Self-discipline is the ability to control your own behavior. It is especially useful when you need to do things that are difficult or unpleasant.
Examples of self-discipline include delaying gratification, controlling one’s impulses, and carrying out actions despite feeling discouraged.
Self-discipline also requires resistance to temptations and determination in the long term.
1. Delaying Gratification
Delayed gratification is the act of waiting to receive a reward that you have earned, rather than receiving it immediately.
For example, if you save up your allowance for two weeks in order to buy a new toy, you are practicing delayed gratification.
By waiting to receive the toy, you are learning how to control your impulses and delaying immediate gratification in order to achieve a greater goal. This skill is often believed to be important for future success, as it can help individuals to resist temptation and focus on long-term goals.
2. Completing a University Degree
Completing a university degree requires a tremendous amount of self-discipline. First and foremost, students must be willing to devote countless hours to studying.
They must also be able to manage their time effectively, balancing their coursework with their other commitments. In addition, they must be able to stay focused and disciplined in the face of obstacles and setbacks.
Without self-discipline, it would be impossible to complete a university degree.
There are many resources available to help students develop the self-discipline they need to succeed (including a ton on this website!). From time management tips to study guides, these resources can make all the difference in helping students earn their degree. Ultimately, though, it is up to each individual student to develop the self-discipline necessary to succeed in university and beyond.
3. Waking up Early
Most people hit the snooze button at least once before getting out of bed in the morning. However, there are actually several benefits to be gained by having the self-disciplien to get up earlier.
For one thing, waking up early provides more time for you to get things done. Whether you need to get ready for work, take the kids to school, or just want to enjoy a leisurely breakfast, getting up early gives you a chance to do so without feeling rushed.
In addition, early risers tend to be more productive and successful than those who sleep in. While it may not be easy at first, making the effort to wake up early can pay off in terms of your productivity, mood, and overall well-being.
4. Turning up to Work or School Early
Waking up early and getting to school on time can be a challenge for some students, but there are actually several benefits to turning up to school early.
For one, it gives students a chance to review their notes or assignments before class begins. This extra time can also be used for breakfast or catching up with friends.
Additionally, arriving early to school shows responsibility and organization skills, which are qualities that are highly valued by colleges and employers.
5. Exercising Daily
Exercise has many benefits for overall health. Just a few minutes of exercise each day can help to improve heart health, reduce anxiety and stress, boost energy levels, and promote weight loss.
Exercise is also known to help improve mental health, increase lifespan, and protect against conditions such as dementia and arthritis.
However, it requires a lot of self-discipline to exercise every day. Especially at the start, exercising can feel like hard work and something you really don’t want to do.
6. Running a Marathon
Self-discipline is essential for anyone who wants to run a marathon. The training process is long and difficult, and there will be days when you don’t feel like getting out of bed early to go for a run.
However, if you can stick to your training schedule and stay disciplined, you’ll be able to complete the marathon.
It’s also important to have self-discipline on race day itself.
Even though you’ll be tired, you need to push yourself to keep going until you cross the finish line. If you can do that, you’ll have accomplished something amazing.
7. Persevering through Boredom
It’s not always easy to maintain self-discipline, especially when the task at hand is boring or otherwise unenjoyable.
However, people who are able to push through periods of boredom are more likely to achieve their goals.
Some strategies to help keep your focus include setting a timer, breaking up the task into smaller goals, and listening to music that puts you into a flow state.
8. Keeping a Pet
Many people choose to keep pets, but few realize the level of responsibility required to care for another creature.
Pets rely on their owners for food, shelter, and exercise, and it is up to the owner to provide these things on a regular basis. This can be a challenge, especially for people who lead busy lives.
To be a successful pet owner, one must be able to stick to a routine and make time for their pet every day. This requires self-discipline, as it can be easy to put other commitments ahead of pet care.
9. Keeping a Clean Home
A clean home can be difficult, especially if you live in a busy household. So, self-discipline is required to stick to a cleaning routine.
This means setting aside time each week to do the vacuuming, dusting, and other necessary tasks. This can be a challenge, but it is worth it in the long run.
By keeping your home clean and tidy, you will feel more relaxed and capable of dealing with whatever life throws your way.
10. Going to Bed on Time
If you want to be productive tomorrow, you need to go to bed at a reasonable time. This may require you to turn down invitations to social events or resist the urge to stay up late watching TV.
But if you know that getting enough sleep is important for your health and wellbeing, then making the choice to go to bed on time is simply a matter of being disciplined.
So rather than seeing self-discipline as a form of punishment, think of it as a way of taking care of yourself and making choices that will help you out tomorrow!
11. Finishing a Tough Book
It can be easy to start a book, but finishing it requires a great deal of self-discipline.
Often, life gets in the way and it becomes difficult to find the time to sit down and read. However, those who are able to push through and finish a book are usually rewarded with a sense of accomplishment.
By setting aside time for reading and making it a priority, anyone can overcome the challenges and reap the rewards of completing a book.
