It has been proven that those people who accomplish more and are respected more have the ability to delay gratification. Think about who we respect – doctors, professors, writers, black belts, successful business people. All of these have made sacrifices to get to where they are today.
I like to be self-disciplined but truthfully, I am not. What I do is use tricks to keep me on track. The following are 8 tricks I use:
1 – lead me not into temptation. I simply do not have tempting stuff around me. If I want cookies in the evening, I need to either go out to a store or get out of the flour. Either of which is usually enough deterrent to keep me from eating them. I have even gone so far as to not have a TV.
2 – Plan. A small amount of planning keeps me on track. This can be as simple as planning what things I want to accomplish that day to planning what health snacks I want to have on hand. I set out my workout clothes every night and have my work clothes packed in my gym bag so I head straight to the gym.
3 – Set goals. The act of setting goals starts them in motion. The more you revisit them, the more you keep on track.
4 – Track what you do. It seems odd but the simple act of logging what you do or do not do is a great way to keep you on track. This works well for diets, workouts and just about anything. What gets measured and tracked, gets done.
5 – Ask yourself “what would I like to accomplished by the time I go to bed”. This simple question can keep you on task.
6 – Get a coach. This person can be a friend or a paid coach. Coaches tend to push and keep you on track. I always thought it was strange to pay someone to tell you what you already know you should do but years of working with a personal trainer have taught me that I push harder when I am coached.
7 – Increase the pain of not doing something. Simple – do not allow yourself to do what you find pleasurable until you complete the tough job.
8 – Increase the pleasure of success and make it more immediate. For example, writing an article has a very little instant reward. So rewarding myself with a tea for successfully completing it can work.
9 – I use the mantra “successful people do tough things” I am a successful person so that drives me to do the tough things.
10 – Tell other people your goals. If your goal is to stop something (like smoking), your friends and enemies alike will enjoy pointing out when you are failing. If your goal is positive like reading a book per week, tell you are positive, supportive friends – they will help prod you and support you.
11 – It is all about habits. “We are the product of what we repeatedly do” – Aristotle. Habits do not even take work. You just do them. I suspect you do not even have to think to brush your teeth. You just do it. It is a habit.
12 – It is all about systems. Build systems to help you accomplish your goals. Systems might include your support, your organization, your methods of doing things efficiently.
Self-discipline can be learned. You can choose to be self-disciplined. It is not easy but it is what will make you a success.