What is Self-discipline?

Written by Cup of Nurses

July 29, 2020

What is Self-discipline

Many personal qualities contribute to personal growth and happiness. But to sustain long-term success in every aspect of life, one must master the trait of self-discipline.

Motivation is great, but it’s here today and gone tomorrow, and up and down like a roller-coaster. Self-discipline helps you form habits that stick. Whether you’re procrastinating, using social media too much or just lazy, self-discipline will help you kick these habits.

Self-discipline is the willingness to accept physical, mental, and emotional discomfort.

Theodore Roosevelt once said, “With self-discipline, most anything is possible.”

Successful people understand that discipline is the portal to the attainment of their intentions. The art of self-discipline creates a foundational set of good habits that can help anyone and will help you, to seek things through.

Discipline is developed through repetition. The problem with this, however, is that we often set ourselves up for failure by promising ourselves to go from zero to hero overnight. It doesn’t work that way. The best thing anyone can do is to use the micro-change approach.

Key: Start small, change gradually. Make progress in small increments, but keep doing it every day.

What will help you stick to your goal?


Whenever you aim for a goal or dream, ask yourself the “why”. We need to visualize our dreams. We need to silence negative voices, focus on who we want to be and what we think is right for us. Visualize, and then start making those choices, fueled by self-discipline.

Example: The desire is “I want to get into shape”. Why? Tell yourself why, or write out the benefits. “I want to get into shape because I want to live longer, I want to feel good about myself, I want to be there for my kids.”

Remove Temptation

Removing distractions is a crucial step to consistently improving your self-discipline. If you’re trying to take more control over your fitness/weight-loss goal, toss the junk food from your house. If you’re in the office and need to be more productive, learn to silence your phone. Set yourself up for success by removing the obstacles that are blocking the path to your goal.

Instant gratification

Put off instant gratification to reach more long-term goals. Instant gratification is when “you want it, and you want it now”. Today, instant gratification has been put on a pedestal – literally, everything we want is at our fingertips. But true success and becoming who we truly want to do not come instantly. It takes time, patience, and discipline.   

Other ways to improve self-discipline

Set clear goals

A clear plan outlines each step you must take to reach your finish line.

Don’t wait until it “feels right”

Changing habits and routines will feel awkward and uncomfortable. Breaking a bad habit needs to be an active decision – and it’ll feel wrong because your brain is programmed for old habits.


Meditation can put your mind at ease and set the right tone for the rest of the day. Mediating will also help you realize how often your mind is on auto-pilot, guiding you to unwanted habits.

Become organized

An organized life is a disciplined life. Start small. For example, today, organize your desk drawer. Work to achieve organization in both your personal and professional life.


This is a no-brainer. Sleep is connected to one’s ability to discipline oneself. Getting enough sleep is a vital prerequisite to getting things done. If you struggle to get a decent night’s sleep, try naps!


Getting discouraged is easy, and giving up takes a lot less effort than pushing through a challenge. To develop self-discipline, be persistent in your desire to reach your goal and have a strong “why”.

The self-disciplined person spends less time debating about their behavior and makes positive decisions more easily. Disciplined people control their impulses and feelings, and act on rational decisions. They don’t overly stress or get upset about the future.

Self-discipline is a hidden gem that allows you to regain your life and freedom.

How do you practice self-discipline in your life?


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