Self-Discipline

Discipline is repeated practice to develop a character or to accomplish a task irrespective of any distractions. It gives oneself freedom from being slaves to moods, temptations and helps one to focus on the higher goal. Self-Discipline is the fundamental virtue if you would like to accomplish any task/goal.

If Self-discipline is not there, then we will miss the sense of achievement and don’t value the things we get. Without the sense of achievement, all our actions will be ordinary tasks. Even if we do something worthwhile, we don’t realize and appreciate it. Our actions being average and without purpose, we will doubt our abilities to do more challenging tasks. This will create a low self-belief and low self-respect. Making a promise to complete a task and then fulfilling the promise gives us self-respect and confidence.

Self-Discipline

But short term pleasures will tempt and make us fail to keep up our promises. For example if your goal is to wake up early every day, then the warmth of blanket could be tempting compared to the chillness in the early morning. If you want to do meditation regularly, then coming home very tired from work, need to spend time with family, fatigue and all other demands can make up as an excuse tempting us to postpone the meditation to a better day. How to overcome these things and practice Self-discipline?

Self-Knowledge
To practice discipline, first we should have self-knowledge. Here the self-knowledge is awareness of what we would like ourselves to be and what we are now. We need to have a purpose or a goal based on what we want ourselves to be and a promise to fulfill that goal. If there is no goal then we will not see value in keeping up the promise and will do whatever we feel like doing. Then we should identify the behaviors that align with the purpose and those that doesn’t. Once we know the behaviors aligning with the purpose, we can come up with smaller goals/tasks that strengthen those behaviors. This will help achieve the higher goal.

Conscious awareness
Awareness of our actions is very important for discipline. We should be aware of what we are doing and what we are not doing. This awareness will help us catch ourselves when we fail on our promises. Slowly with the practice of Self-discipline, this catching will happen before we fail and give us an opportunity to align ourselves with our goals.

Commitment
Once we have a goal and awareness, then we should sincerely commit to executing the plan. If we are not sincere then those plans will never get accomplished. We will keep postponing our execution giving various excuses. The commitment to your own goals will improve self-respect. If you plan to wake up by 6AM every day but not committed to it then you will feel nothing bad in hitting the snooze button and sleep for 5 more minutes. This will never end and your goal also will never get accomplished.

Courage
Executing the plan regularly will be difficult, especially if your plan is to have some change with your habits. We should face the difficulties with courage and with small victories our confidence will grow. Slowly the courage will come naturally to face these difficulties. There is a pain in disciplining ourselves. But the pain of discipline is short lived and less compared to the pain of regret that comes when we don’t fulfill our goals. On the other side, the benefits of self-discipline are endless. It gives freedom from desires and gives control over our life. It gives confidence, respect and instills belief in ourselves.

All great Saints, Gurus and great leaders are all an example of what can be achieved through Self-discipline. To do any task big or small, an attentive, faithful mind is a must. Self-discipline will give a faithful servant in the form of mind with which one can live a free life.

-Sriram

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