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6 Powerful Ways to Build Unbreakable Self-Discipline

6 Powerful Ways to Build Unbreakable Self-Discipline

If you look at your life right now, what is the reason you are not as successful, happy, or healthy as you could be at this point in your life?

Apart from many excuses, there is probably just one simple reason: Lack of self-discipline. You simply don’t do what you need to do to enjoy the levels of success you want. If you think about it, what does it really take for you to be successful in all areas of your life? Chances are, it’s no secret. Everybody knows what it takes to get in shape, but how many people are? Everyone knows what to do to perform better at their job, but how many people still don’t do it? Everyone knows which foods to avoid and which ones to eat, but most people still don’t do that, either.

In short, all the knowledge in the world is worth nothing if you don’t possess the self-discipline to use that knowledge. Elbert Hubbard defined self-discipline as “the ability to do what you have to do, when you have to do it, whether you feel like it or not.” It is the one skill that is necessary above anything else to succeed in any endeavour.

Success in life comes from the actions you take on a consistent basis; and only self-discipline allows you to do that.

Here are 6 powerful ways to build unbreakable self-discipline:

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1. “If it’s to be, it’s up to me.” – William Johnson

No matter what your goals are in life, there is one great law that you need to obey in order to be successful: No one else is going to climb the ladder of success for you. No one else is responsible for your health, wealth, happiness, or success. From the day you leave your parents’ house and start to make your own choices, you are responsible for your life and the choices you make. You choose the job you work in, the person you live with, and how much you exercise every day. Only you can choose how you spend your time, and the decisions you make on a consistent basis will make or break your life.

If you want a better life, you need to make better decisions. You can blame other people for your lack of results or happiness all life long, but it doesn’t change anything. Only you can change your life by changing the choices you make. Take responsibility for everything in your life, even if you can’t directly influence it. Even if it’s not in your direct control, you can always choose how you respond.

2. The Big Enemy of Success

According to motivational speaker Brian Tracy, the biggest enemy to success is the path of least resistance. If you choose what is fun and easy over what is necessary, you will never reach the levels of success and happiness you are capable of achieving in your life. That’s because every great victory requires great sacrifice. If success was easy, everybody would be successful. But because success in any area of your life requires hard work and sacrifices, most people will never reach their full potential.

Whenever you decide not to what you should be doing, you not only waste your opportunity to grow as a person, but you also lose confidence in yourself. You start to see yourself as lazy and unsuccessful, and that self-image will become a successful prophecy.

To achieve any goal you have, there are only three things you need: A clear vision for what it is you want, a plan to get there, and massive action consistently repeated over time! While the first two parts are the easy parts of the equation, most people struggle with the last part: Hard work.

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There is nothing that you can’t achieve with hard work, so it is necessary that you build the habit of choosing what is hard and necessary over what is fun and easy to do. Doing this is probably the surest way to succeed in life.

3. Think Longterm

To quote Abraham Lincoln, “The best way to predict the future is to create it.” If you ever wonder where you will be 10 years from now, look at your current life. What actions are you taking to make your goals reality? How many books are you reading to grow as a person, and how many new things are you learning? Which people are you associating with? Are you putting in the effort necessary to achieve your goals today?

People oftentimes think that their lives will suddenly change through some magical event in the future, but that is not the case. Your life changes only to the extent that you change. If you are not happy with your current circumstances, are you taking actions to change them? If not, you are just daydreaming. Nothing will ever change if you don’t change what you do daily. As Aristotle noted over 2000 years ago, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit.”

A great way to actively create your future is to ask yourself: If I already achieved my goals, how would I act on a daily basis? What books would I read, how often would I work out, and how would I spend my time at the office?

Once you answer these questions, you know what to do. Act as if you were already successful.

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4. Obstacles are Part of Success

In life, nothing worth having comes easy. You have to make sacrifices in the form of time, effort, pain, and hard work if you want to succeed. There will be many setbacks, and any time you get close to finally succeeding, there will be some more adversity testing how bad you really want it. Only after passing one more test, and then another, will you be able to succeed.

The great tragedy of life is that most people give up right before achieving success. They already made it to the five yard line, and all they need is one final push to make the touchdown and bring home the sweet victory. But right before they do that, there is one final obstacle standing in their way – one last failure that they need to overcome. Way too many people give up right then and there, without realizing how close they are.

If you just take one thing from this post, let is be this: Whenever you encounter failure and adversity, keep going! Success is supposed to be hard because that’s what makes it so special. If it was easy, anybody could do it. But it’s hard, and that’s your chance to separate yourself from the people that don’t want it as bad as you.

