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How to Become Disciplined – 10 Steps to Reach Your Goals

Stone Towers Seaside

Personal mastery.

Sounds mighty powerful, doesn’t it? Practising self-control to improve oneself in the various aspects of life is something that many people chase after.

And a huge part of it is discipline. It can help shape your personality, build your character, and maintain a better focus on reaching goals.

Think you lack disciple? Well, we’ve got some great news – it’s a learned trait and anyone can build it up with enough practice and patience.

In this article, we will share 10 tips on how to develop self-discipline – let’s get to it.

1. Take good care of yourself 

It all starts with you.

Taking good care of yourself in hopes of having a healthy body, mind, and soul doesn’t only promote positive energy, but also boosts your self-confidence.

By practicing self-care, you’ll be able to say ‘no’ to situations that contribute nothing to your personal growth and make time for the ones that matter the most.

This practice includes improving your mental health and willpower. There are many relaxation techniques you can practice to relieve stress and anxiety. 

For example, reading inspirational quotes or dipping into the pool after a long day may have meditative effects on your mental health. Learning to say ‘no’ helps you set boundaries and create healthy mental habits, too.

Developing a self-care routine is an essential aspect of stress management. It also works as a reminder that you have personal needs to take care of first before reaching out to other people.

On the other hand, failing to develop a self-care routine may hinder you from promoting positive and healthy relationships with people around you.

2. Practice self-control

White cake on a table against a pink background

How to be disciplined comes down to having good control of your thoughts and feelings. 

Developing self-control every day allows you to manage emotions and impulses. You’ll make more objective decisions and look at the bigger picture, which helps you achieve your goals in the long run.

Self-control can be learned consciously by realizing the negative, long-term habits and effects of your actions. 

In practice, this could be something as simple as controlling your sugar cravings. By knowing the harmful effects sugar can have on your body, you can make a conscious decision to switch it to something healthier.

Another way to develop willpower is to avoid places that may influence your judgment. If you’re trying to quit drinking, don’t hang out at your local bar.

While it may seem very hard to fight temptations, being self-disciplined and having self-control can positively improve your physical and mental health.

On the other hand, failing to develop willpower can harm your personal growth and distract you from your life goals.

3. Eat right to stay healthy

Healthy sandwiches

Whether you’re a business owner, a freelancer, or a college student, maintaining a healthy mind and body is essential for a successful life.

By having a balanced diet, you’ll enhance your ability to concentrate and keep better your focus on tasks that lie ahead. 

Avoid junk food and sugary drinks as much as possible. They are high in calories, making you feel physically worn-out and drained. Instead, opt for more nutritious food that will benefit both your body and mind. 

Make drinking plenty of water a habit, too: it’s as equally important as eating healthy.

Having enough water every day can increase your energy levels, improve brain function, and boost productivity.

4. Actively learn from your mistakes

Broken blue plate on the ground

Many books on self-discipline swear by this one.

Your ability to learn from your mistakes and moving on gracefully plays a huge role in building true self-discipline.

Spending time to reflect gives you the wisdom to never repeat the same mistakes and to start making better decisions instead.

Every successful business owner has experienced loss during their lifetime. And here’s where self-discipline is very important.

It’s not about avoiding or not making mistakes. It’s about getting back up and striving to make better judgments in the future.

No one can change the wrong choices made in the past, so there’s no point dwelling on mistakes, either.

Instead, you should try to overcome those setbacks. Use them as a learning experience that can help you formulate new strategies for success.

5. Write down your goals

Todoist landing page

One of the best ways to keep yourself disciplined is by writing down your goals.

Whether you’re finishing an online course for work or preparing a product presentation for investors, making a list of goals helps you to plan for and to take action.

Additionally, planning your goals lets you focus on what matters most and be better prepared for any obstacles that may emerge in the future. It will help you stay on top of your work and establish a good work-life balance. 

According to some studies, people have a much better chance to reach their goals when they put them on paper. Besides serving as a great motivational tool, such a list also forces you to develop calculated strategies and become more disciplined with your life in general.

There are plenty of useful apps that can help you keep track of your goals. Some noteworthy examples include Todoist, Microsoft’s To Do, and Things.

If you’re on the go a lot, consider opting for an app that works both on your cell phone and on your computer.

6. Determine your most productive time

Owl sitting with eyes closed

Experts claim that the human mind is at its most focused state during the morning.

However, it’s best to experiment with different schedules to find the most effective one for your needs. 

Some people tend to feel more motivated in the morning, whereas others find themselves more productive during the night.

To make the most of your day, try to identify your most productive time and then create your working schedule around it.

7. Keep a positive attitude

Wooden blocks spelling out be positive

It takes hard work and dedication to build self-discipline. That’s why it’s vital to maintain a positive attitude in life, especially during hardship.

Optimism keeps you positive and builds better relationships with other people. When you’re optimistic, you’re also more likely to give your best effort in achieving the life you desire.

