Hey guys!

It’s February and for some (all?) of us the whole “new year, new you” mentality has already faded away. Perhaps it’s because the lack of discipline we have created for ourselves. We have this expectation that just because we have a clean slate means that everything that was hard for us last year will all of a sudden be totally easy this year. And surprise surprise, that really is not the case! So here are 5 ways to create a little bit more self discipline in your life that might really help you reach those goals you set for yourself every year.
  1. Have a schedule or outline for your day

A big mistake that people can make is that they try to keep everything that needs to get done in their head. I personally have found that this is a really good way to drop the ball on something I wanted to accomplish. Writing something down helps in 3 ways. First it helps you stay accountable to what you wanted to get accomplished. Second, it gives you more organization when things are feeling chaotic so being more organized will help you reach those goals. Thirdly, it feels so good to cross out those things you had to do for the day, which then makes you feel motivated to do other things.
  1. Say you will do it for 5 minutes.

This is one that I recently read about and I love it. One of the biggest challenges is actually doing the thing you said you wanted to do. Going from 1-100 isn’t always easy. Sitting down to commit to an hour of work or all those dishes sounds like the worst thing ever. But if you tell yourself you will do it for 5 minutes, you have already created some momentum for yourself. What people have found is that starting is the hardest part, but once you get going, it’s easy to keep going. Momentum! So, next time a task seems difficult to start up, just do it for 5 minutes. I mean, five minutes sounds much less scary than anything else.

  1. Don’t give yourself an out.

We can easily talk ourselves out of doing something. So, don’t give yourself an out. Get rid of language that tells you “I’ll do it later” Or “After one more episode” Those give ourselves an out and then we don’t have to what we said we wanted to do. Maybe reframe the activity and then sit down for those next episodes. Know your weaknesses, I for one cannot turn on the TV because then I lose that momentum so I try to do all my tasks first then turn on Netflix. Do the thing that needed to get done, then play.  Maybe try out the 5 minute thing and see how it goes.

  1. Set yourself up to Succeed

Ask yourself , are you setting yourself up to succeed? Are you giving yourself the right amount of time to complete a task? A lot of times when I talk to people about their goal setting, they are not setting themselves up to succeed. Their goals are unrealistic and then it makes them unmotivated when they are not reaching those goals. Set goals that are SMART Specific (simple, sensible, significant). Measurable (meaningful, motivating). Achievable (attainable). Relevant (reasonable, realistic and resourced, results-based) Time bound (time-based,time-sensitive) If trying to eat healthy is a goal, start small by substituting one unhealthy snack for a healthy one. Switch one sugary drink to water. As you continue to make easy and small positive changes, you will continue to feel more disciplined and motivated to reach those goals. At times we set ourselves up to fail by setting those unrealistic expectations. Give yourself more time to complete tasks rather than the bare minimim, and when you finish early, you got some unexpectedly pleasant free time on your hands and who doesn’t love that.
  1. Don’t let mistakes derail you

Everyone makes mistakes! Everyone will slip up once in awhile. The biggest thing to remember is that even if you made a mistake, don’t let it be a reason not to keep trying. Just because you had that pizza at lunch doesn’t mean that everything is ruined. It’s about challenging yourself to just do better next time. Being disciplined doesn’t mean that you can’t mess up, it just means that you get another try to succeed. No matter what happens, keep trying to do better. We all make mistakes, its about what we do next that determines the rest.
Hopefully these 5 tips help you be more self disciplined, reach your goals and overall make you feel better about yourself. Because better mental health leads to better overall health!

About the Author

Fariha Newaz

Fariha Newaz, LCPC, CADC is a therapist at our Edison Park location. Fariha works with adolescents, young adults, adults, and couples. Fariha’s specialties include depression, anxiety, substance use, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, multicultural concerns, and South Asians specific concerns. If you are interested in working with Fariha, send an email today!