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Written By : Sunila Karan. What is self-discipline? How can you achieve it? Self-discipline is one of the hardest qualities to achieve in character education. Having self-discipline means that you
11 Dec 2010 12:00

Written By : Sunila Karan. What is self-discipline? How can you achieve it? Self-discipline is one of the hardest qualities to achieve in character education.
Having self-discipline means that you must have the ability to control yourself. For example, if you are a student, instead of going out with your friends, you must be able to control yourself, make yourself stay at home and study. Tough, isn’t it?
Self-discipline means that you have to be very determined to achieve the goals you have set.
To be a self-disciplined person, you have to control your feelings and desires and also behave with responsibility without orders. Finally, a self-disciplined person must have the ability to correct himself for the sake of improvement.
As you can see, it is not easy to achieve self-discipline, but nothing is impossible if you have already begun learning what self-discipline.
In simple terms, self-discipline means obedience.
People who have the ability to concentrate, focus on their goals, and consistently stay within their priorities tend to succeed. Whether in academics, the arts, or athletics, success generally comes to the self-disciplined. Since self-disciplined is so important, how do you develop it? And how can parents help their children develop it?
First, let’s look at the principles of self-discipline.
1. Set yourself a goal:
Goal setting is very important in achieving self-discipline. In fact, it is the first and most important step. Without any goals, it is very difficult to get far. So, before you start on a project or work, be sure to set a target, a goal.
2. Have a strong desire to achieve the goal.
When you have a goal, make sure that you have the desire to fulfill it.
What’s the use of setting a goal when you don’t even have the interest or determination to do it.
For example, you promised yourself that you would go for a walk every morning. But whenever the alarm clock rings at 6am, your first reaction is to turn it off. So, what’s the use of setting a goal if this is the case?
3. Must maintain in spite of failure.
How many times have we set ourselves a goal and did not complete it due to some difficulties we meet. Just ask any scientist in the world. Their answer would be “I can’t remember.”
You see, failure is part and parcel of growing up. But does it mean once, you fail, once your goals fail, you would abandon it. NO.
You must carry on, try again, find out why you couldn’t achieve the goal in the first place. Then try to achieve your goal again. You must maintain in spite of any failures. Winners don’t quit.
4. Take things one step at a time.
Finally, you must not rush things, if you have set yourself a goal, plan how you are going to achieve, once you have completed the first step of your ‘plan”, then proceed to the second step. Try not to think so far when you have not even completed any step. Slow and steady is the key here.
What are the benefits of self-discipline?
You might ask yourself what self-discipline can give you. Firstly, self-discipline can give you a sense of pride. Not everyone has self-discipline. And when you accomplish a goal, you will get a sense of achievement. Also having self-discipline can boost your confidence. When you have confidence, everything you do, will go smoothly.
Most importantly, you can acquire new skills and knowledge. Here are some practical tips that I’ve found helpful. Parents can use these to help their children develop self-discipline.
Start with small things : clean your room or your desk at work. Train yourself to put things where they belong when they are out of place.
Make this your motto, “A place for everything and everything in its place. After you have cleaned your room or desk, extend that neatness to the rest of your house and workplace. Get yourself to the point where orderliness matters. Learn how to keep your environment clean and clear so you can function without a myriad of distractions. Such neatness will further develop self-discipline by forcing you to make decisions about what is important and what is not. Learning self-discipline in the little things in life prepares the way for big successes.
On the other hand, those who are undisciplined in small matters will likely be undisciplined in more important issues.
Get yourself organised: make a schedule, however detailed or general you are comfortable with, and stick to it. Have a to-do list of things you need to accomplish. But get organised, even if all you do is jot down appointments and to-do items on a piece of scrap paper.
The simple reality is that if you don’t control your time, everything (and everyone) else will.
Don’t constantly seek to be entertained: when you have free time, do things that are productive instead of merely entertaining.
Read a book, take a walk, or have a conversation with someone.
In other words, learn to entertain yourself with things that are challenging, stimulating and creative.
Things that are of no value except to entertain yourself, make a very small contribution to your wellbeing. Be on time: if you are supposed to be somewhere at a specific time, be there on time. Being punctual marks a life that is organised. It reveals a person whose desires, activities, and responsibilities are under control. Being on time also acknowledges the importance of other people and the value of their time.
Keep your word: if you say you are going to do something, do it – when you said you would do it and how you said you would do it. When you make commitments, see them through. That calls for the discipline to properly evaluate whether you have the time and capability to do something. And once you’ve made the commitment, self-discipline will enable you to keep it. Finish what you start: some people’s lives are a sad list of unfinished projects. If you start something, finish it. Here lies an important key to self-discipline.
Accept correction: correction helps you develop self-discipline by showing you what you need to avoid. Thus it should not be rejected, but accepted gladly. Welcome responsibility: volunteer to do things that need to be done. That will force you to have you life organised enough to have the time for other people.


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