How to develop self discipline and self control

What is self discipline?

Do we need Self discipline  or self control?

Discipline is generally understood as following systematic instruction that is given, in order to fall in line with a particular code of conduct or order. Self-discipline or self control on the other hand is adopted by the individual to streamline his or her life, behaviour, actions, thoughts, words, career etc. Self discipline is known by other names, a juggler calls it practice, a musician call it rehearsals, a sportsman calls it training, it is sustained, repeated, systematic action that brings about performance that is close to perfection.

Life without self-discipline is like scattering a bag of seeds on the path and expecting to get flowers and fruits out of it. Anything could happen to those seeds: they may be eaten up by birds, trampled upon or may even grow, but would rarely produce any fruits at all. Exercising discipline or self-control is to take responsibility for every situation and circumstance in one’s life. Most people who come for counseling have excuses or blame others for their circumstances, or blame their luck for all that has happened to them. This leaves just one person out- yes, themselves.

Why do we need  self control or self discipline?


Action or behavior is stimulated by two sources: thoughts and feelings/emotions. Self discipline facilitates action initiated by thoughts and not by how one feels. When actions or reactions are resultant of thoughts, the locus of control is internal. Simply put, the individual is in charge of the situation. The individual exercises sufficient control over thoughts, behavior, speech and action, weighs out the outcomes and come to a decision On the other hand, when actions or reactions are based on feelings or impulses, without giving a thought to what is done, emotions take over our rational behavior, and the individual is no more in control of the outcome.

Self-discipline can be considered to be a tool to tweak one’s thoughts, emotions, speech and actions. It is an important life skill that enables people to achieve their goals or vision. It is the compass that points people in the right direction. It instills in the person a sense or worth or achievement and causes one’s self confidence or self esteem to steadily increase.

Life is all about making choices, and a person who is in control of his thoughts is able to make intelligent choices that are based on rational thoughts, value systems, beliefs and priorities, such decisions and outcomes from these decisions will help the person grow from strength to strength. Impulsive people on the other hand are constantly seeking emotional fulfillment, jumping into one decision after another without giving it a thought. This could not only result in embarrassment but could set them up for failure

How do you practice the art of self discipline?

Let us start at the very beginning. Look at the things that you want to be a part of your everyday life which you have still not incorporated. Let us say it is a morning walk.

Write down your plan for the day, incorporating the timing for a 15 minute walk. Write down what you want to achieve by including that activity in your daily plan. Statements like, want to lose weight will not work, be specific as in 10 pounds in 6 months.

Make a commitment to stick to the plan despite difficulties. This is the most important part of self discipline, you need to be aware of what you need to do and why. You need to be pretty convinced before you start follow your plan of action.

Start by planning your day, making sure that you fit this activity without disturbing your other activities, and get up earlier so that you are not late for work.

Schedule any new activity for just fifteen minutes a day. Have a scheduled start time and keep to that time, do not give excuses. Never allow yourself to say, “I will walk for 30 minutes tomorrow”. Once you let that excuse creep in, you may have to start all over again. Discipline is all about sticking to the established rules and here, they would mean following the ground rules that you have set for yourself.


Tips to practice self discipline and self control

Talking to yourself and motivating your self to stick to the program and encouraging yourself would keep you well on the track.

You need to be aware of one more fact here that when you are trying to change some of your old ways of living there will be a lot of resistance from your mind. The word discipline has negative connotations attached to it and this does not help either. Any change is resisted until it becomes a set habit. Use techniques like positive affirmation, visualization etc.to program your mind.

You can trick your mind into believing that the new activity that you are taking up is actually part of another. Combine two activities together, walk the dog, get the groceries by pairing two activities one old and the other new the resistance becomes less.

You could also trick your mind in another way, if you have a cup of your favorite coffee in the morning combine this to your new activity as a reward, have your coffee after your walk.

If you for any reason could not keep up with the plan start at the beginning.

Once this new habit is set, it becomes a routine over a period of time. It takes about fourteen days to break an old habit and another seven to ten days to form a new habit. A routine now takes care of itself and allows you to multitask and club other task with it. Self discipline now gives you the freedom to achieve much with minimal effort.

Do you think that these steps to devlop self discipline are easy to follow?

