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How to Be More Disciplined

Ariane Resnick, CNC is a mental health writer, certified nutritionist, and wellness author who advocates for accessibility and inclusivity.

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Self-discipline is the ability to control your behavior in a way that leads you to be more productive and/or have better habits. It is proven to lead to increased success. Learning self-control and discipline early in life is helpful for decades to come, but it is never too late to learn how to improve your self-discipline so that your future can be a better one.

If you've experienced frustration around having a lack of attention span , not achieving goals , or not knowing what to do with your life , you may be struggling with self-discipline. It takes some time to become more disciplined, but it's worthwhile!

How to Improve Your Discipline

Wondering where to begin? Let's break down how to become more self-disciplined step by step. You'll begin by discerning how you work best—and worst—and by the time you get to the final step, you should see significant improvement in your level of self-discipline.

For this process, you might want to use a journal to write out your answers to questions and to keep track of your progress as you go.

Discern How You Struggle—And How You Strive

Figuring out what does and does not work for you is key to understanding how to be more self-disciplined. Some people thrive when working around others, while some do better working alone. Some people are motivated by rewards, while others prefer consequences to keep them in line. That's called "carrot versus stick." Answer the following questions for yourself so that you can become clued in about what you need in order to succeed at self-discipline:

  • Does being around other people distract me or help me concentrate?
  • Do I feel more productive performing tasks inside or outside?
  • Does the idea of a reward for a job well done motivate me?
  • Does the idea of taking away a privilege or treat for not following through on a job motivate me?
  • Do I like to think about big picture goals or visualize small steps?
  • What do I see as my biggest blockages from being more disciplined?
  • What stops me from achieving my goals?

Once you've answered these questions, you should have a clearer idea about the right approach for you and your needs. next, you want to understand why discipline is important to you.

Know Your "Why"

We all have ideas that motivate us, but it's easy to lose touch with them. This is the opportunity for you to get in touch with your "why." Your "why" is your reason for wanting to achieve self-discipline. Do you want to make lots of money? Help humanity? Save animals? Explore your big life goals on a broad scale so that you get back in touch with why self-discipline will benefit you, and why you need it.

Clarify Your Goals of All Sizes

Now that you understand why self-discipline is important to you, what exactly do you want to achieve? Note big large and small goals: This can include everything from big steps in your career to small daily habits like taking walks more often. People who write down their goals are more likely to achieve them. The act of writing down your goals can also help you to get excited about them.

Be sure to include small goals that you can accomplish easily with discipline, rather than only large goals that take a long time to achieve.

Once you have clarified your goals, write down some preliminary habits you can use to achieve them. For example, if you want to go for a walk daily you could set an alarm for a certain time. if you want to make sure you get more work done, you could choose times of day to review your progress. Set small, regular reminders to keep you on track about your goals.

Find Accountability

Sharing your goals with someone you respect is directly correlated to a better chance of achieving them. Some people may share this with a mentor, but even telling a friend whom you have respect or admiration for will work.

It can be a simple as letting your friend know that you have decided to work on your self-discipline in general, or you can share some of your goals with them. The act of sharing about your journey will help you commit to it more strongly, in addition to improving your chances of succeeding.

Remove Distractions

You can't get distracted by something that isn't there, so the best way to handle distractions before you begin trying to be more disciplined is to remove them. If you pause working or studying to watch tv, put the remote in a different room.

If you tend to drop what you're doing to look at your phone, give it to a family member for a few hours at a time. If you eat a lot of junk food and you want to stop, don't keep it in your house. This step sets you up to succeed, instead of fail.

Start Small

Don't begin your daily work with self-discipline by trying to achieve something huge. This will take too much time to keep you on track and motivated. Instead, work on daily, weekly, and monthly goals. Acknowledge every day when you do what you set out to do, and know that it is moving you in the right direction.

Building new habits takes time. Every day that you do something, you are one step closer to it being a habit, and after awhile, it will become much easier and more second nature to you.

Forgive and Reward

Because we are all human, perfection isn't possible. We all make mistakes, and that's ok! When you behave in a way that isn't aligned with your quest to become more disciplined, forgive yourself . Review why and where things went wrong, and if possible, change your environment so that it doesn't happen again.

Even if you're more motivated by consequence than by rewards in general, it's important to acknowledge your milestones. Reward yourself in a way that involves self-care , because you deserve it and because it will help you stay on track. As much as it can be easy to let the little accomplishments slide, it's important to keep track of them and reward them because when you add them up, they become big accomplishments.

Review and Expand Your Goals

Every so often, you'll want to review you progress and your goals. Goals change over time, so you want to keep an open mind about what yours were previously and how they may have shifted since you first noted them. Additionally, stepping back from your situation allows you to view just how much you've accomplished!

Look back on how you've succeeded with your self-discipline, as well as areas where you still need to improve, and plan out the steps to take to continue on your path. Initially, you might want to do this once a week. As you become more and more adept at discipline, though, you can do it progressively less often.

Practice, Practice, Practice

You can only win if you don't give up! Self-discipline can take some people their entire lives to master, so don't be down on yourself if it's slow going at first. Keep at it, and if your goals all feel too big, make up some very easy small ones so that you can experience the feeling of success.

The more you practice self-discipline, the easier it will become. Eventually, you won't have to practice it at all. It will become a natural habit, and your days of feeling undisciplined will be far in the past.

Benefits of Being More Disciplined

There are many benefits to achieving a stronger level of self-discipline. These are some of the most common ones.

  • More control : Having self-discipline enables you to have more control over your own life. You're taking charge and improving yourself to be the best you possible, and this can lead to an increased self of control.
  • No more procrastinating : exercising self-discipline means that you're taking action. This means you aren't spending as much time procrastinating. In turn, you can get more done, and spend less time stressing over getting things done.
  • More satisfaction : increasing your self-discipline means you get more done, and that in turn means that you may end up more satisfied with what you do.
  • Goals get met : rather than just thinking about your dreams, you're living them! Self-discipline lets you do whatever is needed to accomplish your goals.

A Word From Verywell

If you're still feeling uninspired to begin improving your self-discipline even though you want to, you might be having an issue with motivation. Learn about what to do when you're having difficulties motivating, and how to overcome that.

Muraven M. Building self-control strength: practicing self-control leads to improved self-control performance. J Exp Soc Psychol. 2010 Mar 1;46(2):465–8. doi:10.1016%2Fj.jesp.2009.12.011

Lifelong impact of early self-control [Internet]. American Scientist. 2017

Share your goals – but be careful whom you tell [Internet]. Share your goals – but be careful whom you tell.

By Ariane Resnick, CNC Ariane Resnick, CNC is a mental health writer, certified nutritionist, and wellness author who advocates for accessibility and inclusivity.

More From Forbes

9 powerful ways to cultivate extreme self-discipline.

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“The first and best victory is to conquer self.” ~ PLATO

Learning to effectively lead yourself and others all comes down to discipline. Happiness, success, and fulfillment stem from focus and self-control. It may be hard to believe when you’re facing an all-you-can-eat buffet, the prospect of making a quick buck, or the lazy lure of sleeping in versus getting on the Peloton, but studies show that people with self-discipline are happier. Why? Because with discipline and self-control we actually accomplish more of the goals we truly care about. Self-discipline is the bridge between goals defined and goals accomplished .

Chapter Eight of my new book - Embrace the Suck: The Navy SEAL Way To An Extraordinary Life - is titled ‘Win More Through Discipline And Accountability.’ People with a higher degree of self-control spend less time debating whether to indulge in behaviors and activities that don’t align with their values or goals. They are more decisive. They don’t let impulses or feelings dictate their choices. They are the architects of their own beliefs and the actions they take to achieve a desired outcome. As a result, they aren’t as easily distracted by temptation and tend to feel more satisfied with their lives.

“You have power over your mind—not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength.” ~ MARCUS AURELIUS

There are specific strategies you can execute to learn self-discipline and gain the willpower to live a happier, more fulfilling life. If you are looking to take control of your habits and choices, here are the eight most powerful things you can do to master self-discipline—which is imperative for life beyond your comfort zone—and maybe even redefining “extraordinary.”

STEP ONE: Know your strengths and weaknesses.

We all have weaknesses. Whether they’re the desire for alcohol, tobacco, unhealthy food, obsession over social media, or the video game Fortnite (what the heck is with this game by the way?!), they have a similar effect on us. Weaknesses don’t just come in the form of areas where we lack self-control either. We all have our strong suits and the stuff we kind of stink at. For example, I don’t care for having difficult conversations, lengthy paperwork that involves digging up old documents I never saved in the first place, holding my temper when someone is shooting at me, or calling into automated phone systems. And therefore, I used to actively (or purposefully) avoid these activities. Now, I strive to tackle them head-on—or I delegate them to others. (Never forget about the subtle art of delegation!)

Self-awareness is a powerful tool for comfort zone expansion, but it requires constant focus and acknowledging your shortcomings, whatever they may be. I suffered from bad allergies and asthma growing up and had terrible eyesight. Those were some significant weaknesses when considering becoming a Navy SEAL. But so what? I trained hard to improve my lung function and used money I’d saved for LASIK eye surgery. Too often people either try to pretend their vulnerabilities don’t exist or they succumb to them with a fixed mindset, throwing their hands up in defeat and saying, “Oh well.” Know your strengths, but more importantly, own up to your flaws. You can’t overcome them until you do.

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STEP TWO: Remove temptations.

“I can resist anything except temptation.” ~ OSCAR WILDE

Like the saying goes, “out of sight, out of mind.” It may seem silly, but this phrase offers powerful advice. By simply removing the biggest temptations from your environment, you will greatly improve your self-discipline. When I decided I was going to pursue the lofty goal of becoming a SEAL, everything in my life had to change. If you want to eat healthier, toss the junk food in the trash. Want to drink less? Throw out the booze. If you want to enhance your productivity at work, improve the management of your To-Do’s, turn off social media notifications and silence your cell phone. Prioritize and execute.

The fewer distractions you have, the more focused you will be on accomplishing your goals. Set yourself up for success by ditching bad influences.

STEP THREE: Set clear goals and have an execution plan.

If you hope to achieve greater degrees of self-discipline, you must have a clear vision of what you hope to accomplish, just like any goal. You must also have an understanding of what success means to you. After all, if you don’t know where you are going, it’s easy to lose your way or get sidetracked. Remember to prioritize. At TakingPoint Leadership, when we work with our corporate clients on strategic planning, execution, and organizational transformation, we remind them that having ten priorities translates to no priorities.

A clear plan outlines each time-bound step you must take to reach your goals. Create a mantra to keep yourself focused. Successful people use this technique to stay on track, emotionally connect to their mission, and establish a clear finish line.

STEP FOUR: Practice daily diligence.

We aren’t born with self-discipline; it’s a learned behavior. And just like any other skill you want to master, it requires daily practice and repetition. It must become habitual. But the effort and focus that self-discipline requires can be draining. As time passes, it can become more and more difficult to keep your willpower in check. The bigger the temptation or decision, the more challenging it can feel to tackle other tasks that also require self-control.

So, work on building your self-discipline through daily diligence in a given area associated with a goal. This goes back to step three. In order to practice daily diligence, you must have a plan. Put it on your calendar, your to-do list, tattoo it on the back of your eyelids - whatever works best for you. With practice, anyone can push the boundaries of their comfort zone every day.

STEP FIVE: Create new habits and rituals.

Acquiring self-discipline and working to instill a new habit can feel daunting at first, especially if you focus on the entire task at hand. To avoid feeling intimidated, keep it simple. Break your goal into small, doable steps. Instead of trying to change everything at once, focus on doing one thing consistently and master self-discipline with that goal in mind.

As we say in the SEAL Teams, “ Eat the elephant one bite at a time.”

If you’re trying to get in shape but don’t exercise regularly (or ever), start by working out ten or fifteen minutes a day. If you’re trying to achieve better sleep habits, start by going to bed thirty minutes earlier each night. If you want to eat healthier, change your grocery shopping habits and prep meals ahead of time. Take baby steps. Eventually, when your mindset and behavior starts to shift, you can add more goals to your list.

STEP SIX: Change your perception about willpower.

If you believe you have a limited amount of willpower, you probably won’t surpass those limits. As I mentioned previously, studies show that willpower can deplete over time. But what about changing that perception? The SEAL candidate who believes they probably won’t make it through training won’t succeed. Why assume our will to win can only take us so far?

When we embrace the mindset of unlimited willpower, we continue to grow, achieve more, and develop mental toughness. It’s the same philosophy as setting “stretch” goals. In short, our internal conceptions about willpower and self-control can determine how disciplined we are. If you can remove these subconscious obstacles and truly believe you can do it, then you will give yourself an extra boost of motivation toward making those goals a reality.

STEP SEVEN: Give yourself a backup plan.

In the SEAL Teams, we always have contingency plans. Psychologists use a technique to boost willpower called “implementation intention.” That’s when you give yourself a plan to deal with a potentially difficult situation you know you will likely face. To be clear, I am not referring to a backup plan under the auspices that you’ll probably fail at Plan A.

Let’s say you aspire to become a trapeze expert, but tell yourself, “Well, I’m probably not going to excel at this, so chances are I’ll be sticking with miniature golf.” That’s a lame backup plan wrapped in mediocrity. We are talking about contingencies for intentional course correction, not planning for failure. So be bold and keep moving forward. Going in with a plan will help give you the mindset and self-control necessary for the situation. You will also save energy by not having to make a sudden decision based on your emotional state.

STEP EIGHT: Find trusted coaches or mentors.

The development of expertise requires coaches who are capable of giving constructive, even painful, feedback. Real experts are extremely motivated students who seek out such feedback. They’re also skilled at understanding when and if a coach or mentor’s advice doesn’t work for them.

The elite performers I’ve known and worked with always knew what they were doing right while concentrating on what they were doing wrong. They deliberately picked unsentimental coaches who would challenge them and drive them to higher levels of performance. The best coaches also identify aspects of your performance that will need to be improved at your next level of skill and aid you in preparation.

STEP NINE: Forgive yourself and move forward.

Even with all our best intentions and well laid plans, we sometimes fall short. It happens. You will have ups and downs, great successes and dismal failures. The key is to keep going. A very close SEAL buddy of mine has had a lifelong dream of not just serving in the SEAL Teams but also making it to our tier one special missions unit. He has every qualification this unit could possibly want, but for some reason they didn’t select him on his first application attempt. Did he wallow in sorrow? Not for one second. He immediately developed a plan to request even more “schools,” train even harder, and he transferred to a different SEAL Team for a better chance to get picked up next time. Easy day.

If you stumble, find the root cause by asking the five WHY’s and move on. Don’t let yourself get wrapped up in guilt, anger, or frustration, because these emotions will only drag you further down and impede future progress.

Learn from your missteps and forgive yourself. Then get your head back in the game and violently execute. Good luck!

Brent Gleeson

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Marty Nemko Ph.D.

How to Improve Self-Discipline

Author brian tracy offers suggestions—plus yes-ands and yes-buts..

Posted December 15, 2021 | Reviewed by Davia Sills

  • Some people do well to block out 15 minutes a day toward achieving an important goal that could otherwise be left undone.
  • A potent tool for growth: Meet regularly with a trusted person for a half-hour a week in which you discuss each other's goals.
  • Make it harder to do what you're trying to avoid.


Brian Tracy has written 80 self-help books with a core interest in self-discipline. He distills his advice on that in a video: 5 Hacks to Improve Self-Discipline This Year.

Here are those five tips plus my yes-ands and yes-buts.

1. Try time-blocking

"Set aside 15 minutes a day to work on your goal. Treat it as any appointment and show up on time…. After one month, you'll have spent seven hours on your goal."

The question is, how to motivate yourself to do it and stay with it? Might it help to write it in your daily calendar, say for just two days? That's not much of a commitment, yet perhaps enough time to help you decide whether it's worth calendaring it for at least one more day.

Or if your goal doesn't feel compelling enough to do even that, maybe you need a different goal. Perhaps something bigger, like a change-the-world goal. Or something smaller and more surely doable, like cleaning your home 15 minutes at a time, so you can feel better about yourself, thereby be more likely to accomplish other things, or so you feel okay about inviting someone over.

2. Get an accountability partner

"Someone who will check in with you periodically, and you can check in with them to help them with their goal. Many of us find it easier to let ourselves down than to let someone else down."

But what if you don't have a viable such partner? People often feel that way because they'd be embarrassed to ask someone. Might you not feel embarrassed if you frame it as, "We all like to grow, and I believe in co-mentoring. Because I respect you, what do you think of our trying a half-hour conversation in which we discuss an issue of yours, and then we discuss one of mine?" Here's more on co- coaching .

Still don't feel like asking someone? Then do you want to try sharing your goal with your social media followers? Just honestly report your progress or lack thereof.

3. Remove temptation

"Remove what will challenge your focus. If you're trying to lose weight, remove unhealthy foods from your home. If you're trying to cut spending, set aside a budget and put the rest in savings."

That can help, but you might more likely keep from buying that ice cream or spending beyond your budget if you create a mantra that reminds you of the key reason you want to achieve your goal. If it's weight loss, is it for your health, attractiveness , or to feel more comfortable in your clothes? If it's spending less, is it to avoid poverty, so you can live consistent with your professed environmentalist/non-materialistic values, or to stop your spouse from guilt -tripping you for overspending? If you want to stop your substance abuse , is it mainly to help your health, relationships, or work life? Try saying your mantra three times in the morning, again at lunch, and before you go to bed.

4. Have an aim, a purpose

That needn't be something earth-shaking—For you, something that big may not feel realistic . My typical client doesn't want to change the world but would be happy living in a decent home with a decent job, raising kids well, giving a little money or time to charity, and having some fun along the way.

