Discipline is the greatest obstacle in preventing most people from achieving the levels of success they desire. Take a moment to process that if you had the discipline to do everything you knew you should do, even when you did not feel like doing it, how much more successful you will be in achieving your personal and professional goals. Discipline is the most challenging habit to do consistently, which is why employers reward it more than any other.
1. Make the commitment.
If you really want to achieve your goals, then you must make the commitment to be disciplined. It is that simple. Being disciplined is not something you have—it is something you do. Discipline every habit you have. Be disciplined with your physical health and nutrition, put responsibilities before leisure, control your reactive emotions, watch what you say, and keep a positive mindset.
2. Stay focused.
Review your goals each morning before you start your day, or set and review your goals for the next day before you go to sleep. Make sure to pick a quiet time and/or place where you can focus and visualize on what you want to achieve in the short and long term. This will help you to set the most important goals on your list for the next day. As you visualize, see yourself achieving your goals and imagine the feelings of success which will come along with this. In this way you start your day in a productive and positive mindset.
3. Prioritize tasks.
As you plan your day discipline yourself to accomplish the tasks which require the most effort and discipline from you. Get your big stressors out of the way. When you accomplish your more stressful tasks first, not only will you begin to do this with more consistency, but you will be less stressed throughout the rest of your day, allowing you to be more productive on your other, less important activities. In this way, you learn to turn a mess to greatness.
4. Get sufficient rest.
An important key to success is to have your mind and body ready and prepared for each day. There is nothing better for concentration and the ability to be patient then getting enough rest. Create a bedtime routine which helps you wind down and shut the day off. Whatever is stressing you before bed, make an agreement with yourself to let it go. Whatever is stressing you can be handled the next day as your number one priority.
It is a great practice to write about your day in a journal before you sleep, where you mentally and emotionally wrap the day up and put it away. Writing also helps you to find solutions which decrease your stress before bed. This type of writing is a great way to release any negative energy you are still carrying from the day.
5. Eat for energy.
Good nutrition equals a smarter brain and better energy. Start your day with a breakfast high in protein and low in carbs. To avoid a food coma at lunch, avoid eating starchy carbs or drinking alcohol. Eat foods that are clean and alive. Eat greens for your carbs and have a lean meat for your protein, and make sure to drink sufficient water.
Stay away from simple sugars, too much caffeine and nicotine. This will help you keep your energy flowing throughout the day. Make sure to pack little snacks, such as protein bars or almonds to maintain optimal blood sugar levels.
6. Do the little things.
A great way to cultivate the habit of being disciplined is to focus on doing the little things you know you should do such as making your bed before you leave the house, keeping your environment clean, keep your car clean, take the garbage out, and pick up after yourself. As you discipline yourself to do the little things, you will become more disciplined in doing the bigger, more important things.
7. Follow through.
Make decisions ahead of time. If you decide to exercise each morning before work, then do not allow yourself to talk yourself out of it, no matter how much you want to. If you are going to take on an important project in the morning do not second-guess your decision in the morning. The decision is made—so follow through with it.
Without follow through you have no discipline. Your mind is often your greatest enemy when it comes to following through, it will try and talk you into laziness and doing things later. You must win this battle and keep up on all that you have planned to do.
8. Reward yourself.
When you accomplish the things which require your discipline, your success will be what rewards your effort. When you see the success you have created exploding right in front of your eyes, reward yourself when you are done. Be happy and proud of yourself. Share with your loved ones what you have achieved and take everyone out to dinner and drinks with you to celebrate your hard work and subsequent achievements.
Feel good about what you are doing. Each time you witness your own success, you see your discipline habit paying off. It is this payoff which motivates you to stay disciplined.
To stay disciplined, you must adopt the mindset of “Just do it.” Do not allow your mind to talk you out of doing what you need to do to achieve what you have committed to achieving. Attack each day with the commitment to being disciplined, healthy, maintaining good energy and keeping your mindset motivated and positive.
Attack your stressors first thing in the morning, so you can focus on your longer term goals for the remainder of your day. When you are disciplined, you are less stressed, which turns you into a greater success.
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This article originally appeared on Entrepreneur.com. Minor edits have been done by the Entrepreneur.com.ph editors.
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