Maintaining Self-Discipline: Steps to a Better You

Maintaining Self-Discipline: Steps to a Better You

According to studies, 80% of New Year’s resolutions go unfinished by mid-winter. While there are several theories about why this occurs, one of the most popular is that people dream too big. That seems counterintuitive, but managing the size of our goals or resolutions is essential when it comes to maintaining self-discipline. As we move into 2024 with hopes and dreams of self improvement, goal management and self discipline must become a priority. But how do we master this elusive art?

Understand Your Why 

Understanding why you want to improve your self-discipline is the first step toward achieving your goals for the year. It’s the fuel to your fire. Whether you are looking to accomplish a specific goal, break unhealthy habits, or simply better your life, your why constantly reminds you of the purpose of this goal, particularly during challenging times.

A powerful ‘why’ can be a significant driving force in propelling you towards your goals and maintaining self-discipline. A clear purpose or ‘why’ is a constant reminder of the rewards that await at the finish line, whether professional growth, personal development, or a sense of achievement. A strong ‘why’ keeps you grounded in your values and vision, fostering the discipline and resilience necessary to overcome setbacks and pursue your goals.

Set Clear, Achievable Goals

Setting oversized goals can often lead to demotivation and stress. While it’s important to aim high, goals that are too large can seem unattainable, creating a sense of overwhelm and leading to procrastination or avoidance. Start by setting clear, achievable goals. Break down any goals that seem too large into smaller, manageable tasks. This can give a sense of accomplishment and keep the motivation alive as you progressively tick off each task.

Creating S.M.A.R.T. goals is a great way to verify that your goals are within reason. To create S.M.A.R.T. goals, follow the steps below:

  • Specific: Make your goal clear and well-defined. State precisely what you want to achieve.
  • Measurable: Include specific amounts or dates in your goals to measure your success.
  • Achievable: Make sure it’s possible to achieve your goals. If you set a goal you cannot achieve, you will only discourage yourself and reduce your confidence.
  • Relevant: Goals should be relevant to your life or career, either currently or for the future. By aligning goals with your values and desired future, you’ll develop the focus to get ahead and continue during difficult times.
  • Time-bound: Your goals must have a deadline. If you don’t set a time limit, procrastination can get the better of you, and you will feel demotivated. 

Remember, creating S.M.A.R.T. goals is a practice that requires thoughtfulness and commitment.

Develop Healthy Habits

Developing healthy habits significantly contributes to self-discipline. Regular physical activity, balanced nutrition, and sufficient sleep improve physical health and provide the mental stamina required for self-discipline. Maintaining self-discipline in areas of your life, such as exercise and nutrition, can make it easier to keep it going in your other goals.

Practice Mindfulness

Practicing mindfulness helps us make conscious choices rather than succumbing to impulsive desires. By promoting a heightened awareness of our thoughts, emotions, and behaviors, mindfulness enables us to identify and overcome self-defeating patterns, enhancing our self-discipline. Mindfulness also encourages us to remain focused and present in the moment, which is essential for practical goal-setting and achievement. Rather than being swayed by distractions or challenges, we are better equipped to persist in our efforts and remain committed to our objectives.

Be Consistent

Consistency plays a vital role in maintaining self-discipline and goal setting due to its ability to create powerful habits. It forms the foundation of improvement and success by enabling the development of patterns that shape our actions, behaviors, and thoughts. Without consistency, progress can be slow and sporadic. However, a consistent approach to activities like exercise, studying, or work projects facilitates gradual progression and growth, leading to achieving set goals. Likewise, consistency enables us to build momentum, making it easier to maintain self-discipline over time. The more you practice self-discipline, the stronger it grows.

Celebrate your victories, learn from your setbacks, but most importantly, keep going. Maintaining self-discipline is an ongoing journey rather than a destination. It’s about becoming the best version of yourself, one step at a time. Self-discipline allows us to stay focused, make progress, and maintain consistency despite distractions or setbacks. It is the foundation of successful habit formation, helping us regularly perform activities that lead us closer to our goals, even when challenging or demanding sacrifice. 
If you’re struggling with goal setting or self-discipline, don’t go it alone. I have coached individuals throughout the region on how to overcome obstacles and master their goals. Contact me today to get started on your self-discipline journey!

About the author

Dr. Judy Morley has been described as a “human potential specialist.” Her years of experience in different arenas varies from being an advertising executive to a college professor to an executive to an entrepreneur and franchise owner.  Each of these positions has given her great insight into helping people find their authentic style of leadership.