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What Is the Secret to Self-Discipline? (How to Dig in & Improve It)

Read Time: 9 mins

Have you got a big goal that you're struggling to get done? To get it done, you need good self-discipline. Learn all about how to be disciplined in this article.

Self-discipline can help you achieve your goals.Self-discipline can help you achieve your goals.Self-discipline can help you achieve your goals.
Self-discipline can help you achieve your goals.(Image source: Envato Elements)

You also need self-discipline if you want to lead others successfully. So, if you’re in charge of a team at work, you need to have self-discipline if you want your team to be successful.

Self discipline is an essential skill for everyone to have. By improving your self-discipline, you can improve your work life and personal life. To learn more about self-discipline and its benefits, then keep reading.

What Is Self-Discipline? (Definition)

Are you wondering: what is self-discipline? According to Indeed.com,

Self-discipline is the ability to focus on a task or goal with the purpose of achieving a certain result. Much like other qualities that might contribute to your overall success, self-discipline produces sustainable success over time.”

Over the years, multiple studies have shown that self discipline or self control are better predictors of success over time than ability. One such study followed 1,000 children from the time they were born until they were 32 years old. (PNAS) The research found that those children who exhibited self control at an early age were better off in a number of areas, enjoying:

  • better health
  • more financial success
  • fewer criminal records
  • and other successes

Fortunately, self-discipline can be built up. This means that the more you practice it, the more self-motivated and disciplined you become.

When you start building this skill, it’s better to start small so that you don’t become overwhelmed.

The Benefits of Self-Discipline

There are many benefits to having self-discipline.There are many benefits to having self-discipline.There are many benefits to having self-discipline.
There are many benefits to having self-discipline. (Image source: Envato Elements)

We touched on a few of the benefits of self-discipline above, but there are many more benefits to self-discipline. Some benefits will improve your personal life, and some can improve your work life. Here are some of them:

  • achieve your goals
  • feel in control of yourself
  • achieve success quicker
  • make decisions confidently
  • increased satisfaction
  • overcome procrastination
  • decrease likelihood of giving up

10 Tips to Improve Self-Discipline

Are you struggling to get tasks done? Maybe you struggle with motivation? Try these ten tips to improve your self-discipline:

1. Find Motivation 

When learning how to be disciplined, you need to be motivated. So, how do you get motivated?

Start by setting a specific and achievable goal. Instead of a goal of “I need to exercise more” or “I need to exercise for 3 hours every day” a specific and achievable goal would be “I need to exercise for 30 minutes 3 times a week”.

Next, think about what you can do to complete that goal. It’s best to put a timeframe on your goal to have a timeframe. Next, work on achieving your goal.

Find motivation.Find motivation.Find motivation.
Find motivation for your self-discipline. (Image source: Envato Elements)

When you feel like giving up, just remind yourself that you can do it and why you wanted to achieve the goal. You may have to push yourself even if you’re a little uncomfortable so you can achieve your goal. The more you practice, the easier it'll be.

Learn more about motivation in this tutorial:

2. Countdown 

When trying to practice self-discipline, it’s easy to feel unmotivated. If you feel unmotivated, try counting down from ten and then force yourself to complete the task.

During this countdown, you can talk yourself into doing the task. This method may give you the push you need to achieve the goal.

3. Have a Plan

One method of how to be disciplined is to set your goals and have a plan to complete them.

To achieve self-discipline, you must know what you want to accomplish. You also need to know what success means to you. If you don’t define success related to your goal, you can easily get distracted.

Have a planHave a planHave a plan
Have a plan for better self-discipline. (Image source: Envato Elements)

The plan that you've got needs to have clear steps you can complete. With clear steps, you can check when each task is completed. There's satisfaction in seeing tasks checked off as complete. This method helps you stay focused and on track to meet your goals.

4. Have a Back-Up Plan

Part of self-discipline is failing, especially if you're new to itSo, are you wondering how to be disciplined when you've failed?

First, create a backup plan when you start setting your goals. This is especially important if you know that one of the steps is particularly difficult.

Have a backup plan.Have a backup plan.Have a backup plan.
Have a backup plan. (Image source: Envato Elements)

Some failure is caused by something preventing you from achieving your plan, not failure due to lack of motivation.

