DEFENITION OF SELF-DISCIPLINE :
Self discipline is an invaluable skill to learn and develop over the course of your life, and will help you tremendously throughout your academic career. Inevitably, as a student, there will always be subjects you don’t love and periods of distraction in your life, which is why it is so important to develop self discipline in order to succeed through those times of less motivation. Even if it is something that doesn’t come naturally to you, there are ways to find and cultivate strategies. Here are some great tips on how to develop good self discipline for students.
IMPORTANCE OF SELF-DISCIPLINE :
According to Merriam Webster, the definition of self-discipline is the “correction or regulation of oneself for the sake of improvement.” This definition implies that certain regulation or stopping of ourselves from certain behaviors is important if we are going to improve in some way. If we are relating this to studying, it means that we need to stop doing certain things or start doing certain things while studying in order to get the positive results we crave. Regulating ourselves in this way is incredibly important because it can build self-esteem. When we achieve the goals we set for ourselves, we get a boost of confidence which can improve many aspects of our lives.
How to Have Self-Discipline When You Study ?
1. Know Your Strengths and Weaknesses
Are you always avoiding essays but hit the ground running when it’s time for a lab assignment? If you can recognize what subjects or types of projects you enjoy and the ones you don’t, you can start to make strategies for self discipline.
Start by anticipating that you may have struggles through a specific class or project, and preemptively make plans to limit distractions, increase reward systems and schedule non-negotiable study times into your weekly agenda.
2. Remove Temptations
Self-discipline is the easiest when things that distract you from your studies are out of sight, out of earshot, and out the window, if necessary. If you find yourself tempted by external distractions like your cell phone, then by all means, turn the thing completely off. Nothing is going to happen in the 45 minutes that you are going to sit down to study (more on that in a minute) that cannot wait until you have a scheduled break. Also, take the time to remove the clutter from your study area if clutter makes you crazy. Unpaid bills, notes to yourself of things you need to accomplish, letters or even pictures can pull your focus off your studies and into places it does not belong when you are trying to learn how to write a stellar essay for the Enhanced ACT test.
3. Eat Brain Food Before You Begin
Studies have shown that when we are exercising willpower (another word for self-discipline), our mental energy tanks slowly get emptied. Forcing ourselves to give up what we want in the now for what we want later physically zaps our reserves of glucose, which is the brain’s favorite fuel. This is why when we are sitting diligently ignoring our cell phones and pushing back our need to check Instagram, we are more likely to head to the pantry for a chocolate chip cookie than we would be if we were not practicing self-discipline at all. So, before we ever sit down to study, we need to be sure to indulge in some brain foods like scrambled eggs, a little bit of dark chocolate, maybe even a jolt of caffeine to make sure that our glucose is steady enough to NOT drive us away from the learning we’re trying to do.
4. Know When You Are Motivated
If you are feeling great and jamming along to an assignment no problem, take a moment to notice what makes it easier for you and write that down. Is it your current music playlist? The time of day? The amazing breakfast you had time to eat because you woke up early?
Take notice of these factors that increase your motivation and productivity. Then, you can make plans to add these motivation factors to whenever or whatever you are studying!
5. Stay Positive
If you feel yourself slipping, don’t lose hope! If you feel you are losing control of your actions and find yourself falling for the distractions again, instead of getting discouraged just take notes about it and challenge yourself to not let it happen again. Think positive and use your mistakes to your advantage! A positive mind and attitude go a long way towards your success as a student.
6. Ask Yourself “If I Had to, Could I?”
Imagine that you are sitting at your desk. Behind you is an intruder with a weapon pointed at your head. If the only thing between life and saying goodbye to the world as you know it was studying for the next several hours (with scheduled breaks), could you do it? Of course, you could! Nothing in the world would mean more than your life at that moment. So, if you could do it then—drop everything and give studying everything you have in you—then you can do it in the safety of your own bedroom or library when the stakes aren’t quite that high. It’s all about mental strength. Give yourself a pep-talk. Tell yourself, “I have to do this. Everything depends on it.” Sometimes, imagining a real life-death scenario works when you’re staring at 37 pages of differential equations.
7. Get Support
A great way to stop study distractions is by starting or joining a study group, where the whole focus is getting assignments done or going over readings/lectures. You can also let your family members, friends, and housemates know when you’ll be studying so they won’t distract you.
Finally, use your technology to support you. You can set up calendars on your phone with deadlines and reminders. You can also set screen time limits for certain phone applications so that you don’t spend too much time on social media when you should be studying.
8. Give Yourself a Break
And by giving yourself a break, we definitely don’t mean abandoning all self-discipline and settling down in front of the TV. Schedule mini-breaks into your study session strategically. Set a watch or timer (not the phone – that’s turned off) for 45 minutes. Then, force yourself to study for those 45 minutes, making sure that nothing interferes with your work. Then, at 45 minutes, take a scheduled 5- to 7-minute break. Use the bathroom, stretch your legs, grab some brain food, reorganize, and get back at it when the break is over.