I’ve got 2 words for you that can lead you to, and eventually give you anything and everything you could hope for. These 2 words have been in every person’s ‘toolkit’ that has led to their eventual success. Those that have failed, have used these 2 words to drive them out of failure and back on track to where they originally intended.

Yet, when some people hear these 2 simple words they clamp up. They comment on how costly these 2 words are. They complain that these 2 words take away their freedom. They justify that these 2 words are the virtue of those that are greater or more privileged than themselves.

I’m here to tell you that these 2 words are for everyone. These 2 words have the power to turn your life around faster than you’ve imagined. These 2 words will actually GIVE you your freedom!

When I reveal these words, I want you to go back to the start and read this again with your new knowledge. So here they are: Self-discipline. Now as I said, go back and re-read from the start with your new awareness. Go on!

So what is self-discipline? I like the definition that says that it is a conscious human awareness of the need for action, and a conscious act by us to implement that action.

The first thing that I noticed about that definition is that there are two parts to it. The conscious human awareness of the need for action is the first part, and the conscious act by us to implement that action is the second part.

The first part can exist without the second part. In fact, I would say that we are often aware of our need for action with particular parts of our life. We don’t need to have any discipline to be aware of what we need to take action on in our lives. Life gives us the clues every day and in many ways - we don’t need flashing neon signs to point us in the right direction.

We don’t need others to tell us what we need to do - I think we actually know. I believe that we are generally highly aware of what we need to do that would change our course towards a life and experience that we would rather have.

So, the awareness of the need for action is not enough - it doesn’t complete the picture - it doesn’t get things done. It is the second part where the magic lies. It is in the second part where the rubber hits the road. It is in the second part where your dreams are made to come true.

The second part is “the conscious act by us to implement that action.” One of the things that I’ve realised is that self-discipline is a verb. It is DOING. Self-discipline is conscious. It’s not discipline if it’s by accident - if it just happens and you haven’t worked to achieve the result.

So what happens if we don’t have self-discipline?

Regret. Regret is what we’re left with when we don’t exercise our self-discipline. We feel regret because we knew better. We knew before that final moment arrived that had we done something different along the way, had we stayed on the path or taken some action we wouldn’t feel this way now.

Regret is inner voice saying, “I told you so!”

People often complain about how difficult it is to exercise their self-discipline. They complain about how they are missing out. They make complaints about losing freedom, choice, opportunity and a whole bunch of other things. This short-sighted thinking comes back later to bite them on the backside.

This short-sighted thinking doesn’t consider that the weight of regret is tonnes compared to the light weight of discipline. A little discipline each day only requires a small amount of lifting. Discipline is not about being all at once. Discipline goes hand in hand with time. You can’t be disciplined just by doing one act - that’s just an action.

And as you continue with your discipline the weight becomes easier to carry. Your body and mind have grown to be able to cope with extra weight if need be.

The weight of regret is heavy. The weight of regret is not set upon you incrementally, but is set down on you quickly and punishingly. This weight is infinitely harder to bear than the weight of discipline.

Consider a body-builder. When they start on their path, they start with weights that are challenging but not overwhelming. Yes, they have to focus their energy and their mind to be able to start off, but they are able to lift those weights. Over time those weights become easier to lift, and soon comes a time when they are no longer challenging to lift.

This is when the body-builder increases the weight. Through their consistent self-discipline they have made light-weight of something that used to be a challenge to them. As this continues to take place, the body-builder’s body starts to grow and sculpt into something more evolved. The body-builder is being rewarded along the way for their discipline - they feel it and they can see it in the mirror.

If the body-builder had tried to lift the big weights at the start, he would not have been able to do it. He may have injured himself in the process through inferior knowledge and technique. He would not have had the opportunity to learn the lessons along the way had he started with the smaller weights. He would make excuses for his failure and walk away because the weight is too heavy to bear.

With self-discipline you get the opportunity to grow as you go watching it become easier and easier - whereas regret tends to be in one drop and causes you much more pain than the growth through discipline.

So, what are the keys to using self-discipline? I believe that there are 5 keys to successfully implementing and sustaining self-discipline.

