Raise your hand if you cringe at the subject of self-discipline. Yeah, I’m right there with you. It’s so much easier to do as we please without thought to consequences. But without some level of self-discipline, you, and sometimes others, suffer.
Self-discipline is never easy. Most of us don’t enjoy having any type of limitations placed on us, but lack of discipline affects every area of your life and prevents you from becoming the person you were created to be.
Following are some keys to successfully mastering self-discipline:
One of the biggest challenges to self-discipline is accepting patterns must change. You have to implement new methods and accept that old patterns must be altered or done away with altogether. Determine what holds you back and prevents forward motion. Is it lack of motivation, fear of failure, or the inability to grasp future rewards? Define your deterrents and work to eliminate them.
Set Manageable Goals
Often, we lose traction with self-discipline because our goals are too lofty, and we try to reach them too rapidly. The adage to “eat the elephant one bite at a time” has merit. Start small and slowly increase self-mastery until you develop new habits that propel you forward. It is better to begin small and increase rather than expect too much too soon and fail.
We all have God-given assets, but often we fail to recognize and utilize them. Are you organized, creative, resilient, or focused? Figure out your strengths and use them to achieve self-discipline. Don’t say you have no gifts because we all do. Take the time to recognize yours and put them to work for your benefit.
Self-discipline requires a conscious decision to place limits on yourself and adhere to them. Self-discipline requires you to want your goal enough to deny immediate gratification in favor of future rewards. Without determination, you likely will not stick to self-control long enough to reach your goal.
Self-discipline requires a conscious decision to place limits on yourself and adhere to them.
Expect New Insights
Have you ever faithfully followed a restrictive eating pattern only to have others encourage you to deviate from the plan? There is something about self-discipline that makes others envious. Perhaps they wish they had that level of determination or causing you to “fall off the wagon” makes them feel less undisciplined.
With each discipline effort, we learn something new about ourselves and about others. We learn if we have the willpower not to be swayed by the attempts of others to prevent us from succeeding. And we see if your self-discipline encourages others or makes them envious.
Envision the Results
Half the battle of self-discipline is gaining a vision of the results and holding on to it. When faced with a hurdle that impedes forward motion, or throws you off the track altogether, one small, right decision keeps self-discipline in place. Be forward-looking instead of giving in to the temptation and immediacy of the moment. Learning to say “no for now” gets you beyond the obstacle.
Half the battle of self-discipline is gaining a vision of the results and holding on to it.
Tap into Supernatural Strength
My 4-year-old grandson is working on stopping a thumb-sucking habit, while his two-year-old cousin is trying to give up his pacifier. Both habits are hard to break because they are familiar and provide comfort. Yesterday, I taught my older grandson Philippians 4:13 (NKJV), “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” I believe that verse include self-control.
Self-discipline is difficult because it is easier to ignore self-control than it is to set limits and keep those limits in place. We need a big dose of supernatural strength to maintain discipline. God is that source of supernatural strength. Through prayer you can access strength to control yourself, bypass pitfalls, and achieve your goals.
“A person without self-control is like a city with broken-down walls” (Proverbs 25:28 NLT).
Through prayer you can access strength to control yourself, bypass pitfalls, and achieve your goals.
Candy Arrington is a writer, blogger, speaker, and freelance editor. She often writes on tough topics with a focus on moving through, and beyond, difficult life circumstances. Candy has written hundreds of articles, stories, and devotionals published by numerous outlets including: Inspiration.org, Arisedaily.com, CBN.com, Healthgrades.com, Care.com, Focus on the Family, NextAvenue.org, CountryLiving.com, and Writer’s Digest. Candy’s books include Life on Pause: Learning to Wait Well (Bold Vision Books), When Your Aging Parent Needs Care (Harvest House), and AFTERSHOCK: Help, Hope, and Healing in the Wake of Suicide (B&H Publishing Group).
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