Self-discipline is the foundational habit that makes all other good habits possible.
What is self discipline?
It is the ability to do a chosen action even when you don’t feel like it.
Anyone can do the action when they feel like it. It is the ability to do it when you don’t feel like it that really marks the difference between having a large positive impact in the world or just dribbling away all your days.
All habits are developed by repetition. If you repeat something bad for you, it will become a habit. If you repeat something good for you, it will become a habit.
Resolve to stick through the important tasks that you chose to start. As you repeatedly finish what you start, it will become more and more natural to you. Blogging was hard for me at the beginning, but now I know I will publish within 20 minutes of starting a post (I am coming up to 500 posts out there on this blog and other online resources such as forbes, lifehack, IESE, Active Garage, slideshare, venturebeat, venture village)
Three Step Guide for Better Productive Days
Here is a morning guide for being intentionally productive:
- Write down the top 5 most important tasks
- Pick the #1 most important task.
- Work on it until it is done. (THE HARD BIT!)
If you aren’t thinking of an important bigger picture, you will be distracted by easy interruptions. It is hard to stay the course when you don’t feel like it. Your life gets better when you get better. Your leadership gets better when your habits get better. Facebook, email, twitter are so instantly addictive that I will be distracted by them every day that I am not working on something that is of importance to me.
All important success comes from finishing projects. If you get better at finishing, you get better at life. Do the projects today that the “you” of tomorrow will be thankful for.
Start and complete a task every morning before anything else. Dandapani taught me to start by making my bed first thing in the morning. I start by reminding myself that I finish what I start (and making the bed is not so difficult).
Tranquil bench and lake photo credit: Matt Champlin