Learning a new skill is not just a fad, in fact it is scientifically proven that acquiring a new skill or habit brings a dopamine rush inside the brain which keeps one happier and cheerful in everyday life. Our brain is like a muscle and just like every other muscle, you have to exercise it by learning something new. Unfortunately, one cannot learn a new skill within a day and as impatient adults, we often struggle with keeping up with the process and quit very soon. Learning a new skill requires self discipline and if self discipline doesn’t come naturally to you, this is exactly what you need to read right now. In this post, I will share tips on how to build self discipline to learn a new skill or to form a new habit.
1. Focus on the journey and not the destination
Five years ago, I picked up a guitar and decided to take guitar lessons. The thought of playing my favourite songs and performing in front of an audience filled my heart with an unbeatable enthusiasm. I knew I just wanted to do that. And guess what, today my guitar gathers dust at one isolated corner of my house. Tragic, isn’t it?
But now that I think about it, I had glorified the final outcome so much that I failed to understand that the journey (practicing guitar) was a lot more important. I did not enjoy practicing notes, switching between chords was a big nightmare and I could not play as fast as those professional guitarists that I had idolized before I picked the guitar. Moral of the story- if you focus on creating a habit and make it measurable, the outcome will likely come as a result. So, the first step is to figure out the habits that will get you closer to your goal everyday.
2. Start with small habits
Whether you’re trying to build a healthy lifestyle or trying to learn a musical instrument, be certain that results will not show overnight. The key is to build up gradually. Small habits are easy to incorporate and easy to build on to create larger changes over time. Trying to learn a musical instrument? Make it a habit each morning to practice the lesson you’ve learnt the day before, even if it’s just for 15 minutes. After that, your only job is to not break the chain. It’s important to pick a task that is small enough to follow everyday yet significant enough to make a difference. Once you build a habit, the results will automatically start showing.
3. Be consistent
Being consistent with your daily habits is the most difficult yet the most important part of learning something new. It will take the longest time because maintaining that self discipline to follow a routine – especially when it gets mundane, is where most people quit.
Commit to your efforts every single day and give yourself a significant amount of time to get better. If you start feeling bored, try to level up and make things interesting. Do not start doubting your abilities until you’ve been consistent with your habit for a long time. It’s consistency above everything else.
4. Don’t wait for it to “feel right”
Building self-discipline will never feel right. Learning something new and building a new habit will force you to make active (and often difficult) decisions which will always feel wrong. Your brain will try to resist the changes and make you feel uncomfortable. What should you do in such a situation? Embrace it. Embrace the fact that it will take a while for you to feel comfortable or feel right. If you keep waiting for the “right moment” to start, you will never get close to the final outcome you desire.
5. Challenge your limitations
As I just mentioned, doing something new will always challenge you and your brain will try to resist it. It will start coming up with excuses, sometimes so logical that you’ll instantly be convinced to quit what you’ve started and go back to your existing routine. When stuck in such a situation – simply do not settle. Try finding out solutions, start questioning those “logical” excuses or rather be weird & illogical. If you’ve got to build self discipline to learn something new, you have to force yourself to make a mindset shift.
Don’t have time to prepare healthy food everyday?
Create a large batch on Sunday and store it.
Don’t have time to work on your blog because of your full time job?
Try waking an hour earlier and utilize it to run your blog.
If you really want to eat healthy or run a blog or read more books, you’ve got to challenge your limitations which will start sprouting up as soon as you take your first steps towards making a change.
6. Stop caring about what “others will say”
Building self-discipline means that instead of finding approval from outside, you need to find approval within yourself. While learning something new, a lot of people quit halfway because they fear getting mocked by others. So when you start learning something new, do it only for yourself. Let go of the need for approval from others and focus on creating small consistent habits to achieve your goal.
7. Reward your progress
We often get so obsessed with achieving our final goal that we do not appreciate all the progress we’ve made. Even if you’re not even close to your goal, the fact that you’ve made some progress from where you started is a reason to celebrate in itself. This gives even a bigger reason to make small measurable goals. Even if it feels silly as an adult, the rewards system is an effective tool to keep you consistent on the path to achieving your goals.
Finished writing that blog post?
Treat yourself with a walk into nature.
Finished your Spanish lesson early in the morning?
Take a 30 minutes nap before you start off with your work schedule.
Small rewards ensure that you don’t miss out the simple joys of life when you’re focusing on building self discipline.
Also Read : 103 Easy Ways to Reward Yourself (Without Food!)
How long does it take to build self discipline?
Building self discipline takes time and a whole lot of patience. In fact, maintaining that self discipline is much more challenging, something you cannot ever fully check-off your to-do list. Self discipline is a process and not an outcome; but by implementing these 7 strategies, you’ll feel a lot more motivated and the struggle of learning something new will get easier with time and consistent efforts.
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- 21 Ways To Improve Yourself in 2021
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