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How to Keep and Maintain Self-Discipline

[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="320"] Self Discipline[/caption]

Think of all the greatest achievers in the world. Whether it’s a sportsman you admire, a rockstar you worship, a scientist you respect or an artist you envy, do you believe that they are where they are only because they are talented or god-gifted? Do you believe in the college myth that the topper at your college became so only because of his/her ‘big brain’? Yes, you are right to point out that they may possess some natural gifts that you don’t. Yet that’s not the sole reason for their achievements. What if Roger Federer had stopped playing tennis altogether because of the pains in his teenage years? He probably wouldn’t have become the legend he is today. Or what if Einstein had avoided studying maths after those comments from his teacher, which labeled him as an idiot? Perhaps, nuclear energy would still be a mystery to humanity. It took hundreds of hours of practice for Federer to become what he is today and it took long hours of pondering and studying for Einstein to be able to become that expert mathematician that almost all of humanity respects to this day. Self-discipline is the reason behind the success stories of most of those few achievers among us.

The importance of self-discipline in your life
Success always requires some effort and there is no exception to this rule. Whether you term success as winning the Nobel Prize, buying a nice car or to carry on your family for years, everything needs effort. Even if you believe that success is about going to the nearest McDonald’s to get your favorite Big Mac Burger, you need to give some effort. But if you suddenly start thinking that it’s more comfortable to watch those boring TV shows on the couch, rather than making the effort to walk to McDonald’s, you will miss out on the tastiest burger. Very similar things happen to your greater goals, when you lack self-discipline.
If your dartboard is your targeted success and you are the dart, then the energy that shoots the dart towards the board is self-discipline. The dart only holds relevance when it moves towards its target. If it stays idle in a drawer, then it’s never going to hit the board. Thus, self-discipline is the force that inspires you to move towards your target. It’s the force that always inspires you to achieve success, no matter what its degree may be.

Bearing the smaller pains for the bigger pleasures
Everybody wants to get rich, but few actually manage to. There are literally hundreds of biographies in bookstores that tell the story of actual people who managed to get rich although they started from nothing. Bill Gates, Warren Buffet or Henry Ford; all sacrificed their daily pleasures, took on risks and pain, kept on focusing on their targets and achieved what most could only dream of. These people maintained self-discipline for years to achieve success. You may not even need to look that far to find examples of self-discipline. Look at your own family or some other successful family in your neighborhood. It’s because of the self-discipline of the parents that the family keeps on going. The energy that drives parents to work all day and sacrifice their smaller pleasures to maintain the family is self-discipline. From Bill Gates, who spent his entire youth, mostly around computers to a father who opts not to go to some deluxe restaurant to get drunk with his friends on weekends, there needs to be sacrificed for the biggest pleasure. If our focus is only on fulfilling our immediate temptations, then it would be like waving goodbye to success.

Developing self-discipline
First of all it’s absolutely important to realize that we are not in the place or situation where we need to be because we lacked the degree of self-discipline that we expect. A person often ends up becoming obese when he avoids exercising and eats all he desires. A student cannot be able to score good marks in his exams if he doesn’t give enough time to study. More often, our failures are the result of our own negligence. But realization is the first step to your success. The need of the hour now is to set realistic goals in your life. It’s time to think what we need to do to achieve our targets. If needed, we should take advices from those whom we trust. Then it’s all about following the road towards our target. Initially it may feel somewhat difficult, but the rewards of self-discipline ultimately pay off.

The habit of self-discipline
Why do some people manage to maintain self-discipline and succeed in their lives, while most others avoid maintaining any sort of self-discipline? But the reality is that maintaining or not maintaining self discipline actually becomes a habit. Self-disciplined people in reality have some feeling of responsibility and urgency towards fulfilling their target. On the other hand, not being able to maintain self-discipline points out of a habit of being spoilt. Most of us have the habit of seeking instant gratification which thus discourages us from setting responsible targets for the long run. Strong determination and commitment towards following a certain code of conduct is actually an important part of developing and maintaining self-discipline. For self-disciplined people ignoring the code of conduct would in fact be more painful than the pains of making small sacrifices. Following a self-disciplined routine becomes a habit.

