Self-Discipline Essentials: 5 Things You Need To Know About Self-Discipline

Learn about the essentials of self-discipline in today’s guide. An audio version is available here.

Do you want to know what an essential factor for success is in every area of your life? It is self-discipline. Without it, success in the different areas of your life becomes extremely challenging. Learn about 5 essentials of self-discipline, including what it is, why it is important, as well as why it becomes a challenge to practice and how you can get started with it today in this guide about the essentials of self-discipline.

Here’s what you will learn in today’s guide: 

  1. What is self-discipline? (& the 2 main variables of self-discipline)
  2. Why it is important (a.k.a. the benefits of self-discipline)
  3. Why we struggle with self-discipline
  4. How to get started practicing self-discipline (3 question exercise)
  5. What Rocky can teach you about self-discipline (and how it can make practicing self-discipline easy)

Read on to learn more. 

The essentials of self-discipline – what is it?

Let’s begin by clarifying what self-discipline actually is. 

At its core, self-discipline is about exercising your Willpower to make decisions that are in your best interest, even when those decisions or actions seem unpleasant or challenging. 

So there are two main variables involved: your willpower, and decisions.

Simply put, self-discipline is about using your willpower to make good decisions. It involves managing your emotions to override temptations against following through, like following through on an exercise regimen on days you’re feeling tired or low or have no motivation.

Self-discipline is what will help you carry on with the exercise regimen even when you feel tempted to skip. 

And it is easy to skip on things that seem hard or unpleasant, much easier than It is to follow through with those things. Doing what’s good for you isn’t always easy or fun (like working out or stopping yourself from eating junk food). If it was easy, everyone in the world would be healthy. But unfortunately that’s not the case, mainly because far too many people don’t practice self-discipline. 

Which brings me to the next point about self-discipline – why it is important.

Why is self-discipline important

So why is self-discipline important?

Self-discipline is important mainly because it is an essential aspect for success, and not just success at work and career but success in every area of life.

Let’s face it, life throws us curveballs and things don’t always go according to plan – self-discipline is one of the key traits, it is one of the main forces that makes it possible for us to overcome such curveballs and challenges. 

Self-discipline is about exercising your willpower to do things even when you don’t feel like doing them, because ultimately it’s in your best interest.

Self-discipline is about exercising your inner strength, your willpower to make decisions about what you will or will not do for your own good. This can be about making decisions to include healthy food in your diet that you are not a big fan of but still eat because it’s good for you. Or it can involve food you decide to avoid, despite really liking and wanting it, because it’s not so good for you (like junk food).

Self-discipline can be about going for a walk or working out because that’s good for your health, and doing it even when you don’t feel like it.

Self-discipline is about exercising your willpower to do things even when you don't feel like doing them, because ultimately it's in your best interest #selfdiscipline #discipline #selfcare Click To Tweet

Let’s look at a demonstration of how this might actually look: say for instance you decide to create a running habit and make a promise to yourself to do it everyday no matter what. Maybe you decide to do this to deal with a rising blood pressure, or to help with your cholesterol level, or something else, or maybe you decide to do it just because you want to be healthier. The end result? You make this commitment to yourself. 

Ultimately, self-discipline is about making a promise to yourself and then following through on that promise, on that commitment you make to yourself, no matter what. Because things will happen that will make it challenging for you to follow through on some days, and unless you use your willpower to do it anyway, unless you use your inner strength to follow through despite the discomfort or the challenge or the stumbling blocks, it will be difficult to keep doing the thing.

Unless you follow through despite the discomfort, it will be difficult to keep your promise.

This means going for that run even if it is raining outside, or even if you’re feeling really lazy, or down, or tired – you do it because you made a commitment to yourself, and because you know it’s in your best interest and for your own good, so you follow through.

Moreover, you follow through not just because following through is in your best interest in the long term, but also to remind yourself that you are stronger than your circumstances, to remind yourself that things won’t always be ideal, but that will not stop you. 

Follow through not just because following through is in your best interest in the long term, but also to remind yourself that you are stronger than your circumstances, to remind yourself that things won't always be ideal, but that… Click To Tweet

As you know already, life isn’t a bed of roses. There will be speed bumps along the way. The only way you keep your momentum in the face of those challenges is for you to stay strong and keep going.

Ultimately, self-discipline is about following through on things, on the small and big commitments you make to yourself (or to others), and do those things no matter what. It is also about exercising your inner strength as a reminder for yourself (and everyone else) that you are stronger than your circumstance, that you can deal with whatever life throws at you.

Here’s the really good news – the more you practice your self-discipline, the better and stronger you will get, not to mention the fact that the more you do it, the easier it will get for you to practice self-discipline.

So yes, self-discipline is useful and essential, and really coveted.

