While there may be a hundred and one ways of defining discipline, it is really this definition that has made a significant impact in my life.
The definition goes like this:Discipline is the choice between what you want "now" and what you want "most" in your life.
This definition is founded on the basis that the key to being disciplined is having a high degree of "self awareness" and a "control over one's emotions."
Self awareness - the key to success
Self awareness consists of having a profound understanding of one's strengths, weakness, drives and capabilities. Another key to self awareness is an understanding of how one reacts when confronted with certain emotions (anger, fear etc) and a desire to control those emotions rather than being controlled by them.
Above all self-awareness is not just the knowledge of one's likes and dislikes, but an understanding of what 'drives' an individual and what he ultimately wants to 'achieve' in life.
Remember that while 'likes' and 'dislikes' are momentary and often change over time, its your real 'calling' that should determine how you lead your life.
Setting goals are important
The key to being successful is the evaluation of your priorities and the setting up of goals - both short and long term. Your goals would take their colour from your ultimate 'calling' in life.
Goals should be written down for them to be effective. It is also important that you set a realistic time frame by which you expect to achieve these goals.
These goals are those little steps that will help you achieve what you want "most" from life.
Control over one's emotions.
While the setting of goals and having a high degree of 'self awareness' is important, it is your actions that will determine what your 'really' achieve in life.
The question here is one of choices - whether you are ready to make immediate sacrifices in favour of a 'better tomorrow'. It is really being disciplined enough in choosing the 'future' over the 'momentary.'
Doing so will require a certain degree of control over your emotions that will ultimately come both from will power and practice.
Ultimately discipline is all about action - act now and tomorrow will be yours.