    1. Know your outcome. Self-discipline relies on first having an outcome - an intention. Without this, you are just a sail flapping in the wind. You are anchored in one place making a lot of noise from left to right, but going nowhere and helping nothing or no one else go anywhere. You need an outcome, an intention.

    With an outcome you can then do two things: you can recognise where you currently are, and you can plot your course for where you want to be. And plotting your course takes into account direction and distance. Without knowing the direction to go, you can travel for miles and not end up where you want to be simply because you travelled in the wrong direction. It is simply not enough to JUST travel - travel in the direction of where you intend to go!

    2. Take action. Once you have your outcome - what you want or desire - then you MUST take action. The goals and outcomes aren’t going to achieve themselves! You must do the action of ‘doing’. You must get off the couch, turn off the television and do the actions that lead you to where you want to arrive.

    Be like the body-builder - start with the small things, the things that you can actually manage at the start. Start your actions with those small, yet manageable and challenging tasks first. With taking action it is important to know where you are today. There is nothing to be ashamed of with where you are today, it’s more about where you are tomorrow that’s important.

    3. Model others who have already done what you wish to do. There’s no need to re-invent the wheel - the wheel exists already. For what you’re looking to achieve, people have already tread at least some of that path before you. Utilise their wisdom and expertise. You don’t need to see them face to face either - there are plenty of books and websites containing information that will be helpful to kick-start you on your journey. There are plenty of hints and tips from those before you that will help save you time and effort.

    Think of modelling other people’s success as using a personal trainer in the gym. Without help you will still achieve some results, but if you have a personal trainer there with advice, hints and tips, your results will be accelerated. You have access to better techniques that you may not have developed on your own. Modelling others is the ‘octane additive’ that your results crave and deserve.

    4. Have the awareness and flexibility to make changes and adjustments as required. As you continue to exercise your self-discipline, you will travel towards what you desire - your original goal. As you travel this journey your knowledge will grow, you will have more experience to draw upon. The direction that you started on may require a slight course-correction to help keep you on track.

    Having the awareness and flexibility to make these necessary changes along the way will ensure that you stay on track. Going back to the body-builder - it is like increasing the weights along the way to help increase the growth. If he doesn’t increase the weight, then he may not achieve what he desires in the most efficient manner. If you aren’t aware of the changes you need to make on your journey towards your goal, then you may miss what you intended. You may also miss the opportunity to upgrade your intention.

    5. Operate from a physiology and psychology of excellence. Your physiology is how you hold your body, your psychology is how you hold your mind. Allow yourself to be affected by the goals that you have set out. Picture right at the start how you will feel once you have achieved the goal or dream. Allow yourself to see what you would see, and hear what you would hear, and feel what you would feel. Allow yourself to be inspired by yourself and what you strive to achieve.

    Allowing your mind and body to be positively affected by what you strive for will inspire you and others. People around you will notice a difference in you. They won’t be able to help themselves and tell you that they’ve noticed something different in you. They’ll ask you for your secret. Your secret will be that you have decided to do what you need to do to achieve what you desire. Your secret will be that you can see, hear and feel it already. Your secret is your willingness to share your insights with others. Your secret is no secret!

By using your self-discipline you give yourself the opportunity to experience what you wish to desire. By practising self-discipline every day you will experience regret less and less. You can look back on a day, a week, a year and be satisfied that you did all that you could. You can smile knowing that you fought a good fight.

Whether you achieve everything that you intend to, you can look back without the weight of regret. You won’t have that inner voice telling you “I told you so!” In fact, YOU can tell that inner voice “I told YOU so!” You can tell your inner voice that you were right and it was wrong. You can tell that inner voice to trust YOU instead.

Through using your self-discipline you can experience more freedom than what you had before applying it.

I encourage you to go out today and apply your self-discipline to a task that you have been putting off for whatever reason. Look that ‘thing’ dead in the face and remind yourself that you are more important than the fear or discomfort of movement may be implying to you.

Your consistent self-discipline will give you more freedom than you could ever have imagined!

Author's Bio: 

Youarn Bell is a coach and trainer based in Australia with a growing reputation for helping people from all walks of life to push past their perceived limits and drastically improve their life rapidly. Visit: http://www.exclusivesuccessstrategies.com for more information.