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It's time that we stopped pretending that discipline is a personality trait

Start your New Year with less procrastination and more discipline.

There are two kinds of people: those who make plans and stick to them painstakingly, and those who talk about making plans but end up going through life more spontaneously.

As you scroll through your Instagram feed, you may notice a planner sharing how they started their New Year back in November. They will appear aggressive, eager, and organized. If you are more spontaneous or tend to procrastinate, you may feel triggered by those posts and dread the uncertainty of the New Year. The pressure of seeing others seemingly ahead of you may also cause you to dash into planning. Yet, if you are more spontaneous or a procrastinator, you may not know where to start. If this applies to you, keep reading as we share simple tips for becoming more disciplined and intentional in setting and keeping your goals.

What are the signs of a disciplined person?

There's a common misconception that all disciplined people are rigid with Type A personalities. Though this can be true in many cases, it is still possible for more agreeable people to be disciplined. Why? Because discipline is not a personality trait - it’s a lifestyle - just like wellness. A disciplined person is:

  • Fearless: pursuing goals can be challenging for anyone. A lot of our goals tend to stretch us in ways unimaginable. Disciplined people are not afraid of that stretching. They embrace it and use it to fuel their passions.

  • Guarded: now, do not take this the wrong way! Disciplined people know how to set and enforce boundaries. Having boundaries with yourself, others, and some things in your life that hold you back is critical in becoming more disciplined.

  • Patient: in a microwave generation, people want everything easy and fast. Disciplined people are not afraid to play the long game. They pursue their goals diligently and continue working even when they do not see their desired results right away.

  • Steadfast: with discipline, patience and steadfastness go hand-in-hand. To become more disciplined, commit to your work and believe that your hard work will pay off. That belief will be your fuel on days when you are discouraged, distracted, or weary.

If you read those four traits and thought, this does not apply to me, try not to worry! Disciplined people do not spend a lot of time worrying. Also, many other traits make up a disciplined person.

How to become more disciplined

They say that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing multiple times without changing your approach, yet expecting different results. Or something like that. The first step to becoming a more disciplined person is to take inventory of your life. Seriously, sit down for maybe an hour and write down all of the things you accomplished over the past year or several years. Did you pay off a credit card? That's a win. Did you move to a new city in the middle of a pandemic? That's also a win. What if you restored a broken relationship with someone you loved? You guessed it - win!

Accept that not all wins are financial or material. Some wins are intangible, yet, they improve your overall wellbeing. At Free Radical Beauty, those small wins are our best wins. So, be like us and make a big damn deal about them! When you celebrate your small wins, you open yourself up to gratitude. This state of gratitude is not only euphoric, but it also helps you in your quest to become more disciplined.

Three simple steps to become a more disciplined person

  1. Focus on one thing at a time. Everyone is so busy and overstimulated these days! It is no wonder that so many people struggle with their wellness. Ambition is great. Starving your distractions is even greater. But, pacing yourself is the greatest of them all. Choose one goal to accomplish, set a deadline for when you want to achieve it, then start working on it right away.

  2. Release imagined goal posts. Though we just encouraged you to set a deadline for your goal, we also want you to have a healthy relationship with it. If you never set out to accomplish this goal before, you may not know what it takes to get there. There will be many trials and errors along the way. Understanding that things will never be perfect on the way to your wildest dreams will make you more eager to start and easy on yourself when sh*t happens.

  3. Establish a routine. For many people, routine is an expletive! The monotony can be agonizing, yet in goal accomplishment, it is necessary. It all goes back to that steadfastness that we mentioned earlier. If your New Year goal is to work out more, for example, select one day or two that works for you, and stick to them.

The bottom line is that becoming more disciplined is easier than you think. Yes, some people wear their accomplishments so loudly that it discourages you. However, many others are just like you - afraid, uncertain, yet ready to smash one small or big goal at a time. Be encouraged in knowing that you are not alone and you are as disciplined as you want to be.

What are some of your New Year goals? We want to hear from you in the comments!

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