Discipline is much more important than we currently recognize. There is a reason that most big-thinkers and brilliant minds emphasize that discipline is one of the single most important factors in determining success. Having the right amounts of discipline, and focused on the right areas of life, present the key to continuous improvement.

Tony Robbins calls the concept of continuous improvement “CANI”. CANI stands for Constant And Never-ending Improvement. Self-discipline is the key to developing the force behind continuous forward momentum in your life and in your achievements. Imagine a world in which you accomplished any goal you set due to the innate hard work and discipline you exercise throughout each and every day. You would likely never question your own ability to achieve, and you’d gain all the power in the world to accomplish any goal, big or small!

A photo that shows that growth doesn't only need to occur in a single area of your life, in fact, discipline can help you experience growth in EVERY area of your life!
Growth doesn’t only need to occur in a single area of your life, in fact, discipline can help you experience growth in EVERY area of your life!

Of course, it helps to have a goal in mind in the first place! Check out my post on proper goal setting HERE so you can get started right! Either way, today I intend to discuss the importance of practicing better self-discipline. This discipline will play a huge role in altering your habits for the better. You can begin to practice some key exercises in discipline right away, and benefit almost immediately from your newfound motivation.

So, how can we benefit from increased self-discipline? First, it would prove beneficial to know exactly what self-discipline is.

Self-Discipline: The ability to control one’s feelings and overcome one’s weaknesses; the ability to pursue what one thinks is right despite temptations to abandon it. (Oxford)

Why is this so important? Only when we are aware of what self-discipline is, and how we can use it, will we become able to spot the pitfalls that cause us to limit our own achievements. Self-discipline is all about control, specifically, having the control to take action despite immediately tempting opportunity costs of that action.

For example, self-discipline is going to the gym despite the opportunity costs which could be anything from sitting on the couch to hitting up my favorite ice cream joint! As we can see, having the right amounts of self-discipline and tenacity can be amazingly powerful forces of change in our lives. We will no longer become victims to our own beliefs about who we are, which is an important distinction to make.

Self-discipline is the key to avoiding the immediately comfortable in favor of the potentially beneficial!
Self-discipline is the key to avoiding the immediately comfortable in favor of the potentially beneficial!

Oftentimes, people lack self-discipline merely because they don’t identify with their actions. This occurs in a few ways, they either 1) believe that they aren’t the kind of person who performs that action, whatever it may be, or 2) they haven’t consistently performed the action enough to make it a part of their identity to begin with!

For more on your Identity and how to alter it click HERE!

Either way, most of the actions we take consistently will begin to shift the views we have of ourselves. Maybe you wouldn’t identify as a gym-goer until you’ve gone consistently for a certain amount of time, but once you do, it becomes hard to stop! Ultimately, there are some key ways in which we can develop more self-discipline and practice it constantly.

I’ll list 4 effective exercises you can take right this very moment.

1) Remove distractions.

Distractions can be dangerous by hindering your dedicated improvements. Your livelihood can depend on saying no to the things that aren't immediately enticing.
Distractions can be dangerous by hindering your dedicated improvements. Your livelihood can depend on saying no to the things that aren’t immediately enticing.

Distractions are often the temptations that pull you away from doing what you know you need to do. They are the opportunity costs you imagine that fill your head with a notion of comfort rather than the discipline you need to act. My book, The Potential Dichotomy states it like this, pull your focus away from the immediately comfortable circumstances, and those circumstances will have less effect over you and your discipline. Simply put, rid yourself of temptations!

There is a reason why an addict will find it much easier to avoid thinking about substances when there are none around. Consider the saying “out of sight, out of mind.”. Yanking away the distractions that can affect your self-discipline will allow you to focus on more of the things you should be focusing on. If your goal is to lose weight, then throw away the junk food, and pull the treadmill into whichever room you spend the most time in! If your goal is to be more productive at work, put your desk-toys and cell-phone away, and dedicate time to your performance!

2) Eat healthily.

Eating healthily and consistently ensures that you have plenty of energy needed to perform to your fullest ability and make the best use of your opportunities.
Eating healthily and consistently ensures that you have plenty of energy needed to perform to your fullest ability and make the best use of your opportunities.

No, this point is not only for those of you who have physical health goals, studies have shown that a person who is hungry and/or devoid of energy is likely to have less resolve in pursuing their goals than somebody who doesn’t. This seems obvious enough, considering that the basis of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is physiological, it’s logical to assume that self-actualization cannot occur when our physiological health is not being maintained! Simply put, the mind has trouble focusing when it is preoccupied with other needs.

