Delaying gratification for a greater purpose is hard, especially in our society where we can get whatever we want with just a click and almost instant delivery. It certainly is very hard for me with my “addictive personality” and having been raised without much limits as a kid. But it if we want to achieve anything significant in life, discipline is key.
The good news is discipline is a muscle we can strengthen. Some tips below:
1) Whatever it is you want to achieve, take a few minutes to write down: 1) WHAT is it that you want to achieve (be clear and specific), 2) WHY this is important you and 3) HOW you are going to achieve it - just a first step that challenges yourself enough, but not that much that you are not really going to do it. If you are not a very disciplined person for example, and you want to get in shape, which is important to you because you care about being healthy and looking great, a goal of going to the gym for 2 hours every day is probably too much. You can start as simple as one fun workout per week, and then build up from there!
2) Be specific about that HOW. Following the above example, if a Soul Cycle class is what you are into, then figure out where and when you are going to do it every week, sign up for the first class and put it in your calendar.
3) Find someone to share your goal and plan with (i.e. a partner, a sibling, a friend, a colleague). Just telling someone else what you are up to helps you commit to it. And that person can of course play a more active role in “keeping you accountable” if you want to.
4) Don’t trust your willpower to show up when you need it to help you achieve your goals. It likely wont and instead, instant gratification desires will win you over. Work on building HABITS. And remember, discipline itself is a habit so begin practicing!
Learn more about Habits on our recent article on the Power of Habit
If you are a parent and want to learn about how to discipline your kids effectively, I strongly recommend the phenomenal book No-Drama Discipline