It allows you to focus more on the essential work and remove the unwanted distraction.
But, self-discipline can be a challenge.
Social media and other distractions make things worse. But it’s not those factors alone that make self-discipline so challenging.
It’s our human tendency to avoid complex tasks and seek comfort. We don’t want to exercise. We want to eat junk because it tastes good. We don’t want to read books and learn new skills. We want to watch Netflix and play video games.
I’m only speaking of the average human habits. Of course, many people read, exercise, eat healthily, and do more engaging activities.
The best self-discipline tip that works
I’ve struggled a lot with my habits and discipline. Even though I try to give my best, I fail to maintain consistency.
After much experimentation, I’ve learned that:
Self-discipline is not only about incorporating positive habits into your life. It is more about letting go of the negative ones.
So, the best self-discipline tip I can give you right now is this:
Learn to say no to yourself.
Saying no is one of the popular self-improvement advice out there. It’s become sort of a cliche advice.
The idea behind saying no is to avoid things that distract you from doing what truly matters. Whether meeting other people, hanging out with friends, or doing something you don’t want, saying no can save you a lot of time and energy to do what matters.
But it should not be limited to other people or circumstances.
What’s more important is to say no to yourself.
How to say no to yourself
Every person engages in self-talk almost every day. We have a voice inside our head that constantly speaks to us.
It’s this voice that you must control. Do not let it be your boss. Take control of it and learn to say no to its demands.
- Say no to bad habits: Drinking, smoking, watching porn, etc.
- Say no to distractions: Social media, people, events, meetings, etc.
- Say no to perfection
- Say no to negative self-talk
- Say no to comparing yourself to others
My biggest weakness was being unable to say no to people. I’d agree with whatever they said or asked from me.
After realizing it was doing me more harm than good, I switched to saying no more often.
It helped to some extent. I had more time for myself and could focus on my work. I had less distraction and more focus.
But that didn’t last long because even though I was saying no to other people, I couldn’t say no to myself. Other people were my distraction, so I removed them. But my thoughts and activities were still causing a blockage.
For instance, I couldn’t say no to eating junk, not exercising, watching porn, spending too much time on social media, watching too much Netflix, etc.
These activities were negatively impacting my health and work.
So, I learned to say no to myself. I tried quitting all the bad habits for 21 days.
Things started changing. Everything was working in my favor.
- I was more focused.
- I achieved ninety percent of my goals.
- My health was good.
- I felt more optimistic.
Saying no to yourself is challenging but necessary.
It’s easy to say no to others. But it’s a lot more challenging to say no to yourself.
Every day, you wake up with distractions and negative thoughts. You seek comfort. You want to do easy things and avoid doing what’s truly important. Remember:
Do what is right for you instead of what is easy.
Here are a few tips to stay focused and productive:
- Don’t start your day with your phone.
- Practice “deep work” for 3–4 hours without distractions.
- Reward yourself. Promise yourself that you will get something after completing an important task. This gets work done efficiently.
- Take breaks after each deep work session.
- Journal your negative thoughts and self-talk. This helps you become self-aware and then eliminate them later.
- Make a 21-day plan to avoid all bad habits in your life. Follow the plan without relapsing.
Add your own rules because you know what keeps you from becoming self-disciplined. You know what your weaknesses are.
Work on them. Remove them one by one because doing it all at once can be difficult.
Say no to one thing first. Then, add more to the list.
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