You know you have big dreams and goals that you want to achieve in life. Maybe you want to start a business, get in the best shape of your life, or learn a new skill. But sometimes it feels like those goals are always just out of reach. What’s the missing ingredient? Self-discipline. Having the ability to stay focused, avoid distractions, and put in the hard work is what separates those who succeed from those who don’t.

The good news is self-discipline is a skill you can build. Want to know how? Keep reading this article for 11 practical ways to become more self-disciplined so you can start making your dreams a reality. With a little effort, you’ll be on your way to crushing your goals.

Define What Self-Discipline Is and Why It Matters

Self-discipline means doing what you know you should do, even when you don’t feel like it. It’s the ability to motivate yourself to achieve your goals and stick to your commitments.

Why Develop Self-Discipline? Without self-discipline, you’ll struggle to achieve meaningful success. You need it to develop strong habits, overcome procrastination, and push through challenges. Some key benefits of self-discipline include:

  • Achieving your goals. Self-discipline gives you the strength and perseverance to work towards your goals each and every day, even when times get tough.
  •  Improving your productivity. Self-discipline helps you focus your time and energy on what really matters so you can get more done each day.
  •  Gaining valuable life skills. Self-discipline teaches you important skills like time-management, hard work, and responsibility that translate to all areas of life.
  •  Reducing stress and anxiety. With self-discipline, you gain more control over your thoughts and actions. You can avoid distraction and focus on one thing at a time, leading to greater peace of mind and wellbeing.
  •  Creating good habits. Self-discipline is essential for establishing positive habits and behaviors that can benefit you for life. Without it, good habits won’t stick and bad habits prevail.

Self-discipline may not always come easy, but it is a skill that can be strengthened and developed over time through practice and persistence. And the rewards of self- discipline are well worth the effort required to achieve them.

Success Starts with Self-Discipline

Self-discipline is the key to achieving long-term success. It allows you to develop good habits, overcome distractions and procrastination, and accomplish your goals. People with high levels of self-discipline tend to be more productive, organized and happy.

Self-discipline helps you:

  •  Develop healthy habits. With self-discipline, you can form good daily routines around exercise, nutrition, sleep and other lifestyle factors that boost your health and wellbeing.
  •  Stay focused on priorities. It gives you the willpower to avoid distractions and time wasters, so you can concentrate your energy on what matters most.
  •  Accomplish goals. Self-discipline provides the motivation to take consistent action toward your objectives, even on days you lack inspiration.
  •  Build resilience. It helps you bounce back from setbacks and mistakes, keeping you moving forward instead of giving up.
  •  Increase confidence. Reaching your goals and developing good habits through self-discipline boosts your self-esteem and confidence in your abilities.

To develop stronger self-discipline, start small. Pick one habit you want to form or one goal you wish to accomplish. Create a specific plan, track your progress, and reward yourself for each milestone. Over time, you’ll find it gets easier to exercise self-control and make disciplined choices that lead you toward success.

11 Ways to Get There

Developing discipline and consistency is essential for achieving your goals and maintaining progress. Here are eleven strategies to help you build these skills:

1. Set Clear Goals to Focus Your Self-Discipline

Set Clear Goals to Focus Your Self-Discipline
Set Clear Goals to Focus Your Self-Discipline

To achieve success through self-discipline, you need to set specific and measurable goals to work towards. Write down what success looks like to you, whether it’s in your career, relationships, health, or finances. Be as detailed as possible.

Define your “why” Knowing your motivation for achieving these goals will strengthen your resolve. Ask yourself why each goal is important to you and how you will benefit by achieving them. Refer back to your “why” whenever your self-discipline starts to waver.

Set a deadline Give each goal a reasonable but challenging deadline. This adds accountability and a sense of urgency. Review your progress regularly and make adjustments as needed to stay on track. Meeting deadlines builds self-discipline over time through consistency and practice.

Break down big goals Don’t feel overwhelmed by huge, long-term goals. Break them down into smaller milestones and work on achieving those first. Celebrate achieving each milestone to stay motivated for the next one. Before you know it, all those small wins will add up to achieving your biggest goals.

