the self-discipline to actually do it.  When you actually start eating healthy and disciplining yourself, you begin to build momentum and confidence in yourself.  Start small – Just cut out one thing at a time.  It really is super simple.  Eat less and exercise more.

6 – Regular Saving and Investing

Read my blog post on Money: Master the Game by Tony Robbins.  It’s simple, set a goal of financial independence.  Avoid debt.  Don’t waste your money on things that you think will make you happy.  Switch gears – be happy about saving (compound interest, remember?).   Start by saving 10% and increase over time.  Delay and defer big purchases and buy used!

7 – Hard Work

I think it’s pretty obvious that you don’t become successful by not working hard.   Brian says to stat work 1 hour earlier, work through lunch (eat at your desk), and work an hour later.  He also says to avoid chit chatters at work and focus on work.  You will be much more productive.  While I understand what he is saying here, I don’t believe in working an extra three hours per day and avoiding social interaction with co workers.  I think taking a lunch break is a good way to rest and recharge for the second half of the day.  I also think that some small talk at work can be a good mini breaks.  If I’m at my desk for an hour, I like to get up ad stretch and take a quick walk around the office.  Just don’t get caught up chit chatting for 30 minutes at a time.  Do what works best for you.

8 – Continuous Learning

We never ever stop learning, although that’s what we think will happen when we finish college as kids.  Work on yourself as much as you can.  Read a book each week or month (whatever you can ft into your schedule).   I listen to audio books on the way to work and this allows me to get through a book per week in most cases.

9 – Persistence

Keep going and never quit!  Don’t give up.  If you really, really want something, keep doing it.  Persist until you succeed!

What are the benefits of following these 9 disciplines in order to have increased self-discipline?  You will have more success, get more done, get paid more, get promoted, you will have self-control, power, self-esteem, fearless confidence, and the character to persist to succeed.

If you want to read it for yourself, order it on Amazon here:   No Excuses!: The Power of Self-Discipline

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