So do you have one or more aims, large or small, that feel motivating enough for you to prioritize? If your goal is big, should you break it into baby steps? You might even draw a "thermometer" with the baby steps on the side, which you'd color it in each time you achieved one.

5. Eat that frog

"Tackle your ugliest tasks first. If your start your day with that, the rest will seem easier."

Here, I don't agree. One size doesn't fit all. Morning people who don't have more time-sensitive tasks to do might tackle a frog first. But other people might save their frogs for later in the day when it feels right.

The takeaway

Is there at least one idea here that you'd like to try?

I read this aloud on YouTube.

Marty Nemko Ph.D.

Marty Nemko, Ph.D ., is a career and personal coach based in Oakland, California, and the author of 10 books.

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How Self Discipline Can Improve Your Whole Life

Most people think of self discipline as something that is only useful in a professional setting. The truth is, though, that better self discipline can improve every aspect of your life. Here are some of the ways that self discipline can help you live a happier and more productive life.

Self discipline is something that many people need to work on. It is all about learning to control yourself and make good decisions. When you have self discipline, you are less likely to give in to temptation or make impulsive decisions.

You can learn and practice self discipline in a number of ways. One way to do this is by setting yourself small goals and then working towards them. Another way to work on self discipline is by using a journal or planner to keep track of your goals and progress. You can also try meditation or mindfulness exercises to help you focus and be in the moment. Some people find that working with a discipline coach helps them get started and keep them on track with improving self discipline.

Some people only exercise self discipline in the parts of their lives they deem as necessities – such as turning up to work on time and getting the job done. But self discipline is a skill that can be applied to every aspect of life. And the rewards can be immense. Here’s how self discipline can improve different aspects of your life.

It Will Help You Reach Your Full Potential

When you have self discipline, you are able to push yourself to achieve things you never thought possible. You set high standards for yourself and then work hard to meet them. This can lead to personal and professional success. It can also help you feel proud of yourself and your accomplishments. Ultimately, it can help you be the best you can be in all aspects of your life.

It Will Help You Achieve Your Goals

Self discipline can help you achieve both short-term and long-term goals. When you have self discipline, you are more likely to stick to your goals and see them through to the end. This is because you are less likely to get sidetracked or give up when things get tough. Whether you want to lose weight, start a business, or save for a house, self discipline can help you achieve your goals.

It Will Help You Be More Productive

Self discipline can help you get more done in less time. When you have self discipline, you are less likely to procrastinate or waste time on things that are not important. This means you can use your time more effectively and get more done. This can lead to greater productivity at work, at home, and in your personal life.

It Will Help You Be Healthier

Self discipline can also help you live a healthier life. When you have self discipline, you are more likely to make healthy choices and stick to them. This means you will be less likely to overeat, smoke, or engage in other unhealthy behaviors. It can also mean you are more likely to exercise regularly and get enough sleep. All of these things can lead to better physical and mental health.

It Will Help You Reduce Stress

Self discipline can also help you reduce stress. When you have self discipline, you are less likely to worry about things that are out of your control. This means you will be less likely to stress about things that you cannot change. This can lead to a reduction in anxiety and a feeling of calmness.

It Will Improve Your Relationships

Self discipline can also help improve your relationships. When you have self discipline, you are less likely to say or do things that you will later regret. This means you are more likely to communicate effectively and resolve conflict in a healthy way. This can lead to stronger and more meaningful relationships. Better relationships could be with your partner, your family members, friends and even your work colleagues.

It Will Help You Succeed At Work Or In Business

Self discipline can also help you succeed at work or in business. When you have self discipline, you are more likely to meet deadlines, stay organized, and follow through with your commitments. This can lead to more success in your career or business. It can also mean you are more likely to get promoted or receive raises and bonuses.

It Will Help You Save Money And Achieve Financial Security

Self discipline can also help you save money. When you have self discipline, you are less likely to make impulse purchases or spend money on things you don’t need. This means you can put more money into savings and investments. It means you’re more likely to make informed decisions about your purchases, and drive money towards things that make sense in the medium to long term, such as investing in your home. This can lead to greater financial security in the future.

It Will Help You Be Happier

Last but not least, self discipline can help you be happier. When you have self discipline, you are less likely to dwell on negative thoughts or engage in self-destructive behaviors. This means you will be more likely to focus on the positive and enjoy your life. This can lead to a greater sense of happiness and wellbeing.

So, as you can see, self discipline can improve your whole life. If you want to be more successful, productive, and happy, then start working on your self discipline today.

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How To Be More Self-disciplined

how to be more self-disciplined

Introduction Self-discipline is an essential component of success in life. It is the ability to resist temptations, overcome procrastination, and work hard towards achieving your long-term goals. However, self-discipline is not something that comes naturally to everyone. It requires a lot of effort, commitment, and dedication. In this article, we will explore six important strategies for improving your level of self-discipline.

Defining Self-Discipline and Motivation Before we delve into the strategies, it is essential to understand what self-discipline and motivation are. Self-discipline is about taking action in spite of how you feel and living life by design, not by default. It is the ability to act in accordance with your thoughts, not your feelings. On the other hand, motivation is your overall level of desire to do something.

Table of Contents

Focus on Identity, not Goals

The first strategy for improving self-discipline is to focus on the identity you want to embody, not just the goals you want to achieve. This mindset shift can be transformative in building your self-discipline. According to Robert Cialdini’s book Influence, humans feel a natural compulsion to act consistently with their past decisions. Once you have embraced a change in your identity, you will find yourself acting in alignment with that change.

Focus on Identity, not Goals

  • When it comes to building self-discipline, many people focus on setting goals and tracking progress toward those goals. However, according to research and experts in the field, focusing on identity, rather than goals, can be a more effective way to build self-discipline.
  • The idea behind this strategy is to identify the type of person you want to be and the values you want to embody, rather than just setting specific goals. When you focus on your identity, you create a deeper motivation for change and make it easier to stick to your commitments.

For example, instead of setting a goal to lose 10 pounds, you could focus on becoming a healthier person who prioritizes exercise and healthy eating habits. This shift in identity can help you make healthier choices consistently and stay motivated to maintain those habits, even beyond reaching a specific weight loss goal.

Another example could be in the workplace. Instead of setting a goal to increase sales by 10%, you could focus on becoming a more effective salesperson who prioritizes customer relationships and excellent service. This shift in identity can help you focus on the right activities and behaviors to build lasting relationships with customers, which can ultimately lead to increased sales.

  • To make this strategy work, it’s essential to define the identity you want to embody and commit to it. This could involve creating a personal mission statement or values statement that reflects the person you want to become. You can also use positive affirmations and visualization exercises to reinforce this identity and stay motivated.
  • It’s important to note that this strategy does not mean abandoning goals altogether. Goals can still be a useful tool for tracking progress and providing direction. However, when you focus on your identity, you create a deeper motivation for change and make it easier to stay committed to your goals.
  • Focusing on identity provides a long-term perspective and helps to create lasting changes.
  • It can be a powerful motivator in building self-discipline.
  • It encourages a positive self-image, which can lead to improved self-esteem and confidence.
  • It may take time to internalize the new identity fully.
  • It requires a lot of self-reflection and introspection.
  • It may be challenging to identify the identity you want to embody.

Create a Routine

Creating a routine is an effective way of building self-discipline. When you have a set routine, it becomes easier to stick to it. This strategy involves identifying the activities you need to do regularly and creating a schedule for them. Having a routine helps to reduce decision fatigue and allows you to focus your energy on more important tasks.

Create a Routine

Creating a routine is like building a framework for your day-to-day life. It helps you manage your time and prioritize your tasks so that you can achieve your goals. Here are some examples of how creating a routine can help build self-discipline:

  • Morning Routine: Many successful people have a morning routine that sets the tone for the rest of their day. For example, you might start your day with meditation, exercise, or journaling. By starting your day with a positive habit, you’ll feel more energized and motivated to tackle the rest of your tasks.
  • Work Routine: If you work from home or have a flexible schedule, it can be challenging to stay on track. Creating a work routine can help you manage your time and stay focused on your tasks. For example, you might schedule your most important work tasks for the morning when you’re most productive, and reserve afternoons for less demanding tasks.
  • Study Routine: If you’re a student, creating a study routine can help you stay on top of your coursework and avoid procrastination. For example, you might set aside a specific time each day for studying and schedule breaks to recharge your energy. By creating a routine, you’ll be less likely to cram for exams or fall behind on assignments.
  • Exercise Routine: Regular exercise is important for both physical and mental health. Creating an exercise routine can help you stay committed to your fitness goals. For example, you might schedule a daily workout or reserve specific days for different types of exercise, such as cardio, strength training, or yoga.
  • Bedtime Routine: Getting enough sleep is essential for overall well-being. Creating a bedtime routine can help you wind down and prepare for a restful night’s sleep. For example, you might turn off electronic devices an hour before bedtime, read a book, or practice relaxation techniques.
  • It provides structure and organization to your day.
  • It reduces procrastination by creating a sense of urgency.
  • It helps to establish good habits.
  • It can become monotonous and boring.
  • It may not be feasible for people with unpredictable schedules.
  • It may require a lot of effort to establish a routine initially.

Set Realistic Goals

Setting realistic goals is another strategy for improving self-discipline. When you set achievable goals, it becomes easier to stay motivated and focused. Unrealistic goals can be demotivating and lead to procrastination.

Set Realistic Goals

Setting realistic goals is a fundamental strategy that can help you improve your self-discipline. Goals provide direction and purpose, and they help you to focus your efforts on the things that matter most. However, it is important to set realistic goals that are achievable within a given timeframe.

  • Unrealistic goals can be demotivating and lead to procrastination. When you set goals that are too ambitious or outside of your control, it can create a sense of overwhelm and helpless. This can lead to a lack of motivation and ultimately result in giving up on the goal altogether. Therefore, setting realistic goals is key to maintaining motivation and achieving success.
  • To set realistic goals, start by defining what you want to achieve. Be specific and clear about what you want to accomplish, and make sure that your goals are measurable. For example, rather than setting a vague goal like “lose weight,” set a specific goal such as “lose 10 pounds in the next 3 months.”
  • Next, consider your resources and limitations. Be honest with yourself about what is realistically achievable given your current circumstances. Consider factors such as time, finances, and other obligations that may impact your ability to achieve your goals. This will help you to set goals that are challenging yet achievable.
  • It’s also important to break down larger goals into smaller, more manageable tasks. This can help to make your goals feel less overwhelming and more achievable. For example, if your goal is to run a marathon, you can break it down into smaller goals such as running a 5K or 10K first.
  • Once you have set your goals, it’s important to track your progress. This can help you to stay motivated and identify any areas where you may need to adjust your approach. You can track your progress using a journal, planner, or app.

It’s also important to celebrate your successes along the way. Acknowledge your achievements and reward yourself for a job well done. This can help to reinforce positive behaviors and keep you motivated to continue working towards your goals.

  • It provides a sense of accomplishment when you achieve your goals.
  • It helps to break down large tasks into smaller, manageable steps.
  • It can increase motivation and focus.
  • Setting overly realistic goals can lead to complacency.
  • Unrealistic goals can be demotivating and lead to procrastination.
  • It may be challenging to determine what is realistic for you.

Practice Mindfulness

Practicing mindfulness is a technique that can help to improve self-discipline. Mindfulness involves being present at the moment and focusing on your thoughts and feelings without judgment. It helps to reduce stress and anxiety, which can be barriers to self-discipline.

Practice Mindfulness

  • Practicing mindfulness is a powerful technique that can help to improve self-discipline. Mindfulness involves being present at the moment, focusing on your thoughts and feelings without judgment, and cultivating a sense of awareness and acceptance. This technique has been shown to be effective in reducing stress and anxiety, which can be major barriers to self-discipline.
  • When we are stressed or anxious, our ability to focus and make sound decisions can be compromised. We may become overwhelmed by our emotions, and find it difficult to resist temptation or stay on track with our goals. By practicing mindfulness, we can learn to manage our stress and anxiety, and cultivate a greater sense of self-awareness and self-control.
  • One of the key benefits of mindfulness is that it helps to quiet the mind and reduce distractions. When we practice mindfulness, we learn to focus our attention on the present moment, rather than getting caught up in worries or regrets about the past or future. This can help us to stay focused on our goals and priorities, and avoid getting sidetracked by distractions or temptations.
  • Mindfulness can also help us to cultivate greater self-awareness, which is a key component of self-discipline. When we are mindful, we are more attuned to our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, and we can learn to identify patterns and triggers that may be hindering our self-discipline. This can help us to make more intentional choices and to develop strategies for managing our impulses and staying on track with our goals.
  • To practice mindfulness, you can start by setting aside a few minutes each day to focus on your breath and observe your thoughts and feelings without judgment. You can do this by sitting quietly, closing your eyes, and bringing your attention to your breath. As thoughts arise, simply observe them without judgment or attachment, and then return your focus to your breath.
  • As you become more comfortable with mindfulness, you can incorporate it into other aspects of your daily life. For example, you can practice mindful eating by paying attention to the taste, texture, and aroma of your food, and savoring each bite. You can also practice mindful movements, such as yoga or tai chi, which can help to cultivate a sense of relaxation and focus.
  • It helps to reduce stress and anxiety.
  • It increases self-awareness, which can help to identify and manage distractions.
  • It can improve overall well-being.
  • It can be challenging to maintain a consistent mindfulness practice.
  • It may not be suitable for everyone.
  • It may take time to see significant results

Reward Yourself

Rewarding yourself can be a powerful motivator for building self-discipline. When you achieve a goal or complete a task, reward yourself with something you enjoy, such as a favorite treat or activity. This can reinforce positive behaviors and encourage you to continue working towards your goals.

Reward Yourself

  • Rewarding yourself is a strategy that can be highly effective in building self-discipline and motivating yourself to accomplish your goals. It is a powerful way to reinforce positive behaviors and encourage you to continue working towards your objectives. In this strategy, you reward yourself with something you enjoy, such as a favorite treat or activity, after you have achieved a goal or completed a task.
  • One of the reasons why rewarding yourself is so effective is that it activates the brain’s reward system. The reward system is a complex network of structures and neural pathways that are responsible for the experience of pleasure and motivation. When you reward yourself, you release dopamine, a neurotransmitter that is associated with feelings of pleasure and reward. This creates a positive feedback loop, where your brain associates the behavior that led to the reward with pleasure, making it more likely that you will repeat the behavior in the future.
  • Another reason why rewarding yourself is effective is that it provides a sense of progress and accomplishment. When you set goals and work towards them, it can be easy to lose sight of the progress you are making. By rewarding yourself when you achieve a goal or complete a task, you create a tangible marker of your progress. This can help you stay motivated and focused on your goals.
  • It’s important to note that the rewards you choose should be in line with your goals and values. For example, if your goal is to get fit, rewarding yourself with a slice of cake every time you work out may not be the best choice. Instead, consider rewarding yourself with something that supports your fitness goals, such as a new workout outfit or a massage.

In addition, the rewards should be meaningful to you personally. A reward that is valuable to one person may not be as motivating to another. Some people may find that small, frequent rewards work best, while others may prefer larger, less frequent rewards. It’s important to experiment and find what works best for you.

  • It can be a powerful motivator for building self-discipline.
  • It can provide a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction.
  • It can make the process of building self-discipline more enjoyable.
  • If rewards are not balanced with discipline, it can lead to overindulgence.
  • It can be easy to lose sight of the long-term goal if you focus too much on the immediate reward.
  • It may not work for everyone, as some people may find that intrinsic motivation is more effective.

Overall, building self-discipline is a process that takes time and effort. By incorporating these strategies into your routine, you can improve your ability to stay focused, motivated, and achieve your goals. Remember, building self-discipline is a journey, not a destination, and it requires consistent effort and dedication.

Break Tasks into Smaller Steps

Breaking down a task into smaller, manageable steps can make it easier to accomplish and help maintain focus and motivation. It also provides a sense of progress as each step is completed, which can further boost motivation.

Break Tasks into Smaller Steps

  • Breaking tasks into smaller steps is an effective way to manage your workload and achieve your goals. When a task seems overwhelming, breaking it down into smaller steps can make it more manageable and less intimidating. This technique can be applied to almost any task, from daily chores to long-term projects.
  • By breaking tasks into smaller steps, you can also maintain focus and motivation. When you focus on completing one step at a time, you’re less likely to get distracted or discouraged by the enormity of the task. Instead, you can focus on making progress and celebrate your accomplishments as you complete each step.
  • In addition, breaking tasks into smaller steps can help you develop a sense of progress. As you complete each step, you can track your progress and see how far you’ve come. This sense of progress can be very motivating and help you stay on track as you work towards your goals.

To effectively break tasks into smaller steps, it’s important to first identify the main task or goal you want to achieve. Once you’ve identified the goal, you can start breaking it down into smaller, more manageable steps.

For example, if your goal is to clean your entire house, you can break it down into smaller steps such as:

  • Start with one room
  • Make a list of tasks to complete in that room (e.g. dusting, vacuuming, mopping, organizing)
  • Complete each task on the list before moving on to the next room
  • Repeat the process for each room in the house

By breaking down the task into smaller steps, you can focus on completing one room at a time and feel a sense of accomplishment as you finish each room.

  • Breaking down tasks into smaller steps makes them less daunting and easier to manage.
  • It provides a sense of progress and accomplishment as each step is completed.
  • It can help maintain motivation and focus.
  • It can be time-consuming to break tasks down into smaller steps.
  • Some tasks may not be easily divisible into smaller steps.
  • It may require additional planning and organization.

Self-discipline is a critical skill that can be developed and improved over time. By implementing the strategies discussed, such as setting clear goals, creating routines, eliminating distractions, practicing mindfulness, and seeking accountability, individuals can improve their self-discipline and achieve their desired outcomes. It is important to note that self-discipline requires consistent effort and commitment, and setbacks are a normal part of the process. However, by staying focused, persistent, and adaptable, anyone can improve their self-discipline and reach their full potential.