The only way to grow as a person is by facing the biggest challenges in life and enduring long enough to succeed. No matter how long it takes or how hard it gets, always remember the words of motivational speaker Les Brown: “It’s not over until I win!”

5. Rewrite Your Goals Every Day

To maximize your self-discipline every day, it is necessary that you keep the bigger picture in mind. Only by remembering why you do what you do will you take the necessary actions and follow through even if it gets hard. After all, you don’t just work so hard for no reason. You have specific goals that you want to achieve that make all the effort worth it.

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As Nietzsche said, “He who has a ‘why’ to live for, can bear almost any ‘how.'” I believe this to be absolutely true. If you know what you want to do, and you have enough reasons to do it, you will do whatever it takes.

The problem is, we tend to get so caught up in working and achieving our goals that we forget why we started in the first place. We forget why we do what we do and instead get overwhelmed by a seemingly endless to-do list. No wonder that most people seem so unexcited and even bored with life – they have no goals to strive for!

The easiest way to counter this problem is by rewriting your goals every day and imagining the future as you want it. Every morning after waking up, write down the most important goals you have for your life. This will not only immediately get you motivated and excited, but also crystal clear on what you need to do to succeed. Only when you are focused on your goals and your vision for your life are you able to make decisions that contribute to those goals.

6. Decide in Advance That You Will Never Give Up

To make sure that you stay strong in the face of adversity, make sure to resolve in advance how you will respond once it occurs. You need to have a plan for what to do when all hell breaks loose, or else it is too easy to just give up. When writing your goals, commit to making them come true, no matter how hard it may be. Determine how you will respond to failures and setbacks so you can bounce back stronger and better than ever before.

If you make this commitment and never break it, you will succeed at anything you set your mind to. Maybe not immediately, but definitely.

Featured photo credit: Jack Moreh via freerangestock.com

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Max Weigand

Founder of Secrets 2 Greatness

6 Powerful Ways to Build Unbreakable Self-Discipline

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Last Updated on December 9, 2019

7 Techniques to Stay Focused and Avoid Distractions

7 Techniques to Stay Focused and Avoid Distractions

The world has become a very distracting place, you don’t need me to tell you that. Where once we could walk out of our house or office and disappear into our own world with our own thoughts, we are now connected 24 hours a day to a network that’s sole purpose is to make us available to anyone and everyone at any time they choose to disturb us.

Of course, it is very easy to sit here and say all you have to do is turn off your electronic devices and just allow yourself several hours of quiet solitude; but the reality is far harder than that. There is an expectation that we are available for anyone whenever they want us.

However, if you do want to elevate yourself and perform at your best every day, to produce work of a higher quality than anyone expects and to regain control over what you do and when you will need to regain some control over your time, so you can focus on producing work that matters to you…

The good news: You do not have to become a recluse. All you need are a few simple strategies that will allow you enough flexibility in your day to stay focused to do the work that matters and still allow you to deal with other people’s crises and dramas.

Here are 7 ways you can stay focused and be less distracted.

1. Find out When You Are at Your Most Focused

According to research, brilliantly documented by Daniel Pink in his latest book, When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing, our brains have a limited capacity to stay focused each day.[1]

From the moment we wake up to the time we turn in for the day, we are using up our brain’s limited energy resources and, depending on the time of day, we will be moving between strong concentration and low concentration.

This means that for most people, their optimum time for sustained concentration and focus will be soon after they wake up. For others, it could be later in the evening—a kind of second wind—but that is rare.

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Once you understand this, you can take time to learn when you are at your best and to protect that time on your calendar as much as possible. If you can, block it off and use that time for the work you need to do that requires the most concentration each day.

2. Get Comfortable Using ‘Do Not Disturb’ Mode

We have the ability to switch our electronic devices to do not disturb mode. Where all notifications are off and your phone or computer will not alert you to a new email or message.

Now after testing this function for a number of years, I can happily report that it does work.

When I sat down to write this article, I put all my electronic devices to do not disturb, closed down my email and began writing. I am safe in the knowledge that until this article is written, and I turn do not disturb off, there will be no interruptions or distractions.

Of course, it is not really about whether do not disturb works or not, it is whether you are willing to turn it on or not.

Most people believe they have to be constantly available for their boss or customers. This is not true at all. What has happened is because of your always available status, you have conditioned these people to turn to you first whenever they have a problem.

You are not actually helping them at all. You are preventing them from having to think for themselves and develop the skill of problem-solving. By not being so readily available, you help them a lot more.

