Proven methods of self-discipline (for entrepreneurs and freelancers)
"You can't! You have to be self-disciplined to become an entrepreneur!" How many times have you heard that? If you have enough, we are here to tell you that self-discipline is a skill that you can learn independently of who you are, read our article to learn how to become more disciplined with a few simple steps.
Motivation, willpower and now self-discipline – these seem to be the main ingredients for weight loss, fitness, the desired career or starting a business. These elements are advertised in all media and have created a completely new kind of trainers, consultants and gurus.
However, recent studies show that motivation and willpower easily lead to resources. They also depend heavily on your mood, health and mindset.
The only thing left is self-discipline – the least sexy of the three. However, there is a 2013 study by Wilhelm Hoffman that states that people with high levels of self-control are happier and can achieve what they want in life. According to the results of this study, self-disciplined people tend to make positive decisions and do not allow their lives to be determined by impulses or feelings.
These people are able to think about the data and make rational decisions on this basis. As a result, they are less stressed and more focused on achieving their goals.
Since these are important characteristics for an entrepreneur or freelancer, we have carried out the research and found the three most important methods with which one can gain and improve self-discipline.
# 1: Just do it
The Nike slogan applies to all kinds of situations, but is extremely accurate when it comes to accepting changes.
Most of us tend to trust our gut feeling when something doesn't feel right. However, this feeling is not true and has no place in a world where we can use data and expert opinions as a guidance system.
The "gut feeling" is a reminder warning system that was useful for early people who had to make quick survival decisions without further information. In today's world, this feeling is all about resistance to change.
Whenever you start a new project or routine, it will always feel a little bit wrong. According to Charles Duhigg, author of The Power of Habit, it's all about the way our brain is wired. As soon as an activity becomes a habit, we switch to the autopilot and accept the activity as the norm without thinking about it. It's a mechanism that saves decision-making energy (which is also a quickly exhausted resource) and draws attention to more important things.
To change a habit, we need to integrate decision making into the thinking process. As a result, it will feel strange and even wrong at first, since our brain is wired to preserve the paths that are on the autopilot.
The solution is to accept the strange feeling and just do whatever you want. Whether you want to start the online business administration course that you have moved or want to work freelance, now is the best time to start!
It will soon become a habit and you will no longer have to worry.
# 2: Give yourself a break
Regardless of whether you are working on a new project or have just started and are desperately looking for customers, it is important to include breaks in your daily program. Reward yourself too!
Discipline does not mean that you are a robot that does everything perfectly and never takes breaks. A disciplined person knows how to choose a good habit over a bad one, but he also knows when to take a break or indulge in desire.
As it turns out, if you go through a difficult change without a little leeway, you will fail. Very few people can jump straight into the self-discipline car without indulging in guilty pleasure.
It is important to be nice to yourself and keep in mind that it takes time to build healthy habits. Otherwise you are burned out and have no motivation to continue.
As an entrepreneur or freelancer, make sure that you include breaks in your daily routine. Reward yourself for every little achievement!
# 3: Remove temptations
The biggest temptation when trying to do something is social media and video content platforms. But temptation can take various forms, such as a friend calling, a full inbox, or even a sudden desire to clean the house from top to bottom.
Mute the phone in another room to avoid getting caught in a three-hour loop of senseless scrolling on your Instagram / Facebook / Twitter / Youtube / TikTok. And close the door!
If you expect an important call, use an app to block social media access between certain times of the day.
Follow the principle "out of sight, out of mind". Whenever you cannot see or reach the object of your temptation, you are one step closer to improving your self-discipline
Self-discipline is a state of mind and requires constant practice. Just like with sports, however, the more you practice, the more natural it feels. So make sure you keep working on it by monitoring your habits and progress until it becomes automatic.
Oli is a working mother with a passion for teaching and everything pedagogical. With a background in marketing, Oli manages the digital channels and content on Courses.com.au.