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how i discipline myself essay


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Persisting until you reach your goals.

By the Mind Tools Content Team

how i discipline myself essay

"You can never conquer the mountain. You can only conquer yourself."– Jim Whittaker, American mountaineer and CEO

Marietta wakes up before dawn each morning to exercise. She works very efficiently in the office, ignoring distractions, and devoting all of her attention to high-value projects. In the evening, she attends a class online; she'll be graduating in a few months with her MBA.

How can people like Marietta achieve so much, so consistently? And how can we accomplish as much in our personal lives and careers? Part of the answer lies in self-discipline. This is what pushes us to deliver on our best intentions and goals, even when we don't feel like doing so. If we have self-discipline, we're able to put off short-term pleasure (or endure short-term inconvenience or discomfort) in the pursuit of long-term gain.

This is why self-discipline is so important. In this article, we'll examine what self-discipline actually is, we'll explore why it's useful, and we'll look at how to develop it.

A Definition of Self-Discipline

Self-discipline is the ability to push yourself forward, stay motivated, and take action, regardless of how you're feeling, physically or emotionally. You're showing it when you intentionally choose to pursue something better for yourself, and you do it in spite of factors such as distractions, hard work, or unfavorable odds.

Self-discipline is different from self-motivation or willpower. Motivation and willpower contribute to it, as do persistence, the ability to follow through on your intentions, and hard work.

The Benefits of Self-Discipline

Self-discipline can boost your well-being and outcomes in many different areas of your life. It can:

1. Help you to achieve goals. Self-discipline people are more likely to commit to, and reach, important long-term life goals.

2. Improve your mental health. People practicing self-discipline report higher levels of self-confidence, happiness and independence. Researchers have also found that self-discipline eases anxiety.

3. Benefit your physical health. People who demonstrate regular self-discipline often engage in healthy habits, and resist unhealthy ones.

4. Improve your relationships. Individuals with high self-discipline often experience stronger long-term relationships.

5. Make you more resilient. Self-discipline can enhance your ability to bounce back from adversity. The more resilient you are, the better control you have over impulses and delayed gratification.

6. Help you to feel happier. If you're more productive, the more creative and happy you are. The more we feel in control of the origin of our behavior, the better sense of well-being we have, and that makes us happy.

7. Improve learning and enhance performance. Studies have shown that students with a high degree of self-discipline retain more knowledge than those without self-discipline. Additionally, researchers discovered that students with strong self-discipline are more careful in their tasks, which improves their performance. [1]

Research has also shown that measuring a person's level of self-discipline is a more accurate predictor of success than measuring their IQ. [2]

How to Develop Self-Discipline

Self-discipline is like a muscle: the more you work on developing it and using it, the stronger it will become.

However, it's just as important not to start out with goals that are too ambitious. Instead, set small goals, and increase the level of challenge slowly over time. The more you practice, the better you'll become.

Follow these five steps to start developing your self-discipline:

1. Choose a Goal

Begin by choosing just one goal that you want to focus on to develop your self-discipline.

For instance, perhaps you want to start exercising every evening, or you want to read one leadership book a week to enhance your skills. You could even practice self-discipline on very small goals such as concentrating on a piece of work for an hour without checking your messages, or avoiding unhealthy food for one day.

Remember, starting small is the best way to start developing your self-discipline. As your discipline gets stronger, you can spread the focus to more areas of your life.

Make sure that the goal you set is SMART – Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound – and break the goal down into smaller sub-goals, where you can.

2. Find Your Motivation

Once you've chosen a goal, list the reasons why you want to achieve it. Try to express these reasons in a positive way.

So, instead of saying, "I want to exercise three times a week to lose weight," say "I want to exercise so that I have the energy to play with my kids and work successfully." Or, instead of saying, "I want to get this task off my To-Do List," say, "I want to do this task, so that I can meet my objectives, get praise from my boss, and feel satisfied with my day's work."

When you list the reasons why you want to achieve something, you'll find it much easier to get the job done.

Our article on Motivating Yourself has additional strategies for finding and developing your self-motivation.

3. Identify Obstacles

Now you need to identify the obstacles that you'll likely face when working toward your goal, and devise a strategy for overcoming each one.

For instance, imagine that your goal is to read one leadership book a week to enhance your skills. In the past, you've faced a number of obstacles in reaching this goal. For example, when you find a book you like, it's hard to find time each night to read. Between work, dinner and the kids, your time is taken up until late in the evening, and you get distracted by messages coming in while you're reading.

Once you've identified obstacles, come up with a strategy to overcome each one. In this example, you could do the following:

  • Instead of going to a bookstore, spend an hour looking at leadership books online. Find several that interest you, and that have good reviews. Order all of them at once, and download them to tablet so that you always have a book on hand to read.
  • Find more time in your day to focus on reading. Perhaps you could read during your lunch hour, or while you're waiting to pick your kids up from school.
  • Turn your phone off when you want to focus on reading.

Often our self-discipline crumbles because we haven't identified the obstacles that we'll face, and we haven't developed strategies to overcome them. When these obstacles show up, we're unprepared to deal with them, and this shakes our resolve. Don't skip this step!

4. Replace Old Habits

When we're developing self-discipline, we're often trying to break a bad habit and replace it with something more productive. However, if that habit is tied into a certain time of day or routine, breaking it can leave a hole. If we don't replace that habit with something else, then its absence becomes even more noticeable.

A good example is if you're trying to stop yourself shopping online when you take a break at work. This bad habit destroys your focus and attention, because you're likely to be online for 20-30 minutes each time.

Once you've resolved to stop, identify a new behavior that you can engage in when you need a quick break. Instead of online shopping, you could do some stretches in your office, get a cup of coffee, or take a quick walk outside. These behaviors will help to support your goal and strengthen your self-discipline, instead of leaving you with nothing to do on your break.

5. Monitor Your Progress

As you work on your self-discipline, pay attention to how you're feeling as it develops and strengthens. You might feel free, happy, proud, and energized.

Also, think about keeping a journal to write down your self-discipline goals and to track your progress. This reinforces the positive changes that you're implementing in your life, and gives you a record that you can look back on to see the progress that you've made.

Over time, your self-discipline will strengthen, and you'll be able to apply it to lots of other areas of your life.

More Tips for Self-Discipline

  • Try to avoid distractions when you begin to develop your self-discipline. Make it harder to engage in the activity you're trying to avoid.
  • It's important to reward yourself when you experience success. Celebrating your accomplishments will keep things fun, and strengthen your resolve to keep going.
  • Don't let a fear of failure or an occasional setback discourage you. All of us experience setbacks and failures – they're parts of life! Acknowledge that you slipped up, learn the lesson, and move on.

Frequently Asked Questions About Self-Discipline

Why is self-discipline important?

Self-discipline helps you to stay focused, meet deadlines, and maintain a strong work ethic. It enables you to resist distractions, adhere to company policies, and consistently produce high-quality results. This contributes to your own success and the overall productivity and success of the organization.

How do you explain self-discipline?

Self-discipline is the ability to control and regulate your own behavior, actions and decisions so you can achieve goals or keep to a set of principles, even in the face of temptations, distractions or challenges. It involves setting and maintaining a consistent standard of behavior, often driven by a strong sense of commitment and personal responsibility.

Why is self-discipline the key to success?

Self-discipline enables consistent effort, goal-setting, and the ability to overcome challenges. It helps individuals stay focused, make better decisions, and build the habits necessary for long-term achievement.

What are the effects of lack of self-discipline?

Lack of self-discipline can lead to a range of negative effects, including procrastination, missed opportunities, poor time management, underachievement, unhealthy habits, and a failure to reach your full potential. It can also result in reduced productivity and difficulties in both your personal and professional life

It's important to develop self-discipline in life. Self-discipline is what enables us to do high-quality work. It keeps us pursuing our goals through tough times. And it helps us to stay professional, even when we're not feeling great.

To develop self-discipline, follow these steps:

  • Choose a goal.
  • Find your motivation.
  • Identify obstacles.
  • Replace old habits.
  • Monitor your progress.

Self-discipline is an essential quality, and it's a key differentiator between people who are successful in life and those who aren't.

[1] Gong, Y, Rai, D, Beck, J.E, and Heffernan, N.T. (2009). 'Does Self-Discipline Impact Students' Knowledge and Learning?' Educational Data Mining , 2009. Available here .

[2] Seligman, M.E.P, and Duckworth, A.L. (2005). 'Self-Discipline Outdoes IQ in Predicting Academic Performance of Adolescents,' Psychological Science , Vol. 16, No. 12. Available here .

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Comments (2)

Heaven Leigh

Having self-discipline means you can proactively remove temptations and avoid self-sabotaging behaviors. Visualization is key to successful goal-setting. For one, you must think . https://catalyticministries.com/

Manon Seite

I found this article really interesting ! now im motivate to use self-discipline to reach my goal !

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Tips for Online Students , Tips for Students

Self Discipline for Students

Updated: August 7, 2023

Published: December 2, 2019


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.

Self Discipline Definition

Blocks that spell out the word study

Photo by  Pixabay  from  Pexels

Just what exactly is self discipline and how can it relate to students? Self discipline means regulating oneself and making corrections to one’s thoughts and behaviors in order to improve oneself.

For students, this can mean: keeping yourself focused on assignments or in classes, not getting yourself distracted during lectures or times of study and making sure that you’re on track with deadlines. This is especially important once you enter college, where you will need to rely on yourself and only yourself to meet your academic goals.

Importance of Self Discipline

Male student feeling empowered through self discipline

Photo by  bruce mars  from  Pexels

  • Power to achieve your goals
  • Feeling of being in control of yourself
  • Helps you stick to your decisions and not lose sight of your goals
  • Helps you accomplish goals
  • Self-control and inner strength
  • Gives you the ability to not give up

Steps to Self Discipline

Ready to start learning and developing your own self discipline? Get started here with these easy steps towards self discipline for students.

Student filling out weekly planner

Photo from  Pexels

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. 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!

3. Recognize Your Downfalls

When you find yourself getting distracted, make a note of the circumstances so that you can avoid the same pitfalls again.

For example, if your roommate always gets home in the early evening and you find yourself chatting away and losing focus, try not to schedule your study time for that hour. Or if you notice that skipping lunch has your head in a fog, make sure to eat at the proper time. Try to limit screen time distractions as well, or allow yourself a break, but set timers for your distraction times.

4. 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.

5. 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.

6. Get Better at Time Management

Great time management can help you limit procrastination and stress, achieve your goals, and make your free time more enjoyable because you won’t be worried about what else you could be getting done. Make it a point to improve your time management skills in order to increase your self discipline as a student.

For more tips, check out our guide on time management for students .

Benefits of Self Discipline

A female student jumping for joy from success in school

Photo by  Sebastian Voortman  from  Pexels

Once you have a good handle on your self discipline, you will reap many benefits, such as:

  • Higher rates of goal achievement and success
  • Overcome addictions and procrastination
  • Feeling more motivation towards your goals
  • Higher satisfaction of accomplishments

How to Be a Disciplined Student in School

If you are taking classes in person or online, you will need to learn to become a self-disciplined student.

This is especially true for online students. With increased flexibility, such as with fully online University of the People , comes increased responsibility to keep yourself on track with lessons, assignments and deadlines. You are solely responsible for your success or failure as an online student, and one of the ways you can succeed is through self discipline.

As as student, here are some ways to improve your self discipline:

  • Put away your phone or other distractions
  • Take good notes
  • Update your calendar and review deadlines often
  • Make your own personal deadlines for larger essays or projects
  • Set up a good study area at home for yourself
  • Make friends in school, but know when it’s time to socialize and when it’s time to study

Learning self discipline, while not natural to everyone, is a skill that can be developed and learned in order to increase your success as a student. All you need is a positive attitude, a good understanding of your strengths and weaknesses and a clear plan to stick to. Just follow our guide and tips and you’ll be on your way to being a self disciplined student in no time!

Related Articles

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Essays About Discipline: Top 5 Examples And 10 Prompts

Looking for inspiration? Discover our helpful examples of essays about discipline and inspiring writing prompts to guide you in your writing.

The power of discipline is related to extreme focus, self-control and resilience. Having discipline allows people to abide by standards that can help improve their lives.  On an individual level, discipline extremely helps in developing self-control, allowing one to resist present gratifications and achieve something much better in the future.  In the larger society, discipline among members is crucial to maintain good behavior and allow communities to follow rules and achieve common goals. 

For your essay about discipline, take inspiration from our essay examples and prompts below:

1. Is School-Discipline Reform Moving Too Fast? by Wayne D’Orio

2. how self-control can actually unleash your dark side by david robson, 3. physical discipline is harmful and ineffective by eve glicksman, 4. discipline as a vital tool to maintain the army profession by maj. michael petrusic, 5. the key to mental discipline by owen fitzpatrick, 10 writing prompts for essays about discipline, 1. how to build self-discipline, 2. self-discipline as a key to success, 3. review of self-discipline books, 4. discipline in your school, 5. your parents’ discipline methods, 6. what is positive discipline, 7. employee discipline, 8. discipline in ancient civilizations., 9. self-discipline for weight loss, 10. the lack of discipline.

“While some districts were already working to reduce suspensions, the federal push spurred more schools to revamp their disciplinary procedures. So, too, did the growing body of evidence documenting the harm associated with pulling students out of school,”

Schools have been moving back and forth when introducing reforms on discipline. Moving from an extremely tough stance to an extremely lax one, schools continue to find the right balance on how to discipline students both generally and on a case-to-case basis. In between reforms, teachers are in the thick of adjusting their approaches with minimal guidance, creating a bigger mess that drives a high turnover among teachers. 

“…[S]omeone with high self-control is more likely to act ruthlessly when group cohesion starts to fall apart, including times when their own sense of power or authority is threatened, or when they feel in competition with others… If so, we might start to appreciate the people around us who are a little bit less disciplined and agreeable than the rest.”

For decades, self-discipline has been considered an admirable part of good character that should be developed at a young age. But new studies and experiments are showing that being highly disciplined can turn into toxic traits and even encourage immoral acts. Check out these essays about respect .

“Parents who use physical discipline may be teaching their child to resolve conflicts with physical aggression. Researchers found that spanking can elevate a child’s aggression levels as well as diminish the quality of the parent-child relationship. Other studies have documented that physical discipline can escalate into abuse.”

The American Psychological Association (APA) brings to light new evidence that physical punishment can cause lasting harm to children. While spanking gets children’s attention and would stop a wrong deed in an instant, the act bears dangerous effects that stretch up to a child’s adult years. The APA, hence, offers an alternative approach to parenting — one defined by “respectful communication, collaborative conflict resolution and parental modeling.”

“If Army leaders inadequately police misconduct within the force by failing to consider and exercise their range of disciplinary options when appropriate, they will create a perception that the Army is unable or unwilling to address misconduct within the ranks. That perception will both contribute to a culture of impunity regarding misconduct and erode the public’s trust in the Army’s disciplinary systems and its ability to self-police.”

The military has been embroiled in several controversies that make the public suspect a decline in discipline and corrective measures within the army. The essay indeed shows a decline in the use of disciplinary options and takes readers through the reforms and proposed interventions that have emerged to restore civic trust in the military. Check out these essays about competition .

“[Mental discipline] is about making a daily, committed decision as to what you are going to pay attention to and how you are going to think. It is a committed effort to keep using what you learn to maintain a healthy attitude and build the kind of emotions that serve you well.”

Just as the body needs exercise, so does the human mind. Mental discipline is a kind of discipline where you consistently engage in a mental activity that you want to be good at. As strengthening your mind to have discipline takes a lot of practice and will, the essay offers helpful tips.

Read on to see essay prompts on the topic of discipline that can help you:

Essays About Discipline: How to build self-discipline

Achieving self-discipline requires a lot of practice every day. For this prompt, round up first the biggest benefits of developing self-discipline based on what existing studies show. Then, draw up a list of tips on how one can commit to a routine that promotes discipline. Finally, offer some words of encouragement, such as reminding that the small things done every day could build up to something big. 

Theodore Roosevelt once said: “With self-discipline, almost anything is possible.” In your essay, explain why you think people value self-discipline as a hallmark of successful people. Find studies that show links between self-discipline and the achievement of goals and include these in your essay.

If your life has been moved by a book on self-discipline, it might be great to highlight this book in your essay. Describe how the book helped you develop a certain level of self-restraint to delay short-term desires. Elaborate on how it helped you set your sights on the bigger trophy waiting in your future. List down the author’s most helpful tips and don’t forget to include your favorite quotes from the book.

First, define what discipline is for you as a student and the role schools play in developing discipline among the younger generations. Then, highlight the disciplinary strategies undertaken by your school. Elaborate cases in which school suspension is deemed necessary. And finally, provide your own insights on the effectiveness of your school’s discipline strategies and ways in which they can be improved. 

What are your parents’ rules at home and how do they discipline you when you disobey? To answer this in your essay, find out first the different methods of discipline. Then, identify which category best suits your parent’s ways of discipline. Share your inputs as to how your parents’ methods have helped you build discipline. 

Positive discipline moves away from the punishing forms of disciplinary action such as spanking and yelling. First, write about the beginnings of the concept of positive discipline. Then, list down the most common techniques in positive discipline. Cite studies that show how positive discipline compares against punishment-based discipline in effectively changing behaviors. Finally, answer whether parents and schools should start listening more to advocates of positive discipline and why so. 

Having high disciplinary standards is imperative for organizations to maintain stability and productivity. For your essay, delineate first the roles of the human resource unit, managers and supervisors in implementing disciplinary policies and the code of conduct. Then, offer recommendations on how each can improve their roles to consistently enforce rules, ensure due process in disciplinary cases and strengthen the organization’s values. 

