“We don’t have to be smarter than the rest; we have to be more disciplined than the rest.” — Warren Buffett
To become successful in life you will need to have a good level of self-discipline. I know this can sound scary because most of us already struggle with it. For the majority of the population, discipline is a never-ending process of good intentions, procrastination and feelings of failure. Learn how to be more disciplined and live the life you have always dreamed of.
Whether you have tried to improve your discipline before or this is your first time, let me tell you it is very possible. Do you put lots of pressure on yourself, battling temptations and going through every day struggling to keep your mind at ease? Instead of being left disappointed, guilty and weak, you could feel strong, powerful and resilient by working on your self-discipline.
Everybody struggles with aspects of their lives. If they have an impeccable diet, they might not have a great personality. Or they might have a body built like a Greek God but can’t go 5 minutes without checking their Instagram. Maybe someone is insanely successful but refuses to eat any vegetables and has an alcohol addiction.
Other common struggles could be:
- Getting yourself to exercise
- Wasting time
- Keeping a clean and organized house
- Making yourself do things that are boring or uninteresting
Nobody is perfect. With the world of information we live in today, social media and influencers you cannot believe everything you see or read online. So, take everything with a pinch of salt and focus on yourself.
So you can stop beating yourself up because you definitely aren’t alone here. You are reading this which means you know you want to change, congratulations! The first win of many to come.
By the end of this guide, you will start referring to yourself as a ‘Disciplined Person’.
We have a cost-effective course recommendation for you at the bottom of this article, it might just be the change in your life you are searching for.
How Does Discipline Work?
Let’s talk about the psychology of discipline to get a better understanding of what goes on inside our brains.
Self-discipline is having the ability to make yourself do things that you do not want to do and to stop yourself from doing things you shouldn’t do.
This mechanism is taught to us by our parents, we are not born with it naturally. When your was a kid and your parent called you in at dinner time or nighttime, she is teach you a valuable lesson. That even though you are enjoying yourself, you have to come home. In other words, you have to do something you don’t want to do.
Or when you get given your weekly chores to clean your bedroom, do the dishes or cut the grass for some extra pocket money, you are being taught that even though we do not want to do these things, we must. And if you are lucky enough, you will be rewarded from time to time.
Here’s another important thing you need to know. During your childhood, when all of this occurs as it should, you not only internalize your ability to motivate yourself to do something and to stop yourself from doing something, but you also internalize your parents’ voices, which you will own in adulthood.
If you sometimes feel as if you have no control over your own actions or decisions, it is not because you are lazy or defective. Doing this will lead you down a one way street to nowhere, avoid these negative thoughts like the plague!
A lot can be traced back to your childhood. I have often found that the real cause of most peoples struggles can be related to Childhood Emotional Neglect (CEN).
When your parents fail to meet your needs and feelings as they raise you, it is considered childhood emotional neglect. If you grew up in an emotionally unstable and neglectful home where you did not receive attuned structure and discipline, you will struggle to develop them in adulthood. It is not that you do not have any of these, you just don’t have enough.
Is This My Parent Fault?
Let me just tell you, no it’s not your parent’s fault. All parents have their own struggles and being a parent itself is hard. Nobody can say they’ve been the perfect parent because that doesn’t exist. Many parents grew up in emotionally neglectful households themselves. But in many cases, they cannot give what they do not have themselves; Emotional attunement, structure and discipline.
Even your parents were probably researching ‘How to be more disciplined?’.
So stop blaming yourself and let’s get you out of that self-destructive rut. I hope now that you see how your parents may have failed you in this way and that you can start to think in new ways.
Understanding the mechanisms of self-discipline will help inspire you. It’s not time to start taking responsibility for this, for building your own neural pathways and for change.
Always remember that it’s never too late. You can do anything, at any age. Colonel Sanders was 65 when he created KFC. So, let’s get to work!
A great book on understanding your emotional needs and neglect is: Parent Yourself Again by Yong Kang Chan
Why Should I Improve My Self-Discipline?
If you are unhappy with your current lifestyle, career or control then it’s more than likely down to a self-discipline problem. If you want to become successful in any area of your life you will need to work on your discipline levels and manage to keep them sharp.
In one of our recommended books, The Chimp Paradox, Prof. Steve Peters explains that we are already the people we want to be. But it is our emotional subconscious mind that stops us from achieving it.
This is where self-discipline comes into play and overrides these emotions with physical action.
