Photo credit: Pexels
Many of us have dreams and desires but cannot stay focused long enough to achieve them. Most people struggle to be disciplined in at least one area of their life, but some find it challenging to maintain any type of structure at all.
We are all easily distracted and prone to habits that are unhealthy for us, be it Netflix binging, excessive drinking, or procrastinating. We may start a project and never finish it. Perhaps we used to be more disciplined and goal-oriented but the loss of a loved one, failures, depression, or stress has caused us to stop believing in ourselves.
It’s essential to remember that fear and perfectionism are the underlying factors that cause us to lose sight of our goals. Maintaining a disciplined lifestyle is challenging, but it brings several advantages. Read ahead for the top tips to instill self-discipline in your life.
1. Finish What You Start
Instead of picking a million goals or tasks that you want to accomplish, pick 1 or 2 for the next couple of months. Set out a plan of action and keep a promise that you are going to achieve these goals. For day-to-day tasks, make a point to do less and accomplish more. Focus on one thing at a time and make certain to complete it on time. Creating a schedule can help to keep yourself motivated.
2. Stop Making Excuses
We all have the same 24 hours in a day. Everyone is busy with responsibilities, but some manage to finish more than us. Regardless of the circumstances, make a point to stop making excuses when it comes to completing your tasks and goals. If it takes a little longer than usual because your schedule is hectic, that’s fine. The point is to finish the goals you set out for yourself in Step 1.
3. Pinpoint Critical vs. Non-Critical Responsibilities
One of the primary reasons we fall short of accomplishing our goals is because we fail to separate essential from non-essential tasks. We may waste time obsessively cleaning or cooking to avoid working on meeting an important deadline. Use a journal to pinpoint the critical and non-critical goals/tasks and focus on finishing the critical ones first.
4. Use Self-Imposed Deadlines
How many of us rush to finish a work project when there isn’t a deadline to complete it? The answer is none. Employers give us deadlines because they know it keeps us motivated. Pick accomplish dates for each of your tasks to keep yourself on a strict schedule.
5. Rid Yourself of Distractions
What are the temptations keeping you from achieving your goals? Scrolling through Facebook, binge-watching Netflix, or YouTube surfing is fine when you’ve finished everything you need to do. But if these distractions are causing you to procrastinate and miss out on important deadlines, then it’s time to make a change. Make a point to only use your phone at certain times of the day, after you’ve finished your tasks. It will be much more rewarding to use an hour to mindlessly scroll after you’ve worked hard than it is to scroll all day and forget what’s important.
6. Implement a Reward System
Hard work is great but without a reward system in place, you’ll start to feel exhausted. Set up 30-minute breaks throughout the day to meditate, read a book, or call a friend. A reward-based system (if I finish this, I’ll take a hot bath) vs. a fear-based system (if I don’t finish this, I’m a failure) is a much more positive approach with better results.
7. Pinpoint the Root Cause
If it is still difficult to stay focused after using these best practices, then there’s probably more that’s going on internally. Depression, anxiety, and stress can cause us to lose sight of our goals and feel hopeless. If you constantly find yourself reaching for distractions to avoid feelings, you may be suffering from a mental health disorder. Contact a dedicated therapist to learn coping mechanisms that can help you feel less depressed and anxious. It’s ok to reach out for help!
Do you struggle with feeling overwhelmed and unmotivated? If so, please contact Straight Talk Counseling at 714-828-2000 or visit our website at straighttalkcounseling.org. One of our professional counselors will be happy to speak with you.