“Success” is something we hear about all the time. Some folks make it seem like their journey to the top was easy; others are a little more honest about the reality of the process. We’ve gotten so used to hearing “overnight” success stories that we’ve all but forgotten the one key it takes to be successful in any effort: self-discipline. Let’s break down what “discipline” involves in some real-world terms.
We’ve heard it said that “practice makes perfect.” In order to be successful at anything, be it building a business, starting a workout regimen, or learning a new skill, some discipline is needed. One of the benefits of that focus on a goal is a sense of self-mastery. The more time dedicated to practicing a particular action/skill, the easier it gets and the more proficient you become.
When I began my exercise journey, my intention was not only to increase muscle mass but to feel physically stronger. At first, 25 push-ups would leave my arms trembling. However, I kept the goal in sight and pushed through the pain, eventually adding on reps as 25 pushups became too easy. After a few months of dedication, I was able to master 50 pushups in one set. That sense of mastering myself felt so powerful.
Building Determination and Dedication
The next quality required in strengthening your own sense of discipline is dedication. Dedication means a commitment to a particular task or purpose. Generate an unshakeable drive to see it through. That book you want to write won’t start itself!. And even when you begin writing it, it takes even more focus to commit to its completion. A helpful tactic is to envision the end result: imagine how great it will feel when you type that last page. Really enjoy the process of seeing your goal realized. Adding some emotion to the process is proven to help keep you going.
Commitment creates consistency; consistent steps go a very long way towards achievement.
Set a Goal
Napoleon Hill once said, “A goal is a dream with a deadline.” Goal-setting is an essential part of almost anything you do. These goals don’t always have to start out as lofty pursuits. It can be as simple as being more punctual for work, learning a new skill, or aiming to shed a single pound. Goals are crucial for success; they set a bar to be reached. Adding a deadline enhances momentum. Before you know it, you’re a little closer to that goal.
Discipline Improves Mental/Emotional Well-being
A Lifehack article titled “The Science of Setting Goals (And Its Effect on Your Brain” stated that “dopamine acts as a motivator, creating a sense of pleasure when the brain is stimulated by achievement.” The same can be said for every success we attain — even small ones. Studies have shown that being motivated towards an outcome — then achieving it — elevates our mood. Your self-esteem, confidence, and outlook will be positively affected by completing an objective and keep you moving in the right direction.
Cultivate Good Habits
According to an article from Science Daily, 40-95 percent of what we think, say, and do is habitual. Good habits are a big helper in achieving your goal; once implemented consistently, they’ll improve the quality of your life exponentially. For example, how can you lose 10 pounds by sitting on the sofa while scarfing pizza and beer? If you want to change, become that change. It all starts with your habits. Start simple and give it some time; it’s said that it takes 28 days to form one. Keep at it, one day at a time.
Aristotle once said, “We are what we do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.” No matter how big or small your goal, without some kind of discipline, it will remain just a dream. Challenge yourself. Step out of your comfort zone and take an actionable, focused approach to your goals. It will be worth it!