Developing your self-discipline will not only help you get further advanced in your career, but it also helps:
1. Feel Happier
When your discipline is at an optimal level and you are being productive, you become happier and more creative in life. Things start falling into place easier and more effectively than before. The more we feel in control of our lives, the more we have a sense of well-being.
2. Increase Physical Health
Regular self-discipline makes people less likely to abuse substances such as alcohol and tobacco that harm their health. People who are self-controllable are also less likely to become obese or addicted.
3. Achieve longterm goals
Individuals who exercise self-discipline can resist immediate desires in favour of longer-term, higher-impact goals. In her 2016 research on perseverance and “passion for long-term goals,” also known as grit, Angela Duckworth discussed this topic. The researcher found that achieving difficult goals requires not just talent, but also sustained and focused effort over time, which we might self-discipline.
4. Decrease anxiety
As a result of experiencing negative emotions, humans tend to do or think about something else to distract themselves. Moreover, a study from 2016 found that students who improved self-control during testing had lower anxiety levels.
5. Positively impact relationships
You can also improve your relationships through self-discipline. Psychology Today says, “The capacity for self-control is a capacity for the empathetic perspective taking — the ability to step outside one’s own point of view.”. By following these steps, we can overcome our automatic defensive reactions and develop more constructive behaviours that lead to happier, healthier relationships.
6. Become more resilient
Are you able to bounce back from adversity easily? Resilience may be determined by self-discipline. There seems to be a correlation between resilience and the ability to control impulses and delayed gratification. Psychology Today says, “A resilient person has a belief in her own abilities to manage life’s challenges and situations effectively.”
Among those, there are many other benefits to becoming more disciplined. Following the 12-steps in the next part will guide you on how to be more disciplined.
Steps To Improving Your Self-Discipline
Self-discipline becomes very powerful when combined with goal-setting, passion, and planning.
Here are our 12-Steps How To Be More Disciplined.
- Forgive yourself. You can’t move forward with the weight of regrets holding you back. The past is in the past and cannot be changed. Leave it there.
- Know what your struggles are and what triggers them
- Know what your strengths are
- Identify and write down clear and attainable goals. We like to use the S.M.A.R.T formula at The Monk Mindset.
- Visualise the outcome of achieving these goals
- Take action TODAY. Do not wait for the right moment, it will never come.
- Start with baby steps. One thing at a time, otherwise you are setting yourself up to fail.
- Practice, fail, learn. When you start over, you will be starting from experience not from scratch. Life is one big learning curve, you won’t master it on the first attempt.
- Keep track of your progress
- Treat yourself every now and then, give yourself a well-deserved break. But be good!
- Take care of yourself
- Get a mentor
1. Forgive Yourself
Making peace and moving forward is often easier said than done. Being able to forgive yourself requires empathy, compassion, kindness, and understanding. It also requires you to accept that forgiveness is a choice. But to move forward in life you need to accept what has happened and leave it in the past.
“The past is already gone, the future is not yet here. There’s only one moment for you to live, and that is the present moment”
— Gautama Buddha
2. Know Your Struggles
Write down everything you do on each day of the week. Within all these activities you perform, there lie your strengths and weaknesses. Reflect on those which are the most important, and highlight the areas where you would like to improve.
You can ask a friend, family member or colleague to help point you in the right. They might help you identify areas you cannot see from an internal perspective.
Now you have a list of areas to improve on, you can start making your plan of action.
3. Know Your Strengths
From creating a list in the previous step you will already have a good understanding of your strengths.
It’s important to know where you succeed in life so you can focus on maximizing your performance. Whether that be in the gym or at work or in your relationships.
Use your strengths to your advantage and boost your self-awareness, control & confidence.
4. Write Clear & Attainable Goals
Psychology says, we are 42% more likely to achieve our goals by writing them down. When you write your goals down, you begin to visualise planning, doing and achieving those goals.
So, one of the first steps to do before going out and attempting to achieve your goals is to write them down!
5. Visualise Your Outcome
Psychology also says, our brain doesn’t differentiate between real and imaginary memories. So, when you use your powerful imagination to visualise your goals, your brain chemistry changes as if you have actually achieved it.
This is the power of your mind. If you believe you can, you will.
6. Take Action Today
Stop waiting for the stars to align, the perfect moment doesn’t exist. You have everything you need to start, embrace the present moment and just do your best.
