Self-discipline and happiness seem to be two contradicting concepts, and using them in the same sentence seems totally unacceptable. Self-discipline brings to mind the idea of “work and effort”, while happiness is usually associated with “pleasure” and the absence of work.
For most, self-discipline can never be the source of what makes them happy because the relationship with what it means to be happy is misplaced.
Happiness is not the absence of work, it is the absence of guilt, shame, regret, anger, resentment, frustration, sadness, self-doubt, fear, boredom, stress, anxiety, loneliness, and all negative emotions.
Absence of work may give you momentary gratification, but the absence of self-discipline and wasting time with momentary gratifications ultimately results in un-ending negative feelings.
Importance of Self-Discipline
It is an established fact that without discipline, success becomes merely an untranslatable dream. Self-discipline allows you to develop problem solving skills, and helps you make the right choices. It also helps you cultivate strong relationships, and gives you the ability to manage debts, make use of opportunities, and develop a positive attitude towards your health.
This ability to make the right choices at the right time leads to a successful personal and professional life. No one can negate the fact that being blessed in your personal life and having success in your professional life guarantees a certain level of happiness.
Another aspect of being disciplined and happy at the same time is that self-control can help you avoid indulging in problematic situations, distractions, and poor habits. This can help you avoid making rash decisions that can cause regret, discontentment, stress, and resentments.
“When you proactively avoid tension by being disciplined, you are definitely earning happiness.”
As a disciplined person you are more likely to achieve what you want from life. Victory in life brings confidence and ultimately enables you to embrace the fact that you can achieve anything you want. Furthermore you become proud by the fact that you have achieved success through your own efforts.
“Being in control of the way you lead your life makes you more content, satisfied, and confident, and this creates happiness.”
A high disposition towards self-discipline enables people to experience fewer problematic desires, and set goals in favor of more virtuous outcomes, which in turn result in a happier life.
How to Become Self-Disciplined
The most tested and proven way to become self-disciplined is to remove distractions and temptations from your environment. If you want to eat healthy, unsubscribe from those fast-food promotional texts you get at lunch from the visiting food truck.
If you want to focus on your project, turn off your cell phone or at least turn off the notifications when it’s time to get things done. Keeping your work desk clean and your files organized will also go a long away to help you become more focused. The fewer distractions you face the easier it becomes to stay focused on your goals and tasks.
The other step towards becoming more self-disciplined, is to have set goals and a clear plan to achieve them. By having an action plan that guides you daily towards your goals, you will never get sidetracked. A clear plan that outlines each step towards your goals, will help you stay focused. You can also keep a journal to keep tabs on your plans and use it as a way to check in with yourself on an ongoing basis.
“Your will-power is determined by your beliefs. If you believe that you have limited willpower, you are more likely to become exhausted.”
Will-power plays an important role in developing self-discipline. Will-power is elastic and can be stretched to infinity. You can train yourself to control your actions, rather than being on autopilot.
Improving your self-discipline means changing your not so great habits, which at first can be uncomfortable and feel awkward.
“When a good behavior becomes a habit, your decision-making power embraces it.”
Changing habits takes time. Neuroscience says that it usually requires 90 days of repetitive brain-hacking of your beliefs. This is why mantras work so well as a way to reprogram your mind to become more disciplined.
Constantly self-regulating according to social expectations can result in living a dull, mundane, and joyless life.
The fact is, self-disciplined people start feeling joy in doing things because they create a controlled environment. They are less driven by the need for immediate gratification, or pleasure. They have trained their minds to associate pleasure with the journey life offers.
“By balancing desires and goals with discipline, you have more good moods and higher levels of satisfaction, and this leads to sustainable happiness.”
Contrary to what most believe, disciplined people are not self-denying or unhappy, rather they are happier than many because they have mastered restricting impulses, and temporary pleasures. They have picked virtue over vice.
Self-discipline is about choosing virtues that deliver sustainable joy in your life, and embracing the journey as the adventure instead of the distractions.