5 ways to improve self-discipline

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Living a healthy and happy life isn’t possible without self-discipline. At its essence, self-discipline, or willpower, is the ability to resist short-term temptations in order to meet long-term goals. But did you know your willpower is controlled by your prefrontal cortex, which is a part of your brain that can easily become fatigued?

With a little self-reflection and practice, you can improve your willpower and bring your goals back within reach. Here's how:

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  1. Set a goal. Write it down and get specific. Your goal is the equivalent of your purpose, and it will keep you motivated on days when you need it.
  2. Self-reflect. What specifically has prevented you from achieving this goal in the past? It’s time to analyze your priorities and figure out if it truly has been a top priority for you. If it is, then treat it like an appointment that can’t be missed.
  3. Avoid conflict. Being self-disciplined isn’t just about pushing away that piece of cake. It’s about avoiding the cake altogether. According to Tim Ferriss, author of “The 4-Hour Workweek,” “I value self-discipline, but creating systems that make it next to impossible to misbehave is more reliable than self-control.” Once you’ve reflected on what’s holding you back from your goals, do your best to avoid the situations that have held you back in the past.
  4. Organize. Cut the clutter. Start small but keep making progress. Look at your personal life and pick an area to start organizing, whether it’s your desk or your pantry. It’ll help bring focus to other areas of your life.
  5. Rest. Part of recharging your willpower is getting an adequate amount of sleep every night, which is about seven to nine hours, according to experts. Temptations are going to be that much more appealing when you’re not running on all cylinders.