7 steps to master self-discipline


Have you ever been tempted to do something which you later felt guilty about? Times like these are usually due to a lack of discipline. Having self-discipline is important as it helps us be productive even when we don’t feel like it.

Being able to master self-discipline keeps us motivated, clear-headed and focused on our objectives.

It helps us say no to that extra slice of cake and encourages us to maintain a consistent exercise schedule and achieve our health and fitness goals. To master self-discipline you need to make good long-term decisions by overcoming short-term temptations.

It’s our willingness to accept discomfort and can be a reflection of self-love. How much do you love and care for yourself that you are willing to make sacrifices for your own good?

Self-discipline is about leaning into resistance. Taking action in spite of how you feel. Living a life by design, not by default. But most importantly, it’s acting in accordance with your thoughts – not your feelings.” – Samuel Thomas Davies

How do you learn self-control and master self-discipline?

To master self-control takes time and patience

Perhaps you want to cut out sugary foods from your diet, be more productive, or save money and stick to a budget. Whatever it may be, think of discipline as training, not punishment.

Once you change your mindset about what discipline really is as something positive, you start to welcome self-discipline into your life. It’s a skill that will help you become more productive and bring you closer to success.

The good thing is that this is something you can learn and repeatedly practise until you master self-discipline.

Here are 7 ways to help you master self-discipline:

These 7 tips will help you master self-discipline

Master self-discipline: Step 1. Find your ‘why?’

Find your purpose, a strong motivating reason for why you are doing this. Create SMART goals and write them down on a ranked list based on priority. You’re much more likely to practice self-discipline if you are working towards a goal and have a clear understanding of what that goal is.

If you find that you are struggling to be disciplined or your actions are not meeting the needed actions to hit the goals, there is a high chance that these goals are not strong enough or you may not care enough. It might be time to reset your goals.

Master self-discipline: Step 2. Focus on one goal at a time

Only focus your willpower and self-discipline on one task at a time. The key is to be wise with how you spend your self-discipline and to use it on singular activities to turn into habits before moving on to the next one. It’s okay to start small. Your first goal could be as simple as making your bed every morning.

When an activity becomes a habit, it takes a lot less willpower.

Master self-discipline: Step 3. Create an action plan

Write down a list of necessary actions or ‘mini goals’ that you need to achieve in order to accomplish your overall goal. These are mini-milestones that break the goals down into manageable pieces. You can start slow and work toward your goal over time.

Creating deadlines can help you keep track of any progress you make. Trying to accomplish a goal without a plan is like setting off to an unknown country without a roadmap.

Yes, you can eventually get somewhere, but it will take you a lot longer, and you’ll have a higher chance of getting lost.

Read more: 7 Tips For Controlling Your Social Media Habits

Master self-discipline: Step 4. Be consistent

Showing up and putting in the work every day does wonder for mental endurance. You can’t master self-discipline overnight, but staying consistent can help you build focus and realise that it takes time and hard work to reap the benefits and achieve anything great.

It’s all about doing it over and over again until it becomes a habit and you do it on autopilot.

Master self-discipline: Step 5. Remove temptation

Eliminating temptation is a must if you’re going to master self-discipline. If your goal is to start eating healthy, being surrounded by junk food and trying to pick and choose the healthy options in your kitchen won’t work.

Instead, the right thing to do is to eliminate unhealthy foods from your diet, your house, and your mind altogether.

Try to remove anything that you feel might trigger you into getting back on the wrong path. For many of us, it’s our mobile phones.

Master self-discipline: Step 6. Plan for temptation

Plan ahead for any temptations you can’t avoid using the ‘if-then’ technique. This technique will force you to do something pre-planned and specific every time something happens.

For example, if I need to buy a coffee from the cafe, then I will only bring enough money to buy just one coffee, not a coffee and a doughnut. It’s a pre-planned decision of self-control that will prevent you from having to use your willpower to resist temptation.

This technique is specifically great to use when we anticipate that there will be times when temptations will come up, and our willpower might be low.

Master self-discipline: Step 7. Use rewards

Learn how to master self-discipline and you can relax like Homer here

Positive reinforcements are a great way to make sure our new and healthy habits stick around. Don’t be afraid to reward yourself for any improvements made. You are more likely to behave a certain way when you know there’s a reward on the line.

By celebrating these small victories, you build momentum, and it may motivate you to work harder by having something to look forward to.

The wrap up

Self-discipline is a way of life. Just by doing one thing differently, you can change your entire way of living. In the end, it empowers us to live our lives the way we want to, but don’t be too hard on yourself. Maybe you didn’t exercise when you knew you should have.

Failure doesn’t define who you are, but your ability to keep going is what shapes you into a disciplined person. Just because you have one bad day doesn’t mean that it needs to turn into a bad week or a bad month.

Don’t forget that every day is a new day and a new opportunity to work towards your goals.

Interested in learning more? 💡

The Swag blog is full of articles and ideas to be your best self at work. Whether you want to smash your career goals or stay up to date with the latest workplace trends, we’ve got something for you.


The information in this article is current as at July 2023, and has been prepared by Employment Hero Pty Ltd (ABN 11 160 047 709) and its related bodies corporate (Employment Hero) for its Swag brand. The views expressed in this article are general information provided in good faith to assist job seekers in the current market, and should not be relied on as professional advice. Some Information is based on data supplied by third parties and whilst such data is believed to be accurate, it has not been independently verified and no warranties are given that it is complete, accurate, up to date or fit for the purpose for which it is required. Employment Hero does not accept responsibility for any inaccuracy in such data and is not liable for any loss or damages arising directly or indirectly as a result of reliance on, use of or inability to use any information provided in this article. You should undertake your own research and seek professional advice before making any important career decisions or solely relying on the information in this article.

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