Self-discipline is such an important part of achieving your goals and overall success. It helps you learn how to overcome obstacles, reach your goals a lot faster, and defeat your weaknesses with more grace and ease. Building self-discipline is also great for building a stronger sense of self, and usually leads to more accomplishments. Win, win!
Self-discipline is how you get in full control of your actions and behaviors so you can achieve more in less time.
But before I get into some examples, I wanted to first look at what discipline is.
Discipline is defined as the practice of following a set of rules or behaviors, where punishment or consequences will follow if you are disobedient.
I will say this though; I definitely don’t like the idea of punishment or consequences when it comes to your self-discipline. It sounds very very negative!
But, of course it makes sense in certain parts of your life. For example, you have to discipline in a school setting, you know. Abiding by the rules that to keep things flowing smoothly and ensuring everyone’s education comes first. If you become disobedient for example, there will be consequences like detention or extra assignments, even suspension for certain rules that are broke.
But self-discipline doesn’t need to be that extreme. I promise I will not recommend you go sit in a corner if you mess up along the way!
Instead, building self-discipline is more about building strong, sustainable habits over time that you can stick with. It’s about your ability to control your actions and behaviors. Self-discipline is about adjusting your desires and your daily actions so you can focus on getting whatever it is you want, done.
Last year, I decided to go alcohol-free for at least 100 days. Now that the 100 days have passed, I have decided to stick with it and just go fully sober for 2021 (you can find out the crazy lessons I’ve learned going sober thus far here!)
The one thing that really helped me even make it to day 7 was self-discipline. I had to work on adjusting my behaviors and mindset in order to stay disciplined and stay on track to achieve 100 days being AF (alcohol-free).
That’s the beautiful thing about self-discipline. After a while, whatever you’re working towards, becomes easier, and allows you to achieve your goals over and over again with a hell of a lot more ease and grace.
So I’ve gathered 10 powerful tips to help you build self-discipline, and make it that much easier to achieve success in no time!
Establish Clear Goals
First things first, if you want to build self-discipline, it is important that you establish what your goals are. In other words, what are you trying to be disciplined at?
Is it working out more? Is it eating healthier? Whatever it is, you have to identify it first.
In my previous example about going alcohol-free, my goal was to start living a sober life. At first, that meant no alcohol, but I still enjoyed my weed (hey, it’s legal in California LOL). But my goal changed and I soon decided to not indulge in either alcohol or weed.
Changing your goals or adjusting it along the way is okay. Stay flexible!
But anyway, I had to get really clear on what my goals were, why I was doing it, and what the end goal was. I was going to start sober living to improve my physical and mental health, and to prepare for eventually starting a family one day (which would not allow for those habits anyway). This was my why.
My end goal was to find alternative ways to de-stress or relax without relying on a cocktail or a blunt. I knew that if I did that, it would become easier to stay disciplined.
This is where self-discipline comes in to play. By establishing clear goals, I knew why I was being disciplined. I understood what I needed to do to fulfill the why and to actually get to the end goal.
Establishing clear goals will also help you understand what behaviors or actions you need to adjust to reach your goal. For me, that was learning other activities and hobbies I could implement into my lifestyle that would keep me sober.
Establishing your goals will help you correct your behaviors that will ultimately take you off track, and keep you disciplined along the way.
Fix Your Mindset
I am a firm believer that a lot of the obstacles we face are really just a result of our crappy mindset. I know for me, my mindset was messing me up and totally getting in my way of accomplishing certain goals.
And I will tell you, building self-discipline is not always an easy feat. You need your whole self to be on board, including your mind. Your mindset is what will help you stay disciplined, when everything else in the world is telling you otherwise.
You need to develop a really positive mindset in order to build stay disciplined and stay on track.
So practice ignoring the negative nancy in your head, and try to be more positive and patient with yourself. Yes, we all have that negative voice in our heads from time to time, tell it to SHUSH!
It takes time to build self-discipline. It’s like a muscle that you are working and trying to strengthen. A few reps won’t get you there. But over time, if you continue to push yourself and practice patience, you will get there, trust me.
So while you are trying to build your self-discipline, try to first fix your mindset. Don’t wallow in what you think you can’t do. You don’t need that kind of negativity in your life!
Instead focus on saying “I can”. Because truth is, you can pretty much do anything as long as you have the right mindset in place.
Identify Your Weak Points
Self-discipline is a great tool to have if you want to achieve your goals and/ or success. It can help you navigate life in a way that gives you strength to overcome certain obstacles a lot easier.
But in order to do that, you have to know what the obstacles are that in your way. You have to identify your weaknesses, or the things that can throw your entire discipline journey off course.
Revisiting my example above about practicing sober living, I had to quickly uncover my weaknesses if I wanted to get anywhere. And I had to do it fast.
One of the biggest weak points I had was that when I was overly stressed or overwhelmed, I would reach to have a drink or roll up a blunt. Both were a great way for me to relax and let my mind wander.
It’s not to say I didn’t enjoy either activity when I wasn’t under stress or pressure, but I noticed in those particular moments, it was my go to. Hello weak point.
By identifying this weak point, I could adjust my behaviors to combat it. So instead of going for that drink when I was under stress, I usually would journal, paint or even recently, I got into coloring.
