As a parent of two, there is no trait I want to develop more in my kids than self-discipline.
Where you find self-discipline, you find people who work hard, hold themselves accountable and problem solve without having their hand held.
People who respect themselves, and therefore also respect others, and are able to delay gratification, display excellent self-control, and overall be resilient individuals with a whole lot of grit.
Self-discipline is also one of the biggest predictors of success when it comes to both social and academic achievements. People who have it are able to motivate themselves, complete their work on time, and seek help where needed.
Not surprisingly, it’s also a trait that is frequently present in people who are financially independent.
Self-discipline in the scope of finance translates to controlled spending, accountability, sustained income, and strong motivation and work ethic in order to achieve their goals.
So if you are already a person with strong self discipline, congratulations! Your chances of achieving FF are that significantly higher than the average Joe.
If you’re looking to improve your self discipline, or foster the development of self discipline in your kids, here’s 5 ways to do exactly that:
1. Practice a Daily Habit
Pick something you enjoy doing and make it a daily habit. It can be as small as reading for 10 minutes, meditating for 5, or going for a run.
Whatever it is, stick to it. Set your expectation and practice the follow-through, even when it becomes difficult or inconvenient.
For kids, give them a routine (morning, home from school, bedtime) or a daily chore that needs to be completed. Work towards having them complete their routines/chores independently without requiring constant reminders.
2. Do Your Work First
This one’s pretty self explanatory, but it’s huge in helping develop self discipline. Avoid the pitfall of procrastination, if it needs to be done, get it done first and then enjoy your down time.
This is a great one to model for your kids, if they see you approaching life this way, chances are they will adopt the same style. A great way to drive this home is to always have them do their homework after school, BEFORE playing, hanging out with friends or using electronics.
3. Manage Your Time and Priorities
An overextended schedule is not conducive to improving your self discipline.
Evaluating your priorities, can allow you to identify where you can say no. Once you’ve identified those areas, practice saying no and set strong boundaries when it comes to your time.
4. Practice Problem Solving
Much like doing your work first, don’t avoid or procrastinate dealing with problems. Tackling them head on and implementing strategies to resolve them as soon as you recognize there is an issue is a big component of strong self discipline.
So even if it’s a small problem, take the time to figure it out and mitigate it before the small problem turns into a big one.
With your kids, talk through the problem and ask them what they think could resolve the issue. Don’t immediately offer up options, give them a chance to develop their own ideas.
5. Remove Temptations
Self-discipline isn’t just about exercising strength of character, it’s also about knowing and understanding your own weaknesses.
Studies show that we all only have so much will power, so whether you’re trying to curb your spending, or eat healthfully, the more you expose yourself to temptation, the greater chance that even the most self disciplined person will run out of restraint.
So think ahead and minimize your exposure to situations that will tempt you to make choices that don’t align with your current goals. This will help keep your self discipline tank operating at full capacity.
For kids, expose them to temptation in small doses to allow them to build tolerance. For instance, don’t run errands at the toy store, followed by the ice cream shop, and the candy store with your 4 year old in tow and expect them not to ask for anything. Self discipline takes time to develop, so maintaining reasonable and age appropriate expectations is important.
Those are just 5 simple and easy ways to practice and improve upon your own self discipline skills or your kids.
The stronger that skill, the greater your chance for success in achieving FF.