Like many of you, I am feeling the stress of fourth quarter and year-end. I am a bit over scheduled trying to finish up the committed work I have on the books for this year, and feverishly trying to line up work for 2024 before the holidays hit. It is definitely the busiest time of the year, and I think one of the most difficult to stay focused and motivated. Meeting my end of year goals requires I boost self-discipline
If you are going to push hard through fourth quarter (and you need to) it is going to take a lot of self-discipline. Discovering the secret to boost self-discipline can transform your fourth quarter's performance.
The Secret to Increasing Self-Discipline
I was thinking about self-discipline and the role it plays in how much I have to get done. I was thinking about it (well stressing) while I was out for a quick run this morning, after getting just three hours of sleep; the result of a five-hour delayed flight that got me into Little Rock Arkansas at just about 3 a.m.
Now, I didn’t want to go for a run, I didn’t even want to get out of bed, but I thought a little fresh air, and the space to think, would give me the energy I needed for a 9 a.m. keynote.
And that is right - the key self discipline. The secret to self-discipline is doing what you need to do, and resisting the urge to do what you want to do. It is really pretty simple, but it is just not that easy.
The Impact of Self-Discipline
Over the years, I've learned that to truly boost self-discipline, it takes gradual change and perseverance. You see, I was not always self-disciplined, in fact I was about as far from the definition of self-discipline as you can be. For years, it took me three alarm clocks to wake up in the morning, I was always late for work, my diet consisted of lots of fast food, and my idea of saving money was just having enough to cover my monthly bills.
The only area of my life that had a hint of discipline was exercise – I always loved being outside and working out. That was one area I never had to make a choice.
So what changed? How did I start to master self-discipline and what was the impact on my life? I wish I could tell you that I woke up one day, made a decision and everything changed, but like most good things in life it was not quite that smooth a transition.
In the spring of 2003, I got a huge promotion and the chance to really grow in my career. It was a position created just for me and an opportunity to showcase my skills. I had pushed for this and now I was under a microscope – everyone was watching. I had just six short months to prove that my boss and our CEO had made the right decision going out on a limb for me.
It was just the shove I needed to get a little self-discipline. If I was going to show I could do this I needed to get my act together. My office was now on the Executive Floor, and the Executives were not only not late for work, they showed up a full hour before the office opened.
These leaders were high energy, well dressed and in tip top physical shape. I had some work to do on how I ate, what I wore and how I looked. It was just the SHOVE I needed to start waking up early, getting to the office first, cleaning up my diet, and paying attention to the image I projected.
The full transformation would take three years, but through self-discipline I transitioned from someone who could not make a ten a.m. meeting on time to someone who was at her desk by 6 a.m. every morning. From someone who was a good 50 pounds overweight and would always choose the fries over veggies, to someone whose lost the wait and cleaned up her diet. Moved from someone who felt out of control in her life, to someone who feels in charge.
The biggest things I have learned about self-discipline is that is like a muscle, and the more you work on it the stronger it becomes. The stronger your self-discipline the more in charge you are of your life and your success.
The journey to boost self-discipline has taught me valuable lessons on personal growth and success.
The Best 7 Ways To Boost Self-Discipline
Get Clear on What The Outcome
One of the most important keys to boost self-discipline is the awareness of what you want and how you want to feel.
Define The Right Behaviors
Once you know what you want, then you can easily define the actions you need to get there, Being clear on what you need to do gives you the information and fuel you need to make better choices.
Create Awareness Around Distraction
Then learn to identify the triggers that get you off track. Just make a list. Maybe if you leave Facebook on you’ll get caught scanning your friends pages rather than getting some work done. Maybe a trip for a fancy coffee drink keeps you from being motivated to go to the gym. Whatever it is, get clear on what keeps you from being disciplined.
Take Small Steps
Do not look to give up all your bad habits or guilty pleasures at once or at all, just focus on making progress. Remember, small, consistent actions are key to increasing self-discipline over time.
To clean up my diet, I did not just cut out all sugar an fried foods, not instead I would order a salad instead of a burger and still get the fries.
Measure and Celebrate Progress
Every step in the right direction you make celebrate it. When you focus on progress, taking the time to acknowledge and celebrate the right steps you are making, you will build confidence and find the motivation to become more self-disciplined.
Expand Your Goals
Challenge yourself. Once you see that you can exercise for 15 minutes every morning, maybe you can challenge yourself to do 30. Or maybe once you see just have one glass of wine night did not kill you, you can go down to just having three a week. Continue to grow and expand your goals.
Find The Right Crowd
Finding the right crowd is essential to boost self-discipline, as it surrounds you with the energy of focused and driven individuals.
The Executives really made a difference for me. Being around people who have self-discipline made it easier to for me. They served as motivators, good role models and a community of support.
To sum up, boosting self-discipline is less about monumental, overnight change and more about the small, daily decisions that shape our habits and, ultimately, our lives. Increasing self-discipline is about finding clarity in our goals, acknowledging our distractions, and committing to incremental progress.
It's about celebrating the victories, no matter how minor they may seem, and continuously setting the bar higher for ourselves. And perhaps most importantly, it's about surrounding ourselves with people who inspire us to uphold the standards we set for ourselves.
As we move forward, let's remind ourselves that the power to boost self-discipline lies within us—ready to be harnessed and directed towards the life we envision.
Remember, the journey to self-mastery is ongoing, but every step taken is a step closer to becoming the architects of our own destiny.