In ancient Rome, children endured corporal punishment such as beating and whipping. Research the pros and cons historians discovered from this practice. Investigate what were the kind of people that came out of such childhood during the early civilizations. Finally, find out why corporal punishment has declined since then.

In an age where ordering fast food can be done in a jiffy, many of us have gained the extra pounds that we now regret and badly want to lose. Write a motivational essay on how your readers can keep on track of their fitness journey. Offer tips on how they can change their eating habits to how they can add exercise into their daily routine even if they feel that don’t have time for a workout.

For this essay, point out how a child’s lack of discipline can affect him or her. Segment how these disadvantages appear in three settings or scenarios: home, school and the future. For example, a lack of discipline makes it challenging for children to disobey rules and regulations. If they violate rules repeatedly, the worst consequence could be suspension or even expulsion, depending on the graveness of the misconduct. 

For more writing tips, check out our guide on transition words .Looking for more? Read our guide on persuasive writing .

how i discipline myself essay

Yna Lim is a communications specialist currently focused on policy advocacy. In her eight years of writing, she has been exposed to a variety of topics, including cryptocurrency, web hosting, agriculture, marketing, intellectual property, data privacy and international trade. A former journalist in one of the top business papers in the Philippines, Yna is currently pursuing her master's degree in economics and business.

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17 Self-Discipline Exercises to Help Build Self-Control

self-discipline exercises

Whether we’re trying to study for a test, lose weight, kick a bad habit, or work toward a future goal, willpower always plays a part.

So why do some people ‘stick at it’ so much better than others? What’s their secret, and how can you learn to cultivate more self-discipline?

This article covers self-discipline theory and the evolution of the concept, to answer some of your most common questions about willpower.

Keep reading to learn more about the techniques, skills, and activities that can help you build better self-discipline and take more control of your everyday life.

Before you continue, we thought you might like to download our three Productivity Exercises for free . These detailed, science-based exercises will help you or your clients become more productive and efficient.

This Article Contains:

What is self-discipline theory, common questions about self-discipline, 4 important techniques and skills we should know, a look at self-discipline in kids, 5 ideas for building self-discipline in children.

  • 5 Exercises, Activities, and Worksheets Designed to Improve Self-Discipline

3 Tests and Questionnaires

A take-home message.

What is self-discipline, and how does it work? Many of us feel like we don’t have enough of it or want to improve it, but can we develop it? Let’s start with a definition of self-discipline and look a little closer at the theory behind it.

Defining self-discipline

In the psychological literature, self-discipline is often called self-control or willpower: “ effortful regulation of the self by the self ” (Duckworth, 2011, p. 2639). We’ll be using the terms interchangeably in this article.

It is also defined as “ the ability to suppress prepotent responses in the service of a higher goal… and that such a choice is not automatic but rather requires conscious effort ” (Duckworth & Seligman, 2006, p. 199).

The American Psychological Association provides a nice overview of a few key self-discipline characteristics that have been used by psychologists, including (Metcalfe & Mischel, 1999; Tangney, Baumeister, & Boone,  2004; Moffitt et al., 2011):

  • The ability to quash an impulsive response that undoes our commitment
  • The capacity to delay gratification, holding out against short-term temptations so we can meet longer term goals
  • The ability to use “cool” rather than a “hot” emotional system of behavior

Self-discipline theory

There are numerous different theories about how self-discipline works and how we can tap into it to accomplish our goals.

Ego depletion

One of the most well-supported willpower theories concerns ego depletion: the idea that willpower is limited and we rely on a finite reservoir of mental resources to resist temptation (Baumeister, Bratslavsky, Muraven, & Tice, 1998; Muraven & Baumeister, 2000; Gino, Schweitzer, Mead, & Ariely, 2011).

According to this theory, we use willpower daily to resist urges and push ourselves, until those resources dwindle or run out.

Say we’ve stopped ourselves from yelling at a coworker in the morning, chosen fruit instead of chocolate at 3:00 p.m., and held back from the bread rolls before dinner. This theory would view such acts as depleting events. At the end of it, we theoretically have fewer mental resources to resist continued urges. We might then skip the gym in our ‘weakened state’ or take a cab home instead of walking.

Support for ego depletion theory

Early empirical support for ego depletion theory included the famous ‘cookie’ experiment conducted by Baumeister et al. (1998). In this study, participants were asked to choose between snacking on cookies or radishes. Guess which one required more willpower?

Afterward, they were given a puzzle to solve – an unsolvable puzzle, but they didn’t know it – to observe which group of participants would persevere longer. As the researchers predicted, those who had snacked on cookies persisted 11 minutes longer than those who had resisted them.

Some interesting, but now disproven, extensions on this theory included the idea that willpower was related to our body’s glucose supply. The original idea was that when sugar levels dropped, so did our self-discipline (Donohoe & Benton, 1999, 2000; Gailliot & Baumeister, 2007).

Evidence to the contrary

Since the early ‘90s, researchers have presented other findings that question the validity of Baumeister et al.’s (1998) ego-depletion theory. Rather than relying on a finite supply of willpower, there is evidence that our attitudes and beliefs may have a moderating influence on our self-discipline (Muraven & Slessareva, 2003; Muraven, Gagné, & Rosman, 2008; Job, Walton, Bernecker, & Dweck, 2013).

Muraven and Slessareva (2003) showed that ‘depleted’ participants could compensate for lower self-control resources through higher motivation, even performing as well as non-depleted participants with high motivation.

And as the authors so aptly describe, this “ can help explain why, when depleted, people may lose control of their appetites but not their temper ” (Muraven & Slessareva, 2003, p. 906).

Another study demonstrated that participants who believed self-control was plentiful and unlimited had high willpower performance, both with and without glucose boosts (Job et al., 2013). Participants who believed in finite and easily depleted willpower, however, performed poorly on experimental tasks as the demands on their self-control grew.

Both motivation and self-control resources are essential components of self-control (Muraven & Slessareva, 2003).

Now that we’ve explained what self-discipline is, let’s get into why it’s important and how you might be able to improve it.

Here’s what the research says.

Why is self-discipline important?

Willpower helps us resist short-term urges and impulses to pursue longer term goals. If you’re saving for a car, for instance, practicing self-control about impulse purchases can help you save more easily and quickly.

Mischel and Ebbesen’s (1970) early marshmallow experiment was one of the first studies into delayed gratification, and it gave rise to a surge of later studies linking self-discipline with success.

A couple of decades later, researchers followed up with the students from the marshmallow experiment and found that those who could delay gratification had comparatively better academic performance and higher educational achievements than those who couldn’t (Shoda, Mischel, & Peake, 1990).

This corresponds with later findings that have shown self-control to have a more significant positive impact on academic success than cognitive intelligence, and that students with more self-discipline had better grades, school attendance, and test results (Duckworth & Seligman, 2006).

Research findings also point to the parts that self-control can play in:

  • Reduced risk of obesity – due in part to higher impulse control and the ability to delay gratification (Tsukayama, Toomey, Faith, & Duckworth, 2010)
  • Better muscular and aerobic fitness (Kinnunen, Suihko, Hankonen, Absetz, & Jallinoja, 2012)
  • Lower likelihood of engaging in risky or criminal behaviors (King, Fleming, Monahan, & Catalano, 2011; Ford & Blumenstein, 2012)
  • Greater occupational and career achievement in terms of income and job satisfaction (Converse, Piccone, & Tocci, 2014).

how i discipline myself essay

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So how can we develop more self-control? Let’s look at some techniques that may be helpful.

1. Develop your self-awareness

How many temptations do you think you resist every day?

It’s impossible to know, because most of our decisions are unconscious. By becoming more attuned to when, where, and how we exercise self-control, we can start to manage our behavior a little better.

For example, have you ever gone to the supermarket when you’re really hungry? If so, chances are you made a few more impulse buys than you would have if you’d gone on a full stomach. There are many benefits of self-awareness . Being aware of what we do when we’re doing it is the first step to making better decisions and resisting those that don’t help us over the long term.

As a start, we can try to recognize and avoid temptation, either by steering clear of it or distracting ourselves from it (Metcalfe & Mischel, 1999).

2. Believe in willpower

The beliefs that we hold about willpower can affect our ability to practice self-control (Job et al., 2013).

By viewing self-discipline as an unlimited resource, participants were able to exercise the same degree of willpower after a depleting task as before it, demonstrating the impact our beliefs can have on our actions (Job et al., 2013).

This suggests that you and I can do the same. Choosing not to view self-control as a depletable resource might give us some of the motivation we need to overcome, at least mild cases of, ego depletion (Vohs, Baumeister, & Schmeichel, 2012).

3. Regular physical exercise

self-discipline skills

They also reported positive increases and improvements in other domains related to self-discipline: emotional control, spending, study habits, attendance to commitments, healthy eating, and household chores. At the same time, they reported significant reductions in perceived stress and unhealthy habits, such as smoking and caffeine consumption (Oaten & Cheng, 2006).

4. Implementation intention

Practicing the implementation intention technique can help you improve your self-control, work toward breaking bad habits, and change unwanted behavior (Gollwitzer, 1999). The method involves creating an if–then plan that specifies when, where, and how you’ll act to achieve a goal.

Implementation intention has been shown to increase the likelihood of goal achievement by helping us bridge the gap between our goal intentions and our behaviors (Gollwitzer & Brandstaetter, 1997). By identifying and committing to concrete goals, then specifying the precise goal-directed behaviors we’ll engage in, we help to make this behavior more automatic when the time comes.

In the next section, we’ve given you an introduction to an implementation intention exercise.

The Johari Window is a thought-provoking self-awareness framework founded by Luft & Ingham (1955). It brings recognition to how you are perceived by others, and also encourages the expansion of your self-awareness.

The Johari Window consists of four quadrants, namely the Arena, the Blind Spot, the Mask, and the Unconscious.

  • The Arena : This quadrant includes not only self-knowledge but public knowledge about your personality, skills, attitudes, and behaviors.
  • The Blind Spot : This facet includes the things that are blatantly obvious to those around us, but we have yet to recognize in ourselves.
  • The Mask : This includes hidden information that you have concealed from others for a multitude of reasons. This information is usually disclosed once you have built a trusting relationship with someone.
  • The Unconscious : This quadrant includes undiscovered truths, talents, and information about yourself that can be uncovered through introspection. 

Introspection involves looking inward to understand our internal thought processes, beliefs, and sensory experiences (Schwitzgebel, 2012).

For example, according to the Johari Window framework, minimizing the blind spot by receiving feedback from others is not an example of introspection. Although it is gaining self-awareness and self-knowledge, it is not a purely internal process.

The unknown and unconscious quadrant can only be minimized by the means of self-discovery. Self-discovery is a multifaceted approach which can be done through self-monitoring (noticing what is going on in our minds), mindfulness, or asking yourself introspective reflection question (Schwitzgebel, 2012).

how i discipline myself essay

We’ve heard of Mischel and Ebbesen’s (1970) marshmallow study (if you haven’t, read our delayed gratification article), but what else do we know about self-discipline in kids?

Here’s an overview of some key research findings to date (Makin, 2013):

  • In 1972, the influential marshmallow study demonstrated that kids waited an average of 6 minutes before eating a marshmallow that was placed in front of them, despite being told that they could have two marshmallows if they waited 15 minutes. Kids who delayed gratification for longer did so by either hiding the marshmallow or distracting themselves.
  • Almost a decade later, a similar experiment was carried out on pigeons by researchers Grosch and Neuringer (1981). Pigeons who could distract themselves during the waiting period were more likely to exercise self-control by waiting for a preferred food vs. instantly eating an inferior one (Vanderveldt, Oliveira, & Green, 2016).
  • Close to 16 years after the marshmallow study, the delayed gratification children from the experiment were shown to have better academic success, SAT scores, and social and emotional competence than those who showed low self-discipline (Shoda et al., 1990).
  • In 2005, researchers suggested children don’t understand the impact of conflicting mental states on their behavior until they are at least seven years old (Choe, Keil, & Bloom, 2005). Researchers propose that maybe this is because they can only observe behavior that corresponds to one of their desires (Wellman, 1990).
  • Children’s ability to delay gratification at 4 years old has been linked to their obesity risk at 11 years old (Seeyave et al., 2009).
  • Brain imaging research of the original marshmallow study participants in middle age showed that prefrontal cortex and ventral striatum activity differed between high and low delayers facing temptation (Casey et al., 2011).
  • Kid’s ability to demonstrate self-discipline is moderated by their beliefs about the environment. More specifically, children who believed their environments were unreliable waited significantly less time to succumb to gratification than those who thought the environment was reliable (Kidd, Palmeri, & Aslin, 2013).
  • Kids with low self-control during childhood are more likely to smoke throughout adulthood; over half of this relationship was attributed to adolescent smoking (Daly, Egan, Quigley, Delaney, & Baumeister, 2016).

In a nutshell, it appears that self-discipline, or delayed gratification , at least, is not as straightforward as it seems. There is evidence suggesting that low or high self-control in childhood can have influences on our choices and behaviors in later life, but that our beliefs regarding the environment can play a significant role, too.

Given that our capacity for self-control can be improved, how can we build more self-discipline in children?

self-discipline children

According to this framework, self-discipline is viewed more as emotional self-regulation than simple delayed gratification.

It suggests that we have two processing systems:

  • A cool, rational cognitive system — This helps us make more strategic, objective, and thoughtful decisions, and it underpins self-regulation or self-control .
  • A hot, impulsive, emotional system that undermines the former

Using this paradigm, building self-control is about helping kids develop their capacity to use cool processes. Here are a few ideas:

1. Build trust

A trusting environment is viewed as more reliable (Kidd et al., 2013).

Think of a child experiencing homelessness who is asked by an unfamiliar experimenter to wait before eating a hot meal, versus a child whose wealthy mom asks them to wait. The former, accustomed to a shifting environment where their food could be stolen, might be less likely to wait than the latter.

The role of trust in self-discipline has also been examined by Michaelson, de la Vega, Chatham, and Munakata (2013), who found that participants were more likely to choose hypothetical immediate, smaller rewards from character vignettes they considered low in trustworthiness.

2. Encourage children to practice

Delayed gratification and cool-system activation has been linked to higher right prefrontal cortex activity, and we can strengthen this brain area through repeated practice (Casey et al., 2011). Within reason, we can give kids the chance to practice delayed gratification, exercise their prefrontal cortex’s neural pathways, and enhance their capacity for self-discipline.

3. Provide motivation

Motivation plays a significant role in self-control. Muraven and Slessareva’s (2003) participants were more likely to persist at a task when they believed doing so would help others or when they were told they’d be paid.

Providing the right motivation for children can be one way to make willpower exertion a voluntary choice rather than a chore.

You might encourage them with praise and recognition while helping them see the benefits of self-discipline through empathy. “ I understand that you’re not tired now, and I’ve been there before. But I have gone to bed early before many times, and the next day I always feel energetic for the picnic !”

4. Model good behaviors

Show your child how to manage their hot-system processes by demonstrating good behavior. If you lose your temper every time someone cuts you off in traffic, they are more likely to learn that this kind of response is okay.

Visibly practicing soothing and calming positive self-talk can help them pick up techniques and skills that they can apply later (Meichenbaum & Goodman, 1971).

5. Reward desired behaviors

Positive reinforcement is also a good way to encourage acts of self-control, and rewards can be good incentives for new adaptive behaviors. Think about how you might reinforce kids with attractive rewards such as staying up five minutes longer, screen time, or stickers. Use this set of Kid’s Reward Coupons to help!

5 Exercises, Activities, and Worksheets to Improve Self-Discipline

improve self-discipline

1. Increasing self-control through repeated practice

On average, we resist two impulses out of every five that we face daily (Muraven, Baumeister, & Tice, 1999). In other words, we spend more than half our waking hours trying to resist our urges and impulses. When we don’t resist them, statistics suggest that we act on up to 70% of those desires; but when we do resist, we can decrease that figure to as little as 17%.

By practicing self-control, we can build up our willpower just as we build up fitness by exercising. To cite Muraven et al.’s (1999) figures, we can improve our self-discipline with as little as two weeks of consistent practice. Here’s a worksheet that helps you take it step by step, by performing small acts of self-control in your everyday life.

Click here to get this exercise from our Positive Psychology Toolkit©.

2. Implementation Intention

As discussed, implementation intention (if–then approaches to planning) can be a concrete and effective method for connecting your behaviors to desired outcomes. In other words, they bridge the gap between intentions and actions, leaving us with more mental resources for avoiding distractions and competing goals (Gollwitzer, 1999; Achtziger, Gollwitzer, & Sheeran, 2008).

Use this exercise to learn more about the theory behind if–then statements, then clarify what you want to achieve (your intention). As you follow the steps, you’ll plan when, where, and how you’ll start acting toward your goal, as well as how you’ll overcome obstacles: “ If X happens, then I will do Y. ”

3. The Spheres of Personal Control

If we believe that our capacity for self-control is unlimited, we can motivate ourselves to practice more willpower even when our mental resources are depleted. But that doesn’t warrant wasting time and energy trying to control factors that we can’t, such as natural disasters or another person’s behavior. This can end up having detrimental effects on our mental health (Wenzlaff & Wegner, 2000).

Here is a tool that works by helping you cultivate more self-awareness about what lies outside your sphere of personal control so that you can apply your mental resources more strategically and thoughtfully.

First, you’ll think of a valued goal you want to achieve and the desired outcomes of accomplishing it. Then, you’ll identify the actions you need to take to achieve it, before distinguishing between those that you can and cannot control.

The PDF includes more on the research and theory behind this exercise, as well as tables to fill in and examples to guide you. You can access the Spheres of Personal Control here .

4. Red Light: Anger!

Parents and teachers can use this exercise with children who find it tough to control their anger. It gives a small description of how anger starts small and grows to become bigger and often harder to control. Kids are invited to draw what they think their anger looks like in both scenarios.

