What Is Self-Discipline?
When someone is referred to as self-disciplined, it means that they’re intrinsically motivated enough to avoid short-term temptations to achieve long-term goals. They tend to be the person everyone else can count on to get things done. They are highly reliable people who are often very successful. They are people with integrity.
If you’re self-disciplined, you:
1. Take Personal Responsibility for Your Actions – If you want to demonstrate self-discipline, at its core it’s all about realizing you are responsible for your own actions and no one else’s. When things go right or wrong, you look at how your own behavior affected the situation and then note what you’ll do again and how you can do better next time.
2. Believe You Are Responsible for Yourself – A person with strong self-discipline doesn’t usually need outside influence to do the right thing. They are very sure of their core values and will put them ahead of what they “want” and do what is right.
3. Understand Your Own Potential – People who have strong self-discipline tend to realize that they have a lot more power than the average person thinks they have. Due to this, they set up their lives in a way that will lead them to succeed because they know they can do it.
4. Know How to Set Goals Properly – When you know that your actions make a great deal of difference to your success, you’ll place a high level of importance on learning how to set goals properly. Learn about SMART goals so that you can set yourself up for success.
5. Set Schedules and Routines for Daily Life – Everyone is handed the same 24 hours in a day. The way highly successful people use that time is the only difference. They tend to schedule everything and do things at certain times ritualistically, because it helps them do more in their lives and experience more balance.
6. Feel Grateful Every Day – Looking on the bright side is a trait of people who have self-confidence, because they tend to believe in their life and the world around them. Keeping a gratitude journal can help anyone learn to feel more grateful.
7. Are a Lifelong Learner – Sadly, most of the world doesn’t read after they’re finished with school. But a person who has self-discipline is usually a lifetime learner. They like reading and learning and always make time for it.
8. Take Care of Your Entire Self – The reason self-discipline helps you take care of yourself is that you’re able to see how some hard decisions made today (such as not to have that piece of cake) will pay off tomorrow.
9. Are Confident, Patient and Calm – Because you don’t feel powerless, and because you know how to make goals and plans to reach those goals, you can feel a lot more confident, patient, and calm. There is no reason to get into anyone’s drama and even when things are tough, you know you’ll make it through if you follow the steps and your schedule.
10. Forgive Yourself and Others for Their Imperfections – Since you constantly work on yourself, you realize that no one is perfect and that it’s okay. Human imperfections are what makes everyone interesting.
The most important thing to realize about self-discipline is that you don’t have to be perfect from day one. If you want to improve your chances of experiencing success, working on your self-discipline is the key to that success.
Why Is Self-Discipline So Hard?
No one wants to be seen as no fun, too serious, and regimented. When you think of the term “self-disciplined,” you may think of a hard-nosed military-type person. That thought alone can be a big blocker in your mind to becoming a self-disciplined person. It’s no wonder that people have trouble becoming more self-disciplined. They’re not understanding the positive factors of developing this skill.
Let's look at some reasons why self-discipline is so hard.
Lack of Understanding of What Self-Discipline Really Is
Self-discipline is a combination of skills that are put into effect consistently to achieve the results you want. It’s a long-term practice of a lot of behaviors designed to help you reach your goals. Avoiding temptation regularly so that results can occur is required. You’ll need to develop all these skills to become self-disciplined.
Not Realizing How Important Organization Is to Self-Discipline
As mentioned above, self-discipline is a way to describe many behaviors that lead to reaching goals at a high level. One of the keys to being able to do this is knowing how to organize your schedule in a realistic way, along with putting together logically everything you need to do in a day.
The Fact That Most People Don’t Know How to Break Tasks Up to Make Them Simpler
A person with self-discipline knows that when they have a goal, they need to break it up into smaller tasks that they schedule in their calendar to do regularly until the whole thing is done. They also know that this requires a lot less discipline than most people think.
Underestimating the Importance of Consistency
One of the real keys to self-discipline is to be consistent in your turning down temptation to achieve the long-term goal. For example, you know eating fewer calories on a regular long-term basis will lead to weight loss. Writing one page of content for your novel will eventually lead to a finished book. Small steps make a big difference, but they also must be consistent.
Knowing That Being Mindful Is a Factor in Self-Discipline
If you don’t know when you’re getting ready to give up or give in, or when you are reaching the end of your comfort zone and you’ve never experienced pushing past those blockers, it’s hard to know whether you can have self-discipline or not. You need to be aware of your own feelings and responsibility for any results you get in life or work.
Once you understand that you can develop all the skills associated with being self-disciplined – such as organization, goal setting, time management, and mindfulness, you can start to set up your life in a way that makes it easy to experience self-discipline and the results.
How Self-Discipline Benefits You Socially
So many people have a misconception about self-disciplined people. They think that they’re sticks in the mud and aren’t fun to be around. However, nothing could be further from the truth. People who are self-disciplined tend to be more attractive socially because they’re usually in a better mood and truly ready to be social.