It didn’t all come to me at once. It took time and consistent practice to learn what would work for me and help me overcome those obstacles, or weak points.
So find your weak points. What are the things that are getting in your way of staying disciplined?
Building self-discipline is also about being self-aware. You cannot become self-disciplined with anything in your life if you aren’t aware of everything that you’re doing.
Let’s say for example that you want to get disciplined with your eating habits. Maybe you struggle with over eating, or eating too unhealthy too often and you want to change that.
Self-awareness for you may look like watching yourself when you do over indulge. Being mindful in the moment can help you pinpoint why you are overeating or eating the wrong foods too much.
This gives you the opportunity to adjust and switch your behaviors and actions. It also gives you more insight into self and why you do the things you do (we all need that sometimes!)
One of the best ways to practice self-awareness, especially if you’re not used to it, is to write things down. Yes, it can get tedious, but I swear it works!
Writing everything you’re doing on paper can help you become very self-aware. It can help you uncover the things that may hinder you from building the self-discipline you are trying to achieve.
Improve Your Self-Confidence
Having increased confidence in yourself, is a great step to building self-discipline. You need to believe you can do it, if you plan on doing anything!
One of the things I had to learn very quickly about self-discipline was that I have to cheer for myself in ways I wasn’t used to. I had to believe in myself and consistently tell myself that I was more than capable to achieve my goals.
There are many ways you can work on self-confidence too. One of the ways that has worked for me recently is telling myself all of the good things I do every day. I even journal about it!
Doing this has helped me reinforce what I do well, even when my self-discipline fails me. And trust me, there will be moments when it does and it is perfectly okay.
I realized that by building myself up, I started to slowly become more confident in my abilities, which made it way easier to stay disciplined when it came to my goals (example: going sober).
If you’re looking for a few specific ways to boost your self-confidence, check out my post here – 3 Easy Tricks to Boost Your Self-Confidence When It’s Lacking. This is a great way to quickly boost your self-confidence and do so consistently!
Get Accountable For Your Actions
The journey to building self-discipline is not always easy, but there are a few steps you can take to make it simpler. One of those steps is to get accountable for yourself, and your actions.
This means having a system in place so you can be accountable for the things you do that are in line with your goals. And for those that take you away from said goals. For me, I like to get in accountable in two ways.
The first is to somehow record my progress so I can track when I’m falling off track very easily. I need to be able to spot when I’m slacking quickly so I can readjust without completely losing steam.
One of the ways that I got accountable when I began practicing sober living was using the I Am Sober app. It helped me track why I was trying to be sober, how much money I would spend on my habits before going sober, and the time I spent doing it. All of which helped me stay disciplined, let me tell you!
It also tracks the days I am sober including fun milestones along the way so I can celebrate my small wins. There is even a community section where you can engage with other people who are attempting the same thing as you.
So far, I have recorded over 135 days of being alcohol-free in the app, with twice a day check-ins to see how things are going. It has become a great tool to become more accountable and has truly transformed my self-discipline altogether.
Whatever your goal or desire is, find a way to hold yourself accountable. That can be an app, simply writing things down or having an accountability partner to help you remain disciplined and on track.
Time Blocking So You Can Work Towards Self-Discipline
Time blocking is a great way to schedule adequate time for yourself to work towards your goals and overall self-discipline. It helps you organize your time so you have time to actually work on your goals or whatever you need to do to achieve success.
One of my goals in 2021 is to continue improving my running regimen so I can run my second half-marathon, first marathon, and even a duathlon (I’m crazy I know haha). But I know in order to do this, I have to dedicate time to doing so. And I have to be consistent.
I have a time block on my schedule (both in my google calendar and Passion Planner) that means every morning between 7am-8:30am, I work on my fitness and running routine. Most days that means going on an actual run, but other days it means I’m cross-training, strength training or even resting (don’t forget that rest can help you achieve your goals even if it feels counter-productive!)
Having the time block in place takes the guesswork out of when will I find the time to work towards those goals. It helps me also remain disciplined, even when life gets in the way and I am just not feeling it.
Because even when I don’t feel like running, which definitely happens more often than most people think, I am disciplined enough to follow my time blocking schedule, and get it done!
Trash Your High Expectations
There is nothing wrong with having high expectations for your self, or for the goals you have. But having extremely high expectations when you’re trying to build self-discipline will make it only that much harder for you.
You know you can’t become disciplined instantly so instead, be realistic with yourself!
Self-discipline is not built over night. For most people, they have to work at being self-disciplined. Whether that is with giving up alcohol, working out more or even decreasing your spending habits, self-discipline takes time.
It takes consistent effort and practice and it’s okay if it doesn’t happen for you as quickly as it does for others. Every person is different and will incorporate self-discipline into their lifestyle differently.
So let go of your high expectations. Instead set realistic timelines and goals for yourself and work on it one day at a time.
I know for me, I get extremely overwhelmed when I think of all the things I want to do or accomplish in a certain amount of time. It can be a lot to mentally process, let alone actually working towards anything. So give yourself a break and take it one step at a time.
There is no rush, as everything is a journey! So remove all of the high expectations and instead focus on enjoying the process. It’ll feel a whole lot better that way!
What is one thing you want to become more disciplined about in your life? Comment below!
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