Self-discipline plays an important role in our lives. Although it is hard to practice, the end thereof is satisfactory. Learn how to build self-discipline and be in control of your life from today.
Improving your self-discipline does not happen overnight. It requires some levels of commitment, sacrifice, and discomfort to inculcate that habit in you. But all habits are learnable. And the more disciplined you become, the more you will like and value yourself.
What is self-discipline?
Self-discipline is the mastery of your emotions and appetites, the self-control of your actions and thoughts, and the self-denial of easy pleasures and temptations, just to achieve the desired goal.
Elbert Hubbard defined self-discipline as “the ability to do what you should do when you should do it, whether you feel like it or not.”
Self-discipline is all about determination and the willingness to follow your plans consistently. Your ability to stick to your plans, whether you feel motivated or not, until you get the desired results.
Willpower and self-discipline, work hand in hand. Willpower is the control of one’s impulses and actions. It has to do with your ability to delay gratification, resisting short-term pleasures in order to achieve long-term goals.
What are the types of self-discipline?
1. Active discipline
Is about instantly doing what you need to do without procrastinating. For instance, studying your books, or completing a task in spite of the temptation to watch Tv, go to the gym, or chat with friends.
2. Reactive discipline
Is about having control over your thoughts or behaviors. It’s about dealing with problems as they come up, by simply controlling how you feel about those challenges.
3. Proactive discipline
This type of self-discipline is about preparing yourself ahead of an oncoming event or task. It’s about getting things done ahead to better control a situation.
Proactive discipline has to do with preparation. Preparing ahead of unseen challenges or situations.
Why is self-discipline so important in life?
Building your self-discipline has many benefits, which includes:
- It Helps Improve Performance
Lack of self-discipline causes failure, procrastination, unhappiness, underachievement, and frustration in life. Those who take charge of their actions and thoughts excel more in all their endeavors than those who lack self-discipline. It is a secret to success and life achievements.
- Decrease distractions
A highly disciplined person stays focused on whatever they do. They tend to overcome the temptation to deviate from their plans. It gives you the power to stick to your decisions and follow them through, without changing your mind.
- It brings satisfaction
Being in control of the way you lead your life increases your self-esteem, brings satisfaction and happiness. It gives joy to see yourself doing things you struggled to do in the past.
- It helps with time management
Time is money, and you cannot buy money. You can only manage or increase it when it comes to you. Forcing yourself to do the needful helps you eliminate those activities that could have taken the whole of your day or time.
- It makes you a better version of yourself
Your ability to control your negative behaviors, sexual urge, and live above every temptation or distraction that comes your way helps you transition into a better version of yourself.
It makes you work harder in order to make your life better and easier. It also helps you to discover your weakness and work on them.
Some Examples of Self-discipline
Here are some habits that show you have control over your actions, feelings, thoughts, and behaviors.
- Reading your books instead of watching Tv or surfing the internet
- Forcing yourself to complete a task before the deadline
- Making sure you go to work, school, meeting, or church on time
- Making sure you stick to your schedule or plans
- Keeping every promise you make to yourself and to others
- Eating or avoiding eating unhealthy diets to keep yourself fit.
- Controlling your sexual urge when your partner says ‘No’ or refusing to have sex even when you have the opportunity to do that as a single man or woman, or outside your marriage.
- Being able to control your eating habits, especially if you’re desiring to lose weight.
6 Simple Ways to Improve Your Self-discipline
Here are six steps that will help you learn how to build self-discipline skills and become a better version of yourself.
Whether you’re trying to achieve a specific goal, trying to lose weight, or just to make it a habit to start controlling your actions, take the following steps to become a well-disciplined person.
1. Have a targeted result
Always remind yourself about what you’re trying to achieve. We call it ” the why of your actions.”
Set a specific goal you want to achieve at the end of your work or the day and make sure you work towards it. That is how self-discipline begins.
2. Eliminate distractions
Put aside whatever will stop you from focusing on your plans for the day. For instance, consider switching off your phone or television, if they will become an obstacle to you while trying to study or stay focused.
Other distractions can include a noisy environment, unwanted visits from a friend, or deviating from your original plans for the day to a non-significant task. All these can make you procrastinate your work. But once you are able to deal with those temptations, you will be able to increase your discipline.
3. Remind yourself about the significance of the task
Realizing how important what you’re trying to achieve is, will help you stay focused.
