I feel like I once had a lot of self-discipline (=ability to control and motivate yourself) and willpower (=the strength to carry out one’s plans or wishes). About 10 years ago I was seriously overweight, and managed to lose 35kg in 2 years, through exercise and healthy diet. Now I’ve put 15 of those back on, and I can’t seem to motivate myself to stop drinking beer, or get up a little earlier to exercise. I tend towards instant gratification naturally – i.e. instant pleasure instead of long term results. Staying home tonight and doing my work means more money at the end of the month, with which I can travel or enjoy myself. That would be a self-disciplined person’s choice. Going out tonight with my friends is instant gratification – I’ll enjoy myself today, but at the cost of a better reward later.
Self-discipline is an important in my work for Englishtown. Since I work from home, there’s nobody here to check on me, and no office that I must be in by 8am.
Apparently, people with higher self discipline have been shown to be less likely to be obese, happier on average, score higher on tests and earn more money. So how can we improve our willpower and self discipline in order to get what we want? Here are some steps.
Remove temptation. Whether that be chocolate in the house when you’re dieting, or removing games from your computer when you have to study.
Remove unnecessary stress. Not always easy, but perhaps you could try meditation or chamomile tea.
Get plenty of sleep, and get it early. Higher energy levels will help you achieve your goals each day.
Have a plan. I find writing a to-do list each morning helps me remember what must be done.
Practice. Self discipline is a habit, and practicing it will strengthen it. Practice on easy things, like drinking juice when you want soda, or getting up a little earlier each day to go for a walk.
Do you have willpower and discipline? When do you need it in your life?