9 Powerful Ways to improve your self-discipline and achieve your goals

9 Powerful Ways to improve your self-discipline and achieve your goals

At this time of the year, most of us are looking back at what we achieved last year and what we would like to achieve this year.  We may have achieved some stated goals and probably some unstated ones too.  So, it’s important to recognise our successes and reflect on what went well before berating ourselves for the things we didn’t achieve.  This type of reflection helps us understand why we might have failed to reach certain milestones.

Whilst there may be many reasons we didn’t quite get to where we wanted, self-discipline is often at the heart of them all.  We may have set clear, realistic and achievable goals which were articulated on paper but were simply unwilling to put in the consistent work.  Perhaps we invested in some great workout gear, signed up a the gym and started a regular exercise regime but as the weeks wore on and we didn’t see the results we were hoping for we slowed down and eventually came to a full stop.  Or maybe we decided to improve by reading more so we bought a stack of books but only got through the first 20 pages.  These stories are all too common and so with the New Year we find ourselves starting the process all over again.

If you find yourself in the same boat, don’t beat yourself up. This is a chance to make better decisions and tick more things off your goal list. I hope this blog will help you understand how you can improve your self-discipline and reach greater heights.  So, what can we do to achieve greater self-discipline?

Remove temptations.

Sometimes we fail to do what we want to do simply because there are too many temptations around.  When you can, remove those. You want to slow down on the unhealthy snacking? Avoid buying unhealthy snacks and replace them with healthy ones instead.

Have a clear why.

When you understand exactly why you need to get something done, you are more likely to pursue it.  Look at the bigger picture and  remember why you need to do certain things.  For each goal, write down your reasons very clearly.  Put this list where you can see it every day to remind yourself why your goal is important.

Have a Plan B.

Sometimes things simply don’t go our way, but that should not be the end of the world.  Think of an alternative option that will still allow you to reach your desired goal.  Maybe you planned to go for a run every day but then you injured your knee.  So, try swimming instead.

Start small.

When you think of what you want to achieve, it might seem like a huge mountain that you need to climb.  Remind yourself that you do not have to accomplish everything in one go. Start small and work your way to the top.  Just remember that consistency is more important than one massive effort that leaves you too exhausted to try again.

Have a detailed plan.

Rather than planning to ‘write a book’ or ‘lose 10 kgs’, break it down.  Plan on when you will accomplish the smaller parts of the bigger goal. These will be easier to accomplish while working towards the bigger and desired goal.

Realize your potential.

When you believe that you can achieve something, it is easier to achieve it rather than when you think you can’t.  Monitor your self-talk and remember that if someone else has achieved this thing, then you can too!

Forgive yourself.

Yesterday or last year you were unable to do what you wanted to do.  Yes, that can hurt, but you need to learn to forgive yourself and allow yourself to move on. Do not let mistakes from your past get in the way of you achieving your goals.  Life is not a once and forever occasion, we live on a continuum.  So, if you slipped up, remember your history is not you.  You are not a rock.  You can start fresh today and keep moving.

Try time-blocking.

Try the Pomodoro technique where you focus for 25 mins then take a 5 min break.  After four sessions you then take a longer 20 min break. This gives you enough time to get things done but without exhausting you.

Have an accountability partner.

This could be your friend, colleague or partner. Open up and tell them what you need to achieve. They need to be in a position to hold you accountable and ensure that you remain disciplined.  If you can’t find someone, use a journal to write down your daily progress and then look back on it each week to see that you have maintained your commitment.

Are You Ready to Do What It Takes to Achieve Your Goals?

When you find it challenging to achieve your goals, don’t think of giving up.

Rather, focus on improving your strategy. Think of a way that would allow you to reach your destination more effectively. This new way might be improving your sleep routine, changing the people you interact with or simply improving how you communicate with yourself.

Making changes is not always easy, but sometimes it is exactly what we need. Once we find what works, the next step is to be consistent, and that can be achieved when we have self-discipline.

It starts with the little things. So, rather than starting your day by snoozing your alarm and sleeping more, consider setting it earlier and giving yourself 10 minutes to meditate or stretch before jumping out of bed.  By the time you have a glass of water and finish brushing your teeth, you would have forgotten you had the urge to sleep just five more minutes and are ready to kick start the day.

This also sets the pace for the day, and you are more likely to take on everything that comes your way with energy and enthusiasm.

But, self-discipline is not achieved overnight; it takes time, patience and kindness. Take one day at a time. And if you fail today, try again tomorrow. Don’t give up!

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