But, it can be hard to practice.

the essentials of self-discipline for life
Self-discipline is essential for life, but it can be hard to practice

Why we struggle with self-discipline

Here is the reality – no matter how much people know about the importance of self-discipline, most do NOT practice it (certainly not as much as they should).

There’s a huge lack of self-discipline these days, clearly demonstrated by the huge rise in most of the avoidable health problems.

Even though most of us know that self-discipline is a useful and important trait, the implementation is challenging. But hey, if it was easy, we wouldn’t really need to talk about it. Life isn’t easy, and the good things take work, and that makes self-discipline worth the effort.

So now you have a pretty good idea about self-discipline, why it is important and why we struggle with it. But just knowing about self-discipline alone won’t have any beneficial impact on your life – knowledge without action, after all, doesn’t really help. It’s useful to know, absolutely, but it is essential for you to have a plan for you to actually benefit from the knowledge. Let’s look into that next.

Learn about the essentials of self-discipline in today's guide, including why we struggle with it & how to make it easier to practice #selfdiscipline #discipline #innerstrength Click To Tweet

How to get started practicing self-discipline

So how can you get started practicing self-discipline and benefit from it?

I have an exercise for you to get you going, involving 3 questions.

Yes, simple, just 3 questions.

These 3 questions will help you take a step towards putting self-discipline to good use in your own life, and can help you get started today.

Ready?

Here are the 3 questions:
1. In what one area of your life should you practice self-discipline?
2. Why?
3. How can you get started?

These 3 questions will get you thinking and coming up with ideas, and help you get started with self-discipline.

But that’s not all I’ll leave you with today. I have an additional tip to make practicing self-discipline easier for you. 

The essentials of self-discipline - 3 Questions to get you started practicing self-discipline today #selfdiscipline #discipline #innerstrength Click To Tweet

What Rocky can teach you about self-discipline

You know what really helps with self-discipline?

Having a strong reason.

Let’s use the running example I used earlier to demonstrate. Let’s say you have high blood pressure and decide that you will take up running to help with that.

So that becomes your strong reason, your motivation.

Just knowing running is good for you is useful, but that’s pretty generic, and it’s not really personal enough. On the other hand, doing it (running) in order to help with something that is causing you problems is a stronger reason.

Having a stronger reason (in this case a more personal motivation like dealing with your high blood pressure) makes it easier to stay the course and practice self-discipline.

Do you remember the movie Rocky, and how he went for his morning run every day – even on days when it was pouring down with rain, and mornings when it was freezing? He had a strong reason for doing that, because he wanted to be the best boxer and knew that staying in peak physical health was essential for that, and his morning jog was an essential part of that. So he followed through no matter what. He had a strong reason, and that made it easy to be self-disciplined even when things got tough.

That was a fictional character in a movie, true, but that is how things work in real life too. If you really want to be self-disciplined about something, find a strong reason to do it. That way it’ll be easy, or at the very least easier, for you to follow through even when it becomes challenging to follow through. 

Your why can majorly impact your self-discipline. Have a strong why, and practicing self-discipline will become easier. 

So now you have an additional tip to make self-discipline easier to practice. 

There is yet another strategy that can make self-discipline easy for you to practice, and that is having accountability partners. Check out this guide on accountability partners to learn more. 

What Rocky can teach you about self-discipline #selfdiscipline #discipline #personalpower Click To Tweet

Next steps 

Here’s the bottom line – it’s not easy to be disciplined. Things get in the way, stuff come up that needs immediate attention, plans get derailed.

Basically, life happens, and it can get messy.

Then we get tired of the firefighting and despite our best intentions things fall through the crack.

But that’s why self-discipline is so important.

Yes, it is not easy to be disciplined, but without it, without self-discipline doing the things that are really good for us become challenging to do, or do on a consistent basis day in and day out.

The good news is that there are things you can do to make practicing self-discipline easy – like the 3 question exercise I went over earlier which can help you get started with practicing self-discipline today. 

Creating routines and habits also help. The latter can more or less automate the task or action, so that makes habits very useful. The thing about habit is that we all have them (even when you might not think you do), like the habits we do not actively create, and those that are not necessarily good for us, so actively creating habits is a great idea.

The good habits, like practicing meditation and mindfulness and working out daily, can help us take better care of ourselves.

But that’s not all, because in the long term these habits (and their benefits) really adds up.

So even though self-discipline can be challenging, put in the effort, because the result will matter, and it will make a difference in your life.

Closing thoughts

What are your thoughts on self-discipline – have you experienced its impact in your own life?

Which one area of your life would you really like to start practicing self-discipline in?

Share your thoughts and notes about today’s guide on the essentials of self-discipline in the comments section below.  

One tiny request 

Before you go, a tiny request – if you found this guide useful &/or enjoyable, please share it with others. That is the best way for us to reach others and make a positive impact. 

So, share. Pay it forward!

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