Career Guide

Building discipline one step at a time

What is self-discipline? It’s about acting rationally rather than following your feelings at any given time. It is about being methodical in the way you do things, and having a plan that you follow.

Sometimes, undoubtedly, it’s good to let go and follow your gut feeling. Many great achievements have been attained by people who did just that.

However, discipline can help us to a large extent, especially when we have to take on long-term projects that are bound to have their ups and downs and not keep our enthusiasm to the seventh heaven all the time.

Building discipline is a process, really. No one can be disciplined from the outset, and it requires hard decisions and sacrifices at times.

1 Self-knowledge

And the first step to that is self-knowledge. Why? Well, you first have to decide on your values and goals. What is important to you? What do you need to do to live life according to your values and pursue the goals you have set?

Writing a mission statement may help. It keeps you accountable to your values and goals and makes it easier for you to stick to the plan.

Self-reflection and introspection are crucial, in order to set the foundation, and the rationale of having discipline.

2 Conscious awareness

The next step would have to be conscious awareness. Being aware of what you do and what you don’t – when you are disciplined and when you are not, is a crucial component of building your discipline.

If you catch yourself being undisciplined – sleeping late, procrastinating, avoiding the gym, or avoiding tackling a problem at work, you are one step closer to correcting the problem.

After all, if you don’t realise you are doing something wrong, you will not be able to correct it.

Discipline takes time, and eventually this awareness will lead you to tackling the situation before you start doing something “wrong” – like eating that cake or not going for a run.

3 Commitment

Commitment to self-discipline is also another important component. You need to make a commitment, and find a way to keep yourself accountable to this – for some, it may mean involving others and sharing your plans with them.

The most effective way, however, is to find a way to really commit yourself, and measure your progress along the way.

Measuring the progress will give you data that cannot be questioned, and indicate how well you are actually doing.

Finally, courage and internal coaching will ensure you stay sane, and you follow through – talk to yourself and stay motivated, and dare to go the distance. Rome was not built in a day – so be patient, and you will eventually master the power of a disciplined you.