The final page shows a bright red “Stop” signal. The instructions ask the child to think of the warning signs that indicate their anger is growing.

These help them understand when to pause and practice self-control before the situation gets out of hand. Then they can write their anger stop signs in the boxes. Examples include “ I start to sweat ,” “ I want to throw something ,” and “ My voice gets louder .”

Download this free Red Light: Anger! worksheet.

5. Self-Control Spotting

In this exercise, children can read and think about some examples of self-discipline and its opposite. There are eight boxes at the bottom of the page for kids to cut out, including examples such as:

  • “ You feel sad, so you write in your diary. ”
  • “ You feel upset, so you scream out loud. ”
  • “ You feel angry, so you shout at your friend.”

Above this, there’s a larger table with two columns: “ This Is Self-Control ” and “ This Is NOT Self-Control.” Kids are prompted to cut out the examples and place them where they feel they belong in the two columns. It’s designed to help children build self-awareness about how self-discipline looks and feels so they can start to improve their own capacity.

Here’s a link to the Self-Control Spotting worksheet.

The secret to self control – Jonathan Bricker

Besides waiting around for marshmallows, how can we measure self-control? There are almost as many measures of the concept as there are definitions for it, but they fall into a few categories (Duckworth & Kern, 2011):

  • Executive function tasks assess the ability to exercise top-down control over lower level cognitive processes (Williams & Thayer, 2009). Examples include Stroop tasks, set switching tasks, and continuous performance tasks.
  • Delayed gratification tasks are exactly what they sound like, and this category includes hypothetical choice delay tasks (Michaelson et al., 2013), real choice tasks (like the marshmallow test), and sustained delay tasks (Grosch & Neuringer, 1981).
  • Self- and informant-report personality questionnaires include standalone assessments and measures featuring multiple sub-scales.

If you’d like to look more into the latter, which you can often do yourself, have a look into some of the examples below (Duckworth & Kern, 2011) and read our blog post on Delayed Gratification Exercises .

1. The Tangney Self-Control Scale (SCS)

Developed by Tangney et al. (2004), the SCS is a 36-item measure that uses a 5-point scale. It assesses five dimensions: a general capacity for self-discipline, healthy habits, deliberate/nonimpulsive action, reliability, and work ethics (Unger, Bi, Xiao, & Ybarra, 2016).

Example items include:

  • Sometimes I can’t stop myself from doing something, even if I know it is wrong.
  • I have worked or studied all night at the last minute.
  • People can count on me to keep on schedule.
  • I am good at resisting temptation.
  • I do certain things that are bad for me if they are fun.

2. The Eysenck I7 Impulsiveness Scale

This measure features items about impulsively doing and saying things and can be seen as a somewhat narrow measure of self-control (Eysenck, Easting, & Pearson, 1984; Duckworth & Kern, 2011).

Nonetheless, it’s a hefty instrument that includes 77 yes/no questions.

Examples include:

  • Do you sometimes put down the first answer that comes into your head during a test and forget to check it later?
  • When you watch a favorite TV show, can you feel with the hero or heroine when they are sad, happy, or angry?
  • At a fairground, would you prefer playing games and seeing shows to riding rides?
  • Do you get so carried away by new and exciting ideas that you never think of possible snags?
  • Would you prefer an unexpected outing to one you have looked forward to for a while?

3. Barratt Impulsiveness Scale Version 11 (BIS-11)

This is a multi-scale instrument incorporating items that measure non-planning, cognitive, and motor impulsiveness (Barratt, 1985). Developed as a multifaceted assessment of trait impulsivity, it has been widely used in the field for over 50 years.

The 30-item BIS-11 measures 6 correlated components: attention, cognitive instability, motor impulsiveness, perseverance, cognitive complexity, and self-control. Sample items include the following (1 = Rarely/Never; 2 = Occasionally; 3 = Often; and 4 = Almost Always/Always):

  • I am restless at the theater or lectures.
  • I often have extraneous thoughts when thinking.
  • I spend or charge more than I earn.
  • I can think only about one thing at a time.
  • I say things without thinking.
  • I am more interested in the present than in the future.

how i discipline myself essay

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Temptation is everywhere, but by practicing self-control, we can learn to strengthen it. Self-awareness, motivation, the right mindset, and greater willpower can all help us build better self-discipline, which in turn can have potential benefits for our success and long-term goals.

Have you had any struggles with willpower today? How did you manage? How about strategies for success? Can you share any with us? Try some of the exercises, techniques, and approaches we’ve shared today, then let us know how it goes. Share your experiences in the comments!

We hope you enjoyed reading this article. Don’t forget to download our three Productivity Exercises for free .

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  • Barratt, E. S. (1985). Impulsive subtraits: Arousal and information processing. In J. T. Spence & C. E. Izard (Eds.), Motivation, emotion, and personality (pp. 137–146). Elsevier Science Publishers.
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kailee windhurst

I feel like I have somewhat of self control when I a really stressed about anything I brake down and cry I just overthink anything possible but I feel like if I took the time to breath and figer it out one step at a time that I wouldn’t get so worked up about thing that stress me out.

Marvin "Coach" Powell

Great job again Catherine! You are the absolute best :-)!!


Thank you for the article. Findings of Some wonderful research was put together very well. Keep up the great work


This article is exactly what I’ve been looking for. Thank you so much for sharing!

Jack Acy

The article is indeed great ! But I wonder are self-discipline and self-control two words of the same thing?

Nicole Celestine

Hi Jack, So glad you enjoyed the article. Yes, you raise a good point about the difference between these two overlapping concepts. It’s a subtle distinction which is explained well in this article. – Nicole | Community Manager


Thanks for a wonderful article! It was well explained and I really find it very helpful. Thanks again!

Hi Marj, So glad you enjoyed the article. Thanks for being a reader. – Nicole | Community Manager


As an early childhood educator, I find this article useful particularly on the use of motivation, for example, praising. Further, paying attention to desirable behaviors always works for me . Finally, modelling is often applied in teaching including young children.

Catherine Moore, Psychologist, MBA

Thanks Kalaya for your comment :o) Positive reinforcement is indeed a powerful thing, and compliments and praise can go a long way. Not only in shaping adaptive behavior, but in building good relationships and cultivating a growth mindset, too! I recently read a lovely study that suggested a “Magic Ratio” of 6 compliments to every one piece of negative feedback – sounds a bit like what you’re doing very effectively already. What do you think? Cath


Excellent article Catherine well done

Thanks Javier, Robert, and Felix! Glad you enjoyed 🙂

Robert Wright

Catherine, Great article! Thanks, Robert Wright.


Great article Thanks a lot

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  • How to Develop Self-Discipline to Succeed

Success starts with self-mastery, and at the core of this mastery is self-discipline.

Did you know the most successful people have gotten to where they are today because they have learned to practice self-discipline?

Becoming a self-disciplined person involves understanding what self-discipline means, learning the skills to develop it, and making a consistent effort to apply it in all areas of your life.

Many of the most successful individuals credit their achievements to their ability to practice self-discipline, which has significantly contributed to their well-being and success.

If you’re ready to take control of your actions and thoughts, let’s explore self-discipline together and set the stage for your greatness.

What Is Self-Discipline?

Let’s start with the basics.

The word self-discipline is actually made up of two parts. The noun “discipline” means “training that corrects, molds, or perfects the mental faculties or moral character” ( Merriam-Webster Dictionary ).

The ‘self’ means you have the willpower to do these things on your own, without someone telling you to do them.

So self-discipline means you control your feelings and even do hard things so you can be better and have more prosperity.

More than one self-discipline definition can help us understand the concept better, though. Consider these dictionary definitions:

  • Self-discipline is “the ability to control one’s feelings and overcome one’s weaknesses; the ability to pursue what one thinks is right despite temptations to abandon it.” Oxford Languages Dictionary
  • Self-discipline is “the ability to control yourself and to make yourself work hard or behave in a particular way without needing anyone else to tell you what to do.”  Collins Dictionary

You can also use different words in place of self-discipline to better understand their meaning. Some synonyms are:

  • Self-control
  • Self-regulation
  • Self-mastery
  • Firmness of purpose
  • Self-restraint

My favorite definition of self-discipline, though, is this: “ Self-discipline is the ability to make yourself do what you should do when you should do it, whether you feel like it or not.”

To be completely truthful, it is easy to do something when you feel like it. However, it’s when you don’t feel like doing something and you force yourself to do it anyway is when you move your life and career onto the fast track.

Controlling our feelings in the moment so we can have something better later takes hard work. It involves delayed gratification, which is not acting on your impulses.

It is doing what you have to do now so you can do what you want to do later.

As psychologist Arden Mahlberg explains in one of his self-discipline quotes: “Discipline really means our ability to get ourselves to do things when we don’t want.”

Disciplining one’s conduct leads to success in anything you want to accomplish. Apply the principles of self-discipline to both your personal and professional life.

The Importance of Self-Discipline

Mastering the art of self-discipline is a gateway to numerous advantages. When you demonstrate regular self-discipline, you streamline and focus your path toward achieving your aspirations. This focused approach minimizes distractions and paves the way for substantial progress towards your goals.

Self-discipline is beneficial because it:

  • Reduces stress and anxiety , which often come from procrastination, wasting time, or not having a plan to follow.
  • Makes you feel more confident in your abilities to accomplish things , which leads to living a happier life to becoming your best self.
  • Accelerates personal improvement in all areas of our lives , including physical and mental health, education, career, financial independence , and relationships.
  • Helps students gain more knowledge , make fewer careless mistakes, and perform better than those who do not, regardless of IQ,
  • Can help those in the workplace achieve higher income , the feeling of achievement in one’s career, and a higher rate of accomplishing one’s goals.
  • Enhances relationships and is seen to correlate with stronger, more enduring personal relationships.
  • Fosters resilience, enhancing your ability to recover from setbacks and further strengthening your control over impulses.

Recognizing the Signs of a Self-Discipline Deficit

So how do you know if you lack self-discipline?

There are some self-sabotaging behaviors to look for. One sign is that you find yourself making excuses for your behavior and falling short on things.

For example, promptness requires self-discipline. If you are often late to appointments, work, or other commitments but blame it on traffic, hitting the alarm too many times, or staying up late to finish a project, you likely lack self-discipline. Instead, you should take personal responsibility for leaving earlier, getting up on time, or not procrastinating at the start of your project.

Another sign you need to build self-discipline is if you give in to temptation and just can’t seem to reach your goals. That could be eating too much so you cannot make your ideal weight or not advancing in your career because you give in to the temptation of spending some of your free time on social media instead of taking an online course.

One more sign that you need to improve your self-discipline is that you wait to feel motivated before doing something. For example, if you want to write a book and are waiting until the right moment when you feel energized to do it, you will probably never accomplish it.

The power of self-discipline gets you out of your comfort zone and lets you soar to new and unimaginable heights.

7 Steps to Develop Self-Discipline

When you have the determination to improve self-discipline, you open up many doors to new opportunities.

But it takes more than willpower to improve your ability to achieve self-discipline within yourself. You need to develop skills by learning and training yourself to practice self-control until self-discipline becomes a habit.

Follow these seven steps to success.

1. Decide What You Want

You have a lot of ideas floating around in your head. The first step to improving your future self-discipline is to organize your thoughts and figure out what you want.

As Napoleon Hill puts it in one of his self-discipline quotes:

“Self-discipline begins with the mastery of your thoughts. If you don’t control what you think, you can’t control what you do. Simply, self-discipline enables you to think first and act afterward.”

Decide exactly what it is you want in each part of your life.

Do you need to increase your knowledge of the trends in your industry so you can advance to a higher position?

Do you want to adopt healthy habits like exercising and healthy eating so you feel better, improve your physical health, increase your self-confidence, and open yourself up to more opportunities?

Is learning a new language or skill something you want to do to open new doors professionally or personally?

Tap into your self-awareness and think about what you want to do and be. Become a “meaningful specific” rather than a “wandering generality.”

What decisions do you need to make today to start moving toward the top of your field?

Whatever it is, make a decision now, and then get started. This single act alone can change the whole direction of your life.

Understand that any new endeavor you take on will take effort and a willingness to delay gratification. But enduring temporary discomfort is always worth the reward of long-term gain.

2. Identify and Remove Temptations

Distractions are the enemy of accomplishment and discipline. Your ability to resist temptation will turn bad, unhealthy habits, into good habits.

One of the wisest things you can do to resist temptations is to simply remove temptations as much as possible.

If checking your social media feed has become a time-waster, reduce your screen time by setting limits on your smartphone, turning off notifications, scheduling specific times when you can check your accounts, or deleting the apps that do not contribute to your goals or overall well-being.

If you are easily distracted by how readily accessible entertainment is, remove things like television, video platforms, or subscription streaming services from your environment.

Do the same with tempting foods, people who are a negative influence, or anything else that is impeding your progress.

Your environment sets you up for success. Being honest with yourself about what those distractions are is key to your success.

Fewer distractions have a tremendous impact on accomplishing your goals.

Self-denial may seem difficult at first, but when one’s desires are tempered, it allows for blossoming into a newer and better version of oneself.

Conduct a time audit to identify your temptations and time wasters. Over the next several days, keep track of what you do all day. Writing it down will allow you to analyze how you spend your time and change it into how you want to spend your time.

Removing temptations is liberating.

As Harvey Dorfman, a mental skills coach, puts it, “Self-discipline is a form of freedom. Freedom from laziness and lethargy, freedom from the expectations and demands of others, freedom from weakness and fear — and doubt.”

3. Find an Accountability Partner

Sometimes it’s hard to stay disciplined when you’re working in silence.

Having someone to share your goals and keep you accountable can help keep you on track and motivated to stay disciplined.

An accountability partner can help you overcome the challenge of making the changes you need to restrain your impulses and make better decisions.

Setting a specific goal makes you 10% more likely to achieve it. But committing to someone else that you will do it increases your success rate by 65%, and making an appointment to report back to that person raises it even higher to 95%.

An accountability partner is someone with whom you agree to help each other stay on track toward achieving your goals.

In your effort to improve self-discipline, knowing that you need to report your actions to someone else will help you stay motivated, and you will do the same for them.

An ideal accountability partner is someone who is working toward similar goals as you. For example, if your goal is to start your own business, choose an accountability partner who shares the same entrepreneurial goal. In this way, you can learn together, brainstorm solutions, and share helpful insights on the training each other is receiving.

You should also choose someone who wants to be held accountable — a person as interested in building self-discipline as you are.

The right accountability partner is trustworthy and will keep your discussions confidential. They are kind and encouraging yet will also ask you difficult questions and give constructive criticism to help you stay on track.

Share your goals with your accountability partner, be honest about your progress, and stay connected regularly. Set daily, weekly, and monthly check-in appointments, and keep these sessions short and on-topic.

Communicate in a way both of you are comfortable with, such as email, text, phone calls, in-person meetings, or a combination of several modes of communication.

The positive reinforcement and encouragement you receive from your accountability partner — and in turn, give to them — can make all the difference in overcoming the roadblocks you have been experiencing and catapulting you toward making your hopes and dreams a reality.

4. Write Your Goals Down

Always think on paper — or an electronic device. A goal that is not in writing is not a goal at all. It is merely a wish and it has no energy behind it.

Write your goals down, clearly and in detail. The most successful goals are SMART goals : specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound.

Define your long-term goals, but then set small goals and work your way to bigger ones. Baby steps are easier to visualize and achieve. They help you overcome your challenges more effectively than focusing on broad goals that take time to reach.

Reaching your smaller goals will motivate you to continue on the road to progress.

If your goal is to eat healthier, for example, start by adding one new healthy food to your diet each week. You don’t have to eliminate all unhealthy food at once. Going slowly will help you stay motivated.

It takes a tremendous amount of willpower to make a total, sweeping change all at once. But making gains step by step will be training your mind to exercise self-control in manageable increments until it becomes a habit and you no longer have the desire to return to old ways.

Use these examples of SMART goals as inspiration to write down your own:

  • I will increase business sales from repeat customers by 5% by the end of the quarter by gathering contact information at the point of sale and following up with strategies that make them feel valued.
  • I will decrease the number of times I complain to once every other day by May 31st to improve my mental health by taking 10 seconds to think about my words before sharing them.
  • I will continue to lose weight by adding exercise to my morning routine by walking for 30 minutes before eating breakfast for the next three weeks.
  • I will learn to play the major chords on the guitar by my birthday by watching tutorial videos and practicing for 15 minutes per day.
  • I will improve my academic performance on class assessments by 10 percentage points by the mid-term exam by recording lectures, listening to them on my commute, and outlining notes from each lecture within two days of hearing them.

5. Make To-Do Lists

Keep yourself on track daily by making a to-do list of everything you can think of that you are going to have to do to accomplish your goal. This is one of the most important things you can do to help you be productive and feel happier.

Lists serve as visual reminders that you are on a path toward excellence. Checking off each task as you complete it provides instant motivation to keep moving forward.

When you think of new tasks and activities, write them on your list until your list is complete.

Revisit your goals regularly to make sure you are on track. If you need to change a word or sentence in your goal to make it more precise, relevant, or achievable, do so without compromising your progress. The key is to create and follow goals that will get you closer to the existence you want, never farther away.

At the end of each day, make your list for the next day. Small habits like this will keep your mind focused on taking the right actions toward exercising self-control.

Be sure to set deadlines for all of your goals and sub-goals. This will help you work hard and achieve results promptly.

6. Organize Your Lists

Organize your lists into a plan.

Decide what you will have to do first and what you will have to do second. Decide what is more important and what is less important. And then write out your plan on paper, the same way you would develop a blueprint to build your dream house.

Group the important tasks on your list into related items. This will help you save time and effort if you complete similar items in the same period. Your mind will be in tune and your workspace will be organized with what you need.