Maintaining self-discipline
Many people who seem to be motivated from early on, lose their way somewhere in the middle. They go fine for a while, but then start procrastinating and end up like everybody else. But this sort of tendency could in fact hamper our efforts to achieve success. To avoid this scenario, it’s important to be self-aware about what sort of behavior are you following. Self-discipline is achieved through consistent motivation. Here are some ways through which you can maintain self-discipline in your life.
• Find immediate and long run motivation
It’s essential to have a sound and healthy mind to maintain self-discipline in the long run. Don’t ignore your daily priorities. It’s essential that you maintain a certain level of balance in your life so as to keep on focusing towards your target. Find ways to always remind yourself about your targets and goals. Maybe post a poster or a picture on the wall that reminds you everyday about what you need to achieve. Avoid things or circumstances that shift you away from your goals, no matter how painful it is. As mentioned earlier, you need to make small sacrifices for the big gains. In fact, the small pains of everyday life will motivate you even more to follow your goals. Remember that those people working in the gym everyday bear some sort of bodily pain every day. But their reward is their healthy body. No pain, no gain.

• Get inspired from the achievers
Everyone lives the ups and downs of life. The achievers are no exception. However the achievers as we know them didn’t allow themselves to feel down in spite of unfavorable circumstances. Take Richard Branson for instance, he was jailed in his younger years for tax evasion, went nearly broke and had to sell several of his good businesses too. But he rose up against all odds and now is an inspiring figure throughout the world. Nelson Mandela didn’t lose his hope of a unified South Africa in spite of 27 years in prison. His persistent self-discipline and motivation managed to build and unite the country and make it a prosperous nation. Learn from the achievers- don’t quit.

• Maintain a daily routine and don’t get deviated
The habit of self-discipline comes by following an organized routine everyday and not breaking it. The famous sportspersons of the world never allow themselves to quit exercising and fitness routines. Top musicians practice every day. Good students don’t set time for anything else when it’s time to study. A lot of us are good at planning routines and fantasizing the favorable consequences. Yet, somewhere down the line we start ignoring the routines and thus the small failures accumulate everyday to deviate us from our goals. Hence, don’t break the routine that you have made. You can opt to make a realistic routine instead of a hard one, but once you have decided it, remember that there is no quitting.

• Don’t make unrealistic goals and routines
Forget the urban myths about the need to cut your sleeping hours to achieve more. Be realistic! If you haven’t played football throughout your youth, you have to accept the fact that professional football just isn’t for you. Make goals that fit your resources and circumstances. You are in a peculiar position to achieve some sort of unique success, just like the footballers are! Introspect and decide about the things you can achieve with your abilities. Similarly, make routines that won’t harm your physical and mental balance. If you have never exercised before, start from half-a-hour a day, not four hours a day like the professionals. Set easy routines at first and if you can follow it then go further.

• Reward yourself for your achievements
A good idea to maintain self-discipline is by rewarding yourself for your milestones. The achievement of bigger successes can only be done with one step at a time. For example, if you want to lose 10kgs then reward yourself with a chocolate with every kg lost. At the same time if you end up gaining weight, then you have to punish yourself with a further 1km of walk. Self-discipline is all about maintaining the right balance to achieve your goals. Remember, that every achievement that is rewarded motivates you further to do more.

Real happiness comes with self-discipline
Self-disciplined people certainly know the secret behind real happiness. While most people seek happiness by buying the latest fashion or gadgets in the market, self-disciplined people look at the long run and are happy because they are giving the efforts to achieving their goals. They don’t lose their way or get distracted. Mental strength increases with self-discipline and thus comes the increased well-being. Optimism and hopefulness are some of the major qualities of self-discipline people.

Success and self-discipline
While it may not be absolutely true to state that success only comes with self-discipline, the life-stories of hundreds of successful people do indicate that success and self-discipline go hand in hand. However, it's also true that many people seem to lose self-discipline with success. We have often heard about many rockstars becoming drunkards or drug-addicts after achieving success. People who were very self-disciplined and motivated suddenly start behaving like spoilt brats. But again, there are instances of people, who not only become successful once, but consistently become more successful by applying self-discipline in their lives. Even if you don’t manage to achieve success by applying self-discipline, you can notice the difference between your life and other live and see that you are indeed faring better.

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