Have you ever caught yourself thinking or saying you have no willpower? Do you feel like your self-discipline skills are a joke at best? If you do, you’re not alone. In fact, when asked, most people would answer that the ability to stay on task and get things done is a trait you’re born with; either you have it, or you don’t.

The truth is actually quite different. In fact, you can develop self-discipline just by following a series of straightforward steps. Here’s how:

  1. State your Goal
    You can’t possibly keep yourself on track to accomplish anything if you have no set destination in mind. By defining the parameters of exactly what you’re setting out to achieve, you’re creating a roadmap to success.
  2. Ask What Changes This Goal Requires
    Everything you set out to do requires specific key components to accomplish them. Are there habits you need to break? Are you going to be adding something into your daily routine? Make a list of exactly what core values you need to succeed. What growth are you looking for? What do you need to do to gain those?
  3. Who are Your Role Models?
    Self-Discipline is strengthened when you have mentors and role models to emulate. Find out who has accomplished this task you’re setting out to do. How did they go about doing it? What kind of self-discipline did they practice to get there?
  4. What are the Obstacles?
    There will always be distractions and temptations to keep you from your goal. Understanding what’s going to test your self-control before you even start allows you to create an action plan to deal with each obstacle. Focus on what things you can do to keep yourself on track for your goal.
  5. Create a Plan
    With all these things in mind, now create a concrete plan moving forward. What steps do you need to take? If you find what you have laid out still seems intimidating, break up tasks into smaller pieces you can manage easily, to make control easier as you progress. Be sure to include deadlines, so you know what’s expected, when. All of this will focus your self-discipline exactly where it needs to go.
  6. Be Accountable
    By making yourself accountable to someone else, you will dig in harder to stay disciplined as you carry out your plan. You’ll fight harder and stay with things longer.

By following these steps, you’ll find self-discipline isn’t quite so hard as you think it is. Most of staying on track lies in having a plan you’re willing to follow and then putting in the work to get there. It really is possible to become self-disciplined.