Here are several reasons why being self-disciplined benefits you socially.
* People Trust You – Because you have a reputation of doing what you say you’ll do, people tend to trust you more. When people trust you more, they want to be closer to you and do more things with you. They can be themselves, and that means a lot to people.
* Your Relationships Will Be Stronger – Because you are so accountable, and not moody or hard to get along with, your relationships will be a lot stronger. People really feel calmer around those who get things done and stick to what they think is right.
* You’ll Appear More Confident – Mostly you’ll really be more confident. Being self-disciplined rubs off in all aspects of your life and makes you feel better about yourself and your abilities. Plus, when you’re not making excuses why you didn’t do something, you have more time to feel good about yourself.
* Your Happiness Makes You More Attractive – Not physically, perhaps, but when you are calm, happy, and have less drama and stress in your life you tend to look better, smile more, and people will rate you as more attractive. Look at past family photos, and you can probably pick out the pictures where you look more relaxed compared to more stressed.
* You’ll Have More Time – Everyone is given the same number of hours in a day, but a self-disciplined person is better at managing that time. When you do the work you’re supposed to do on a schedule instead of waiting for motivation to happen, you tend to feel as if you have a lot more free time.
* You Won’t Fall for Temptation – People who have strong self-discipline tend not to fall for temptation. Why? Well, they know that on Friday night they get to have that piece of pie, so why have it on Wednesday? They can wait because they know that the compound effect of making the right choice more often than making the wrong choice pays off.
* You Can Relax and Enjoy Social Time – If you’re not thinking of work when you’re off work, you can enjoy your social time more. If you spent your day at work procrastinating instead, you might even have to miss social time.
When you are self-disciplined, you can enjoy your social time a lot more because you’re not going to think about everything you’ve left undone. You stick to your calendar and get things done so that when you do have time to be social, you can be social without worry. Your friends and family will appreciate that and feel more loved. When people feel more loved, they are happier, and the relationships will be stronger.
How Self-Discipline Benefits Your Health
The truth is, self-discipline makes your life better in every single way. When you work on building your self-discipline in all aspects of your life, you’re going to end up happier, more successful, and physically healthier too. There are many reasons why being self-disciplined benefits your health, so let’s look at a few.
Your Standards Go Up
When you have self-discipline, you’re able to get up on time, get to work on time and get your work done promptly. You’re also able to incorporate exercise, eating right, and making regular doctor visits due to your ability to understand that setting small daily goals will ensure you reach success. When you get that, you can make bigger and better goals with higher standards because you know how to do it.
You Eat Better
You’re not going to be tempted by that chocolate cake at the lunchtime meeting with your colleagues. Instead, you’ll completely ignore it because you know that you have some apple pie that you’ll be eating on Saturday at your family dinner. You also know that eating cake and pie too often will make you fat. You have no problem saying no because you understand the power of small choices.
You Move More
Because you know that moving is something that will make you healthier, give you more energy, and help you get through the day with more power, you exercise intentionally. When you exercise that way, you will be healthier in every single way. Self-discipline helps you create a daily habit of exercise that you make time for on purpose, and that makes you healthier.
You Sleep Well
Self-disciplined people tend to stick to a standard day. They get up and go to bed (for the most part) at the same time each day. This is what helps them get on a normal schedule, find ways to fit more into each day and get to bed on time. They can sleep the recommended 7 to 9 hours a night depending on their personal needs.
You Go to the Doctor
You know that being healthy means that you need to get to the doctor for your yearly physicals and so forth. A self-disciplined person will do things on a schedule instead of waiting until they are too sick to get good care.
You Don’t Over-Drink
You’re not the least bit tempted to over-drink. You keep track of your drinks and switch off with water if it’s going to be a long night so that you don’t drink more than the recommended two or at most three drinks during a party. This ensures you still make good choices.
You Maintain a Healthy Weight
Because you regularly weigh yourself and understand the relationship between body weight and belly fat to health, you stay on top of that. When you maintain a healthy weight, you’ll have more energy to get through each day.
Your Emotions Are Steady
Because you’re not rushed, pressured, or stressed – a no-drama day does that for you – you'll be able to keep your emotions steady and not become a moody person. In fact, even if you do have a moment of anger, you’re able to control it because you have such a good handle on your emotions.
You Think before You Act
Because of your ability to think things through, match the situation with your values, and then make a choice based on that knowledge, you tend to make better decisions which benefit your health by avoiding dangerous situations.
Before you try any diet, or any potion or pill, try improving your self-discipline. More than likely it will be the main thing that you can point to as to the reason for your success. In fact, it’s probably the reason anyone experiences success regularly.
