07/19/2013 11:16 am ET Updated Sep 18, 2013

Unconventional Methods to Master Self-Discipline

One of the biggest complaints of most women I know is how hard it is to have self-discipline. Trust me, I am intimately familiar with slamming the snooze button when my alarm goes off for an early morning run or pigging out, although I am supposedly watching what I eat, when there's a table of amazing appetizers at a party. I have been the one with a huge looming deadline who obsesses over everyone's "amazing" lives on Facebook as a handy distraction. We all have our strengths and weaknesses, but the key is to focus on our strengths, and minimize the impacts of our weaknesses.

I am also a big fan of giving yourself a break. Life is hard enough -- you don't need to beat yourself up over every little mistake!

I have amazing discipline in some areas of my life... terrible in others. How about you? Here are my top three tips to help you improve self-discipline in all areas of your life starting today!

1) My #1 top tip for mastering self-discipline: Take really, really, really good care of yourself physically, emotionally, and spiritually. I find myself unable to get motivated to head out for the long run when I am exhausted (duh!). I am more prone to eating my weight in Brie cheese or chocolate when I am exhausted, stressed, or upset. I search for social media distractions when I really should be working when I had a terrible sleep the night before. The less I exercise, the less I want to exercise. If you can take care of your basic needs and you feel amazing, I guarantee, your self-discipline will improve!

2) Become really clear about your desired outcomes. Let's say you want to lose 10 pounds to be in your sister's wedding in two months. Visualize how you want to look, and then find some visual inspiration. Maybe post a picture of yourself when you felt the best about your body, or purchase a beautiful dress in the size you know you could be. Or, let's say you are aching to be debt-free, but you find yourself spending money on frivolous, unnecessary things. Take a few moments to imagine how glorious it would feel to be debt free, and to make purchases from cash you have in the bank. What word describes how you'd feel? Free? Light? Joyful? Fun? Whatever word evokes the emotion you'd experience as the debt-free version of yourself, write it on sticky notes or write it beautifully on paper, then post it where you'll see it daily! The more clear you are about the way you'll feel when you achieve whatever goal you've set for yourself, the more likely you are to hunker down and do whatever it takes to achieve it!

3) Force yourself until it becomes routine. I am generally not one to use the word "force," but sometimes we have to do just that. After having each of my babies, I literally had to force myself to expend the energy to dress and load up my kids to get to the gym. Force is definitely the accurate word! Slowly but surely, it became routine. My kids started to enjoy the gym, and I started getting better about heading out the door. Finally, my body started to show the effects of getting there every day, which was motivation enough to stay disciplined on the days when I really didn't "feel" like going.

Were these tips helpful for you? What helps you be more self-disciplined? Please leave your comment below!

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