Self-discipline is one of the most important characteristics of a successful person, but it is
something many people lack. Here are some best ways to develop self-discipline for achieving
WHAT’S IN IT
How to develop self-discipline?
But before jumping to the ways of developing self-discipline you should develop the mindset of
a disciplined person. A few ideas in this article are inspired by the book “No Excuses: The Power of Self-Discipline”
Mind-set for self-discipline
1. Self-discipline and success
Meaning of success is different for everyone, for some, it might be becoming as rich as possible
and for others, it might be becoming as happy as possible.
Be it any profession or any field of life in which you want to achieve success, you need to figure
out two things: 1) What is being successful in that field according to you 2) What does it take to
achieve that success, in other words, what all you need to do in order to achieve that success.
After that, you need to determine what you are willing to sacrifice in order to do whatever it takes
to become successful. The last thing is to make this sacrifice, no matter what.
2. Self-discipline and character
The choices and decisions you made in the past have contributed the most to the life you live
today. And these choices reflect your values and your values reflect your character and self-
So next time you make a choice, make a hard choice and right choice, not an easy and wrong
choice. Make the choices that make you feel uncomfortable.
Because the choices you will make today will decide your future. Start living life with high value
choices and see how it will improve your self-esteem.
3. Self-discipline and responsibility
Let me remind you one thing; your life is your responsibility, not anyone else’s. You are
responsible and accountable for the decisions and actions that you make and take.
I am reminding you of this because you might have a habit of blaming your financial situation,
you parents, your friends etc. and might make a lot of excuses as to why your life is not what you
want it to be.
Take full responsibility for your life on your shoulder and stop blaming others. You are the
the driver of the vehicle in which you complete the journey of your life.
4. Self-discipline and goals
The dreams you have are just wishes, not goals. Because you daydream about becoming
successful but do you think without taking actions you could get there?
Without actions, you can never get there. In certain studies, it was found that people who set
specific goals, write them down and also write an action plan become successful much faster
then the people who just wish their dreams come true.
All you have to do is just take a piece of paper and write down your goals, the action plan and
decide a deadline for the goals. And magically you will develop discipline.
5. Self-discipline and personal excellence
Your ability to become successful depends highly on your personal excellence. The best way to
increase personal excellence is to invest in yourself. You should learn every day.
Determine what all skills and knowledge you need to acquire to become successful. Then again
the knowledge and skills. Keep learning every day. You can never be perfect in everything but
you can definitely learn and master the skills.
6. Self-discipline and courage
Courage is the act of doing something even after being afraid that you might fail. You will
always have fear whenever you try to do something big and meaningful in life. But this fear
should not stop you.
You actually need courage for two things: 1) Taking action, and 2) Being patient.
Be courageous in your approach and don’t be afraid to risk failure. Yes, you might fail but at least
you will learn from the experience. And being patient is simply continuing to work with the
same enthusiasm even after seeing slow progress.
7. Self-discipline and persistence
The act of persistence is to keep moving forward even after failure, setbacks and obstacles. For
staying persistent you need to have a never give up attitude.
You should be ready for the worst-case scenario. Expect things to go wrong. Expect to fail. And
then prepare how to deal with the failure and keep moving forward in a disciplined manner.
Every failure will teach you a lesson so just focus on the lessons and make you one step wiser
and try one more time
8. Self-discipline and work
An average human wastes around 50% of their time on tasks that are not meaningful. You need
to set it clearly in your mind, what tasks are relevant and meaningful for you to do and what are not.
In order to do this, you need to make a list of tasks according to the value these tasks bring to
you. In other words, prioritize the tasks.
You can also use the 80/20 principle, that 20% of the tasks will bring you 80% of the value.
Doing so will make you more productive at work.
Ways to develop self-discipline
1. Set long term and short term goals with a deadline
Everyone wants to achieve something big in their life but only a few are able to do it. It is
because only those few people set actual goals and others just have dreams. The difference
between dreams and goals is that a goal is very specific.
Write down what you want to achieve in a long term. Then break these goals into short term
tasks. For example, you want to make one million dollars within the next 12 months. This is your
long term goal.
When you break it into months, for instance, 85000 dollars every month then it becomes a short
term goal. You can even further divide it into weekly goals and daily goals. It will keep you self-
motivated and hence will help you in developing self-discipline. Just always make sure your
goals have a deadline
2. Find your Purpose and motivation
So now that you are done with goal setting its time to find your purpose and motivation. To
motivate yourself you need to know your “why”. And your “why” is your purpose.
Simply ask yourself “why should I achieve my goals?” and what will happen if I don’t achieve
These two questions will give you clarity on your purpose and help in building motivation to
achieve the set goals. And as a result, it will help in developing self-discipline.
3. Develop an action plan
After knowing your purpose and building motivation you will be ready to work. So now it’s time
to develop an action plan. The action plan will contain a detailed picture of what you want to do
and what steps are required to be taken to achieve your goals.
An action plan should be reviewed and updated after a certain period of time. Keep improving it.
Not making an action plan can also be a reason why you lack self-discipline. An action plan will
always remind you what action you need to take and when you need to do it.
4. Avoid Temptations
Sometimes what happens is you have gained self-discipline for a few weeks but suddenly you
see a decrease in discipline and motivation. This happens because of the distractions you
You have to start avoiding these distractions and temptation. Try switching off your mobile
phone or anything that distracts you. Set a certain time for indulging in such activities.
Distraction can be the most influential cause for lack of self-discipline.
5. Stop complaining
Just stop making excuses. As mentioned earlier, you are alone responsible for what choices you
make. So you can choose to make excuses or choose to take action.
If you always find an excuse as to why you can’t do something, just think about a person who
was in a much worse condition than you are in was able to accomplish the task that you also want
Just imagine you have a great business idea but just because you have a habit of making excuses
you didn’t start working on it. Now after 2-3 years you read in the news that a person who
worked on the same idea that you had has become a multimillionaire. How will you feel?
If you have an idea or a meaningful goal, take it as a blessing and start working towards it from
today itself. “You always have less time than you think you have.”
6. Develop habits
When you try to develop a new habit the brain will make you feel uncomfortable as it doesn’t
like change. So remember “don’t hesitate to make yourself uncomfortable.”
As we discussed earlier self-discipline and courage, you need to be courageous with your
And the funny thing is that your brain will soon become comfortable with the uncomfortable. So
keep taking actions until you develop a habit to do it.
7. Monitor your progress
Always keep a track of your progress. It will show how far you have come. Sometimes you will
see very fast progress and other times you will see slow progress. So remember that you have to
be patient and keep moving forward. Think long term and realize how small progress every day
will become big progress in the next 4-5 years. “Slow progress is also progress.”
Before trying to develop self-discipline you should build the right mind-set. Then set goals, find
your purpose, prepare an action plan, avoid any distractions and excuses, build a habit and keep
track of your progress. Be courageous and never be afraid to make yourself uncomfortable.
Also you can read our blog on How self-motivated are you?