According to a study published in 2008, high levels of long-lasting self-discipline correlate to a better quality of life.
Moreover, the study verified many interesting validities about discipline and happiness. Namely, exercising self-control can improve adjustment capabilities, self-esteem levels, social skills and relationships and even lower the likelihood of alcohol abuse and binge eating. On the flip side, a lack of self-discipline was associated with a broad spectrum of emotional and relational issues.
For example, lower confidence, poor health and self-image, failure to achieve personal/professional goals, etc., were all par for the course.
For these reasons, long-lasting self-discipline is necessary to live a quality life. But with all these benefits, why do people still struggle with developing this kind of long-lasting self-discipline? The answer may surprise you. Keep reading to learn more.
An Untold Truth About Self-Control
Many people try to impose self-control on themselves.
And while this can be effective at times (depending on the circumstances and the person), more often than not, it’s a recipe for failure. Why? Because these individuals are acting out of alignment with who they view themselves to be!
“The strongest force in the human personality is the need to stay consistent in how we define ourselves.”Tony Robbins
Here’s the deal…
You have a self-image of who you believe you are. And this perception dictates everything about you; it regulates what you do, how you dress, the job you have, how much money you earn, where you live, the hobbies and interests you engage in, your lifestyle, etc. Your self-image governs everything that encompasses who you are.
This notion means that you will never stick to anything long-term if it doesn’t align with who you believe you are.
How to Adopt Long-Lasting Self-Discipline
If lifelong self-control requires the self-image of a disciplined person, this entails you must shift your self-perception. But the obvious question then becomes: How do you shift your self-perception? Answer: One small degree at a time.
Look, I’d love to tell you that you can revolutionize your life in a day.
However, incremental improvements are the most effective form of transformation when discussing permanent lifestyle change. This process allows you to slowly adjust to your new way of life over a set period.
Here are a few tips to get you started:
1. One Improvement at a Time
Don’t overload yourself.
Many people’s natural inclination is to make one hundred adjustments at once. And I get it; when you’re tired of the status quo, you want things to change quickly. But you must understand; it took time to arrive where you are right now, and likewise, it will take time to shift course and arrive at your new destination.
So start with one new improvement at a time.
Practice that activity daily for a week or a month, or however long it takes for it to become ingrained in your lifestyle before you move on to the next improvement. This process allows you to adjust to the lifestyle change slowly and, as a result, see yourself as the type of person who does X, Y, or Z. Remember, our strongest tendency is to act consistently with who we believe we are.
By steadily incorporating a small change in your life, you slowly begin to adopt that individual’s identity.
Consequently, you will find yourself in an upward spiral. The more you act in alignment with who you want to be, the more you will believe you are that person. Then, your beliefs and actions begin to feed into one another until you actually become a person with long-lasting self-discipline.
2. Remain Persistent
Change is not easy.
It takes time, commitment, and persistence; that’s why most people fail to make the grade when it comes to making any meaningful, permanent improvements to their lives–the process is long and hard. Don’t be one of those people. When you make up your mind to make a change, stick with it.
Don’t let allow emotions or events to throw you off course. You can develop your persistence muscle by:
- Downloading a habit tracker app: Habit trackers are great for building persistence. They allow you to see your progress over the weeks, months, and years; that’s incredibly motivating.
- Finding an accountability partner: You can develop persistence by having someone hold you accountable for your habits and disciplines. When you have this type of sounding board in your life, long-lasting self-discipline becomes more attainable.
- Journalling about your progress: Don’t understand the power of self-accountability! People often fail to adhere to their disciplines simply because they lack deliberate concentration toward them. Daily journaling helps you develop this focus by directing your thoughts to a clean page. Additionally, by documenting your habits in a journal, you’ll be more inclined to stick to them due to the progress you’ll make.
3. Feed Your Mind
“Every day, stand guard at the door of your mind.”Jim Rohn
You know the importance of watching your diet for your physical health.
Eating too much junk food makes you lazy, passive, and beer-bellied–no Bueno. Similarly, if you feed your mind with an unhealthy mental diet (the news, social media, ratchet internet content, etc.), you become sluggish and paunchy from a cognitive standpoint. And the more you consume this garbage, the more you subconsciously identify with it.
I’ve said it numerous and I’m going to say it again, our strongest inclination is to behave in ways consistent with who we believe we are.
So every day, feed your mind with content, books, audio programs, etc., aligned with the self-image you’re trying to adopt. This process will take time, and persistence is key here (see step 2). You through repetition; by repeatedly exposing your mind to the philosophy you’d like to assume as your own, you begin to make it a part of you.
Next Step: Develop Long-Lasting Self-Discipline
Permanent discipline does not come from willpower; it is a direct result of identity.
That’s why disciplined people are able to remain so indefinitely. They’re not using willpower, instead, they’re simply acting out who they believe they are. Self-discipline is easy.
Once it becomes a part of you, it turns into something you don’t even think about it or contemplate.
You go to the gym; you eat healthily, you save money; you read; you wake up early, you work harder etc. These things take care of themselves not because you force yourself to do them but because it becomes a natural part of how you operate. But it takes time and effort to get to that point.
If you need assistance, be sure to check out my ebook to develop long-lasting self-discipline.