12. Holding your Tongue
There’s an old saying that it’s better to hold your tongue than to say something you’ll regret.
In essence, this means that it’s often wiser to keep quiet than to speak up. There are times when speaking up can get you into trouble or cause hurt feelings.
So it’s sometimes better to just stay quiet.
Of course, there are also times when holding your tongue is the wrong thing to do. If you see someone being treated unfairly or witness a wrongdoing, for instance, staying silent would be complicit in those actions.
Nevertheless, holding your tongue is usually a sign of self-discipline.
13. Not Eating Between Meals
Not eating between meals requires self-control and willpower, as it can be tempting to snack on unhealthy foods when hunger strikes. However, there are several benefits to refraining from snacking.
First, it can help to control weight by preventing overeating. Second, it can save money, as buying snacks can add up over time. For these reasons, not eating between meals can be well worth the effort.
14. Not Eating Sweets
Similarly, not eating sweets is a challenge for many people, as sweets can be very tempting. However, there are several benefits to refrain from eating them.
First, cutting out sweets can help with weight loss. Second, it can improve oral health, as sugar can contribute to tooth decay. Finally, avoiding sweets can also save money.
While not eating sweets may be difficult, the benefits make it worth the effort.
15. Sticking to the Pomodoro Technique
The Pomodoro Technique is a time management strategy for increasing productivity and focus. The technique breaks down work into 25-minute intervals, separated by short breaks. After four intervals, there is a longer break.
The Pomodoro Technique can help with self-discipline in several ways. First, it provides structure for work periods, which can increase focus and concentration. Second, the regular breaks can help to prevent burnout and keep energy levels high. Finally, the Pomodoro Technique can help to track progress and increase motivation.
By seeing how much work has been completed, it can be easier to stay on task and resist distractions. The Pomodoro Technique is an effective way to boost productivity and discipline.
16. Sticking to a Study Schedule
A study schedule is a great way to help promote self-discipline. By setting aside specific times for studying, it allows you to focus your attention on your schoolwork and limits the amount of time you have for distractions.
It also can help to reduce stress by allowing you to better manage your time.
In addition, a study schedule can make it easier to stay on track when you have days off from school or are dealing with other family commitments.
Overall, a study schedule is an effective tool for promoting self-discipline and helping students succeed in school.
17. Packing Away your Toys
Parents often encourage their children to pack away one toy before starting with another. This is a fundamental early learning task that helps develop self-discipline in children.
The process of packing away toys requires children to focus on the task at hand and resist the temptation to play with the next toy. It also teaches them to follow instructions and wait for their turn.
18. Calling your Mom Once a Week
In adulthood, we often have competing pressures. We have our jobs, children, and hobbies of our own. But we also need to remember to call our parents and check-in!
Sadly, often this becomes forgotten in the business of life.
But if you consider your family to be special to you, it’s important to put aside time to check-in. This will, of course, require long-term self-discipline.
Personally, I set aside an hour every Friday night to call my mother to make sure she’s doing okay.
19. Doing your Homework before Playing
Completing homework is an important part of student life, but it can also be a challenging one. Homework requires self-discipline in order to be completed.
This means setting aside time each day to work on homework and sticking to that schedule. It also means staying focused on the task at hand and avoiding distractions like phones or social media.
For many students, learning self-discipline through homework is an important step in their academic journey. It can help them to develop better time management skills and learn how to set and achieve goals.
20. Saving your Money
Saving money requires self-discipline because it is difficult to forego immediate gratification in favor of long-term financial stability.
It can be tempting to spend money on luxuries or impulse purchases, but those choices can quickly add up and put a dent in your savings.
By setting aside money on a regular basis, you can make sure that you have a cushion for unexpected expenses or opportunities to invest in your future.
It may not always be easy to save, but doing so can help you achieve your financial goals.
21. Waiting Patiently
Patience is often seen as a virtue, and indeed it can be helpful in many situations. Whether you’re waiting in line at the grocery store or trying to complete a difficult task, patience can help you maintain your composure and avoid frustration.
But while patience may seem like a passive quality, it actually requires a great deal of self-discipline. To be patient, you must be able to control your emotions and reactions, which can be challenging in the moment.
You might have to Bite your tongue when someone says something that annoys you or take a deep breath when you feel like you’re about to lose your temper.
22. Turning Off your Phone!
In today’s world, we are constantly bombarded with notifications and alerts from our phones. Whether it’s a new email, a text message, or a social media update, our phones are designed to grab our attention.
This can make it very difficult to focus on tasks that require sustained attention, such as work or school assignments.
One way to improve focus and concentration is to turn off your phone. This requires self-discipline, as it means ignoring the temptation to check for new notifications.
However, the benefits of turning off your phone are clear. Not only will you be more productive, but you’ll also find it easier to relax and enjoy your leisure time.
23. Not Watching the Next Episode
I’m currently hooked on a recent season of Survivor. Every night, it ends on a cliffhanger, and I really want to watch the next episode.
And, to be honest, sometimes I stay up late and watch another one!