For example: if your plan is to buy a house, but prices rise so that you can’t afford it anymore, then your backup plan could be to work more until you can afford to buy a home. In this example, you created a backup plan because outside forces caused you to take a different approach.

5. Write Out Your Goals 

When practicing self-discipline, write out your goals. Put them where you can see them every day. For example, you could hang your goals on your work desk, in your bedroom, on your bathroom mirror, or write them out in your planner. If you see your goals every day, you’ll be reminded of them and be inspired to work on your goals. 

One way to keep your goals visible is with a vision board. Learn how to create one here:

Writing out your goals means breaking down your big goals into small achievable tasks. This makes it easier to complete your goals because they're less overwhelming. 

6. Organize by Most Important Tasks

When practicing how to be disciplined, you also need to practice prioritizing. This means you need to organize your tasks from most important to less important. When you manage your goals like this, it can be easier to complete them.

Another way to organize your tasks is by putting things you don’t like doing at the top of your list to get them done first. When you put tasks that you don’t like first, you’ll be relieved when all you've got left are tasks that you enjoy. You'll have a higher chance of completing your goals.

7. Know Your Strengths and Weaknesses 

Part of knowing how to be disciplined is knowing your strengths and weaknesses. 

You may be afraid to admit you've got weaknesses, but everyone has them. You need what you're good at doing AND what tempts you away from your goals.

It's a good idea to get friends or family who know you well to help you identify strengths and weaknesses. We're sometimes unable to see certain weaknesses or strengths that we've got without help.
Know your strengths and weaknesses. Know your strengths and weaknesses. Know your strengths and weaknesses.
Know your strengths and weaknesses. (Image source: Envato Elements)

If your weaknesses are causing you not to complete your goal, you must work through them. You can even plan for them and have a plan for what to do if you give in to your weakness.

If you know your strengths, try placing the tasks you're better at between demanding tasks. This will provide you with a bit of break in-between the challenging tasks.

Study this tutorial for more information on how to identify strengths and weaknesses using a SWOT Analysis:

8. Be Held Accountable 

Self-discipline is knowing how to push yourself to complete a goal, but that doesn’t mean that you couldn’t use someone to hold you accountable. If you've got a friend holding you accountable to achieve your goal, then you’re less likely to fail or give up.

You could even help your friend with a goal. This mutual accountability means that you’ll cheer each other on towards success. You could give each other a push when things get tough.

If you don’t have a friend to hold you accountable, try to find a skilled mentor in the area you’re trying to improve. A mentor can help you with skills because they've already learned the skill themselves.

9. Remove Temptations

Part of how to be disciplined is knowing your weaknesses and removing temptations. Have you ever heard the saying “out of sight, out of mind”? You may think that the phrase is dumb, but it works. Remove any potential temptations from your environment.

You'll significantly improve your self-discipline if you remove temptations. For example, if one of your temptations is scrolling through social media, turn off your phone. You can even put your phone in another room. This makes it harder to access the temptation. 

10. Create New Habits

Part of self-discipline is creating new daily habits. This task can seem overwhelming at first.

When starting new routines, begin by keeping your new tasks simple. Break your goal down into small doable steps.

If you try to change everything at once, then you may get overwhelmed and become unmotivated.
Create new habits.Create new habits.Create new habits.
Create new habits to achieve your goals. (Image source: Envato Elements)

For example, if you want to lose weight, don't start with a two-hour workout. Instead,  start with a fifteen-minute workout and work your way up.

When you accomplish your goals, your mindset begins to change. You can easily add more goals to your list. Not only will your mindset change, but you’ll be able to work your way up to your end goal gradually. 

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  • and much more
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Start Practicing Self-Discipline Today

Self-discipline is mainly about making a promise to yourself that you’ll improve and pick yourself back up if you fail. When practicing self-discipline, determine what area you want to improve on and practice. With time effort, and consistency, you’ll soon master the self-discipline skill.

If you work in a creative field and want to save time, consider downloading a premium template. If you don’t need a template, then look at the other digital elements that Envato Elements. Once you see the great value, you’ll want to sign up today!

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