How To Turn Self-Discipline Into A Habit

how to turn self-Discipline into a habit

There are many definitions of self-discipline, but I prefer one supplied by the American philosopher and writer Elbert Hubbard. He said self-discipline is "the ability to do what you have to do when you have to do it, whether you feel like it or not.

Self-discipline is a crucial life skill that enables you to succeed in anything you choose to do. Again, this doesn't necessarily have to do with money. These can involve your relationships. This can also involve your health.

As you probably already know, if you're like most Americans, losing weight is no joke. It requires a tremendous amount of self-discipline because hey, let's face it when given a choice, we'd rather eat pizza. We'd rather chomp down on a burger or enjoy some fried chicken. But it takes a lot of discipline to eat salad day after day.

Self-Discipline Enables you to Focus

Please understand those successful people who are very self-disciplined weren't born that way. They made certain choices. One choice is to turn self-discipline into a habit. The good news is self- discipline is just like any other life skill.

At first, it's kind of rough because you haven't focused on it before. In fact, in many cases, you might be operating in a fully foreign territory. It's completely new to you. Its language is Greek to you.

But as you figure things out through trial and error and by sheer repetition, eventually, everything starts to fall into place and guess what happens. It becomes easier. It's not much different from going to the gym the first time.

If you've ever tried working out at the gym, the first few days are murder on your muscles. How can they not? You haven't put pressure on your muscles before. But as you get used to pumping iron and you go to the gym day after day, eventually, your body adjusts.

Before you know it, you start developing leaner, bigger, and stronger muscles. The same applies to your self-control and self-discipline. Instead of physical muscles, they are mental and emotional muscles. Still, they operate like muscles.

The more you challenge them and put pressure on them, the stronger they become. There is, of course, initial resistance and discomfort. This goes with the territory. But as long as you are able to follow through, eventually, things become easier and, before you know it, becomes almost automatic because self-discipline has become a habit.

In a 2010 study published in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 92 people who were trying to quit smoking were studied in terms of self-control habit formation. In an initial meeting, they were lead to believe for 2 weeks that when they do certain tasks like keeping a diary, doing math problems, practicing handgrip exercises, and avoiding sweets, this would build self-control.

In the first group involving hand grip and sweet avoidance, participants were told to inhibit their behaviors, feelings, and urges. They were told to eat as little sweet foods as possible. They were also given hand grips to exercise their gripping power.

For the diary group, people were just told to keep a diary of any acts of self-control they did throughout the period. This was actually the control group.

It turns out that when people were assigned to practices involving resisting sweets or doing handgrip exercises, they are more likely to achieve higher levels of self-control. In other words, small acts of self-control can lead to greater overall self-discipline.

It becomes a habit. When you apply self-control to small things, they scale up to the larger challenges in your life. Don't think that a little bit of self-control in one area of your life will, in no way, spill over to other areas of your life. They do.

Step by step guide to turning self-discipline into a habit.

#1 | Focus on getting small stuff done

If, for example, you're trying to adopt a new habit of always knocking out your daily to-do lists, focus first on getting small stuff done. Focus on the ministerial stuff.

#2 | Scale-up once it gets easy

When you look at your daily tasks, there is always low hanging fruit. Make it a point to habitually eliminate that day after day. Once you've reached a point where it becomes easy for you to take care of low hanging fruit, scale up to tasks that take a lot more time or require more willpower.

#3 | Keep scaling up when things get easy

You will notice something strange when you're scaling up. It turns out you achieve a certain momentum and you're able to handle more things. Pay close attention when this happens. Compare yourself to when you began.

#4 | Get your if-then statements ready

Always have your if-then statements at the back of your mind when it comes to intention implementation. A little bit of preparation can go a long way because life can throw you curveballs. Be prepared for disappointments and circumvent them.
There's always a workaround. So focus on the workaround and you'd be surprised as to how much you can achieve. The best part of all of this is your momentum builds up very quickly over time.

Proud to be different

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