Tuesday, November 8, 2011

How To Improve Your Self Discipline

Today, I wanted to talk about something I struggle with from time to time and that is how to improve my self discipline. I basically work for myself in my "real" job. Because of that, on a daily basis, I have to find the motivation to get things done in order to be successful. I know that I first was faced with this challenge nearly 20 years ago. I went from working in an office everyday where people could keep an eye on me to no supervision. Results were entirely up to me.

At first, the free time to think and act for myself and to determine my own destiny didn't light a fire under me to get going. The exact opposite was true. Since I was working from home at the time, I tended to sleep a lot and watched a lot of daytime talk shows on tv. In general, I wasted a lot of time that I could have used to be more productive.

To make matters worse, I didn't get paid if I didn't work and because of that also went through a financial crunch.

I think anyone who works out of an office from their home might relate a similar experience. The freedom to do what you want, when you want and how you want to do it is a blessing and something I think everyone should do. Unfortunately, without one key ingredient - self discipline - you will not succeed.

The first thing that helped me make this transition was not providing myself an out if things did not work out. There was only one way forward and that was to find a way to make my business successful. I didn't tell myself I would get a job if it didn't. This turned out to be a critical decision in my mind because mentally I would have already failed. Had I not made that decision, I wouldn't have the business I have today.

The lesson here is that if you set a goal, develop the mindset that failure is not an option. Then it's only a matter of time before you reach that goal.

Along the way though, I had to develop a stronger self discipline. I did that by utilizing GTD concepts without really knowing at the time. The concept I am talking about is in identifying next actions.

Next actions are baby steps to the goals you have set for yourself. They are also little challenges of self discipline. Are you mentally stronger than the next action that you face?

The key for me was to focus on the only thing I could control and that was my daily actions. I couldn't control the results. I knew that if I repeated the right actions consistently over time, the results would follow.

The problem I had when I first started was my self discipline was weak at the time. What I had to do was to find a way to create small successes and build on those. As I achieved more small victories, my self discipline improved.

What I suggest you do, if you are having problems in this area, is to figure out a way to build these successes into your day. In the beginning, make success easy.

It's so easy to set the bar so high you can't reach it. Lower the bar and raise it as you get mentally tougher.

I'm doing the same thing in my life right now. I am trying to find a new focus from my real job to the commitment to make this site an incredible resource for its users. If you have been following me, you know that I have been doing thirty day challenges to improve my life.

I started these challenges off as something I knew I could do and I have slowly started making them harder. I encourage you to find away to do the same thing in your life. You'll notice that as you do, your self discipline will also improve.
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