Maslow's hierarchy of needs is used to gauge the level of actualization that exists as a result of social development in the life of a person. Physiological needs are the base, and self-actualization is the ultimate.
Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is used to gauge the level of actualization that exists as a result of social development in the life of a person. Physiological needs are the base, and self-actualization is the ultimate.

Being well-fueled allows you to direct your focus in any area of your life that requires lots of energy, this makes you more productive and often more optimistic as a result. Eating regularly throughout the day affects your blood-sugar levels and increases your attention and focus. Just make sure you are eating healthily as well!

3) avoid the trap of the “perfect moment”.

Unfortunately, the stars will never align and produce the perfect moment or you to capitalize on. You must be willing to act regardless of your current circumstances and build the life you desire!
Unfortunately, the stars will never align and produce the perfect moment or you to capitalize on. You must be willing to act regardless of your current circumstances and build the life you desire!

Most people wait until something feels absolutely perfect, the stars align, they’re in their zodiac, and today’s their birthday before they decide to make a change in their lives! Ultimately, the people who wait until the circumstances match their willingness will wait until the end of time. This is because the circumstances aren’t created for us, they’re created BY us.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again,

Circumstances create weak people, strong people create the circumstances.

Are you unhappy now in any area of your life? What is stopping you from achieving happiness? Anything? You are likely the only person or thing that is affecting your ability to be happy. Nobody walks around with a gun to your head telling you to be miserable and not to chase your dreams. We often make excuses like “it’s too late” or “the timing isn’t right” before we even try! You may be surprised at just how much you can accomplish with some direction and self-discipline.

4) Wake up earlier.

Waking up earlier can result in plenty of time to be productive without the distractions that come along with it!
Waking up earlier can result in plenty of time to be productive without the distractions that come along with it!

Yes, I said it. Wake up earlier. Honestly, I used to be a night-owl 100%. I absolutely HATED the early mornings and I felt like early morning people were some strange race of different creatures. That was until I tried it. Waking up earlier allowed me an extra 2 hours of my day to use in whichever way I felt was most useful. I woke up with no distractions, was able to read, post my blog, write my book, and fix up my website super quickly as a result. Not to mention I got to wake up with the sun every day, which was strangely spiritual.

Ultimately, here are the facts. Waking up at 4:30 instead of 6:30 might be a lot to ask right away, but this gives you an extra 2 hours a day, 14 hours a week, or the equivalent of an extra 30 DAYS EACH YEAR to be more productive. Imagine that. What do you think you could accomplish with an EXTRA MONTH out of the year, which is solely dedicated to you? Probably something pretty amazing, I’d be willing to bet.

Imagine what you could accomplish with an entire MONTH dedicated solely to your own goals!
Imagine what you could accomplish with an entire MONTH dedicated solely to your own goals!

Environment

I’ve heard some life-changing advice in my time from many people around me. Jim Rohn says “Work harder on yourself than you do on your job.” I can’t stress the importance of this enough. You are more than the sum of your environments. In a very real way, you are the creator of your environments.

The environment you inhabit has a push and pull characteristic that affects it and you, and you have the same effect on it. Ultimately, we can benefit any area of our lives by choosing to become happier and more actualized people. Self-discipline is a necessary trait in incurring this kind of growth. Only when you consciously decide to take transformational actions, and cultivate the self-discipline to follow through, will you begin to notice amazing results in your life.

For an excellent talk by Jim Rohn, follow this link HERE!

Self-discipline in the right amounts is a foreshadower of growth, success, and personal fulfillment. This is often why we find not only the achievement of our goals fulfilling but also the journey to get there! I keep making gym references because they are easy and almost universally pursued, but consider this: The only workout you regret is the one you do not do.

This goes to show that the road to achievement can be enjoyable also, but only if we are willing to travel it. Our self-discipline must feed the fires of our passions, and result in the great steps we take to actualize the potential we have. Never justify inaction by saying it is too late, and never play the victim by giving other people your power, these ideas are all limiting and always self-induced. I’d be willing to bet, that despite any of your current circumstances, you can make something amazing of yourself, because transformation isn’t always beautiful, but it is always necessary.

To describe discipline and how adversity is necessary for growth.
It’s true, “Idle sees do not create skilled sailors.”

– Austin Denison