What is self-discipline?
Self-discipline is essentially your consistent ability to control your actions, feeling, and emotions. When it comes to your finances, it's your ability to stick to your plans of paying down debt saving and investing. When you have a handle on self-discipline, you stay motivated and are more likely to achieve success. It is very strongly connected to willpower which is the control of one's impulses and actions.
Benefits of self-discipline
Improving your self-discipline has many benefits including:
- Decreases anxiety: When you are in control of how you act, you are less likely to feel anxious.
- Increases your ability to achieve your long term goals: With fewer distractions and self-imposed setbacks, having self-discipline allows you to achieve your goals. It also means getting to them faster than if you allowed yourself to get distracted.
- Makes you feel happier: When you are on the path to achieving your goals, you feel happier because you are making progress. Self-discipline is a major contributor to this.
- You become more resilient: As your self-discipline grows, your ability to resist temptation increases. This in turn makes you more resilient as you navigate different circumstances.
7 Simple ways to improve your self-discipline
Learning how to build self-discipline skills can allow you to cease bad habits, accomplish long-term and short-term goals, and change your life completely. Here, we’ve outlined seven steps to build your self-discipline and work toward the better life you deserve. Well... if you work for it.
1. Countdown, then take action
When you’re feeling particularly unmotivated, count down from ten, then force yourself to do whatever it is you're doing. A quick countdown can help shift you into the right mental space to get motivated. Sometimes all we need is a little push to take that next step—that's how self-discipline begins.
2. Put your goals where you can see them every day
Writing a goal down makes it all the more real. Hang it up somewhere you will see it often and inspire yourself — at your work desk, in your bedroom, in your car, etc. Write the goal in your yearly planner. Put it on your kitchen calendar.
You can also set actual calendar reminders on your phone to go off once a week or so. But be nice to yourself. Don’t scare or shame yourself into your goals; rather, be happy, positive, and encouraging. Increase self-discipline by adding motivational quotes from people you admire. Not sure you have the right goals? Spend some time going over your goals to make sure they align with the things you truly want for yourself.
3. Remind yourself why you started
Keep your end-goal in mind without allowing yourself to forget where you started. Constantly remind yourself — especially when it gets hard — how and why you set this goal and what you will have achieved when you’re done.
Visualize yourself having taken complete control of your life and accomplishing whatever specific goal you’ve set. Set reminders on your phone to tell yourself how far you’ve come and how proud you are. Affirmations are also a great way to keep your self focused on your why.
4. Set small goals first
Try not to overwhelm yourself by setting the bar too high. Build your confidence by setting and achieving a small goal before you go for a big one. For example, if your ultimate goal is to run five miles without stopping, set an initial goal of running a quarter mile without stopping. Be patient with yourself and try not to get frustrated with the process. Accomplishing those small goals first can give you the motivation you need to keep going.
5. Practice prioritizing
Decide which tasks are worth dedicating the most effort to, then organize your day to totally crush them. If you set a study plan, you're less likely to procrastinate on the less-than-savory tasks. Put things you don't necessarily love at the top of your priorities, and you'll be relieved they're done instead of putting them off another day.
6. Know your weaknesses
Then, proactively combat them. Determine how you might slip up and how you can prevent that from happening. If you know you need to run a 5K this Saturday but your friend is having a barbeque on Friday night, it might be best to skip it.
If you know you need to get to work an hour earlier but you're a bit of a night owl, invest in some Melatonin. You have the tools to fight back against your own demons. You just need to hunt them down.
7. Get friends to hold you accountable
You are less likely to cheat on your goals if someone you admire is watching. Have your hero (or just your BFF) set a goal alongside you. You can cheer each other on. And when the going gets tough, you can be there to give each other that extra push.