Self-discipline has been described as the assertion of willpower over more base desires. Willpower is an essential part of setting, sticking to, and achieving goals. Whether you want to lose weight, stop smoking, or master a musical instrument, you need the will to work toward your goal and to help you fight through obstacles to claim your prize.
The fact that willpower is essential to accomplishing goals doesn’t mean that everybody is blessed with deep reserves of the stuff. Willpower is something that can be developed, and that requires work. Think of your will as a muscle. The more you exercise it, the stronger it will become. Here are a few hints you may find helpful in building up your willpower:
- Keep your goal in mind. Remember what it is your trying to do, and why. Keeping your eyes on the prize will help keep you motivated.
- Take it one day at a time. Don’t let yourself look too far down the road. That can overwhelm you and you’ll lose your way.
- Vanquish laziness. Do something that will help you towards your goal everyday. It doesn’t have to be something huge. Every little bit helps. Doing something everyday will help you stay on track.
- Start small. Break your goal into little pieces. Accomplishing the little tasks will help build your confidence. Once you feel comfortable accomplishing smaller tasks, you can move onto bigger things.
- Keep good company. Surround yourself with supportive friends and family who can help keep you stoked about what you’re trying to do. Avoid Negative Nancys and Normans like the plague.
- Eliminate “quit”, “give up”, and “can’t” from your vocabulary. Don’t give your self-doubt a voice.
- Never surrender. Realize when you’ve been beaten, but look for what you can learn from your defeats. It’s okay to lose a few battles as long as you don’t give up on winning the war.
- Keep on trying. Nobody ever accomplished anything worth accomplishing without failing, and most of the time, they failed many, many times. Don’t let that wither your desire to achieve your goal. Get back up, dust yourself off, and give it another shot. You only really lose when you stop trying.