It has been proven that those who achieve more and are more respected have the ability to delay gratification. Think about who we respect: doctors, teachers, writers, black belts, successful businessmen. All of these have made sacrifices to get to where they are today.
I like to be self-disciplined, but the truth is that I’m not. What I do is use tricks to stay on track. The following are 8 tricks I use:
1 – lead me not into temptation. I just don’t have tempting things around me. If I want cookies at night, I have to go to a store or take out the flour. Any of which is usually enough dug up to keep me from eating them. I’ve even gone as far as not having a TV.
2 – Map. A small amount of planning keeps me on track. This can be as simple as planning what things I want to accomplish that day or what healthy snacks I want to have on hand. I take 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 sets them in motion. The more you review them, the more you stay on track.
4 – Track what you do. It sounds strange, but simply recording what you do or don’t do is a great way to stay 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 achieve before I go to bed”. This simple question can keep you on task.
6 – Get a trainer. This person can be a friend or a paid coach. Trainers tend to push you and keep you on track. I always thought it was weird to pay someone to tell you what you already know to do, but years of working with a personal trainer has taught me that I push harder when I’m trained.
7- Increased pain of not doing something. Simple: Don’t allow yourself to do what pleases you until you complete the hard work.
8- Increase the pleasure of success and make it more immediate. For example, writing an article has very little instant reward. So rewarding me with a tea for successfully completing it can work.
9 – I use the mantra “successful people do difficult things” I am a successful person and that drives me to do difficult things.
10 – Tell other people your goals. If your goal is to stop doing something (like smoking), your friends and enemies alike will enjoy pointing out when you’re failing. If your goal is something positive, like reading a book a week, tell positive and understanding friends about it; they will encourage and support you.
11 – It’s about clothes. “We are the product of what we repeatedly do” – Aristotle. Habits don’t even work. Just do them. I suspect you don’t even have to think to brush your teeth. Just do it. It is a habit
12 – It’s about systems. Create systems that help you achieve your goals. Systems can 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 succeed.