As an entrepreneur, there are a few specific things that you must have or develop to be successful. Grit, determination, creativity, and self-discipline.
Today we are going to talk about self-discipline and how you can cultivate an use it to achieve success in whatever you wish to do.
What is self-discipline?
“Self-discipline is the ability to control one’s feelings and overcome one’s weaknesses; the ability to pursue what one thinks is right despite temptations to abandon it.”
As an entrepreneur, there is always something ready to knock you off your path. New ideas, new initiatives, new business ideas, and the countless external distractions that are far too many to list here.
These distractions can and will knock you off your rhythm and can lead to mistakes, declining health, a failing business, the destructive possibilities are literally endless.
Self-discipline is perhaps the most important skill that you must develop to achieve success in anything you do let alone entrepreneurship.
Now how do you develop and master self-discipline?
Intro Note: Self-Discipline is like a muscle
Your self-discipline must be exercised daily just like the muscles in your body. When you go months without working out, your muscles atrophy, your self-discipline is the same.
As an entrepreneur, it would be amazing if you could wake up one morning and have all the systems and processes you need to be successful already in place and running like a well-oiled machine. However, that is rarely the case. No, it is never the case!
Entrepreneurship is a feedback loop of trial and error, then success. In order to learn from your mistakes, you must learn what works and how to develop the discipline to keep doing what works time and time again.
Often times these will be things that you absolutely hate doing, but, you must do them anyway. Self-discipline is the tool you need to help you get on track and keep YOU from derailing yourself.
1. Know your strengths but most importantly know your weaknesses.
It is impossible to fix what we cannot see. We all have weaknesses. This is a fact.
These weaknesses can be things related to operating our business, they can be your favorite foods that you shouldn’t be eating so frequently. They could be watching your favorite TV shows or playing way too many video games. The key thing here is that we all have something that is potentially undermining our success and limiting our full potential not just as an entrepreneur but as a human being.
Many of us find ways to rationalize our weaknesses and refuse to acknowledge them. Without becoming aware of shortcomings, we can never put in the work to fix them. And if we cannot fix them, we will inevitably succumb to them sooner or later.
Take an inventory of your weaknesses, identify how they are impeding your success as an entrepreneur, and make a plan to limit them or eliminate them altogether.
Don’t just do this once, this should be an ongoing thing. It will keep you sharp and on top of your game at all times.
Do you ever find yourself watching TV when you should be working on a project with a deadline that is due soon? I’ve done it, and I’m pretty sure you’ve done it or at least done something similar. Plan your time, plan your distractions, but do not let them plan you.
2. Set clear goals and develop a plan on how you will achieve them.
We’ve talked about goal setting before. However, just setting goals is not enough. If you want to achieve true self-discipline, you need a plan and you need to work the plan day in and day out.
A clear plan should outline the steps you need to take to achieve your goals, the more detailed and specific, the better. Whether it is finishing your website or creating a proposal for a new job or project, you need the discipline to be able to plan and execute each step with utmost confidence and integrity.
3. Create habits with purpose.
Growing your self-discipline takes time. A discipline that will serve you on your entrepreneurial and wealth journey is the ability to create new habits.
What types of habits?
These habits could be anything from staying off social-media first thing in the morning, cold calling at a set time, to even fitting in time to exercise in your already hectic week.
Envision the things that you need to do that will make you more successful, figure out when you need to do them, and build a habit of getting them done no matter how you feel. Habit setting should be done in small incremental steps to have a lasting effect.
If you know that you need to be prospecting new business. You should have a set time/day that you do so. When that time arises you must be ready to act. Now you don’t need to tell yourself that you will call 100 people in a day if you have yet to call 1. Start small and build up the habit gradually to a number that you are comfortable with. When you have found that number, make sure that you hold yourself accountable “self-discipline” to getting those done. Week in, and week out.
4. Eliminate Temptations
“Out of sight, out of mind.”
If you have work to do but know that you love watching TV, cut it off! Better yet, if you can remove the TV from your workspace, remove it altogether. By removing your distractions, you are far less likely to procrastinate and ruin the “self-discipline momentum” that you have worked hard to develop.
If you want to eat healthier, don’t buy junk food. The same goes for any other distractions. Eliminate the possibility by removing it. There are even apps that you can install on your computer to keep you from browsing social media when you should be working!
Fewer distractions and greater self-discipline means you WILL get more things done.
5. Give yourself a reward.
We’re human. You cannot work yourself to death and maintain a healthy balanced life if you do not give yourself breaks/rewards. Self-discipline is about doing the things you need to do. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t slack off every now and then. Heck, it’s actually healthy for you to do so.
If you have a deadline looming use the power of “expected rewards” to push you. Tell yourself that if you finish project X by time Z then you get to spend an hour watching your favorite TV show or whatever it is that you find leisurely pleasure in doing. This method is incredibly powerful. If you’ve ever dieted, you know that it is futile to tell yourself you can never have a piece of cake again. However, if you tell yourself that you can have a piece of cake after you finish your 3-5 weekly workouts then you are much more likely to complete those workouts and not feel guilty when you do in fact indulge in that piece of cake!
Use this method for your goals.
These are just 5 tips that you can use to help cultivate more self-discipline into your life. Doing at least one of these is sure to help you reap massive rewards. Doing all 5? Now that’s a superhero power!
I hope you found today’s article insightful and helpful. Feel free to share it with a friend!