Researchers now agree that positive thinking and optimism can increase one’s life span, lower rates of depression, and make someone more adaptable in stressful situations.

Plus, self-appreciation helps you stay motivated to work harder and improve yourself as a person and a professional. 

When you come face-to-face with a failure or hardship, take your time to reflect on your actions. This practice allows you to recognize your talents and skills, and boosts your sense of self-esteem along the way.

It’s much more useful to keep moving forward if you’re excited about the prospects of your future, despite the obstacles that may occur along the way.

So try and remember to get back to your happy place every now and then. 

8. Stay motivated

Motivational sign in black

Having the motivation helps you stay focused on your goals and allows you to develop self-control much easier.

It’s the effort to take action and make a difference in life, and while it can be easy to attain, it’s much harder to sustain.

When trying to develop a habit, motivation helps you shape your daily routines. It’s vital to find what motivates you the most and pushes you to take that first step.

The best books on discipline say that one of the best ways to stay motivated is to have a daily schedule.

By mentally preparing yourself for certain activities to take place, you leave no (or much less) room for making excuses.

If you’re a competitive person, you can view your daily routine tasks as a set of challenges for yourself. Having small rewards for your efforts will help you recognize your accomplishments and make them more fun along the way. 

9. Seek out support

A group of friends in a field against a blue sky

If reading self-discipline books isn’t helping you find your focus, you might benefit from talking to other people.

Support groups are ideal for people who want to share their struggles in maintaining a disciplined life. You’ll meet other people who might have similar struggles as you, thus making it easier for you to get through it all.

Alternatively, you can consult a mental health professional and schedule for therapy session instead.

There’s nothing wrong with seeking professional help to aid your journey in becoming a disciplined individual, especially if you’re trying to break a bad habit.

Talking to your loved ones may also help you to recover from a tough time. There’s no shame in asking for help, especially from people you care about the most.

10. Ask someone to become your mentor

Man coaching a woman at a table

If you don’t know where to start, seeking guidance from someone you trust is also a viable option.

Finding a mentor who can provide useful advice for your personal and professional development is something worth considering.

A good mentor should have similar visions and goals as you since you’ll be learning from their past mistakes and experiences. This could be anyone from your workplace, school, or an online forum you often find yourself browsing.

Similarly, one should always keep an open mind.

By admitting your lack of knowledge, you allow yourself to take the new information more gracefully, becoming a much better person than you were the day before.

Frequently asked questions about self-discipline

Wanting to become more focused and productive are honorable goals that everyone should strive for.

To get you off to a great start, we’ve got the most common questions regarding self-discipline and its practice covered.

Is self-discipline a skill that can be learned?

Blurred car lights on a bridge at sunset

Yes, self-discipline is a learned skill that anyone can master. While it does take hard work, dedication, and lots of repetition in order to build healthy habits, it’s far from impossible.

You can hone discipline by practicing self-control, keeping an open mind, and taking care of yourself.

Having clear goals and motivations will also help you maintain the daily routine needed for self-improvement.

Why do I have no discipline?

Many people lack discipline due to their inability to set tangible goals. Having no willpower to develop it is also a contributing factor.

Therefore, it’s essential to find your inner motivation to change that fact first.

Why is self-discipline so difficult?

Daily distractions, previous experiences, and even today’s social media climate may hinder your journey in becoming a self-disciplined person.

Finding yourself in harmful situations can also tempt you to fall into your old habits.

To ease your road to success, make conscious decisions to avoid those temptations and distractions. It’d also be better to surround yourself with supportive people who can help you stay on track. 

How fast can I self-discipline myself? 

That depends on many things, like your personality and your current lifestyle. 

It’s much easier to practice self-discipline, to study or work, and feel happy when you’re in good spirits, have all your basic needs (think housing, finances, relationships, and so on) met, and aren’t stressed. 

But not many of us lead these picture-perfect lives, and that’s okay. It’s important to remember to start with small changes to your daily routines and keep consistent with the new habits you’re trying to introduce to your life.

Treat personal development as an ongoing process or a journey, rather than a quick fix. 

Can I study self-discipline? 

Yes. There are many self-help books and online courses available to make you more productive and focused. 

If you want to understand more about the human mind, there are different disciplines of psychology that explore self-control at a university level.

To specialize in impulse control and self-focus, you will more likely than not need a bachelor’s degree in psychology. 

You can also use many free resources online. Search for YouTube videos on productivity hacks and podcasts on focus techniques, for example.

Written by

Author avatar

Matleena

Matleena is a seasoned eCommerce writer, with a particular interest in emerging digital marketing trends, dropshipping, and growth hacking. She’s addicted to coming up with new eCommerce business ideas and making them a reality; she deserves her nickname of ‘print on demand business mogul.' In her free time, she enjoys cups of good coffee, tends to her balcony garden, and studies Japanese.

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