Avoid multitasking. While it may seem like you are busy doing more, multitasking actually serves as a distraction as you cannot devote the right amount of mental energy to a single task. Tackle one item at a time then move on to the next one.

The challenge of disciplining yourself will become easier as you develop purposeful routines like these.

7. Create an Action Plan 

Do something every single day that moves you in the direction of your most important goal at the moment.

Develop the time management discipline of doing something 365 days each year that is moving you forward. You will be absolutely astonished at how much you accomplish when you utilize this formula every single day.

Internalize Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s inspiring words on taking action: “If you can’t fly, run. If you can’t run, walk. If you can’t walk, crawl, but by all means, keep moving.”

Action is imperative to progress.

Research shows that those who use an implementation intention plan are more successful in creating new habits and becoming more self-disciplined.

An implementation intention is an if-then strategy used in disciplining oneself to make the right decisions at the moment. You plan for what you will do when faced with a temptation or distraction.

To use this strategy, complete this sentence with words that apply to what you are trying to overcome:

“When X situation arises, I will respond with Y. ”

Using this plan forces you to be more self-disciplined and cultivate mental toughness.

To help you stay on top of your action plan, consider remembering or writing down one of my favorite quotes that relate to self-discipline:

“Mental toughness is many things and rather difficult to explain. Its qualities are sacrifice and self-denial. Also, most importantly, it is combined with a perfectly disciplined will that refuses to give in.” ( Vince Lombardi )

Set Yourself Up For Success

Begin your path toward personal improvement by developing self-discipline today.

The power of self-control will propel you toward a better life and improved future self.

Setting goals is an important part of developing discipline. If you don’t know where to start, my 14-Step Goal Setting Guide includes more tips on how to set clear goals. The actionable advice in this resource will teach you how to achieve your goals faster than you ever thought possible.

Download the goal-setting guide and tap into your potential to accomplish a world of possibilities.

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About Brian Tracy — Brian is recognized as the top sales training and personal success authority in the world today. He has authored more than 60 books and has produced more than 500 audio and video learning programs on sales, management, business success and personal development, including worldwide bestseller The Psychology of Achievement. Brian's goal is to help you achieve your personal and business goals faster and easier than you ever imagined. You can follow him on Twitter , Facebook , Pinterest , Linkedin and Youtube .

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11 Simple Ways to Start Building Self-Discipline Right Now

11 Simple Ways to Start Building Self-Discipline Right Now

Self-discipline is difficult to master. It can be discouraging when you have the best of intentions but tend to fall short of what you set out to do. Research shows that some conditions make it harder to be self-disciplined. For example, if you’re constantly faced with temptation, you might give in and find it hard to stay on track. [ 1 ] Other conditions make it easier to be self-disciplined. For instance, being well-organized will help you make progress toward your goals. [ 2 ]

In this article, we are going to help you build self-discipline, even if you start from scratch. We will guide you in what to do and what to avoid when you’re striving toward a personal goal or trying to pick up a new habit. We’ll also give you a definition of self-discipline and tell you more about how being self-disciplined can benefit your life. Finally, we’ll throw in some quotes and a reading list to inspire you on your journey toward becoming more self-disciplined.

What is self-discipline?

How to build self-discipline.

Self-discipline represents the qualities that enable people to accomplish goals or adopt new habits, no matter what obstacles arise along the way. [ 3 ] There are three key qualities that make self-discipline possible: the ability to pay attention, self-control, and persistence. [ 4 ]

Let’s look at an example to show how these qualities come together to make self-discipline happen.

Charlie dreams of becoming a web designer. He loves the creative, practical side of web design but he hates learning the theory behind it. To get a qualification in web design, he’d need to study and pass theoretical exams. Since he hates theory, he’d have to practice some serious self-discipline to study and get through his exams.

He’d need to:

  • Pay attention . He’d have to focus hard enough and long enough when studying material he finds boring or challenging in order to pass his exams.
  • Maintain self-control. He’d have to control his urges to do something more appealing, like watching TV or going out with his friends.
  • Persist. He’d have to consistently choose behaviors that will help him pass his exams. He’d have to keep working hard to focus and maintain self-control when things get tough.

As you can see, self-discipline is about consistently choosing behaviors that will help you reach your goal while inhibiting behaviors that will deter you from it.

Self-discipline comes more naturally to some people than to others. However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t learn and get better at self-discipline if you struggle with it. [ 5 ]

Here are 11 tips to build self-discipline:

1. Conduct a self-assessment

If you’ve been thinking about starting to be more self-disciplined, then there’s a good chance you’ve identified one or two areas in your life that need improvement. If you can’t pinpoint where you need to strengthen your self-discipline, take stock of a typical day in your life to identify areas where your self-discipline is lacking.

Get a piece of scrap paper and draw two columns, one with the heading “What I did well today” and another with the heading, “What I could have done better.” As you reflect on your day, fill in the columns. Maybe you managed your time well and completed the tasks you needed to do. However, this came at the cost of sticking to your healthy meal plan because you ordered fast food to save time.

You might also like this article on improving self-awareness .

2. Turn weaknesses into goals

Once you’ve identified what your weak spots are when it comes to self-discipline, try coming up with some goals aimed at improvement. The SMART method of goal setting can help you muster the self-discipline needed to reach your goal. [ 6 ] When you set smart goals, you make your goals specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-bound. [ 6 ]

Here’s an example. Say your weakness is your exercise regime—which is non-existent at the moment. Instead of setting the goal “I want to exercise more,” your SMART goal would be the following: “I want to run for 30 minutes, two times a week from 18h30-19h00 on Mondays and Fridays.” Be careful not to make your goal too difficult and keep it as specific as possible for the best chance at success.

3. Determine your why

When you’re working toward a goal, it’s easy to become weary and lose motivation along the way. Remembering why you set the goal to begin with and why it’s important to you can help you stay strong and disciplined. [ 7 ]

The next time you feel your energy and your drive waning, take a moment to reflect. Ask yourself what the purpose is for doing what you’re doing. What is the long-term reward? Then, write the answer down and keep it somewhere you’ll see it often.

For example, if you’re working late on weekends to start up a new business, stick a post-it note with some encouraging words on your laptop. The post-it note can act as a reminder of why you’re putting in the long yards when you’d rather be out enjoying yourself with everyone else!

4. Track your progress

When you’re working toward a goal, it’s normal to feel discouraged at some point. Tracking your progress can help you stay disciplined because it’s a reminder of how far you’ve come and what you’re capable of. [ 8 ]

You can track progress toward your goal by coming up with milestones and ticking them off as you get closer to achieving your end goal. For example, say your goal was to be ready to run a half marathon within 12 weeks. You may start out with an initial goal to run 10 to 15 miles a week, then build up to 25 to 30 miles a week or more.

5. Use visualization

When you visualize yourself performing an action, an impulse is created in your brain that tells your brain cells (neurons) to carry it out. [ 9 ] So, visualizing can support self-discipline by increasing the likelihood that you’ll take action and do what’s needed to attain your goals.

When people visualize the future, they tend to focus far ahead—on the end goal. Yet visualizing the process is just as important, if not more important. [ 10 ] Visualizing the steps you need to take each day to reach your goal prompts you to act on what you can do to attain your goal in the present.

Set aside 10 minutes each morning to visualize the steps you need to take that day. For the best results, engage all five of your senses as you visualize your day: think about what you can see, hear, touch, taste, and smell. Imagine how you feel as you achieve what you need to.

6. Create a morning ritual

One reason people find it hard to stay disciplined relates to the time it takes to develop a habit. Habits take time to form, and they usually form automatically—not much thought is required to do something you’ve done for weeks, months, or years!

People usually perform rituals or a series of actions when they’re about to engage in a familiar habit. [ 11 ]

For example, if you go swimming at 5 am each morning, you might pack a kit bag and prepare coffee the evening before. These rituals usually develop organically, but you can be intentional about them. Think about a ritual you can try to help you become more disciplined with a new habit or behavior you’re trying to adopt.

7. Do challenging work at your mental best

Doing challenging work requires a lot of mental focus and energy. So, if you want to succeed in being disciplined when it comes to doing challenging work, you should be strategic about when you work.

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Depending on your natural sleep and wake cycles, you’ll be more alert at certain times of the day than others. [ 12 ] If you’re a night owl, you’ll probably be more alert later in the day, whereas if you’re an early bird, you’ll probably be at your mental best earlier in the day.

Think about what time of the day you’re most energized. Plan to do your most challenging work then, when you feel mentally strong .

8. Take care of yourself

Self-discipline is easier when you’re taking care of yourself properly. If you’re getting enough sleep, eating a healthy diet, and managing stress with exercise and recreational activities, it will be much easier to stay alert, focused, and engaged when it matters. [ 13 ]

Here are some general self-care guidelines:

  • Get enough sleep each night. Healthy adults need at least 7-9 hours of sleep. [ 14 ]
  • Exercise regularly. You only need to do 150-300 minutes of moderate exercise per week. [ 15 ] That could look like three 50-minute walks per week.
  • Eat a healthy diet containing lots of fresh fruits and vegetables. [ 16 ]
  • Make time for activities that bring you joy and help you relax. [ 17 ]

9. Resist temptations

Temptations can act as obstacles when you’re working toward an important goal or trying to make a new habit stick. Research studies have shown that the environment can have a big influence on behavior. [ 18 ]

It’s important that you make your environment as conducive to success as possible by removing anything that could lead you astray. For example, if you’re trying to eat healthily, don’t keep junk food at home. That way, if you’re craving something unhealthy, it won’t even be an option. If you’re racing against time to meet a work deadline and you know you get distracted by your phone, then remove it from your sight. Put it on silent in another room until you’ve completed your work.

10. Find an accountability buddy

It’s harder to be self-disciplined when you only have to be accountable to yourself. If you rely on your own willpower and motivation alone, you may struggle to keep pushing yourself when the going gets tough. [ 19 ]

Tell a friend or family member who you know has your best interests at heart about the goal or habit you’re working toward. Ask them if they’d be willing to hold you accountable and check in with you regularly.

Having someone hold you accountable makes it easier to stay disciplined because it feels like it’s not just you who you’re letting down if you don’t do as you say. It forces you to take responsibility. [ 20 ]

11. Limit all-or-nothing thinking

Thinking in an all-or-nothing way is where you judge yourself or your behavior negatively because of a minor mishap. [ 21 ]

For example, say you’re trying to give up smoking, and you usually smoke ten cigarettes a day. You would be thinking in all-or-nothing terms if, on your first day of quitting, you caved and had one cigarette and started telling yourself you’re a failure.

Thinking in all-or-nothing terms is unhealthy because it discourages you, makes you feel bad about yourself, and can cause you to lose motivation. Instead of thinking in a narrow way when things go wrong, try to see things from a wider and more positive perspective . Failing means that you tried! Pat yourself on the back for trying, and remember that you can start afresh tomorrow.

The benefits of being self-disciplined

If you’re looking for reasons to start training your self-discipline, then you can begin by looking at the benefits of being self-disciplined. You can gain many positive life changes from practicing self-discipline. Here are 5 strong benefits of self-discipline.

1. The achievement of long-term goals

Motivation and willpower can only take you so far when it comes to habit formation and goal accomplishment. [ 19 ] While good to have, some research suggests that we may experience less or more willpower from one day to the next. [ 22 ] Self-discipline, on the other hand, is less about how you feel and more about how you act. And consistent action counts more than feelings or mindset for achievement. In the words of psychologist Angela Duckworth, “Achievement of difficult goals entails the sustained and focused application of talent over time.” [ 23 ]

2. Reduced stress and anxiety

A lack of self-discipline can lead to procrastination and an inability to reach important goals. These behaviors have consequences of their own.

If you tend to procrastinate, you may find yourself constantly working under pressure and struggling to meet deadlines. If you’re unable to reach important goals, it can cause stress and anxiety about the future and chip away at your self-esteem . [ 24 ]

If you can learn self-discipline, you’ll find that you’re less stressed and anxious because you’re living up to your expectations and doing what you set out to do. This will boost positive emotions and make you feel good about yourself.

3. Increased self-worth and happiness

Self-discipline enhances self-worth because when you achieve the goals you set for yourself, you build belief and confidence in yourself . [ 25 ] Self-discipline increases happiness , too.

Studies show that the more productive people are, the happier they feel. [ 25 ] [ 26 ]

4. Better relationships and interpersonal skills

Learning self-discipline is great for relationships, too. A self-disciplined person is better able to manage their emotions intelligently . Being able to pause and reflect before acting on how you feel is an important interpersonal skill. It helps you handle conflict effectively without becoming defensive or exploding and lashing out in anger. [ 27 ]

5. Improved physical health

If you’re self-disciplined, you’ll be better able to resist urges to engage in unhealthy behaviors like overeating, excessive drinking, and smoking. [ 28 ] You’ll also be better able to commit to making behavioral changes that promote good health, such as exercising regularly and maintaining a healthy diet and lifestyle. [ 29 ]

7 self-discipline quotes to inspire you

If you’re looking for some motivation and encouragement in your journey toward better self-discipline, you may find the following quotes helpful:

  • “I think self-discipline is something, it’s like a muscle. The more you exercise it, the stronger it gets.” —Daniel Goldstein
  • “In reading the lives of great men, I found that the first victory they won was over themselves…self-discipline with all of them came first.” —Harry S Truman
  • “Respect your efforts, respect yourself. Self-respect leads to self-discipline. When you have both firmly under your belt, that’s real power.” —Clint Eastwood
  • “It’s a lot more than mind over matter. It takes relentless self-discipline to schedule suffering into your day, every day.” ―David Goggins
  • “Self-discipline is often disguised as short-term pain, which often leads to long-term gains. The mistake many of us make is the need and want for short-term gains (immediate gratification), which often leads to long-term pain.”―Charles F. Glassman
  • “Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishment.” —Jim Rohn
  • “We must all suffer one of two things: the pain of discipline or the pain of regret & disappointment.” —Jim Rohn

Self-discipline reading list

Since so many people struggle with self-discipline and want to learn how to cultivate it, several self-help books have been written on the topic. Here are 4 of the best-selling books that can teach you how to be more self-disciplined:

  • No Excuses!: The Power Of Self Discipline by Brian Tracy
  • Atomic Habits: An Easy and Proven Way to Build Good Habits and Break Bad Ones by James Clear
  • The Little Book of Big Change: The No Willpower Approach to Breaking Any Habit by Amy Johnson
  • The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey
  • Kalkstein, D. A., & Fujita, K. (2020). Temptation. In K. Sweeny, M.L. Robbins, & Lee M. Cohen (Eds.), The Wiley encyclopedia of health psychology (pp.733-40). Wiley-Blackwell.
  • Galla, B. M., & Duckworth, A. L. (2015). More than resisting temptation: Beneficial habits mediate the relationship between self-control and positive life outcomes. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology , 109 (3), 508–525. https://doi.org/10.1037/pspp0000026
  • Collins Dictionary. (2019, December 31). Definition of self-discipline. https://www.collinsdictionary.com/dictionary/english/self-discipline
  • Taylor, A. F., Kuo, F. E., & Sullivan, W. C. (2002). Views Of Nature and Self-Discipline: Evidence from Inner City Children. Journal of Environmental Psychology , 22 (1-2), 49–63. https://doi.org/10.1006/jevp.2001.0241
  • Tao, T., Wang, L., Fan, C., & Gao, W. (2014). Development of self-control in children aged 3 to 9 years: Perspective from a dual-systems model. Scientific Reports , 4 (1). https://doi.org/10.1038/srep07272
  • Doran, G. T. (1981, November). There’s a S.M.A.R.T. way to write management’s goals and objectives . https://community.mis.temple.edu/mis0855002fall2015/files/2015/10/S.M.A.R.T-Way-Management-Review.pdf
  • Milyavskaya, M., Nadolny, D., & Koestner, R. (2014). Where Do Self-Concordant Goals Come From? The Role of Domain-Specific Psychological Need Satisfaction. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin , 40 (6), 700–711. https://doi.org/10.1177/0146167214524445
  • Harkin, B., Webb, T. L., Chang, B. P. I., Prestwich, A., Conner, M., Kellar, I., Benn, Y., & Sheeran, P. (2016). Does monitoring goal progress promote goal attainment? A meta-analysis of the experimental evidence. Psychological Bulletin, 142 (2), 198–229. https://doi.org/10.1037/bul0000025
  • Alavi, A. (2016, November 15). The power of visualization . The Optometry Center for Vision Therapy. https://ocvt.info/the-power-of-visualization
  • Taylor, S. E., Pham, L. B., Rivkin, I. D., & Armor, D. A. (1998). Harnessing the Imagination. Mental simulation, self-regulation, and coping. The American Psychologist , 53 (4), 429–439. https://doi.org/10.1037//0003-066x.53.4.429
  • Razzetti, G. (2020, February 11). The Power of Rituals: How to Build Meaningful Habits. https://www.fearlessculture.design/blog-posts/the-power-of-rituals-how-to-build-meaningful-habits
  • Facer-Childs, E. R., Boiling, S., & Balanos, G. M. (2018). The effects of time of day and chronotype on cognitive and physical performance in healthy volunteers. Sports Medicine – Open , 4 (47). https://doi.org/10.1186/s40798-018-0162-z
  • Bui, T., Zackula, R., Dugan, K., & Ablah, E. (2021). Workplace Stress and Productivity: A Cross-Sectional Study. Kansas Journal of Medicine , 14 . https://doi.org/10.17161/kjm.vol1413424
  • Suni, E. (2020, July 31). How Much Sleep Do We Really Need? Sleep Foundation. https://www.sleepfoundation.org/how-sleep-works/how-much-sleep-do-we-really-need
  • U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2018). Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans 2nd edition . https://health.gov/sites/default/files/2019-09/Physical_Activity_Guidelines_2nd_edition.pdf
  • Lee, S. H. (2022). Adults Meeting Fruit and Vegetable Intake Recommendations— United States, 2019. MMWR. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report , 71 . https://doi.org/10.15585/mmwr.mm7101a1
  • Australian Government Department of Health. (2019, July 11). Purposeful activity—Hobbies . https://www.headtohealth.gov.au/meaningful-life/purposeful-activity/hobbies
  • Laverl Z. Williamson, Benjamin M. Wilkowski. Nipping Temptation in the Bud: Examining Strategic Self-Control in Daily Life. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin , 2019  http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0146167219883606
  • Duckworth, A. L., Milkman, K. L., & Laibson, D. (2018). Beyond willpower: Strategies for reducing failures of self-control. Psychological Science in the Public Interest , 19 (3), 102–129. https://doi.org/10.1177/1529100618821893
  • Matthews, G. (2007). The impact of commitment, accountability, and written goals on goal achievement. Psychology Faculty Presentations . https://scholar.dominican.edu/psychology-faculty-conference-presentations/3
  • Carucci, A. (2022, August 22). All-or-nothing thinking: Examples, effects, and how to manage . https://psychcentral.com/health/all-or-nothing-thinking-examples
  • APA (2021). Is willpower a limited resource? https://www.apa.org/topics/willpower-limited.pdf
  • Duc kworth, A. L., Peterson, C., Matthews, M. D., & Kelly, D. R. (2007). Grit: Perseverance and passion for long-term goals. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology , 92 (6), 1087–1101. https://doi.org/10.1037/0022-3514.92.6.1087
  • Höpfner, J., & Keith, N. (2021). Goal missed, self hit: Goal-setting, goal-failure, and their affective, motivational, and behavioral consequences. Frontiers in Psychology , 12 . https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2021.704790
  • Locke, E. A., & Latham, G. P. (2006). New directions in goal-setting theory. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 15 (5), 265-268. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-8721.2006.00449.x
  • Tóth, Á., Wisse, B., & Faragó, K. (2018). The impact of goal attainment and goal importance on satisfaction with life—a polynomial regression and response surface analysis. Mentálhigiéné És Pszichoszomatika , 19 (1), 80–101. https://doi.org/10.1556/0406.19.2018.004
  • Mao, T., Pan, W., Zhu, Y., Yang, J., Dong, Q., & Zhou, G. (2018). Self-control mediates the relationship between personality traits and impulsivity. Personality and Individual Differences , 129 , 70–75. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.paid.2018.03.013
  • Friese, M., & Hofmann, W. (2009). Control me or I will control you: Impulses, trait self-control, and the guidance of behavior. Journal of Research in Personality , 43 (5), 795–805. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jrp.2009.07.004
  • Hagger, M. S., Gucciardi, D. F., Turrell, A. S., & Hamilton, K. (2019). Self-control and health-related behaviour: The role of implicit self-control, trait self-control, and lay beliefs in self-control. British Journal of Health Psychology . https://doi.org/10.1111/bjhp.12378

