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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 April 19, 2021

The Art of Taking a Break So You Will Be Productive Again

The Art of Taking a Break So You Will Be Productive Again

Think of yourself as a cup. Each day, you wake up full. But as you go about your day—getting tasks done and interacting with people—the amount in your cup gradually gets lower. And as such, you get less and less effective at whatever it is you’re supposed to be doing. You’re running out of steam.

The solution is obvious: if you don’t have anything left to pour out, then you need to find a way to fill yourself up again. In work terms, that means you should take a break—an essential form of revitalizing your motivation and focus.

Taking a break may get a bad rap in hustle culture, but it’s an essential, science-based way to ensure you have the capacity to live your life the way you want to live it.

In the 1980s, when scientists began researching burnout, they described this inner capacity as “resources.” We all need to replenish our resources to cope with stress, work effectively, and avoid burnout.[1]

When the goal is to get things done, it may sound counterproductive to stop what you’re doing. But if you embrace the art of taking a break, you can be more efficient and effective at work.

Here are five ways on how you can take a break and boost your productivity.

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1. Break for the Right Amount of Time, at the Right Time

When I started my first job out of college, I was bent on pleasing my boss as most entry-level employees do. So, every day, I punched in at 9 AM on the dot, took a 60-minute lunch break at noon, and left no earlier than 5 PM.

As I’ve logged more hours in my career, I’ve realized the average, eight-hour workday with an hour lunch break simply isn’t realistic—especially if your goal is to put your best foot forward at work.

That’s why popular productivity techniques like the Pomodoro advocate for the “sprint” principle. Basically, you work for a short burst, then stop for a short, five-minute break. While the Pomodoro technique is a step forward, more recent research shows a shorter burst of working followed by a longer pause from work might actually be a more effective way to get the most out of stepping away from your desk.

The team at DeskTime analyzed more than 5 million records of how workers used their computers on the job. They found that the most productive people worked an average of 52 minutes, then took a 17-minute break afterward.[2]

What’s so special about those numbers? Leave it to neuroscience. According to researchers, the human brain naturally works in spurts of activity that last an hour. Then, it toggles to “low-activity mode.”[3]

Even so, keep in mind that whatever motivates you is the most effective method. It’s more about the premise—when you know you have a “finish line” approaching, you can stay focused on the task or project at hand.

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There are many applications and tools that can help you block distracting websites and apps (such as social media) for specific periods of the day. Similarly, you can also use some mailing apps like Mailbrew to receive all the social media content or newsletters you don’t want to miss in your inbox at a time you decide.

So, no matter how long you work, take a break when you sense you’re losing steam or getting bored with the task. Generally, a 10-15 minute break should reinvigorate you for whatever’s coming next.

2. Get a Change of Scenery—Ideally, Outdoors

When it comes to increasing a person’s overall mental health, there’s no better balm than nature. Research has found that simply being outside can restore a person’s mind from mental fatigue related to work or studying, ultimately contributing to improved work performance (and even improved work satisfaction).[4]

No lush forest around? Urban nature can be just as effective to get the most out of your break-taking. Scientists Stephen R. Kellert and Edward O. Wilson, in their book The Biophilia Hypothesis, claimed that even parks, outdoor paths, and building designs that embrace “urban nature” can lend a sense of calm and inspiration, encouraging learning and alertness for workers.

3. Move Your Body

A change of scenery can do wonders for your attention span and ability to focus, but it’s even more beneficial if you pair it with physical movement to pump up that adrenaline of yours. Simply put, your body wasn’t designed to be seated the entire day. In fact, scientists now believe that extended periods of sitting are just as dangerous to health as smoking.[5]

It’s not always feasible to enjoy the benefits of a 30-minute brisk walk during your workday, especially since you’ll most likely have less energy during workdays. But the good news is, for productivity purposes, you don’t have to. Researchers found that just 10 minutes of exercise can boost your memory and attention span throughout the entire day.[6]

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So, instead of using your break to sit and read the news or scroll your social media account, get out of your chair and move your body. Take a quick walk around the block. Do some jumping jacks in your home office. Whatever you choose, you’ll likely find yourself with a sharper focus—and more drive to get things done.

4. Connect With Another Person

Social connection is one of the most important factors for resilience. When we’re in a relationship with other people, it’s easier to cope with stress—and in my experience, getting social can also help to improve focus after a work break.

One of my favorite ways to break after a 30-or-so minute sprint is to hang out with my family. And once a week, I carve out time to Skype my relatives back in Turkey. It’s amazing how a bit of levity and emotional connection can rev me up for the next work sprint.

Now that most of us are working from home, getting some face-to-face time with a loved one isn’t as hard as it once was. So, take the time to chat with your partner. Take your kids outside to run around the backyard. If you live alone, call a friend or relative. Either way, coming up for air to chat with someone who knows and cares about you will leave you feeling invigorated and inspired.

5. Use Your Imagination

When you’re working with your head down, your brain has an ongoing agenda: get things done, and do it well. That can be an effective method for productivity, but it only lasts so long—especially because checking things off your to-do list isn’t the only ingredient to success at work. You also need innovation.

That’s why I prioritize a “brain break” every day. When I feel my “cup” getting empty, I usually choose another creative activity to exercise my brain, like a Crossword puzzle, Sudoku, or an unrelated, creative project in my house.

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And when I’m really struggling to focus, I don’t do anything at all. Instead, I let my brain roam free for a bit, following my thoughts down whatever trail they lead me. As it turns out, there’s a scientific benefit to daydreaming. It reinforces creativity and helps you feel more engaged with the world, which will only benefit you in your work.[7]

Whether you help your kids with their distance learning homework, read an inspiring book, or just sit quietly to enjoy some fresh air, your brain will benefit from an opportunity to think and feel without an agenda. And, if you’re anything like me, you might just come up with your next great idea when you aren’t even trying.

Final Thoughts

Most of us have to work hard for our families and ourselves. And the current world we live in demands the highest level of productivity that we can offer. However, we also have to take a break once in a while. We are humans, after all.

Learning the art of properly taking a break will not only give you the rest you need but also increase your productivity in the long run.

More on the Importance of Taking a Break

Featured photo credit: Helena Lopes via unsplash.com

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