A common phenomenon amongst us individuals is the extreme feeling of motivation during late hours. Our minds ponder over countless goals and pursuits that we wish to accomplish. This often begins to fade as the crack of dawn begins to make an entrance.

Why does this occur? Let’s break it down.

During late hours of the evening, we begin to relax and have a moment of relieve from a days work. This is when we begin to think about future achievements we’d like to aim for no matter how unrealistic, due to an exhilarating feeling of motivation and the dismissal of actively thinking of the effort and work required.

This is where the concept of present bias comes through.

As humans, we have been scientifically proven to bias our present selves (which in this case is an extremely motivated individual) over our future selves. The future self in context here is your morning self, who is hit with the reality of the discipline and diligence required to execute those plans.

Motivation is temporary because it rises quickly in the mind, but quickly disappears without action”

Though this motivation is not inherently bad, we must use it as an inspiration rather than a complete drive of force. Instead, we shall incorporate it into building realistic actions based on self discipline. This is due to the general principle that motivation relies on temporary emotions, whereas discipline is the foundation of habits. Thus, it will allow you to strive towards accomplishments.

As Muslims, we are familiar with theme of fighting our desires (nafs), whilst also striving for good. Though the ethos of modern society is to pursue any passion we desire, Islam emphasises discipline and patience as our noble goals which enable a more realistic approach to our objectives.

Here are 4 significant methods that will allow you to build self discipline:

1. Set Your Intentions.

The foundation for every action is a sincere intention. To put it into a more vivid perspective, your intention is a seed. Just as a seed contains potential for the plant it will become, your intentions contain potential for your future goals and the fruits it will bear. Though we may subconsciously make the intention of achievement. We must actively consider the physical effort that is required and intend on acting upon it. Through this we will be setting the roots of challenging but realistic goals.

2. Obstacles: Seek and Replace.

We often find that the most significant challenge within self discipline is restraining oneself from certain habits that disrupt us from accomplishing goals. To overcome this, we must acknowledge that the habit must not be eliminated, rather replaced with something that will provide a similar benefit. This will not only enable self restraint rather it will also accommodate self improvement.

3. Persistence

This is one of the most important demonstrations of self discipline. During your process towards a goal you will face doubts that stem from hardship. A high level of persistence is associated with self determination and confidence which will become a shield from discouragement which is inevitable. Always remember, success is not the absence of failure – rather it is the persistence through struggles and failure.

4. Trust the Process.

The journey of an accomplishment that is worthwhile will consist of a process of highs and lows. When we struggle we must not allow our doubts to overwhelm us, rather we shall remind ourselves of this powerful dua.

“لَآ إِلٰهَ إِلَّآ أَنْتَ سُبْحَانَكَ إِنِّيْ كُنْتُ مِنَ الظَّالِمِيْنَ

La ilaha illa anta subhanaka inneekuntu mina aththalimeen

There is no God but you, Glorified be you! Truly, I have been of the wrongdoers

Every difficulty comes with a hidden blessing, self discipline is a challenging and rewardable path. However, struggle should be a drive for you rather than a set back as it presents progress. With these 4 pillars implemented, you will thrive towards inner strength and success In’Sha’Allah (God willing).


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