The Importance of Self-Discipline: 8 Steps to be More Self-Disciplined

  A women practising focus and self-control while sitting on rocks and looking out towards the sea

Self-discipline is one of the most useful characteristics that you can possess. 
It is the ability to see through any short-term distractions and instead take consistent actions to strive towards achieving your long-term goals. 
You will simply not go far in life without being self-disciplined!

So, It is no wonder why loads of the most successful people in this world all highly recognize their self-discipline as being a fundamental factor for their success. 
All you need to do is take a moment to think of any successful millionaire at the top of your head, and you’ll certainly see where I am coming from! 

8 Steps to be More Self-Disciplined 

1. Act on Your Own Initiative

Take a step back and ask yourself: What is it that I want? And Why do I want this?
After all, there is no point living your life based upon someone else's standards or ideologies.

It is important that you see the sense behind what it is that you want to achieve. 
You need to be bold and take things into your own hands.
Otherwise you will be stuck working for somebody else's dream!

2. Set Your Priorities

Decide what is most important to you and ultimately what you will get the most benefit out of in the long term.

If you are stuck on where to start with this, then look no further than using the Eisenhower Decision matrix.
This is a simple, but really effective matrix that helps us to acknowledge what work matters the most to us and ultimately what it is that we need to prioritize.
All you do is put tasks that you need to do into one of four different sections.

The sections of the Eisenhower Decision Matrix are:
Do it Now -  the most urgent and important tasks
Decide When to Do it - the tasks that are important, but not urgent
Delegate it - the tasks that are urgent, but not important 
Delete it - the tasks that are not important and not urgent



3. Set A Specific Time For Completion

If you’re running in a marathon in six months time and tell yourself that you will start training “later”, you most likely won’t start any time soon or will foolishly start at the last minute. 
Setting a deadline of “later” typically leads to constant postponement. 
It will be much easier for you to stick to your intention if you set a specific date.

Parkinson's Law identifies the necessity for a specific time frame very nicely.
Parkinson's Law is where the time that we spend doing a task increases in order to fill the time frame that we have set for the completion of that task.

For example, if you have to write a report that will take you 2 hours to complete, but you have a week to do it then the perceived complexity of the task will increase and appear more intimidating so as to fill up the week. 

4. Break Down Large Tasks Into Smaller Ones

By breaking down greater tasks into smaller tasks, it becomes less intimidating and perceived as being less challenging. 
This is because it makes it easier to see your progress when each goal gets completed. 

But, it also gives a sense of achievement throughout your journey to achieve the major goal, therefore improving your motivation and will-power along the way.

5. Ignore And Silence Your Haters

You’ve probably been in a situation before where you’ve told a friend or acquaintance about your goals or ideas and all they did was react with skepticism. 
It’s certainly disheartening and will start to fuel self-doubt that can hinder your motivation if you let it get to you.
 
But, before this happens, simply take it with a pinch of salt and move on!
If all people are going to do is see the negatives in everything that you do, then they aren't worth your time.

6. Find Your Rhythm

Everyone performs more efficiently at different phases within the day. 
The decisive factor for this is the so-called chronobiology. 
This is simply where bodily processes fluctuate considerably within a day. 
Whether this be the activity of your organs, your level or tiredness, or your ability to concentrate effectively. They all vary throughout the day.

Distinguish between the times of the day where you feel most energetic and those whee you feel most tired. 
Then, structure your day accordingly in order to work during the time periods where you are most energetic and able to focus more.

7. Visualize Your Goals

We are often motivated by the reward that we get from completing something. 
What this is can vary significantly from being intrinsic to extrinsic or introjected to identified. 

But, put that aside and simply ask yourself: 
What is your reason behind your goals? 
What do you treat yourself to when you've achieved your goals? 

Some people have the ability to visualize and imagine their goals, while others need a more definitive picture. 
Find out what works best for you!


8. Reward Yourself For Partial Success

Learn to praise and reward yourself regularly. 
This helps to promote an optimistic frame of mind and acknowledge the progress that you are making towards your end goal.


It is easy to get distracted in today's world with the endless amounts of technology at our fingertips. 
But through regularly rewarding ourselves, we soon recognize that striving towards our long-term goals is the right thing to do. 
It helps us to understand the importance of self-discipline and see the bigger picture.

Conclusion

Self-discipline is easily up there as being one of the most important personality traits and characteristics to possess in order to become successful in life.

It is certainly not easy to master self-discipline.
But, by learning from the steps in this article and ultimately putting them to action, you will be well on your path to becoming more self-disciplined in your every day actions

The Cookie Jar Method: A Method to Stay Motivated in Difficult Times

  A glass cookie jar full of cookies

No matter who you are, you would have encountered many difficult challenges and struggles during your life. 

