Over the years, I have developed a lot of bad habits. It is not difficult to develop bad habits, and I have collected them since my university days.
I have worked hard to get rid of some of these habits and have failed more often than not, and it has been my experience that the single biggest reason for my failures has been the lack of self-discipline.
So, I figured the first thing I had to do was work on my self-discipline. Of course, developing self-discipline will benefit all aspects of your life, not just helping in kicking your bad habits. I imagined my self-discipline to be that aspect of my willpower that blocked temptation from removing logic from my mind.
My thinking was simple. Why am I tempted to do something that is not beneficial to me? The answer – is because I enjoyed doing it. I had experienced that thing that tempted me many times before, and I wanted to experience it again. I needed a shield that blocked the temptation with logic and reason.
The following are five tips that I followed to help me develop my self-discipline. Hopefully, it will help you get started as well.
1. Give yourself a purpose
The worst habit I developed during my university days was smoking cigarettes. Over the years, I tried several times to kick this habit, and I succeeded many times. Try as I might, I just could not kick the habit.
When my wife and I decided to have our first child, I decided to quit smoking, not for my health but the health of my child. And that was the purpose I needed to quit smoking finally. Every time I felt the need to smoke, I thought about my purpose and stopped myself.
Find your purpose, and it will give you the reason and strength to persevere.
2. Information to drive the purpose
Following up on the previous point, once you have your purpose, it might not be enough. For the mind to accept the purpose, there have to be reasons. So do your research on what you intend to achieve and back up your purpose with facts. For example, when I decided to quit smoking cigarettes, the purpose or reason for me to quit smoking was my child, but I also backed it up with facts on the benefits of quitting smoking cigarettes. On how smoking had a detrimental effect on not only my health but also the health of my family.
3. Make it a habit
Once you have achieved the self-discipline required to achieve your goal, you must constantly work on maintaining this self-discipline. It is very easy to lose focus once you have achieved your goals, and then you will lose all the hard work and effort you put into developing the self-discipline required to achieve your goals. And then you will have to start all over again to achieve the same goal. So, once you have reached your goal, maintain the self-discipline required. Develop it into a habit.
My wife and a group of her friends wake up very early in the morning and go for a long fast walk. They all do this six days a week (weather and health permitting). She can do this because of the strength, motivation, and competition she can get from her friends. They wear smartwatches that track the group activity and can push each other to achieve their goals. When she started, she was alone and did not have the drive to get up every day in the wee hours of the morning to go for a walk, and she used to give up constantly. But now, because of this group, it is possible.
So, don’t live on an island with a population of one, and take the support from friends, colleagues and mentors when possible.
5. Reward yourself
It is essential to acknowledge your victories, even if no one else does. So, celebrate it, pat yourself on the back and maybe even reward yourself when you achieve a milestone in developing your self-discipline.
Hopefully, these five tips will help you develop your self-discipline and achieve your goals. If you have any other tips that might help our readers improve their self-discipline, please share them here.
If you have been thinking about doing a master’s degree, and are ready to challenge yourself, look at our list of programmes and see if we have anything you are interested in doing.
You can also chat LIVE on WhatsApp with one of our Education Advisors for more information on the programme that is right for you, the application process, and details on discounts we might be offering at this time.