What it comes down to is your boss and customers are going to be far more positive with you, if you deliver your work to the highest quality and on time than you being available 24/7. Trust me on that. I also tested that one.

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3. Schedule Focus Time Every Day

This technique is a lot easier than you may think.

First, you figure out when you are least likely to be disturbed. For me, that is between 6 and 9 am. for a lot of my clients, they find the first 90 minutes in the morning at their workplace is when they are not likely to be disturbed. This is important because you want to be building consistency.

Most people start their day by checking their email and other messages. While they are doing that, they are not going to be bothering you. Now there is no rule about when you should be checking your email. The chances are email is not going to be where you want to spend your most focused time, so you can decide to check your email at say 10:30 am.

Dedicate 30 minutes from 10:30 am to 11:00 am for email processing and use the first 90 minutes of your day for doing your most important work. You will surprise yourself by how much work you get done in that ninety minutes.

4. Plan Your Day the Night Before

One of the inevitabilities of life is there is always a plan for the day. The choice is whether the plan you have is a plan of your own making or not. If you don’t have a plan, then the day will take control of you. Other people’s priorities, urgencies and dramas will fill your day. As the late Jim Rohn said:

“Either you run the day or the day runs you.”

If you take control and make it a habit to plan out what you want to accomplish the next day before you go to bed, you will find yourself staying more focused on your work and be less likely disturbed.

Now when I say plan your day the night before, I do not mean you need to spend an hour or so planning and mapping out every minute of the day. Planning your day should only take you around 10 to 15 minutes and you only need to decide what 10 things you want to complete — 2 “must do” objective tasks and 8 “would like to do” tasks. What I call the 2+8 Prioritisation Technique:

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Do not be tempted to go beyond 10 tasks for the day. When you do that, you do not have enough flexibility in your day to handle crises and other unknown issues that will pop up throughout the day.

When you do not build in flexibility, you will soon stop planning your day. Only plan tasks that will have the biggest positive impact on your work and projects.

5. Learn to Say “No”

I am sure you’ve been told this before. We are wired to please and this results in us wanting to say yes to every opportunity that comes our way. The problem is we cannot do everything and every time you say “yes” to one opportunity, you are saying “no” to another opportunity. You cannot be in two places at the same time.

Jay Shetty shared an inspiring video on JOMO “Joy Of Missing Out”. Here’s the video:

Rather than allowing ourselves to be succumbed by FOMO (the Fear Of Missing Out), we should replace that ‘fear’ with the “joy” of missing out. Because of our need to please, we say yes to things we really don’t want to do; yet when we do that, we miss out on doing things that bring us joy—creating something special, spending time educating ourselves and just having some quiet alone time with ourselves.

Learn to say “no” every time you get a notification to your phone. Ignore it. Learn to say “no” to your colleagues when they want to gossip. Learn to say “no” to volunteering when the thing you are being asked to volunteer for does not excite you. Just learn to say “no”.

By saying “no” to opportunities, distractions and interruptions, you are saying yes to better and more meaningful things. Things you do want to focus your attention on.

6. Create a Distraction-Free Environment for Your Focused Time

This has been possibly the most powerful tip I learned when it comes to focusing on what is important. Have a place where you do only focused, high-concentration work.

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Now this place needs to be clean and only have the tools you need to do your work. If it is writing a report or preparing a presentation, then it needs a table and a computer, nothing more. Files, paper and other detritus that accumulates on and around people’s desks need to go. A clean, cool and well-lit environment is going to do a lot more for your focus and concentration than anything else.

The dining table in our home is where I go for undisturbed, focussed work. I take my laptop or iPad, and only have my writing app open. Everything is closed down and the computer is in “do not disturb” mode. There is nothing else on the dining table just my computer and my water tumbler.

Because that is my designated focus area, I only go there to work when I have something that needs total focus and concentration. I am there right now!

7. Be Intentional

The reality is, if you absolutely need to get something done then you need to be intentional. You have to have the intention of sitting down, focusing and doing the work.

There’s no magic tricks or apps that will miraculously do all your work for you. You need to intentionally set aside time for undisturbed focus work and do it. Without that intention, you can read as many of these articles as you like and you still will not get the work done.

It is only when you intentionally set yourself up to do the work, turn off all notifications and do whatever it takes to avoid distractions will the work get done.

The Bottom Line

The strategies and tips I shared in this post will go a long way to helping you become better at focusing on the important things in your life. No matter what they are, you are in control of your time and what you do with it and where you spend it, never give that control away to anyone else.

Protect it and it will be your servant. Give that control away and it will become your master and that is not a good place to be.

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Featured photo credit: Manny Pantoja via unsplash.com

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