7. Start Small
The main reason people fail with their goals or discipline is that they either try to do too much at once or they have set improper goals, become overwhelmed and give up.
Start with baby steps. You need to learn how to walk before you can run. You cannot change all of your habits in one week. That is a recipe for disaster.
Instead, pick a few small habits to start on each week. I would even suggest just focusing on one in the beginning and gradually adding more each week as you progress. But do so with caution, add too much and you might end up overhauling yourself.
Always remember at the end of each week to set some time aside for reflecting back on the progress you made during the week.
One of the most important steps on how to become more disciplined.
8. Practice, Fail & Learn
As I mentioned earlier, nobody is perfect. Even the most self-disciplined guru’s out there have days where they eat all the chocolate in their kitchen, waste an hour on social media and even lose two prospects – all before noon.
But the key is that the next day they wake up in the morning with a fresh mind and positive attitude because they know that today is a new day to make better decisions.
Self-improvement and life, in general, is a cycle of trying, failing and trying again.
9. Keep Track of Your Progress
Tracking your progress is one of the most important aspects of personal growth. Otherwise, you will not know whether or not you are succeeding.
For example, if your goal is to lose weight, you first need to set a target of how much weight you want to lose and how fast you want to lose it. Let’s say you want to lose 10 pounds in 30 days. Working backwards that works out at roughly 2.5 pounds per week.
If you weren’t measuring this every week, you wouldn’t know if you were making progress towards your goal.
This applies to all of your goals. Seeing yourself getting closer to achieving your goals helps boost motivation and confidence.
10. Treat Yourself
Hard work deserves a reward, YOU deserve a reward.
But don’t throw away all that hard work you have been building by relapsing. Instead, treat yourself to a nice hot calming bath, or a weekend in a spa or anything you enjoy doing that relaxes you.
Always make time for yourself when you have earned it.
11. Take Care of Yourself
Don’t go pushing your body to the limits to achieve your goals. Self-discipline is worth very little when you are nearly killing yourself to get it. Stop burning the midnight oil, get some rest and let your body replenish.
You aren’t doing yourself, or your discipline any favours by doing this.
In order to be disciplined, you have to take care of yourself. Healthy relationships, regular breaks during the day, good nutrition, and plenty of sleep make the world go round.
Your mental health is just as important as any other aspect of your health. Check how our article about Meditation and how it can help you stay in a peak mental condition.
12. Get a Mentor
Hiring a coach is one of the best and fastest ways on how to be more disciplined. Although it can be costly, if you are serious about improving your life and have some spare cash lying around it’s your best option.
The Three Things Practice for Building Your Self-Discipline
In this skill-building exercise, you will be wiring your brain with the hardware that’s essential to have in order to be able to make yourself do what you don’t want to do and vice-versa. To take full advantage of its power, you absolutely must do it every single day.
Get yourself to do three things you don’t want to do every day, or stop yourself from doing something you shouldn’t be doing.
Pick small, manageable items that don’t feel overwhelming. Your brain is not programmed by the size of the item, but by overriding what you want.
This has to be done three times every single day without exception. Write them down after each one you’ve done.
Here are some examples of things that others have had success with.
Things to Make Yourself Do: wash your face, pay your bills, exercise, sweep the floors, call your friends, or wash the dishes, organise your bedside drawers.
Things to Stop Yourself From Doing: Eating sugary snacks, buying unnecessary jewellery online, having one more drink when out with friends, skipping the gym, staying up late, watching another episode of Netflix.
Tips To Improve Self-Discipline
Write down your goals once again and make sure that you do everything in your power to stick to them. Always finish any task you set before moving on to start another. For some, the thought of setting a goal may be overwhelming. Reach out for support so you too can experience the satisfaction of achieving a goal that is important to you.
How To Be More Disciplined
Self-discipline is about making wise choices. From the food you eat to the amount of exercise you do is dependent on how disciplined you are.
Following these 12-steps will help you improve your discipline and transform your life.
If you would like a cost-effective way to improve your discipline: Check out this 90-Day Self-Improvement Program, Live Intentionally.
It’s helped over 7,000 people so far and has over 200 five-star reviews.
Costing only $19.99 it’s insane value for money. You will not be the same person by the end of those 90 days, I guarantee it.
Remember, self-discipline is a practice. You will not be perfect every day. What’s important is showing up each day ready to try and do your best.
Thank you for reading this guide and I hope you take away some value from it.