Whether these be situations such as working long hours at a job that you hate or encountering relationship problems, we all know just how hard it can be to stay motivated and push forwards with our lives. 

Despite all of the difficult situations that life throws at us, we often find ourselves having a tiny bit more energy and persistence to push through these difficult times. 
This ability to strive forward and carry on is where the concept of the cookie jar method comes in to play. 

An Insight in to The Cookie Jar Method

The Cookie Jar method was developed bya former US Navy Seal called David Goggins.
But, in order to truly understand the Cookie Jar Method, we need to understand who David Goggins is. 

A Background of David Goggins:

  • Former US Navy SEAL
  • Competed in over 60 ultra-triathlons, ultra-marathons, and triathlons
    • Consistently placed in the top 5 of these races 
    • Set numerous course records
  • Former Guinness World Record holder for the most pull-ups in 24 hours
    • He achieved 4,030 pull-ups in 17 hours
So, clearly David Goggins is an extremely tough guy!
David Goggins running the 2007 Badwater Ultramarathon

How The Cookie Jar Method Came About

David Goggins wanted to run the Badwater Ultramarathon to raise money for the Special Operations Warrior Foundation. 
This is a foundation that works closely with the children of special operations soldiers that have unfortunately lost their lives and ultimately provides them with grants and college scholarships. 
So, it is a foundation that is close to Goggins' heart as lots of his close friends sadly died in a helicopter crash when serving in Afghanistan in 2005. 

However, David Goggins was told that he needed to have completed multiple 100 mile races before he could compete in the invitational based Badwater Ultramarathon. 
So, he entered the San Diego 24-hour ultramarathon that began in only 3 days time. 
This meant that David Goggins was effectively going to run the length of 4 marathons at once with no preparation, training or experience in long distance running. 
Clearly this proved to be a near impossible challenge to complete!

The Start of a New Mentality: San Diego 24-hour Ultramarathon

David Goggins running the 2007 Badwater Ultramarathon

During this ultramarathon is where the David Goggins Cookie Jar Method is developed and brought to life.

After 25 miles of the race had passed, Goggins was starting to feel very fatigued. 
He began questioning whether he would be able to complete the race. 
But, he kept persevering despite having the equivalent of 3 more regular marathons left to run!
When he reached 50 miles, his legs felt like concrete bricks. 
He could hardly move them and was experiencing lots of pain. 
But, he kept persevering!

Then, at the 70 mile mark, Goggins felt defeated as blood began dripping down his lifeless legs. He often describes this as being one of the lowest points in his life. He was constantly questioning why he was running the race in the first place and why he is still running.  

But, this soon became a turning point for Goggins. 
He realized that he had overcome many impossible tasks during his time as a US Navy SEAL.  
All of a sudden he felt a spur of energy and began to walk slowly. 
He was remembering all the difficult times he battled through. 
So, in essence he was adopting the emotional mentality that he experienced when overcoming these previous challenges. 
This then pushed him forward to complete 101 miles in 19 hours and 6 minutes.

This whole concept of reminiscing your previous achievements and failures that you conquered is what the Cookie Jar Method is based upon. 


What is The Cookie Jar Method?

The Cookie Jar method is where you mentally store and keep note of all of the past experiences that you've overcome and achieved. 
Then during times when you feel like giving up, you can simply take a cookie out the jar. 

In other words, you can refer back to a previous situation in your life where you overcame a difficult challenge or battled through a tough period in your life.

These difficult situations that you have overcome could include accomplishments such as breaking a bad habit, battling through a period of depression, or healing from a bad injury.

What ever these situations may be for you, they are vital to look back upon in situations where we are finding things challenging. 
This is because they can easily help you to gain a broader perspective and thereby providing you with an extra boost of motivation and strength when you feel like giving up.


Conclusion

We all know just how tough life can be at times!
But, overall David Goggins does an excellent job through his Cookie Jar Method by suggesting that we should always learn from our past experiences and use them to help us conquer our goals and overcome challenges in the present moment. 

Talking to Yourself Out Loud: What Does it Mean?

 A women dressed in blue with glasses on who is carefully starring at herself in the mirror and thinking deeply 

We are all guilty of talking to ourselves from time to time!

Yet talking aloud is typically how we interact with other people. So, it is easy to contemplate whether or not it is actually bad to talk to ourselves.

But, talking to yourself can uncover many things about you, some of which you may not even realise!

Talking to yourself out loud can mean many things, both good and bad. Determining the meaning of this is not whether you talk to yourself or not, but more so, how you talk to yourself. 
The key word here is ‘how’. 
The way in which you talk to yourself out loud is massively influential due to its deeper meanings and how it may impact you on a regular basis.

