Willpower and self-discipline – two important assets one must possess if one wants to become successful. They go hand in hand. Willpower is the ability to overcome laziness and procrastination and unnecessary impulses, while self-discipline is the ability to persevere in what we’re doing; to reject immediate gratification in order to gain something better, albeit requires effort and time.
We are all aware of how our actions have consequences, and that some of these actions might have negative effects. A good example would be when we come home tired after classes. We would want nothing more than to relax in front of the television or surf the net, but we know that there is a ton of homework that needs to be answered. What do we do?
What we do in situations like these will tell us just how much self-discipline and willpower we have. A lot of people I know would dearly love to improve on their habits but do not know how to begin. Here are a few tips that might seem like they don’t have much to do with particulars but will actually strengthen inner resolve.
1) You are sitting in a bus or train and an old man or woman, or a pregnant lady walks in. Stand up and give up your seat even if you prefer to stay seated. Do this not just because it is polite, but because you are doing something that you are reluctant to do. In this way you are overcoming the resistance of your body, mind and feelings.
2) There are dishes in the sink that need washing, and you postpone washing them for later. Get up and wash them now. Do not let your laziness overcome you. When you know that in this way you are developing your will power, and if you are convinced of the importance of will power in your life, it will be easier for you to do whatever you have to do.
3) You come home tired from school and sit in front of the T.V. because you feel too lazy and tired to go and wash. Do not obey the desire to just sit, but go and have a shower
4) You may know your body needs some physical exercise, but instead you keep on sitting doing nothing or watching a movie. Get up and walk, run or do some other physical exercise.
5) Sometimes, when you want to say something that is not important or potentially hurtful, decide not to say it.
6) Don’t read some unimportant gossip in the newspaper, even if you want to.
7) If you find yourself thinking unimportant, unnecessary, negative thoughts, try to develop lack of interest in them, by thinking about their futility.
8) Overcome your laziness. Convince yourself of the importance of what is to be done. Convince your mind that you gain inner strength when you act and do things, in spite of laziness, reluctancy or senseless inner resistance.
Yes, I know, it sounds difficult. It is difficult. Trying to strengthen your willpower and self-discipline will mean undoing years of bad habits. But, if we want to improve ourselves, feel better about our actions because we know that we are doing the right thing, then all the ‘suffering’ will be worth it. Again, doing away with bad habits will always be for the best.