But the truth is I should be self-disciplined and go to sleep. This will help me the next day because I’ll feel more refreshed and ready to take on the day. The self-discipline now will make me feel better tomorrow.
24. Not Skipping to the End of a Book
If you’ve ever started reading a book only to find yourself quickly flipping to the back page to see how it ends, then you know how difficult it can be to resist the temptation of spoilers.
In today’s world of social media and instant gratification, it’s hard to resist the urge to find out what happens next, but sometimes it’s worth it to exercise a little self-discipline.
For one thing, not knowing how a story will end can make the reading experience more enjoyable. It can also help you to appreciate the author’s craftsmanship and pay more attention to the details of the writing.
25. Not Tweeting in Anger
When we get angry, it’s natural to want to lash out and express our anger in whatever way we can. However, in the age of social media, it’s important to exercise self-control and not tweet in anger.
When we do so, we run the risk of saying things we’ll later regret or that could damage our reputations.
In order to avoid this, we need to be aware of our triggers and know how to deal with our anger in a constructive way. This, of course, requires a whole lot of self-discipline!
26. Quitting Something for Lent
Christians who celebrate Lent do so by giving up something for the 40 days leading up to Easter.
For some, this may be a food or drink item, such as chocolate or coffee. Others may give up an activity, such as watching television or using social media.
Whatever the case may be, giving up something for Lent requires a significant amount of self-discipline. After all, 40 days is a long time to go without something that you enjoy.
In order to stick to their Lenten promise, Christians must be intentional about avoiding temptation and staying focused on their goal. This can be a challenge, but it is one that is worth undertaking in order to deepen one’s faith.
27. Following Eating Rules at Ramadan
As Muslims around the world know, Ramadan is a special month of fasting and prayer. For 30 days, Muslims abstain from food and drink from dawn to dusk.
This can be a challenge, especially in warm weather, but it is also an opportunity to develop self-discipline.
Fasting requires Muslims to control their appetites and resist temptation. This can be difficult at first, but with practice it becomes easier.
In addition, fasting helps Muslims to develop patience and perseverance. The ability to control one’s desires and withstand difficulties is an important virtue in Islam.
28. Setting and Keeping Commitments
Making commitments requires self-discipline because you need to follow through on what we have pledged to do.
This might mean setting goals and deadlines, tracking our progress, and making adjustments along the way. It also includes holding ourselves accountable to our commitments, even when we don’t feel like it.
When we make a commitment, we are saying that we are willing to put in the work required to achieve something. This takes discipline, as it can be easy to give up when the going gets tough.
29. Doing the Laundry
Doing the laundry is often seen as a chore, but it can actually be a good way to practice self-discipline. For one thing, it requires planning ahead. You need to make sure you have enough time to do the laundry, and you also need to have enough soap, detergent, and other supplies.
This means that you need to be organized and efficient in your use of time.
This is also a good example of self-discipline because if you don’t do it, you will quickly find out the downsides of lack of discipline! procrastinating on laundry will only make your life more difficult in the long run.
30. Investing in the Stock Market
Investing in the stock market requires self-discipline in order to be successful. This is because stock prices are always fluctuating, and it is easy to become impatient and make impulsive decisions when prices are going up or down.
Successful investors know how to control their emotions and stick to their investment plan. They don’t let themselves get caught up in the short-term ups and downs of the market, but instead focus on the long-term goal of earning a profit.
This requires self-control and discipline, as it can be difficult to stay patient when stock prices are volatile.
Tips for Self-Discipline
1. Use the Pomodoro Technique – This time management technique can be helpful for breaking down tasks into smaller, more manageable chunks. It involves setting a timer to focus for 20 minutes, then taking a 5 minute break. Rinse and repeat!
2. Stick to a Schedule – Having a daily or weekly schedule can help you to stay on track and avoid procrastination. Write down your schedule the night before so you’ve got it set out when you wake up in the morning.
3. Set Smaller Goals – Rather than trying to accomplish everything at once, set smaller goals that you can realistically achieve. We call this ‘chunking’ and it’s a great study technique.
4. Find a Motivator – Whether it’s a positive reinforcement like a reward or a negative consequence like a punishment, find something that will motivate you to stick to your goals. Only give yourself the reward once the task is done.
5. Develop a Habit – It takes time to develop habits, but once something becomes a habit, you start doing it with ease. Habits require self-discipline for the first 30 to 50 times you do it, then after that, it gets easier.
People who have the personal quality of self-discipline are more likely to achieve their goals; they are also less likely to procrastinate and more likely to stick to their plans.A person with self-discipline
Self-discipline is often essential for success in college and beyond.
It’s a lot like a muscle. You need to practice self-discipline in order to get good at it. So, by developing self-discipline skills now, you can have excellent self-control when the time comes when you need it desperately!
Dr. Chris Drew is the founder of the Helpful Professor. He holds a PhD in education and has published over 20 articles in scholarly journals. He is the former editor of the Journal of Learning Development in Higher Education.