20 Ways to Master the Art of Self-Discipline

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Running a successful business is a constantly adapting and changing process. What

Yuzen, a buddhist monk from the Sōtō Zen sect ...

Yuzen, a buddhist monk from the Sōtō Zen sect begging at Oigawa, Kyoto. Begging is part of the training of some Buddhist sects. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

works one day may result in total failure the next. Business owners are constantly required to change their actions, make business resolutions, and exercise their strong sense of self-discipline to ensure that the job gets done right the first time. Many business owners make resolutions and long-term business goals and then set about trying to achieve these goals in a specific time frame and miss opportunities to generate more revenue.

The trouble, however, is it's often difficult to make these grandiose resolutions and commitments become a permanent part of your life. Other influences and decisions sneak into the picture, and before you know it you've allowed your business resolutions to be completely broken or abandoned. Dorie Clark, a contributor at Forbes.com, understands the seriousness of this problem. She recently published an article at Forbes discussing ways that may help business owners make business resolutions a permanent fixture in life.

There are many ways to make self-discipline improvements. Some of Clark's methods may work for you while others may not. It's important to try a variety of self-discipline improvement methods to discover which ones benefit you as a business owner. If you're looking for some other suggestions for mastering the art of self-discipline, here are 20 great tips that can help you get started.

1. Start Big by Making Small Changes

Many business owners want to start learning self-discipline by making dramatic, top to bottom changes in their lives. This, however, can be detrimental and can lead to failure. Instead of tackling all the issues at once, start by making small, simple changes in your life and in your business. Simple is the key to success when one is just starting out learning the art of self-discipline.

2. Take One Step at a Time

If you aren't sure how to make goals simple, consider working on just one thing at a time. For example, if you have productivity issues, try eliminating one factor that threatens your at-work productivity. For a week, you may decide to avoid personal text messages while you are working. Focusing on this one change will improve your chances of success. Once you've mastered that one change, you can work on improving another area of self-discipline.

3. Set Reasonable, Achievable Goals

One mistake that many people make with regard to self-discipline is setting goals for themselves that are almost impossible to achieve. Long-term goals are important, but improving self-discipline requires the creation of milestones. These will help you monitor your progress and provide you with encouragement.

4. Create a Daily Checklist

If you have poor self-discipline, create daily checklists for yourself. Make certain that you don't leave your business until every task has been completed.

5. Stop Talking About Your Goals to Others

Many people want to discuss their self-discipline efforts with others because they assume that they'll get support and motivation from friends and colleagues. If they don't get support or approval, however, they may get discouraged. Discouragement leads to failure.

6. Reward Yourself for Succeeding

Don't be afraid to give yourself a reward when you've reached a goal or mastered an element of self-discipline. If you got to work on time every single day in a week, treat yourself to a delicious lunch or indulge in a movie on the weekend.

7. Examine Your Priorities

If you are having trouble self-motivating, there may be issues with your priorities. Evaluate your priorities and make sure that you know what is important in your life.

8. Find a Self-Discipline Partner

If you are still having trouble mastering the art of self-discipline, it may be beneficial to find an accountability partner. The two of you can work together to encourage and motivate one another.

9. Read Success Stories

Often, reading success stories and inspirational tales of business success will provide motivation and self-discipline. Immerse yourself in the successes of others and you'll be more likely to pursue your own goals with courage and stamina.

10. Find a Role Model

The business community is filled with successful role models. Choose a role model after whom you want to pattern your own business decisions.

11. Don't Beat Yourself Up

Never abuse or berate yourself for slipping in your quest for self-discipline. Everyone makes mistakes. Pick yourself up and learn from your error.

12. Pay Attention to Weakness Triggers

Every person has triggers that cause weakness and increase the chance of failure. Your triggers may be sleepiness, distraction, or hunger. Identify and eliminate the triggers to improve self-discipline.

13. Make Some Lifestyle Changes

Sometimes, your lifestyle gets in the way of self-discipline. You might have to make some changes such as getting more sleep, eating a healthier diet, exercising regularly, or even getting rid of distractions like video games or personal social media accounts.

14. Attend a Motivational Seminar

A motivational seminar or workshop can be a great way to learn self-discipline techniques. Provide yourself with as many opportunities for learning as possible throughout the year.

15. Eliminate Negative or Destructive Habits

If you have negative habits such as staying up too late, consuming too much alcohol, or spending too much time surfing the web, your chances of achieving self-discipline will suffer. Eliminate bad habits slowly and methodically.

16. Reevaluate Your Goals

If you are still having trouble with self-discipline, your goals may need to be reevaluated. Perhaps you've set goals that are too challenging or goals that simply don't motivate or excite you. Spend some time reexamining those goals and make changes if necessary.

17. Talk to Yourself

Self-talking can be unhealthy if you only berate yourself. If you use encouraging and motivational language, however, self-communication can be a great way to improve self-discipline.

18. Know Yourself

Unless you know yourself, inside and out, you'll never be able to identify the hiccups in your self-discipline journey and figure out how to achieve your goals. Self discovery is an important part of this journey.

19. Envision Your Ideal Future

Focus, all the time, on your vision of the future. Keep this vision clearly and distinctly in your mind. This can be the best motivator and self-discipline improver that you have.

20. Keep Moving Forward

Above all, keep moving in a forward direction. Never allow yourself to take steps backward. Let every step you take move you one step closer to the achievement of your goals.

Implementing these steps in your life can help you master the art of self-discipline, once and for all.

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