How to Develop a Winning Mindset

When we think of a winning mindset or mentality, we typically begin to associate it with people who are very competitive and want to beat everyone else. 
But, rather than viewing a winning mindset as something to do with greed, we instead must broaden our perspective of what it means to be a winner. 

So, when broadening our perspective, a winning mindset is more appropriately to do with not giving up and striving towards achieving our personal goals. 
This means that a winning mindset is a mindset that sees past excuses and always seeks to grow and develop further by pushing beyond the comfort zone.

Unconsciously Giving Up On Our Goals

Unfortunately, as humans we like to deceive ourselves without consciously acknowledging that we are doing so. 
We typically see this in theories such as the Cognitive Dissonance Theory. 

Cognitive Dissonance is where we experience conflicting thoughts, emotions, or behaviours. 
These ultimately cause mental discomfort (or imbalance/dissonance). 
So, to reduce this mental discomfort we need to change our behaviour. 

For example, you may know that doughnuts are unhealthy , but you eat them anyway because you like the taste of them. 
Or you know that attending training sessions for your football team will help you improve and get selected for matches. 
But, you don’t go to training because you find it boring and just want to play matches.

So these both provide examples of where our actions and desires are drawn towards pursuing short-term satisfaction which cause us to make these irrational decisions. 
These small obstacles that you inflict upon yourself are a decisive barrier to overcome in order to adopt a winning mindset and mentality.

Developing a Winning Mindset

In order to have a productive and growth mindset it is vital to identify our negative habits. 
Then, we should remove these negative habits by replacing them with good habits that aid our personal growth and development. 
  
Here are some of the key ways to identify and replace bad habits in order to develop a winning mindset:

1. Identify Your Main Goals and Life Objectives

Firstly, we need to understand and acknowledge what our main goals are in life or in a particular area or discipline that we feel that we need to improve in.

An effective way to do this by writing down a list of potential goals, then leave yourself with no more than 4 or 5 by crossing out the ones that you deem to be of lesser importance.

Therefore, this helps us to acknowledge our priorities and further improve our understanding of where we want to strategically develop the most on a long-term perceptive.

2. Recognize The Excuses That You Make

Secondly, developing a winning mindset is only possible if we initially combat our actions, thoughts, and feelings that are preventing us from making progress in life.

Therefore ,we need to identify areas of cognitive dissonance in our lives and then changing the attitude that is holding us back.

This may not be the most straightforward of things, but by simply being more accountable and responsive for your actions, you significantly improve your ability to develop in to a stronger and more successful person. 

3. Step Out Of Your Comfort Zone

Stepping out of the comfort zone helps us to make good progress and positively strive towards our goals. 
However, it certainly isn't all sunshine and rainbows!

Most often than not, it puts us in to more stressful and fearful situations. 
Yet if we want to truly develop a winning mindset, then we need to keep pushing ourselves forward by escaping the confinements of our comfort zone.

Moreover, it is equally as important to avoid procrastination which in order to step out of the comfort zone. 

Procrastination is where we keep on putting things off by postponing or delaying them in order to avoid doing them.
We typically procrastinate when we fear that we may fail a task, or if we have certain characteristics that are associated with a greater fear of failure like a low self-esteem or low-confidence.
However, there are plenty of ways that we can strive to overcome procrastination .

Ways That You Can Overcome Procrastination Can Include:

  • Minimizing your distractions 
  • Use incentives through rewarding yourself when you complete the task
  • Set goals that are manageable
  • Realize that nothing can be perfect 
  • Break your work down in to smaller steps 
  • Make yourself accountable by telling others about your goals 
  • Don't over complicate the situation 
  • Make a start 

4. Adopting And Maintaining Good Habits 

Once we acknowledge our bad habits, it is important to act upon them in order to improve our ability to adopt a winning mindset.

In order to effectively do this, we need to start on a small scale by tackling one bad habit at a time. 
This therefore makes it easier to overcome bad habits by breaking each challenge down in to smaller and more achievable processes. 

Then, over time these incremental changes become more significant and can overall massively improve our mindset and mentality.

Once we have replaced our restrictive habits, we find that making effective progress is much more smooth and straightforward. 

Yet, it is always important that we continue our good habits through seeing the bigger picture.
So, we need to regularly re-evaluate our habits and keep a tight control upon maintaining the good habits. 

Conclusion

Building and maintaining a winning mindset allows us to overcome our excuses.
It does so by helping us to break out of our comfort zone, thereby focusing upon the long-term and ultimately leading to a more fulfilling, purposeful and meaningful life.

This is why adopting a winning mindset as a part of our everyday lives will have a very positive impact upon our lives and the satisfaction that we gain from our everyday actions.