How to Build Self-Discipline: 5 Ways to Become More Disciplined

by | September 17, 2019

I’ve struggled with self-discipline since I was a little kid. I’ve always rebelled against the rules, set not only by others but also by myself.

This self-sabotaging behavior led me to procrastinate on taking action most of my life. Until I decided that it was time to evolve and go past it.

Here’s the thing, though: discipline doesn’t work the way you want it to. Your mind will always try to keep you safe and protected by not letting you try these new scary things that you know you need to do.

So, you have to learn how to work with your mind and be patient with yourself throughout this whole process.

If you want to learn how to become more self-disciplined, here’s an audio version of this article:

1. Do Something Small 

One of the reasons we struggle with self-discipline is because we want to do too many things at once and we quickly become overwhelmed. By dividing your big tasks into small chunks, it will be a lot easier for you to do them.

For example, if you need to build self-discipline in the workplace, make a deal with yourself that you’re going to work on that task for 5 minutes and then, take a break. 

The interesting thing is that once you start, you’ll probably work more than 5 minutes and get it done before you know it. 

The problem with building self-discipline doesn’t come from not wanting to do the work, but from having resistance from starting it.

That’s why the first step is the most important one. Do something small and build up from there.

2. Eliminate Distractions

We’ve heard that one many times before, yet we still have a hard time doing it. The question is why?

Our distractions have great design, a lot of thought put into them, they’re these cute, shiny objects, that want our attention… And, yes, I’m mainly talking about our smartphones and computers.

People spent millions of dollars creating apps that are literally making us addicted to our phones and we still wonder why we live in a world where it’s so hard to build self-discipline.

Here are several suggestions to eliminate distractions.

What I did in the past few weeks was to delete all social media apps from my phone. And I’ve logged out from my Facebook account so that it’s harder to login even if I have the urge to do so.

The funny thing is, after a day or two, I completely forgot about it. 

So, what I advise you to do is take a merciless look at all the things that are wasting your time and remove them from your life.

If deleting them seems like a radical decision, at least turn off your notifications, put your phone on airplane mode or in another room.

As far as desktop distractions go, use Chrome and Safari extensions such as Facebook Eradicator that will help you boost your productivity.

If you want to build self-discipline in another area, such as sports, find out what your resistance is. Is it because you don’t like going to the gym? Is it because you don’t see the results you want? Or are you just feeling lazy and unmotivated?

I’ve done an entire video on what to do when you have no motivation, you can check it out here:

3. Write Things Down

Did you know you’re 42% more likely to achieve your goals if you write them down? The act of writing down goals forces you to visualize the goal itself, how to achieve it, and what steps you need to take to get there.

If that’s not great news, I don’t know what is 🙂

Grab a pen and a piece of paper and start writing your goals. I want you to write down your number one goal for today and break it down into small achievable action steps.

Let’s say, my daily goal is to get two podcast episodes done. What I need to do first is to do some research for topic ideas. The second step is to write an outline for the first episode. Then, plug my microphone and record it, etc.

It’s easier to be self-disciplined when you know exactly what you need to do. And by doing one task after the other you build momentum. That’s exactly what we’re going for.

We want to get you into that state of flow where you’re no longer thinking about the things you’d rather be doing, but you’re focused on the task at hand.

4. Reward Yourself

Being self-disciplined doesn’t mean cutting pleasant things out of your life. In fact, when you’re satisfied with yourself, it’s even more pleasurable to have that well-deserved relaxation time.

If you’re struggling with convincing yourself to do hard tasks, always think of a little reward at the end of the day. This will give you something to look forward to and further motivation to start doing the thing you know you need to do.

For example, I love pamper routines. So for me, the act of watching beauty videos on YouTube while doing my nighttime skincare routine is a well-deserved reward! It helps me to unwind after a long day.

What is your favorite way of rewarding yourself? Comment down below!

5. Let Go of the Outcome

You won’t build self-discipline if you’re constantly fixated on the final outcome. You will worry, procrastinate, and find excuses to postpone doing the actual work.

The final outcome is not entirely up to you. There are circumstances that you can’t predict. What you can predict, though, is that if you don’t do the work first, you will definitely not get the outcome that you want.

So, instead of fixating on the final result, keep your eyes on the only thing that matters: the present moment. As my favorite Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu says in Tao te Ching:

Do your work, then step back. The only path to serenity. Click To Tweet


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