Self-discipline is not only a virtue it is a catalyst to having a greater quality of life, a means to achieve lofty goals and a way to develop a good character. In the dictionary, character is defined as, “the stable and distinctive qualities built into an individual’s life which determine his or her response regardless of circumstances.” These distinctive qualities and responses embedded in your character will determine what you give, receive and achieve in your life.
“With self-discipline most anything is possible.” ~Theodore Roosevelt
Self-discipline will allow you to live and act with intention, rather than being controlled by your feelings and continually reacting to your environment . It is very important to not confuse self-discipline with willpower. Willpower decreases in strength, is influenced by circumstances and is undependable. Self-discipline is not affected by outside circumstances and is empowering and sustainable. It is a foundational virtue that will support all other virtues that are fundamental in developing a good character. The key elemental virtues that are instrumental in building the most vigorous self-disciplined base are: purposefulness, diligence and determination.
Many times people get caught up in what society deems as important or defines as being successful. Do not let society or other people determine who you are or what you want to achieve in your life. You are unique. Take into consideration your desires, talents and dreams to determine what you want to achieve. This will increase your chances of attaining a life that is joyful, full of contentment and meaningful accomplishments. The virtue of purposefulness, is having a clear vision for what you want to accomplish. Knowing why you want to accomplish a particular purpose will be beneficial in keeping you focused. In Stephen Covey’s book, ‘7 Habits of Highly Effective People’, he emphasizes the importance of “beginning with an end in mind”, this approach helps determine what purpose you believe you are meant to fulfill.
One of the best ways to incorporate this into your life is to develop a Personal Mission Statement. It focuses on what you want to be and do. It is your plan for success. It reaffirms who you are, puts your goals in focus, and moves your ideas into the real world. Your mission statement makes you the leader of your own life. You create your own destiny and secure the future you envision.
You must first determine your purpose or you will be aimlessly putting effort into tasks and actions that may be useless and are not adding value to your life. The act of writing down your purpose and goals has been throughly researched and it has been proven to be highly effective. Ensure that your goals are congruent with your mission statement. Then you can break your goals into manageable tasks that you can devote to working on everyday. This will ensure that you are successful in pursuing and are continually striving toward your desired purpose in life. It is also important for you to have many supportive reasons, that are meaningful to you, in order to maintain focus and perseverance. For example, if one of your goals is to lose weight and your motivation is that you believe you will be more attractive, accepted and happy (a societal notion), the chances of success are low. If your reasons are to be healthy so that you can have more energy to do the things you enjoy in life, to increase your immune system, or to be a good example for your children to make healthier lifestyle choices; then you will be more likely to be inspired and motivated to stick with your goal.
Diligence is doing what needs to be done with concentration and focus and giving your absolute best effort. When you are diligent, each task you do is done carefully, one step at a time. Working diligently produces work that is done with intent and excellence. Diligence comprises of hard work. Attaining anything of value or worth requires hard work.
“He who labors diligently need never despair; for all things are accomplished by diligence and labor.” ~Menander
Determination is focusing your energy and effort on every task that you do and sticking with it until it is finished. When you embrace determination then you are determined to meet your purpose and goals no matter what obstacles or hardships arise.
Determination is the power of intent that drives our dreams. It is the strength of will to act with resolve. We focus our energy on a purpose and persevere until we meet our goal. Determination is the commitment to follow through, until we accomplish our purpose. ~TheVirtuesProject
Determination is a virtue that will enable you to sustain your ability to maintain self-discipline despite what emotions you are feeling at the moment. Mastering self-discipline will save you from a lifetime of regrets. Rather it be in regards to words you have said, in frustration or anger; or regrets of things you did or didn’t do, that would have been beneficial to your life instead of creating heartbreak or chaos. When you have self-discipline you will be in control of your responses and actions instead of letting your emotions control you.
“The difference between the impossible and the possible lies in a person’s DETERMINATION. ~Tommy Lasorda
When you are passionate about your purpose you will have enthusiasm and an intense desire to accomplish what you set out to do. Partnered to passion is devotion. Which is a commitment to something we care about deeply and wholeheartedly. If you have great enthusiasm to achieve something that you care deeply about and are committed to achieve a goal then nothing can stand in your way of successfully accomplishing it.