Ten Top Habits To Grow Self-Discipline

By Julette Millien

Over the years I have worked so hard on being self-disciplined. It surely DID NOT come easy! These ten habits took time, sweat and some tears to create.

And it’s not just me. Based on the many, many conversations, sessions and interventions over the years, with people who were desperately trying to grab control of their lives, these are the “gateway” habits that comes up again and again.  Create any one of these and you will see and feel immediate impact on your productivity and level of joy. Create all ten and you will hardly be able to touch the ground!

  1. An attitude of gratitude – having a habit of saying and meaning “thank you” throughout your day is powerful.  What we are grateful for expands in our life.  I’m presently [as it has not always been the case] in the habit of saying thank-you for the challenges as well.  The really are tomorrow’s blessings. This has been demonstrated more times than I can count. Thank everybody for everything – not just with words, but with your attitude and actions. Be grateful!
  2. Reading and Learning – being on a continuous quest for knowledge about the world, your self, your “work,” parenting, technology, etc keeps you at the top of your game.  Whatever industry you are in, in terms of knowledge and information, it’s growing.  I’ve been on a “learn at least one new thing per day” journey to stay informed. It’s also my ‘stay young’ strategy!
  3. Exercise. Need I say more?  Whether it’s in the gym, walks or play…all successful people schedule some sort of physical activity that keeps them alive, healthy and well.
  4. Eating well. Another obvious one.  Limiting caffeine, alcohol, sugars and general junk food is essential for good health.  Good health is an essential aspect of “success.”  Successful people understand that their health is directly linked to their creativity, energy level, mindset, emotions and output.
  5. SMILING – yes, smiling:-) .  I’ve worked with several people and actually live with one very successful person – my husband, who has worked on “smiling” more as a priority habit.  It’s not just about the smile…it’s the spirit of optimism behind it.  It’s the commitment to joy and laughter behind it.   Optimistic, joyful people produce more and do more.  Did the success lead to the smile or the smile to the success? Well a whole book can be written about that one…suffice it to say, if all a person has to smile about is their success, they are anchored to a moving target and are dependent upon outside factors.   Not a good thing.  Smile easily, frequently, deeply!  It’s a tonic for the mind, body and soul.  It breeds success.
  6. Be STILL…that would be the habit of PAUSE.  As with sentences – can you just imagine this blog without punctuation?! So is a life without stillness and pause and rest.  Be still long enough to connect to your source.  For me that is God.  Successful people know how to tune out and get re-energized.  Stillness is the most powerful way to do this. It’s called meditation by some.  But don’t get confused with technique, just get still, get present and permit your mind to concede ‘power.’  Thoughts and thinking can really keep a person busy, even when they’re sitting still. The idea is to tune into your deeper source, not your patterned thoughts and self-centered cares.
  7. Deep Breathing. ..which by the way is what you can do when you pause throughout the day.   Breath, deep breath is a habit that is MOST understated and underestimated.  It’s actually not one that gets mentioned often by folks I coach.  But I have to bring it up because it’s pivotal to success. Breathing  from your diaphragm  is breathing to excel. That’s the kind of breath that pushes the needed substance into our blood stream to our brain. We simply need oxygen and all that’s in it for a reason: LIFE!  Ask any high performing athlete or performer, they will tell you about the power of breath.
  8. Patience & Calm. This is the habit to develop if you struggle with anger, intolerance, hasty decisions, dependencies, worry, anxiety, disorganization, and more.  Having a habit of patience allows you to remain present – not in the past, full of anxiety and not in the future, full of worry. Of course there are other characteristics and habits that would would need  to be developed to support this place of patience and peace.  Truly successful people know what the “small stuff” is and they know how impotent and effective  it is to fight against circumstances outside their control. They’re wise.
  9. Forgiveness.  Having a habit of letting things go, releasing, not taking offense, not holding on to guilt is most powerful.  And of course with this habit and mindset, patience, calm, inner peace, joy, stillness, smiling, gratitude, creativity, kindness, productivity, accountability, self-discipline…all flow naturally  and powerfully. The extra personal baggage created by un-forgiveness blocks the blessings you work hard to create and receive.
  10. Bedtime/Wake-up routine that WORKS – Going to bed early enough to get up at the time needed to have the day start right is a habit successful people ALWAYS reference as a key to their success.  Not only does our bodies and minds REQUIRE adequate sleep and rest, but rising early enough to get those quiet things done impacts the rest of my day every time.
  11. I KNOW I said 10! But this one just can’t be left out….ORGANIZATION! From goal-setting to keeping ideas properly housed to clearing your work space and knowing where to find what you need when it’s needed, it all adds up to running an efficient and organized operation at home and at work.  At one level or another, being successful depends on being organized.

I know…1, 8 & 9 are not as simple and straightforward as the others…they require more soul searching but you can create specific action steps to build these success habits into your life.  As for the others, they each require a commitment that is lasting and anchored to your overall plan for your life.



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