Self-discipline seems to be a huge struggle for us in today’s society. Everything is so easily obtained that most of the time we don’t even have to leave the comfort of our home to get anything. The downside is that we sometimes overdo things and hurt ourselves in the long run. The solution is to embrace the gift of self-discipline and change our habits. But how do we do this?
Amy Morin, a licensed psychotherapist, clinical social worker, college psychology instructor, and author of 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do, explains that “In reality, the only way to improve your self-discipline is through intentional, dedicated practice.” She offers six steps to achieving the self-discipline many of us long for and wish to obtain.
- Acknowledge Your Weaknesses: be honest with yourself and come clean about the things that are hard for you to do. That will be the first step to realizing those things that require a little work.
- Establish a Clear Plan: Simply acknowledging your weakness does not eliminate it. Having a solid plan puts you on a track to conquering that weakness.
- Remove Temptations When Necessary: “We’d all like to believe we have enough willpower to resist even the most alluring enticement, but it only takes a moment of weakness to convince ourselves to cave to temptation,” explains Looking at your past behavior as an indicator is always a great place to start – ultimately to pinpoint the pitfalls to avoid.
- Practice Tolerating Emotional Discomfort: You have to be prepared for the fact that change is initially uncomfortable; it will take some getting used to. Especially when you must stay away from your temptations, which will in due course increase your self-discipline.
- Visualize the Long-Term Rewards: Try to stay focused on the long term goal you have planned for yourself. Morin pushes the point that “Giving in to today’s temptations may make you feel happy now, but long-term happiness and contentment requires you to forgo immediate gratification.”
- Recover From Mistakes Effectively: This step may be hard for some; however, it is crucial. Recovering from mistakes means being able to forgive yourself and learn from your mistakes. Self-compassion is key when it comes to overcoming the downfalls and getting back on track.
With intention and dedication, you can build self-discipline and no longer be a slave to your inhibitions. Instead of feeling powerless—living a life fraught with dissatisfaction—remember you can and will regain control of the life you want to live.
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