Motivating yourself to complete tasks and becoming self-disciplined is difficult. That is something I’ve struggled with for a long time. I often procrastinate, especially with my writing. Recently, I have made an effort to change that, and so far, I’ve been successful.
There are different ways that you can motivate yourself, and I’d like to share the 6 steps I’ve taken to become self-disciplined.
1. Define what you’re procrastinating.
What is it that you have been procrastinating on? It could be studying your Bible, learning something new, or putting more time into something you do now, like a instrument or sport you play or even your career. Write down what you have been putting off.
2. Define your end goal.
This will be the final result. This is your ultimate goal that you are trying to reach by the end. This could be a goal for money saved, a certain number of push ups, or whatever else you want to achieve. Define what that goal is for you.
3. Define why you want or need to get a task done.
I understand feeling like you don’t need to do this step, but do not skip this step. Go ahead and write down why you want to do this project you have in mind.
If you’re not exactly sure why, just start writing the first thing that comes to mind. Clearly state your reasons, even if they seem trivial to you. The amazing thing about writing is words usually come once you start writing. As you write, you will begin to understand better why you want to reach your goal. You may even come up with a better idea of what your goal is, or you may find a completely different goal better fits your passion and reason behind doing the project.
Once you have your ‘why’ figured out, put it somewhere you’ll see it. Stick it on your door or bathroom mirror. Set it on your desk or the area where you’ll work on reaching your goal. Keep it in front of you as you work so that you can be reminded of why you’re doing this. It will help you on the days you feel like giving up. You will have those days, but hang in there. You can do this.
4. Set a main deadline.
Set a day you will reach your end goal by. Give yourself enough time to reach your goal but not so much time that you drag your feet because the deadline is so far off. You also don’t want to give yourself too little time. That could stress you out and make you want to give up. Figure out a reasonable length of time and write down the date you want to reach your end goal by. That is your deadline.
5. Set multiple mini deadlines.
Setting multiple smaller deadlines, in addition to your main deadline, is key to sticking to your task and reaching your end goal. This is the little trick that will help you stay focused and overcome procrastination.
By creating daily, weekly, and monthly deadlines, you can split up your large task into smaller chucks that make the task seem less daunting. Plus, it helps you gauge where you are with your progress, keeping you on track the whole way.
6. Tell at least one person you trust to hold you accountable.
After you’ve completed the first 5 steps, share your plan with someone you trust. This can be your parents, a sibling, friend, or mentor. The requirement is that you must be able to rely on them to hold you accountable.
Writing down why you’re doing this, setting a deadline, and creating mini goals are all important for helping you become self-disciplined and reaching your end goal. However, if you don’t tell anyone, it becomes extremely easy to back out when things get tough. I know because I’ve done it.
Before starting this blog, I had a different blog where I shared posts on scripture as well as random things from my life. I remember setting a goal to post once a week. I don’t think I told anyone, and I know I didn’t make a plan. As a result, it didn’t take long for me to get stressed, no longer enjoy the process, and quit.
Please do not make the same mistake I did. Make a plan and then lay out that plan for a friend. Ask them to check on your progress daily or weekly, whichever works better for you and the goals you set. It’s difficult to quit when you have someone asking you if you’re still making progress.
My personal example of becoming self-disciplined.
Step 1: I defined my procrastination.
I procrastinated with writing, which probably surprises most people. I love doing it and dream of publishing many books, but I don’t make the time to write. I knew that, and I finally reached a point when I was tired of putting it off.
Step 2: I defined my end goal.
My end goal was to finish writing a book. I wanted to make it all the way through the first draft, instead of giving up part way through. Even bigger than that, I wanted to finish a book that I could publish.
Step 3: I defined my ‘why’.
I wanted to write, finish, and publish a book for a few reasons. I love reading books, and the thought of writing my own book is an amazing one. I also want to share my writing and my thoughts with other people. More than that, I want my writing to have a positive influence on people. For nonfiction, I want to teach people something new, give a new perspective on something they already know, or encourage them to study the Word of God and strive to be more like Christ, which is the same ‘why’ for this blog. For fiction, I want to entertain people the way countless books have entertained me.
Step 4: I set a deadline.
I set a deadline of writing a nonfiction book in 30 days. Many authors have written their books in 30 days or less. I knew this would (hopefully) give me enough time so that I wouldn’t stress but not too much time so that I’d become lazy.
Step 5: I created mini goals.
After I set my deadline, I created mini weekly goals and mini daily goals. I realized 4 weeks to write a book worked perfectly because my book had 4 sections. So, one of my mini goals was to have 1 completed section (or 3 chapters) by the end of every week. My second mini goal was to write 1,000 words every day.
Step 6: I told everyone.
I told a lot of people what I was doing. I know me, and I know how easy it is for me to back out. I also know that the more people I tell, the more likely I will be to see things through.
I told my parents, sister, grandmother, and many friends. My family and friends all held me accountable by checking on my progress periodically. But most of the time, I told them whether they asked or not. I also shared my goal across my different social media accounts.
After 23 days, I had a complete first draft for a nonfiction book that looks at biblical love, singleness, relationships, and marriage. That nonfiction book will be available as an eBook toward the end of the year or very first of the year. If you’d like to stay up to date on my book, sign up for emails on the right hand side and be among the first people to receive news and sneak peaks of it. You can also check out my author/editor website www.meagan-nicole.com and stay up to date from there.
There you have my 6 steps to become self-disciplined. I will warn you that it isn’t easy. Goals, deadlines, and accountability are amazingly helpful, but it will still be hard. However, I can promise you it will be worth it. There is nothing like the feeling you get of setting a goal for yourself, working hard, and seeing it through to the end.
Plus, being self-disciplined is a skill that can help you excel in other areas of life. You’ll learn to be self-disciplined in studying for school or self-disciplined in working hard at your job. Most importantly, you will be self-disciplined in your study of God’s Word.
I’d like to leave you with this Bible verse.
So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. – 1 Corinthians 10
What are your tips for becoming self-disciplined? Share in the comments below. I’m always wanting to learn more. You can also share your own story for a goal you set, worked towards, and reached.
Your sister in Christ,