Inside: Do you have things you want to accomplish, but are having trouble getting them done? Use these ways to develop discipline in your daily life to help you make more progress.
Do you ever find yourself staring at your to-do list and realizing you’ve made no progress?
Or do you set goals for yourself, only to find yourself totally distracted and focused on something else?
Do you know what you need to do – but just can’t bring yourself to make it happen?
If this sounds familiar, you might need to develop a little more discipline in your life.
Discipline is something that may carry a negative association for some. It might remind you of being disciplined as a child – but that’s not what we’re talking about here.
We’re talking about self-discipline which is a skill that many of us can benefit from in our daily lives. Discipline isn’t just something that’s nice to do have if you want to achieve your goals and make positive changes in your life – it’s necessary.
And it doesn’t have to be difficult.
What is Discipline – and Why Does It Matter?
Discipline is your ability to hold yourself accountable and do what needs to be done – even if you don’t necessarily want to.
It’s a critical skill that many of us need to succeed in the world, and it’s one that’s introduced to many of us early on. As we grow, we’re introduced to the importance of discipline at school and at home.
Doing our homework and studying for tests requires discipline. Showing up to soccer practice after school takes discipline. Doing your chores? Yep, that’s discipline, too.
But many of us are introduced to the idea of discipline without really understanding why.
Why does discipline matter?
The answer becomes more apparent as you grow older. As a kid, you have someone there to hold you accountable. You’re reminded to eat your veggies, brush your teeth, do your homework, and go to bed on time.
As an adult? There’s nobody there to hold you accountable – it’s all on you. And the stakes are a lot higher.
You’ve got deadlines at work, bills to pay, and maybe even other little humans – or pets – who depend on your ability to stay disciplined. You’ve got to do the work, even if it’s difficult or unpleasant.
When you develop discipline, you make it easier for yourself to navigate life’s challenges and overcome obstacles. You learn how to push forward and persevere, even when you don’t want to.
By developing a disciplined mindset, you set yourself up for success – and make it easier to achieve it.
If you aren’t feeling very disciplined right now, don’t worry – there’s still hope.
Discipline isn’t something we’re born with – it’s something we develop. Like a muscle, you can strengthen your sense of discipline by putting in the work.
4 Ways to Develop Discipline in Your Life
Ready to become a more disciplined person? It won’t happen overnight, but with a little effort, you can develop discipline in your life.
Here’s how you can make it happen:
1. Make sure you know your goals.
Knowing what goals you’re working toward is the first step in becoming more disciplined.
Without knowing what you’re working toward, it can be difficult – if not impossible – to actually hold yourself accountable.
Clearly define your goals and put them somewhere visible. Write them down on sticky notes and put them on your bathroom mirror. Put them on a whiteboard in your kitchen, or on your cell phone’s wallpaper.
By keeping those goals visible and top-of-mind, you’re more likely to hold yourself accountable and less inclined to brush them aside.
2. Understand your why.
You need more than a goal to develop discipline. You need to look a little deeper and make sure you know why that goal is important to you.
Why do you want to be able to run a marathon?
Why do you want to earn that promotion at work?
Want to stop smoking, eat healthier, or kick that bad habit? Why?
By getting really clear on why your goal matters, it becomes much easier to convince yourself to take action and do whatever it takes to get there.
If you can remind yourself exactly why you’re running a mile each morning, you’ll be way more likely to lace up your shoes and make it happen – instead of telling yourself it can wait.
Everyone has their own why. Whether you’re setting a goal or making a change for your personal wellbeing, your mental health, your family or friends, your sense of financial security, your future potential, or something else, it’s absolutely critical to figure out what’s truly driving you – and keep it top of mind as you work to develop discipline.
3. Build helpful habits.
Habits are incredibly powerful tools that benefit numerous areas of our lives – including our ability to develop discipline.
Habits are essentially little actions we incorporate into our lives on a regular, routine basis.
While they can be difficult to form, through repetition, our habits become easy and virtually effortless. Because of this, habits can be a tremendous tool in helping us become more disciplined.
Consider what habits might help you achieve your goals through discipline – and find a way to incorporate them throughout your day.
One effective way to build new habits involves ‘habit stacking,’ or linking habits together so that one triggers the next.
By connecting a new habit you’re trying to build – for example, taking a daily multivitamin – to a habit you already practice, like eating breakfast each morning, you’ll make it easier for yourself to achieve that habit and embrace that sense of discipline.
4. Get rid of temptation.
Temptation is the enemy of discipline.
And while some people are great at resisting temptation, saying ‘no’, and sticking to a plan – some of us aren’t so lucky.
If you’re struggling to develop self-discipline because you have too many temptations leading you astray, the answer is pretty simple – find ways to get rid of them.
Can’t seem to say no to sweets, even though you’re determined to drop 10 lbs and stick to your diet? Get rid of the temptation by skipping the cookies at the grocery store and keeping your pantry free of the things that’ll derail you from your goals.
Trying to drink less? Make plans with friends that don’t involve restaurants or bars. Enjoy a picnic, go for a bike ride together, or try a new hobby.
Struggling to go to sleep on time? Take your television out of your bedroom, put your phone on silent in a separate space, and get rid of other distractions that cause you to stay up so late.
By taking action to eliminate temptation from your daily life, you’ll find it much easier to stay disciplined and achieve your goals, whatever they might be.
What have you done to develop discipline in your life? Leave a comment and let me know!
Sign up on the form below to get weekly tips on living intentionally sent straight to your inbox! You’ll also get the free Habit Tracker Worksheet to help you get started on being more disciplined with habits right away!