Eight Steps to Mastering Self-Discipline
Anyone can master self-discipline if they really want to do it. Even the process of trying to develop more self-discipline will make a huge difference in your life. You learn to control your impulses, desires, and wants so that you can stay focused on achieving your long-term goals. Let’s check out eight steps to mastering self-discipline that you can start using today.
1. Know What Self-Discipline Is
Sometimes it’s hard to become self-disciplined for people because they don’t know what it means. They think it’ll take away all the fun from their life. On the contrary, all being self-disciplined means is that you don’t allow distractions or short-term temptations or desires to get in the way of reaching your long-term goals.
2. Set Clear Goals
To be successful in anything in life, you must have a reason for doing it. Your reasons, in this case, are your goals. Perhaps you want to start exercising every day? Maybe you need a process to finish a work project? Whatever it is, create the goal using very specific language. Read all about SMART goals so that you set goals the best way. Your goals – the results you are looking for, will be your why and your motivation going forward.
3. Know How to Achieve Your Goals
Once you set a goal, write down exactly how you’re going to achieve it. Write down every single step it will take for each goal that you’ve set, then put it in your calendar. Schedule it as if you’re going to do it and schedule it realistically. Keep in mind how long things really take and give yourself enough time – as well as a cushion.
4. Know Your Weaknesses
If there is something that will distract you, now is the time to admit it. For example, if you want to get up an hour earlier each morning so that you can go to the gym before work, but you never can fall asleep before midnight, why not choose to exercise at a different time so that your goal is achievable and works around your weakness?
5. Learn How to Prioritize
The other thing you really need to practice and learn to be good at when mastering self-discipline is how to put things in the right order so that there are no bottlenecks. It’s sort of like realizing that your toothbrush should be in your bathroom so that you don’t forget to brush your teeth. Things should fit together simply. This takes practice, as well as trial and error.
6. Track Everything
To get better at self-discipline you’ll need to track everything. That’s the only way you know if you’re doing better or not. Get a journal of some kind (the kind you’ll use is the best kind), and write it in each day to record your progress and feelings about various situations.
7. Get Accountability
One thing about self-discipline is that eventually, you need to be able to provide accountability to yourself. For now, you might want to find a support group or a friend to talk to about your self-improvement goals so that you can work together.
As you track and measure your progress and are accountable for your promises (to yourself and others), you can find areas where you can make improvements. Self-discipline is something you get better at with practice.
Truly mastering self-discipline is mostly about understanding what it is, what it means, and the benefits of doing it, and then practicing it – every day. You may not be perfect but the more you succeed, the stronger you will become and the better you’ll be at being self-disciplined in the healthiest way.
Is Self-Discipline Always a Good Thing?
It doesn’t really matter what you’re talking about, there is always a way to have too much of something. That includes having too much self-discipline. There is a time when that control is not even self-discipline anymore but has become self-abuse. If you’ve gone too far, you may end up having some characteristics about your personality that aren’t beneficial. Let’s look closer into some signs that things may have gone too far.
You Can’t Make Decisions
You’re overly cautious when you try to make choices. You can’t choose what to eat for dinner, you can’t pick which movie to go to, and you can’t figure out what to do with your life. You’re scared of making the wrong decision, so you tend not to make any. Thus, you make no progress in life.
You Have Become a Perfectionist
Some people think the word “perfectionist” makes them sound smart and important. However, the truth is a person who has become a perfectionist is usually not full of self-confidence. Their perfectionism is really an excuse never to do anything or finish anything due to fear of success or failure.
You Are Too Focused on Rules and Regulations
Following the law is good and it’s great to care about rules and regulations. However, you can take this too far if you cannot play a game or do anything without pointing out the rules everyone else is breaking before you can have any fun. Plus, if you nitpick every little thing, you will never get anything done.
You Can’t Take Breaks
While sticking to a schedule is a good thing – especially if you are a manager, a business owner, or a parent, you can take that too far. It’s imperative to set up your day so that you have time for breaks and set up your schedule and task list with breaks in mind. A person who is all work and no play will not end up being successful long term without burning out.
You Feel Lonely
If you’re not taking breaks and you cannot make decisions, you may start to feel lonely and out of touch with others – even if they’re there with you. You feel detached from others because you must be regimented in everything you do.
Has your quest to have more self-discipline crossed over to become a serious problem of being too controlled to the point that you cannot be yourself, feel stressed out all the time, and cannot make decisions due to being so risk-averse? If this happens, it’s time to get back to normal self-discipline. The point is to learn to retrain yourself now so that you can meet long-term goals in work and in life – not to end up miserable.
What is self-discipline? I hope I've answered the question in this article.
Don't let self-discipline become self-abuse or stress, there are moments in life where we should forget about self-discipline and be more impulsive. Maybe you've planned to clean the house Saturday, but the sun is shining and the kids want to go to the beach, then f… cleaning, let's go to the beach and eat some junkfood and drink some coke, we can be self-disciplined again tomorrow.
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