how i discipline myself essay

Kirsty Britz has a Master’s degree in Psychology from the University of New York in Prague, Training in Person-Centered Counselling, and a Career Coaching Certification. Read more .

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Argumentative Essay: The Importance of Discipline

Discipline is something that we have all experienced personally in different forms, seen used on others, and is also something that many of us will go on to use later in life, both in the form of self-discipline and as something to keep children and even employees in check. It is essential to life as we know it, and we need it in its many different forms in many different situations.

The first reason that discipline is so important is that we all need to exercise self-discipline to be successful in life. Self-discipline can mean very different things to different people; for students, for example, self-discipline is often about motivating yourself and making yourself concentrate on your studies and get your assignments in on time. For working people, it can be as simple as getting up on time every morning, however tired you may be and how much you may hate your job, getting to work on time and doing your job. Without this kind of self-discipline, people would not be able to enjoy academic success, or be successful in their careers either.

Self-discipline is also required for dieters and anyone doing regular exercise, because given the chance, most of us would prefer to be lazy rather than get up and exercise, and eat burgers and fries rather than healthy food. Without it, even more people would be fat and unhealthy, and a lack of self-discipline in some people certainly contributes to the obesity crisis.

Discipline is also something that needs to be used on others where necessary. If parents didn’t discipline their children when they were naughty, children wouldn’t grow up knowing right from wrong, or be able to become productive members of society who contribute to the system. Equally, schoolteachers need to be able to dish out punishments to children who don’t behave themselves. Without discipline in the classroom, there would be a great deal of disruption and nobody would ever learn anything. Indeed, teachers who struggle to command the respect of students and who fail to use discipline effectively will often have trouble even making themselves heard in a classroom.

In the workplace, discipline is also essential to maintaining a hierarchy and dealing with employees who do not follow company policies and procedures, regularly arrive late or not at all, or treat their co-workers unfairly. Then, you have to consider that without discipline, there would be no law enforcement. Murderers would be roaming the streets and everybody would be stealing from each other, because there would be no consequences for their actions.

Discipline acts as a vital deterrent to stop children being naughty, people from missing work, and even potential criminals from stealing and killing, and for this reason it is vital in human society.

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how i discipline myself essay


5 Powerful Ways to Be More Self-Disciplined With Your Studying

Hands up if you'd like to be more self-disciplined with your studying?

The great news is; self-discipline isn’t a skill you’re either born with or not. Self-discipline and willpower can be taught, it’s like a muscle you can work out and improve over time.

In fact, a study from the University of Pennsylvania demonstrates that self-discipline is key to academic success. Students with high self-discipline generally outperform those with low self-discipline – even if they are all of the same intellectual ability.

So if you’re looking for higher grades, you may not have to become smarter. You may just have to become more self-disciplined.


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5 Powerful Ways to be More Self-Disciplined With Your Studying

1. develop your studying self-awareness.

A lot of self-discipline advice tells you to look at what’s NOT working, and what your weaknesses are.

But I want to start on a more positive note.

The first stage to being more self-disciplined with your studying is to become more self-aware about how YOU study best.

So you need to work out what your most effective study-self looks like. What do you need to be the best student you can be?

Try to answer these questions.

  • What time of day are you most effective? Are you an early bird or a night owl?
  • Where do you get your best studying done? E.g. desk, kitchen table, the library
  • Do you always do your best work in the same place or is it good for you to mix it up?
  • Are you most effective studying in short bursts or longer study sessions?
  • Are you more effective studying in silence or with music?
  • What helps you be super productive and effective? E.g. good study snacks, new stationery, a clear desk?

2. Work with your study preferences to set yourself up for success

Now you’ve worked out how you study best, make sure you work with these preferences, rather than fighting them.

It’s important to understand and work with your limitations, rather than try to overcome them.

For example, I read lots of articles on how to become a morning person. They all say how my life will improve by waking up and getting shit done earlier. But, I KNOW I don’t work at my best in the morning. So it’s a waste of my time, energy and happiness to try and force myself to study first thing.

Instead, I need to understand this limitation and work with my strengths instead.

For some reason, even when I’m sleep deprived, I have the most energy in the evening. So this is when I should be scheduling my study sessions.

If you work with your study preferences, you will find it easier to be more self-disciplined with your studying.

3. Call out your BS

While it is important to work towards your strengths, you have to be able to distinguish between acceptance of your limitations…and excuses.

Let me give you an example.

When I was writing an essay last year I felt really overwhelmed about how to start and I wasn’t really sure what the question was asking of me. My ‘plan’ was to start writing and hope something good came out. But I found myself just sitting and staring at the blank page, as nothing I thought of felt good enough to write down.

I could feel the excuses coming on. Thoughts were creeping into my mind like, ‘I’m just rubbish at starting essays’ , or, ‘this isn’t working – I can’t do this’ . I actually stood up, moved away from my desk and switched on the TV for a few hours.

I was making excuses, when instead I needed to call out my BS.

Accepting my limitations would have looked very different. Self-acceptance is saying, ‘this isn’t the way to do this so I’ll find another way’ . I should have remembered I hate starting essays from a blank page . That I work a lot better when I spend some time upfront creating a detailed outline and plan before I try and start writing.

When you accept that a method doesn’t work for you, you need to find what does and try that, rather than giving up.

4. Create back up plans

Maybe at the start of the week you promised yourself you would study this weekend. But now the weekend is looming and you’ve got family coming down to stay. It feels like it will be easier to just ditch the studying, because it will be too hard to fit it in, right?

Obstacles are going to arise in your studying, especially if you’re trying to fit it around an already busy work/family life. But that doesn’t mean your self-discipline should go out the window.

What you need is a back up plan.

Psychology Professors Gabrielle Oettingen and Peter Gollwitzer from NYU have coined the term ‘implementation intention’ to describe the back up plans we sometimes need to make to achieve our goals.

They explain this goal process like this. ‘I intend to reach Z. If situation X is encountered, then I will perform the goal-related response Y’.

They give an example of someone trying to reduce their alcohol consumption - ' If the waiter asks me for a second drink I will order a mineral water’ . Studies show that making a back up plan increases the likelihood you’ll achieve your goals.

So, let's apply this to the example of weekend study plans being interrupted,  ‘I want to study this weekend. If my family visit unannounced then I will plan 3 short study sessions in between the activities to get some studying done. I will also rearrange next Monday’s cinema trip so I can make progress on my essay.'

If your study plans regularly get derailed by life, make a back up plan BEFORE the obstacle takes over, so you can be more self-disciplined with your studying.

5. Reward yourself

Sometimes our self-discipline crumbles when we don’t see immediate results from our effort. Planning an essay that's due next week doesn’t produce instant results. Starting your revision for an exam that’s still weeks away won’t provide immediate gratification.

This means you need to find other ways to reward yourself that aren’t tied directly to the achievement of high grades.

3 ways you can use rewards to be more self-disciplined with your studying

1. Plan a small treat for after every single study session. As soon as you sit down to study, decide on a small treat for yourself when you’ve completed your task list. This might be some chocolate, a hot bath, a glass of wine – anything that will encourage you to stay disciplined throughout the session

2. Plan some future rewards and treats As well as immediate treats, it’s great to have some to look forward to in the future. See if you can plan some treats for during or after some tough study times ahead e.g. around essay due dates and exams.

Some of my favourite things to plan: pre-order a new trashy novel, book in a dinner or drinks date with friend, schedule in a new haircut or a massage.

3. Track your achievements daily It’s very easy to move from task list to task list, never really recognising the progress you’re making. If you’re really struggling to stay disciplined, try tracking your achievements as well.

Keep a sticky note near you during your study session and note down every task you complete. At the end, you’ll have a list that should make you feel great and help you be more self-disciplined with your studying in future.

Make sure you download the worksheet that goes along with this post, so you can implement the strategies and start seeing instant results.

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how i discipline myself essay

15 Tips for Writing a College Essay About Yourself

What’s covered:.

  • What is the Purpose of the College Essay?
  • How to Stand Out Without Showing Off
  • 15 Tips for Writing an Essay About Yourself
  • Where to Get Free Feedback on Your Essay

Most students who apply to top-tier colleges have exceptional grades, standardized test scores, and extracurricular activities. How do admissions officers decide which applicants to choose among all these stellar students? One way is on the strength of their college essay .

This personal statement, along with other qualitative factors like teacher recommendations, helps the admissions committee see who you really are—the person behind the transcript. So, it’s obviously important to write a great one.

What Is the Purpose of the College Essay? 

Your college essay helps you stand out in a pool of qualified candidates. If effective, it will also show the admissions committee more of your personality and allow them to get a sense of how you’ll fit in with and contribute to the student body and institution. Additionally, it will show the school that you can express yourself persuasively and clearly in writing, which is an important part of most careers, no matter where you end up. 

Typically, students must submit a personal statement (usually the Common App essay ) along with school-specific supplements. Some students are surprised to learn that essays typically count for around 25% of your entire application at the top 250 schools. That’s an enormous chunk, especially considering that, unlike your transcript and extracurriculars, it isn’t an assessment of your entire high school career.  

The purpose of the college essay is to paint a complete picture of yourself, showing admissions committees the person behind the grades and test scores. A strong college essay shows your unique experiences, personality, perspective, interests, and values—ultimately, what makes you unique. After all, people attend college, not their grades or test scores. The college essay also provides students with a considerable amount of agency in their application, empowering them to share their own stories.

How to Stand Out Without Showing Off 

It’s important to strike a balance between exploring your achievements and demonstrating humility. Your aim should be to focus on the meaning behind the experience and how it changed your outlook, not the accomplishment itself. 

Confidence without cockiness is the key here. Don’t simply catalog your achievements, there are other areas on your application to share them. Rather, mention your achievements when they’re critical to the story you’re telling. It’s helpful to think of achievements as compliments, not highlights, of your college essay.  

Take this essay excerpt , for example:

My parents’ separation allowed me the space to explore my own strengths and interests as each of them became individually busier. As early as middle school, I was riding the light rail train by myself, reading maps to get myself home, and applying to special academic programs without urging from my parents. Even as I took more initiatives on my own, my parents both continued to see me as somewhat immature. All of that changed three years ago, when I applied and was accepted to the SNYI-L summer exchange program in Morocco. I would be studying Arabic and learning my way around the city of Marrakesh. Although I think my parents were a little surprised when I told them my news, the addition of a fully-funded scholarship convinced them to let me go. 

Instead of saying “ I received this scholarship and participated in this prestigious program, ” the author tells a story, demonstrating their growth and initiative through specific actions (riding the train alone, applying academic programs on her own, etc.)—effectively showing rather than telling.

15 Tips for Writing an Essay About Yourself 

1. start early .

Leave yourself plenty of time to write your college essay—it’s stressful enough to compose a compelling essay without putting yourself under a deadline. Starting early on your essay also leaves you time to edit and refine your work, have others read your work (for example, your parents or a teacher), and carefully proofread.

2. Choose a topic that’s meaningful to you 

The foundation of a great essay is selecting a topic that has real meaning for you. If you’re passionate about the subject, the reader will feel it. Alternatively, choosing a topic you think the admissions committee is looking for, but isn’t all that important to you, won’t make for a compelling essay; it will be obvious that you’re not very invested in it.

3. Show your personality 

One of the main points of your college essay is to convey your personality. Admissions officers will see your transcript and read about the awards you’ve won, but the essay will help them get to know you as a person. Make sure your personality is evident in each part—if you are a jokester, incorporate some humor. Your friends should be able to pick your essay from an anonymous pile, read it, and recognize it as yours. In that same vein, someone who doesn’t know you at all should feel like they understand your personality after reading your essay. 

4. Write in your own voice 

In order to bring authenticity to your essay, you’ll need to write in your own voice. Don’t be overly formal (but don’t be too casual, either). Remember: you want the reader to get to know the real you, not a version of you that comes across as overly stiff or stilted. You should feel free to use contractions, incorporate dialogue, and employ vocabulary that comes naturally to you. 

5. Use specific examples 

Real, concrete stories and examples will help your essay come to life. They’ll add color to your narrative and make it more compelling for the reader. The goal, after all, is to engage your audience—the admissions committee. 

For example, instead of stating that you care about animals, you should tell us a story about how you took care of an injured stray cat. 

Consider this side-by-side comparison:

Example 1: I care deeply about animals and even once rescued a stray cat. The cat had an injured leg, and I helped nurse it back to health.

Example 2: I lost many nights of sleep trying to nurse the stray cat back to health. Its leg infection was extremely painful, and it meowed in distress up until the wee hours of the morning. I didn’t mind it though; what mattered was that the cat regained its strength. So, I stayed awake to administer its medicine and soothe it with loving ear rubs.

The second example helps us visualize this situation and is more illustrative of the writer’s personality. Because she stayed awake to care for the cat, we can infer that she is a compassionate person who cares about animals. We don’t get the same depth with the first example. 

6. Don’t be afraid to show off… 

You should always put your best foot forward—the whole point of your essay is to market yourself to colleges. This isn’t the time to be shy about your accomplishments, skills, or qualities. 

7. …While also maintaining humility 

But don’t brag. Demonstrate humility when discussing your achievements. In the example above, for instance, the author discusses her accomplishments while noting that her parents thought of her as immature. This is a great way to show humility while still highlighting that she was able to prove her parents wrong.

8. Be vulnerable 

Vulnerability goes hand in hand with humility and authenticity. Don’t shy away from exploring how your experience affected you and the feelings you experienced. This, too, will help your story come to life. 

Here’s an excerpt from a Common App essay that demonstrates vulnerability and allows us to connect with the writer:  

“You ruined my life!” After months of quiet anger, my brother finally confronted me. To my shame, I had been appallingly ignorant of his pain. 

Despite being twins, Max and I are profoundly different. Having intellectual interests from a young age that, well, interested very few of my peers, I often felt out of step in comparison with my highly-social brother. Everything appeared to come effortlessly for Max and, while we share an extremely tight bond, his frequent time away with friends left me feeling more and more alone as we grew older.

In this essay, the writer isn’t afraid to share his insecurities and feelings with us. He states that he had been “ appallingly ignorant ” of his brother’s pain, that he “ often felt out of step ” compared to his brother, and that he had felt “ more and more alone ” over time. These are all emotions that you may not necessarily share with someone you just met, but it’s exactly this vulnerability that makes the essay more raw and relatable. 

9. Don’t lie or hyperbolize 

This essay is about the authentic you. Lying or hyperbolizing to make yourself sound better will not only make your essay—and entire application—less genuine, but it will also weaken it. More than likely, it will be obvious that you’re exaggerating. Plus, if colleges later find out that you haven’t been truthful in any part of your application, it’s grounds for revoking your acceptance or even expulsion if you’ve already matriculated. 

