After joining the Military you are taught, through external motivation, personal discipline. Military training instructors look to impose on you rules and limitations that help lead you towards being more disciplined and being able to react quickly. What is taught to new recruits in their initial training forms the basic expectation for timings and behaviour in the ADF. In the space of a few short weeks that external motivation provided by the instructors is replaced by your own internal motivation, personal discipline. Developing personal discipline in recruits is made easier by a strict adherence to a set out routine. Having a routine not only makes processes easier but develops effective neurological patterns and reinforces positive behaviour. The same thinking also applies to other aspects of military life including basic soldiering skills, IA drills, TTP’s in a field/operational environment, the military appreciation process and more. Following a set routine encourages repetition and self discipline in approaching each task and doing the job right. Repetition help develop automatic response to tasks and actions, this includes automatic response to doing what is right versus what is easy.
Think of discipline as a muscle in your body; in order to develop and strengthen it you have to use it repetitively, constantly testing it and improving it. If you make a goal each and every day of actively trying to improve self discipline you will find that it becomes easier and more instinctive. You will reach a point where you don’t fight with yourself over if you do something or not, you just do it.
Here are our tips which you can implement into your day to day life to improve self discipline
Waking Up Early
There are several reasons why the military get into the routine of waking up early. The benefits go beyond military life, waking up early is a task that is highly beneficial. Successful people establish routines to ensure they can maximise the use of their time and reduce time wasted. Getting up early is a great time to get jobs done and get an early start ahead of everyone else. You can get more done in those extra few hours of the morning than some people get done in their entire day.
Waking up early allows you the opportunity to exercise, read, and complete required preparation for the day ahead. Make no mistake, there will be mornings where getting out of bed is the last thing you want to do, but this is when you get up anyway. It is in those moments where you develop self discipline and mental resilience. It may seem insignificant in the big picture, but it isn’t.
“How you do anything is how you do everything.”
Paying off the smallest of tasks is an easy way of telling yourself that its ok not to give your best and that not all tasks require equal amount of focus and discipline. Start the day right, be disciplined and get out of bed.
Organised and on Time
Don’t be lazy and spend your free time being productive. Show some initiative and conduct daily preparation and planning. Seems simple right? and yet huge amount of the population, particularly the civilian population, are terrible at it.
Allocate 10-30 minutes in an evening to plan and prepare the next day. Do meal prep, get clothes ready, layout timings for where you need to be and with what. Write down what you need to get done for the day, and tick every task off before you go to bed the next night. This is the most efficient and effective way of becoming organised, on time and making the most out of everyday. The thought process and habit of this task not only directly translates to military life but will make you a more self disciplined and effective person.
Let’s ignore the numerous studies that show that people who are physically fit and active are on average, more successful, wealthier, and happier with life (there are lots of them, and they are generally shown to be true). Instead lets discuss the other benefits physical exercise can have on life.
Regularly pushing yourself both physically and mentally makes you more resilient and develops your ability to overcome challenges on a daily basis. The internal mental battle that goes on during workouts can be a great character test. Do you stop or keep moving? Do you rest or hold on to the barbell? Exercise is a great place to learn to hold yourself accountable for pushing beyond personal limitations. At the end of a workout not only do you get a great sense of achievement but you have learnt that those negative thoughts can be overcome and that positive thinking will overcome difficult times.
Self discipline effects all aspects of life. Holding yourself accountable and implementing different methods that improve self discipline and productivity will not be time wasted and will do more for you than any self help guru ever could.