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Self control and self discipline the way to self confidence and self esteem


If you exercise discipline in the way you think, all negative thoughts, attitudes and unnecesary ego battles can be avoided.

If your speech is disciplined, you could win friends and influence even those who are not so friendly by your moderate and tactful handling of situations. Your relationships will zoom to higher level.

Your work life can become more productive and organized if you exercise self discipline. Prioritizing tasks, setting goals, working methodically to achieve them spurs career growth.

Your bank balance will grow when you plan, budget and discipline yourself to avoid impulsive spending.

If you could exercise self discipline in your eating habits, and set up new activity and exercise routines you could lead a health and active life without any major health issues related to sedentary living.

If you exercise self discipline over your emotions, you could avoid mood swings, choose to be happy and content with making what you have, work for you. This will enhance your relationships with other.

Learning anything new is much easier if you are self disciplined. Your attention and concentration is focused and you will be able to get the maximum benefit in minimal time.

Everyone has a certain level of discipline; we just need to increase these levels of self discipline to make life easy for us. Though it is difficult at first it is one of the most rewarding life skills that is worth cultivating. Self discipline will soon mean freedom to do what you want.

Self control and self discipline is the way to self confidence and self esteem.


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10 comments

Paradise7 profile image

Paradise7 6 years ago from Upstate New York

Terrific hub, lots of good advice. I really think we in America need this hub. We've become really quite soft on ourselves. There's a "victim" philosophy going around.


sofs profile image

sofs 6 years ago Author

Paradise thank for your fast comment, I think some people every where give up so easily for lack of self discipline.I do agree that some of us have become very soft on ourselves, my desire is to reach out and tell the reader that it is not hard after all! Thank you for all your comments and your encouragement. God bless!


timorous profile image

timorous 6 years ago from Me to You

Hey, nice hub sofs; I quite agree. It's unfortunate that a lot of people are stressed out, or figure it's too much trouble to change their ways. They need to relieve the stress..deep breathing, exercise, laugh a lot.

It takes a different mindset to force yourself into a self-control and discipline mode. Still, anybody can do it, once they see the advantages and results.


sofs profile image

sofs 6 years ago Author

Timorous, developing self discipline just requires a little tweaking of what is already there in us, all of have certain routines established in our lives, all that needs to be done is to added newer tasks to the established routine and it is done. Yup it is the mind set that needs to be changed. You are right on..

Thank you so much for for this comment which I consider as a value addition to this page. God bless!


vydyulashashi profile image

vydyulashashi 6 years ago from Hyderabad,India

The most triggering factor in many fragile issues is self control! If one can learn about it,how to develop self control,it will keep them away from many issues.

Good hub.

God bless you.


Loves To Read profile image

Loves To Read 6 years ago

Very good and useful hub Sofs. The hardest part is to get into a routine and stick to it. As you say if you plan to do 15 minutes of walking, studying etc you must get up at least half an hour before. If you wait until the last minute to get up you will always end up running late so you skip your 15 minutes of whatever. It's too easy then to say, i'll do it later.

God Bless


sofs profile image

sofs 6 years ago Author

Shashi, a pleasure to have you here, yes the lack of self discipline is the trigger behind every failed relationship,or goal achievement, or academic honor. I just did a quick study before I published this hub and it also indicated that most of us easily give in just because we have not developed the material to hold out!

I do appreciate your stopping by and recording your comment. Thank you and God Bless!


sofs profile image

sofs 6 years ago Author

Loves to read, it has been sometime since our paths crossed. It is wonderful to hear your analysis always, you sum it up so well. My intention is to provoke desire to act and set a routine in place, though it may appear to be difficult believe me it is not, I have tried and practice, what I write. Thank you and God Bless!


A la carte profile image

A la carte 6 years ago from Australia

I have never been overly fond of self discipline. I know I need it..just not been a priority for me..until now. Your hub has really set me thinking about a few things I need to do..so thank you


sofs profile image

sofs 6 years ago Author

None of us are! The truth is though self discipline is hard at first it is truly the most awesome gift you can ever give yourself. It simplifies our life so much making us wonder why didn't we do it earlier!!

I am glad that this has set you thinking... all changes start there! God Bless!

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