In my last post I talked about self-discipline and how it plays a crucial role in seeing that goals we set for ourselves are actually met, rather than just pushed back indefinitely. This time I’ll lay out a few important methods for disciplining ourselves.
Set Deadlines For Yourself
As a current student, I (I’m sure I’m not alone in this) suffer from a pretty bad case of procrastination. I can tell myself that I’ll sit down and get all my work done quick, then have the rest of the day to myself, only to look up from my phone three hours later and realize that all that work I convinced myself I was going to do is still yet to be done. Sure, not a huge problem right now. But this was one habit that I realized I have to break by the time high school was over, because what seemed like a minor issue now would surely snowball into a real mess once I was in “the real world”.
So one strategy I started using was setting deadlines for myself. The way I’d go about doing this, I’d sit down when I got home, look at the clock, give myself a set time that I’d need to have something done by, then get to work. Oftentimes I also incorporate my phone’s timer, which serves as a good reminder that I’ve got a deadline to meet every time I glance at the numbers flying by. Setting deadlines for yourself helps provide a sense of urgency for your projects, and even if you don’t finish them when the alarm goes off, you’ll know that you at least got a lot more work done than you normally would’ve.
Get Rid Of Distractions
Remember my phone problem I mentioned just a minute ago? That’s one of the many distractions that surround us every day that seem to serve no purpose other than to get us off task and keep us from getting anything productive done. I stated how a lot of the time I like to use my phone’s timer to pace myself and serve as a reminder for the deadline I set for myself, but if you feel that even using your phone only as a timer would prove to be a tempting distraction, the next best option is to simply turn it off.
And turning it off might not be enough. If the sheer presence of distracting devices serves as a temptation, then put them somewhere else, somewhere far from you. Out of sight, out of mind.
Give Yourself A Break
So by now if you’ve been implementing the above two methods into your daily routine, you’re on the right track, totally focused, with not a distraction to veer you off course. But giving up old ways is hard, and quitting cold-turkey is even harder (and, while it can prove effective, isn’t recommended). What I do recommend instead is to schedule small breaks for yourself, or maybe even whole days, depending on how taxing the work towards your goal usually is. The last thing you want to do is work so hard, nonstop, that you burn yourself out, a sure way to not get anything done at all.
Therefore, giving yourself breaks allows you to take a step back, relax, and helps clear your mind so you can think more clearly. And you can set it up as a reward system: for each certain amount of work completed or time spent working towards your goal, reward yourself with a break, or even a cheat day. Trying to lose weight? Set one day a week aside for yourself to eat foods that you actually want to eat, a day where you don’t have to count calories and sugar contents. Trying to fix a spending problem? Establish one day as a splurge day, and give yourself a small allowance to spend on whatever you want (but leaving the credit cards at home is probably a good idea).
Incorporate these methods into your work routine, and you’ll be able to effectively discipline yourself and maybe even get rid of a few bad habits of your own. Whatever the case, I guarantee that you’ll no longer dread the work that comes with the goals you set for yourself.
“Happiness is dependent on self-discipline. We are the biggest obstacles to our own happiness. It is much easier to do battle with society and with others than to fight our own nature.” – Dennis Prager