You can begin with the most necessary or crucial task for the day. This will help you take responsibility for your actions and make it your priority to complete those goals before jumping into another thing.
4. Motivate yourself
No one is going to push you ahead. You do that yourself.
Find out what encourages you to continue moving even when you don’t feel like it. It can be listening to music, listening to motivational talks from successful people, or reading inspirational quotes.
Once you discover your self-drive or inner strength, make sure you stick to the habits. For instance, if you’re always energized when listening to music, then go for it.
If it is self-meditation or reading motivating quotes that help you stay disciplined, then continue with the habits.
For example, listening to motivational talks or podcasts gives me the energy I need to pursue my goals or the day’s task without feeling worn out or being distracted by other activities.
So, discover your strength and use it to your own advantage.
5. Discover and work on your weakness
Find out the areas of your life that need discipline. It can be what you do with your time, how you spend your money or even the type of thoughts you allow into your mind.
Whatever you give your whole attention controls you. Therefore, discover your weak points and work on them.
If your weakness is Facebook, consider turning off your data connection or keep your phone far away from yourself. If it is procrastination, you try and put on the determination to work.
6. Be patient with yourself
Building self-discipline is a continuous process. Do not give up when you fail or find it difficult to stick to your plans.
It is all about being patient as you continue to practice those habits. Sooner or later it will become part of you.
Most times, people born and brought up in hardship may be bonded to be strong in willpower than those born with a silver spoon.
So, if you find yourself struggling to stay focused, don’t beat yourself up. With persistence, you will learn to control yourself.
Quotes about self-discipline to keep you motivated
1. “Success is possible only when you can master your own emotions, appetites, and inclinations. People who lack the ability to master their appetites become weak and dissolute, as well as unreliable in other things as well.” Brian Tracy
2. “The ability to discipline yourself to delay gratification in the short term in order to enjoy greater rewards in the long term is the indispensable prerequisite for success.” Brian Tracy
3. “Success doesn’t just happen. You have to be intentional about it, and that takes discipline.” John C. Maxwell
4. “We do today what they won’t, so tomorrow we can accomplish what they can’t.” Dwayne ‘The Rock Johnson
5. “Discipline is the soul of an army. It makes small numbers formidable; procures success to the weak, and esteem to all.” George Washington
6. “By constant self-discipline and self-control, you can develop greatness of character.” Grenville Kleiser
7. “Discipline really means our ability to get ourselves to do things when we don’t want to.” Arden Mahlberg
8. “Self-control is the chief element in self-respect, and self-respect is the chief element in courage.” Anonymous
9. “The height of a man’s success is gauged by his self-mastery; the depth of his failure by his self-abandonment.” Leonardo DA Vinci
10. “The price of excellence is discipline. The cost of mediocrity is a disappointment.” William Arthur.
11. “Respect your efforts and yourself. Self-respect leads to self-discipline. When you have both firmly under your belt, that’s real power.” Clint Eastwood.
12. “Discipline is built by consistently performing small acts of courage.” Robin Sharma
13. “One who lives without discipline dies without honor.” Anonymous
14. “Self-respect is the fruit of discipline; the sense of dignity grows with the ability to say no to oneself.” Abraham J. Herschel
15. “Winners embrace hard work. They love the discipline of it, the trade-off they’re making to win. Losers, on the other hand, see it as a punishment. And that’s the difference.” Lou Holtz
Self-discipline exercises to practice daily
- Read a book instead of watching TV or chatting online
- Meditate for about 10 minutes every day
- Always tell yourself “I can do it” in a loud voice each day.
- Try to read about 3 chapters of a book each day.
- Cold shower
- Limit the amount of sleep you have every day. You can decide to make it 4-5 hours per night instead of 7-9 hours.
- Engage in regular physical exercises
Best books about willpower you should read
1. No Excuses: The Power of Self-Discipline – Brian Tracy
2. Eat that Frog – Brian Tracy
3. The Willpower Instinct – Kelly McGonigal
Words associated with self-discipline
What strategies do you use to discipline yourself? Share it with us.
1. Where does self-discipline come from? – Psychological Science
2. 12 Disciplines of leadership excellence – Video Plus
3. 3 Types of self-discipline you need to accomplish your vision – Dr. Carjie Scott
4. Quotes on self-discipline – The Strive