10. Avoid cliches 

How the COVID-19 pandemic changed your life. A sports victory as a metaphor for your journey. How a pet death altered your entire outlook. Admissions officers have seen more essays on these topics than they can possibly count. Unless you have a truly unique angle, then it’s in your best interest to avoid them. Learn which topics are cliche and how to fix them . 

11. Proofread 

This is a critical step. Even a small error can break your essay, however amazing it is otherwise. Make sure you read it over carefully, and get another set of eyes (or two or three other sets of eyes), just in case.

12. Abstain from using AI

There are a handful of good reasons to avoid using artificial intelligence (AI) to write your college essay. Most importantly, it’s dishonest and likely to be not very good; AI-generated essays are generally formulaic, generic, and boring—everything you’re trying to avoid being.   The purpose of the college essay is to share what makes you unique and highlight your personal experiences and perspectives, something that AI can’t capture.

13. Use parents as advisors, not editors

The voice of an adult is different from that of a high schooler and admissions committees are experts at spotting the writing of parents. Parents can play a valuable role in creating your college essay—advising, proofreading, and providing encouragement during those stressful moments. However, they should not write or edit your college essay with their words.

14. Have a hook

Admissions committees have a lot of essays to read and getting their attention is essential for standing out among a crowded field of applicants. A great hook captures your reader’s imagination and encourages them to keep reading your essay. Start strong, first impressions are everything!

15. Give them something to remember

The ending of your college essay is just as important as the beginning. Give your reader something to remember by composing an engaging and punchy paragraph or line—called a kicker in journalism—that ties everything you’ve written above together.

Where to Get Free Feedback on Your College Essay 

Before you send off your application, make sure you get feedback from a trusted source on your essay. CollegeVine’s free peer essay review will give you the support you need to ensure you’ve effectively presented your personality and accomplishments. Our expert essay review pairs you with an advisor to help you refine your writing, submit your best work, and boost your chances of getting into your dream school. Find the right advisor for you and get started on honing a winning essay.

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How to write the perfect discipline essay

How to write the perfect discipline essay?

Essay writing is a fundamental task that can improve your language skills. discipline is a key contributor to ensuring you achieve all your set objectives. combine both and you have an essay topic that is guaranteed to inspire and enlighten your readers. here is how to write the perfect discipline essay, table of contents, what concepts should i cover in my discipline essay , what pointers should i keep in mind when drafting the introduction of my discipline essay, how do i write the body of my discipline essay , how do i effectively conclude my discipline essay , interesting quotes to conclude your discipline essay, key takeaways .

Discipline is ‌one of the most crucial personality traits in your life. This term refers to a set of rules that are followed while undergoing any activity or task. 

Practicing discipline is an excellent way to remain motivated and encouraged when setting out to accomplish a goal. A discipline essay is, therefore, a wonderful way to gather and share information that will eventually also improve your writing skills.  Here are some pointers to keep in mind when writing the perfect discipline essay!

discipline essay tips

Before you write your discipline essay, consider creating a structure for your piece. The structure should include an introduction, body, and conclusion that effectively covers all important points regarding the topic. 

The points you will use to describe the topic should encompass all relevant information that a reader needs to know. This includes a brief description of discipline, the role that discipline plays in accomplishing goals, the importance of discipline in everyday life, and the advantages of a disciplined lifestyle.

The introductory paragraph of an essay is an essential part of the piece. Your discipline essay’s introduction should be able to accomplish the following objectives – 

  • Catch your readers’ attention 
  • Provide a simple background on the topic 
  • Present a one-line summary of what the reader can expect to learn from the essay 

The first sentence of your introduction is fundamental to setting the tone for the whole discipline essay. 

Here is an easy example to start your piece with – 

The fields of psychology and philosophy have discussed the art and skill of discipline for thousands of years. Ancient Greek philosophers describe discipline as a ‘sophrosyne’, an ideal of the soundness of mind and an excellent character that births self-control, balance, and moderation. 

Your introduction should also be able to provide a historical, geographical, and social context (when required). If presenting an argument, an outline of your debate is crucial to establishing the baseline for your reader.

The body of your discipline essay should contain paragraphs that organize your thoughts and themes. Body paragraphs play an essential role in proving the thesis of your essay (which is presented in the introduction). 

Each paragraph of the essay should logically relate to the one immediately before and after it. A single paragraph should also focus on one topic or idea. 

At this point, it is important to note that readers absorb information in short increments, taking mental breaks at the end of a paragraph. Lengthy paragraphs in your discipline essay are better off avoided. 

The body of your discipline essay also provides an opportunity to expand on the claims established in the introductory paragraph. Use short and concise sentences supported with quotations, data, and facts from reputable sources to create an impression on the reader.  If presenting evidence, never leave the paragraph hanging. As an essay writer, your key responsibility includes linking work and connecting your evidence on discipline to the main ideas of the paragraph. You can accomplish this by interpreting, expanding, and commentating on the evidence described in the body.

how to conclude a discipline essay

The conclusion of your discipline essay is the last paragraph you need to write. A good conclusion will – 

  • Tie together the main points of the essay 
  • Present why your argument is relevant 
  • Leave a strong and lasting impression on the reader

The conclusion of your essay is the best place to review your main points and remind the reader of your arguments. Try not to simply summarize each paragraph and repeat each point explained in the body of your discipline essay. 

The conclusion needs to bring together all of your points on the topic of discipline in a manner that clearly illustrates the connection between the different concepts. 

Wrap your conclusion with a broader view of the topic and implications of your argument. The conclusion should be able to – 

  • Provide the reader with a new understanding of ‌’discipline’ 
  • Raise new questions on how the topic can be implemented in everyday life 
  • Create opportunities for the concept of discipline to be applied to different contexts 
  • Allow the reader to connect the concept to a broader theme or debate
  • Create room for practical predictions and suggestions

You can even consider ending your discipline essay with a strong & decisive sentence, or even a quote!

  • “Sucess isn’t measured by money or power or social rank. Success is measured by your discipline and inner peace.” – Mike Ditka. 
  • “Self-respect is the fruit of discipline; the sense of dignity grows with the ability to say no to oneself.” – Abraham Joshua Heschel 
  • “Confidence comes from discipline and training.” – Robert Kiyosaki
  • “Discipline is the soul of an army. It makes small numbers formidable; procures success to the weak, and esteem to all.” – George Washington 
  • “With faith, discipline, and selfless devotion to duty, there is nothing worthwhile that you cannot achieve.” – Muhammad Ali Jinnah
  • Essay writing is an essential component of language learning and development. Writing on topics of interest can be an excellent way to facilitate the understanding of new concepts and themes. 
  • Learning how to structure and write a discipline essay with the above points can help you create prose that is compelling, informative, and engaging. 
  • Dividing your essay into a clean structure that includes an introduction, body, and conclusion can help you put your thoughts across as neatly and concisely as possible. 
  • The conclusion of your essay can leave a lasting impression on the reader. You can consider ending your essay with the quotes listed above for maximum effect. 

Did you enjoy this blog? If yes, please share your thoughts in the comments below. Click here to reach out to us for more information on how to write the perfect discipline essay. We would be happy to assist you with your queries!

Liked this blog? Read next: Global warming essay | Create the best essay with these 10 pointers!

Q1. What are the benefits of writing essays? 

Answer – With essays, you can gain significant research skills and increase your knowledge of different concepts and develop your writing abilities. 

Q2. Does discipline contribute to effective decision-making? 

Answer – Absolutely! Individuals who are disciplined are also mentally and physically focused. They are, therefore, able to align their body & mind with their ideas & goals to make excellent decisions. 

Q3. What sort of writing tone should I employ for an essay on discipline? 

Answer – This depends on what you are attempting to accomplish with your essay. For example, a conversational tone for a discipline essay can be a great way to initiate discussion on the concept amongst your readers.

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Essay on Discipline for Students and Children

500+ words essay on discipline.

Essay on Discipline – Discipline is something that keeps each person in control. It motivates a person to progress in life and achieve success . Everyone follow discipline in his/her life in a different form. Besides, everyone has his own prospect of discipline. Some people consider it a part of their life and some don’t. It is the guide that availability directs a person on the right path.

Essay on Discipline

Importance and types of discipline

Without discipline, the life of a person will become dull and inactive. Also, a disciplined person can control and handle the situation of living in a sophisticated way than those who do not.

Moreover, if you have a plan and you want to implement it in your life then you need discipline. It makes things easy for you to handle and ultimately bring success to your life.

If talk about the types of discipline, then they are generally of two types. First one is induced discipline and the second one is self-discipline.

Induced discipline is something that others taught us or we learn by seeing others. While self- discipline comes from within and we learn it on our own self. Self-discipline requires a lot of motivation and support from others.

Above all, following your daily schedule without any mistake is also part of being disciplined.

Get the huge list of more than 500 Essay Topics and Ideas

The Need for Discipline

how i discipline myself essay

Moreover, the meaning of discipline changes with the stages of life and priority. Not everyone can be disciplined because it requires a lot of hard work and dedication. Also, it needs a positive mind and a healthy body . One has to be strict to discipline so that she/he can successfully complete the road of success.

Advantages of Discipline

The disciple is a staircase by which the person achieve success. It helps a person to focus on his/her goals in life. Also, it does not let him/her derivate from the goal.

Besides, it brings perfection in a person life by training and educating the mind and body of the person to respond to the rules and regulation, which will help him to be an ideal citizen of the society.

If we talk about professional life then, the disciplined person gets more opportunities than the person who is undisciplined. Also, it adds an exceptional dimension to the personality of the individual. Besides, the person leaves a positive impact on the mind of people wherever she/he goes.

In conclusion, we can say that discipline is one of the key elements of anyone’s life. A person can only be successful if she/he strictly live a healthy and disciplined life. Besides, the discipline also helps us in a lot of ways and motivates the person around us to be disciplined. Above all, discipline helps a person to achieve the success that she/he wants in life.

{ “@context”: “https://schema.org”, “@type”: “FAQPage”, “mainEntity”: [{ “@type”: “Question”, “name”: “Define discipline in simple words?”, “acceptedAnswer”: { “@type”: “Answer”, “text”: “In simple language we can say that discipline is the organizing of human tasks and objectives so that can be successful. Besides, different fields and different people have a different meaning of discipline.”} }, { “@type”: “Question”, “name”: “What are the three types of discipline according to the books?”, “acceptedAnswer”: { “@type”: “Answer”, “text”:”These 3 discipline relates to the school. According to the three types of discipline are prevention, corrective, and supportive. These 3 discipline helps teachers to maintain the order and regulation in the class.”} }] }

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10 Tips to Build a Writing Practice Discipline to Finish Your Novel

Zara Altair

Zara Altair

man writing on computer on sailing yacht

A Novel Doesn’t Write Itself

1. make time, 2. set up a space, 3. share your commitment, 4. don’t be available, 5. write the words, 6. it’s novel writing, 7. overcome the pride bump, 8. avoid the word count trap, 9. get into the story, 10. take breaks, your desire leads your commitment.

Writers write. Finishing your novel is not a one and done for the day game. It takes time.

Writing a novel requires the discipline of consistency to complete the manuscript. The challenge of finding time confronts every writer who is not a full-time author.

Building a personal writing discipline will help you complete your novel. The pages won’t languish waiting for your return. And you’ll have the confidence of knowing your work in progress is progressing.

If you are new to novel-writing, the best way to create a consistent practice is to manage your writing time. You need commitment and dedication to make it happen. But, if you build in writing as part of your life, your reward will be a finished novel.

Create a schedule for writing. And then stick to it. Add your writing time to your calendar and treat it the way you would any meeting. Keep the appointment. If you are serious about a writing career, you are booking a professional appointment.

Best practice is to write every day. If your work and family life keep you from a daily routine, save it as a goal. Then create a weekly schedule that gives you a minimum of three days a week with time committed to novel writing.

Some writers prefer to get up early to write. Others do their best writing in the evening or late at night. If you don’t know your best writing time yet, vary your schedule with some early sessions, some midday sessions, and some evening sessions. Some writers use commute time as writing time. (One writer I know takes the train to work instead of driving just so he has dedicated writing time.) You’ll soon have a feel for what time of day works best for your word flow.

If you avoid making time for writing, you will feel like a failure. Scheduling time is the best way to get the work done.

Find a space where you want to write. It could be a home office or a corner in the bedroom. Some writers like to get away from home and go to a local coffee house or the library. Wherever you choose, make it your writing place. When you go there, you write.

Creating a dedicated writing space reinforces your writing habit. You’ll build a mental connection to writing just by being in that dedicated space.

If you want snacks to nibble or something to drink, get them ready before you start your session. That way, you can concentrate on your words.

PRO TIP: Writers who write other things as part of their day job often create a separate space just for novel writing. They know when they are there the focus is on the novel, not writing about IT or business.

Once you’ve decided on your schedule, share it with the others in your household – your spouse, roommates, children. Let them know you will be unavailable. Announcing your commitment to your writing time reinforces your dedication in your mind and demonstrates your adherence to your schedule to those around you.

You may have friends who are in the habit of dropping by or calling unannounced. Let them know your schedule and warn them that you won’t be available.

Once you set your schedule and announce your new commitment to your writing time, don’t be available. A teenager may want to know where her red skirt is. Two kids want you to settle an argument. Your roommate wants to know your preference for dinner. Do not reply. There are no exceptions. Only life-and-death matters, like driving someone to the hospital, should interrupt your time.

You are training others in your life to respect your writing time. Once they understand you are not available, they will honor that time.

This goes for telephone calls, email, and social media. Just don’t do it. This is your writing time.

During your scheduled time, write. No cheating by staring at a blank page or heading off to do research. This is writing time. Your first draft won’t be perfect. Don’t worry about that. Write the words. You’ll clean up your writing when you edit.

If you need background material or more research, mark your manuscript in a bright color, like red, with your personal symbol. Make it simple, like three Xs or CBL for come back later. Our minds can trick us into thinking these little spots are important enough to stop writing. Don’t be tempted. Keep writing and come back later for the missing elements.

You’ll reach your goal faster and develop your novel-writing practice if you focus on writing your story. Avoid the trap, often suggested as a habit-building trick, of writing something every day. You’ll see suggestions like letters, blogs, articles, social media posts, and the like as writing practice. No. I could go all eighth grade here with exclamation marks. Those activities are not working on your novel.

Make an agreement with yourself that your writing time is for your novel. Perform those other writing tasks outside of your dedicated writing time.

man writing on computer surround by supplies on desk

You won’t be brilliant at every writing session. The aim of your writing session is to write. Get the words down. Keep going with your story.

If you are a planner, your outline will help you fill your writing time with the next scenes in the story. You have a guide, use it to get you through those days when the words don’t flow. If you are a discovery writer (pantser) writing without an outline, give your protagonist and problem and then work on getting them out of the situation.

Professional writers don’t wait for inspiration, they use their writing time to keep going with the story. You will discover that the more you write during your scheduled writing time in your writing space, the easier it is to get the words flowing.

Once you establish your writing habit, you will have a sense of how many words you write in a session, whether it is 30 minutes or four hours. Let your own workflow guide you in a reasonable expectation of what you can produce in a writing session. You will discover that as you consistently build your writing discipline, your word count will increase over time.

Beginning writers often set unreasonable word count goals for their writing sessions. They read about writers who write 5,000 words in a day, then try to meet that goal themselves. When they don't hit 5,000 words, they become discouraged and let go of their writing discipline, thinking they are a failure.

Trust your writing ability. Know your personal writing pace. Remember, Ernest Hemingway thought 500 words a day was a reasonable goal. He wrote until he reached 500 words and then stopped. Some days that goal took longer than others.

Learn to trust your writing pace.

To avoid staring at a blank page, not writing, use techniques professional writers use to get going quickly when they start the writing session.

Some writers stop a writing session in the middle of the sentence. That way, when they start, they need to finish the sentence which immediately gets them into the story.

Many professional writers start each session by reading what they wrote during their previous session. The reading gets them into the story. By the time they finish reading, they are well into the story and know what to write next.

Just as important as focus, is taking breaks during a long writing session. Unless you are right in the middle of a good flow, take a break every 50 minutes or so. Get up. Do something else for five minutes. Go outside. Do a chore. Do push-ups. Hold a yoga pose. When you return to your writing, you’ll feel fresh and ready for more.

woman holding a yoga pose

Breaks are especially important if you schedule a long writing session, say on a weekend. To pace yourself for the entire scheduled time, like four hours, those short breaks will help you maintain your pace during your session. Otherwise, you may find that last hour is not productive.

Make sure you schedule relaxation time outside of your writing schedule. Relaxation and recreation regenerate your enthusiasm for life and for writing. Spend time with family and friends. Take a mini-adventure to a local spot. Go for a hike. Play with your children. Have fun with your spouse.

Discipline involves self-pacing and that includes how well you live life.

Your success with your novel-writing practice comes from your desire to write the book. If you want to write and finish your novel, commit to finding the time to write on a regular basis. Examine your daily and weekly schedule and look for pockets of time when you can write. Four 15-minute sessions equal an hour. Find those time spaces, be ready, and write.

Are you prepared to write your novel? Download this free book now:

The Novel-Writing Training Plan

The Novel-Writing Training Plan

So you are ready to write your novel. excellent. but are you prepared the last thing you want when you sit down to write your first draft is to lose momentum., this guide helps you work out your narrative arc, plan out your key plot points, flesh out your characters, and begin to build your world..

how i discipline myself essay

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Zara Altair writes traditional mysteries set in ancient Italy under Ostrogoths rule in The Argolicus Mysteries. She teaches mystery screenwriters and novelists at Write A Killer Mystery. She creates semantic web content for a select clientele.

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  1. Importance of Self Discipline Essay

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  3. Discipline essay in English || Essay on Discipline || Discipline essay || Essay writing Discipline

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  4. Discipline Essay

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  6. Essay on Discipline

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  22. How to Build Discipline in your Writing Practice

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