Willpower and self-discipline are crucial for success - be it at work, in sports or in everyday life. This quality is important because it helps us to consistently implement the set goals and the resulting plans and to achieve long-term success.
In this blog article you will learn how you can strengthen your self-discipline in just seven simple steps and why it will take your life to a new level.
Self-discipline vs. self-sabotage
Before embarking on the steps of self-discipline development, it is almost more important to have a basic understanding of how self-discipline and self-sabotage interact and how to influence these forces.
What is self-discipline?
Self-discipline describes the ability to set rules and guidelines for oneself and to comply with them, even if this involves challenges. It describes the ability to control one's own impulses and emotions and to make oneself do or refrain from doing certain things in order to achieve one's goals and desires.
Self-discipline requires a conscious effort and willingness to sacrifice short-term needs and rewards in favor of long-term goals and achievements. Strong self-discipline can help lead a fulfilling and successful life, while urges to self-sabotage can lead to frustration and a feeling of lack of control in life.
What is self-sabotage and how to overcome it?
Self-discipline and self-sabotage are opposing forces that direct our lives in different directions. While self-discipline helps us to be proactive and energetic in our lives, self-sabotage drives us into an inertia that leaves no room for personal growth, also known as the comfort zone .
The comfort zone is a state in which we feel safe and comfortable. We subconsciously take refuge in routines and familiar patterns of behavior, so that we give up even when faced with the smallest challenges that life throws at us.
Such behavior can lead to lethargy, where a lack of motivation, lack of energy and sluggishness rule our lives. This condition robs us of our freedom to make decisions and to act, and thus our control over our development and destiny.
Self-discipline through new behavior patterns
Behavioral patterns are certain ways of acting, thinking and feeling that we have acquired throughout our lives and that influence our behavior.
Reaching for unhealthy food in stressful situations or giving up at the slightest challenge are examples of behavior patterns that are anchored in our subconscious.
However, we can break free from these patterns by establishing new habits that help us to actively shape our lives.
Learn self-discipline in just 7 steps
With the help of these seven steps we can learn to achieve self-discipline and thus change our behavior in the long term.
Step 1: Self-analysis through self-reflection
Before we set new goals, it is important to be aware of our current situation. In doing so, we should ask ourselves in which areas we are dissatisfied and which negative characteristics or routines contribute to this situation.
However, it is also important to identify our positive qualities and strengths, with the help of which we can become aware of what we are already good at and what will help us to get closer to our goals.
Through self-reflection we can find answers to these questions. Meditation and mindfulness exercises are helpful tools to promote healthy self-reflection.
Step 2: Define a specific goal
Trying to change multiple habits at once can be overwhelming and lead to failure. It's wise to focus on one habit at a time and change them in small increments to ensure long-term success. A gradual change in habits helps us to set realistic and achievable goals.
Goals give us a clear direction and help us to focus on what is important. To ensure that our goals are realistic and achievable, they should be formulated using the SMART method .
Clearly articulating our goals allows us to measure our progress and make changes where necessary.
A SMART goal could look like this:
I would like to increase my mental strength and resilience in the long term by doing 30 minutes of mindfulness and breathing exercises a day and consistently focusing my mindset on positive factors.
Step 3: Create a weekly action plan
An action plan is a detailed plan that describes how a specific goal will be achieved. An action plan facilitates the process of goal attainment by laying out systematic steps to achieve the goal.
Take time at the end of each week to check that you have implemented the action plan. If not, analyze what might have contributed to the failure and adjust the plan accordingly if necessary. Regular review helps track progress and ensure you stay on track to reach your goal.
Step 4: Create an emotional trigger
In the book "The Robbins Power Principle" Tony Robbins describes how we can use emotions to establish new behavioral patterns. By associating positive emotions with desired behaviors, we can program our brains to learn and repeat them as new, automatic habits.
This approach is based on the understanding that emotions are a driving force for change and that conscious management of emotions can help to establish new habits in the long term. In order for your new habit to be anchored in your subconscious more quickly, it is helpful to associate it with positive emotions.
In our article "The Limitless Effect - Increase your performance at the push of a button" you will find step-by-step instructions on how to acquire an emotional trigger that enables you to call it up when needed. This way you can integrate your new habit more effectively into your everyday life and maintain it in the long term by linking it to a positive emotion.
Step 5: Recognize and avoid your comfort zone
As mentioned earlier, our self-sabotage can prevent us from stepping out of our comfort zone and moving forward.
We often unknowingly fall victim to self-sabotage without realizing it - as it has many faces. For this reason we have listed the most important forms of self-sabotage for you.
- Procrastination: Procrastination leads to unproductivity and prevents achievement of goals.
- Perfectionism: Setting unrealistic standards that result in refusal or delay.
- Negative self-talk: Constant negative self-talk reduces self-confidence and motivation.
- Finding excuses: avoiding responsibility and preventing positive change.
Step 6: The 66 Day Challenge
Establishing new habits requires discipline and perseverance, as it can be a daily challenge to discard old behavior patterns and learn new ones at the beginning.
One method that can help you learn a routine is the 66-Day Challenge.
The idea is that it takes about 66 days to program a new habit into our subconscious. During this time, one commits to performing the desired behavior on a daily basis, thereby increasing self-control and willpower.
Step 7: The way is the goal
It is important to understand that the end result is solely the sum of your efforts. Self-control and discipline are not simply bestowed, but come from overcoming limitations and strengthening one's will on a daily basis.
This mindset forms the final piece of the puzzle in this 7-step plan to achieve self-discipline.
Long-term success depends on whether you are driven by self-discipline or self-sabotage. These behavioral patterns are often ingrained deep in our subconscious. But that doesn't mean they're fixed forever. With a clear plan and the implementation of certain steps, these patterns can be made conscious and reprogrammed.