Self-discipline is a learnable skill that gets stronger with regular practice. By setting clear goals, defining your motivation, establishing deadlines, and breaking down big goals into manageable steps, you can strengthen your self-discipline and achieve amazing things. Success starts with self-discipline, so start today by writing down your goals and the plan to achieve them. You’ve got this!

2. Adopt a Growth Mindset for Self-Motivation

Having a growth mindset is key to developing self-discipline. With a growth mindset, you believe that your abilities and intelligence can be developed through hard work and persistence. This makes you eager to learn and push yourself.

Develop a passion for learning. Cultivate an insatiable curiosity to learn new things. Read books, take online courses, and seek out mentors who can guide you. Continuous learning exposes you to new ideas and helps you expand your knowledge and skills. When you love learning, you’ll naturally want to push yourself outside your comfort zone.

View Failures as Opportunities to Grow. Don’t be afraid to fail. Mistakes and setbacks are inevitable in life. See them as learning opportunities instead of reasons to beat yourself up. Ask yourself, “What can I learn from this? How can I use this experience to improve?” Failure is often the best teacher. With the right mindset, failures and mistakes won’t discourage you, they’ll make you stronger and smarter.

Practice positive self-talk. Your self-talk has a huge impact on your motivation and self-discipline. Speak to yourself with encouragement and praise. Say things like, “I can get better with practice,” or ” have overcome challenges before and I will overcome this one.” Replace negative thoughts with more constructive ones. Your self-belief will translate into action and achievement.

Having a growth mindset takes conscious effort, but it leads to a lifetime of progress and success. Develop your passion for learning, view failures as stepping stones, and practice positive self-talk. With these habits, you’ll find the motivation within yourself to achieve remarkable things through self-discipline.

3. Manage Your Time Wisely Through Planning

Manage Your Time Wisely Through Planning
Manage Your Time Wisely Through Planning

To achieve self-discipline and success, you need to take control of your time. Make a schedule or routine and stick to it. Plan out your days, weeks, and months to avoid wasting time and stay focused on your priorities.

Create a Daily Routine. Start each day with a plan for what needs to get done. Wake up at the same time each day, even on weekends. Have a morning routine to prepare yourself for the day ahead. Things like exercising, meditating, and eating a healthy breakfast can energize you and boost your productivity.

Schedule Your Time. Don’t just make a to-do list. Actually allocate time slots for important tasks. This could be scheduling time for work projects, chores, errands, exercise, socializing, and leisure activities. Be realistic about how long things will take you. Leave some flexibility in your schedule for unexpected tasks or events. Review how you’re using your time each week and make adjustments as needed to achieve better balance.

Take Regular Breaks. While self-discipline is key, you also need to avoid burnout. Take short breaks when your concentration starts to wane. Even taking short walking breaks can help rejuvenate your mind and body. Try to leave work at a reasonable time and make the evenings and weekends sacrosanct for rest and relationships. Achieving work-life balance will make you happier and more productive in the long run.

Planning and managing your time effectively requires self-discipline but also gives you more freedom and flexibility. You’ll have less stress and more satisfaction knowing you’re focusing your efforts where they really matter to you. Success starts with how you choose to spend the limited time you have each day. Use it wisely!

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4. Minimize Distractions That Test Your Self-Control

Distractions are everywhere and threaten to derail your self-discipline. The notifications on your devices, social media, TV shows, and tempting snacks-all compete for your attention and willpower. To strengthen your self-control, limit distractions whenever possible.

Turn off notifications on your gadgets so you’re not tempted to check them. Let people know that you’ll respond to messages and emails during certain time periods, rather than constantly. When you need to focus, put your phone on “do not disturb” mode.

Be selective about what you watch and consume. It’s easy to get pulled into binge-watching TV shows or mindlessly scrolling social media. Choose to engage in media that inspires or educates you. Limit time-wasting websites and apps.

Keep unhealthy snacks out of sight. Stock your home with nutritious foods so you’re not tempted by chips, candy, and other junk food. Meal prep and plan so you have healthy options on hand when hunger strikes. Staying fueled with the right foods will give you energy and support your self-discipline.

The more you practice tuning out distractions, the easier it will get. Start with small changes, like not checking your phone for 30 minutes at a time or replacing sugary snacks with fruit. Build up your willpower through consistency and repetition. Success comes from mastering self-control and minimizing anything that threatens to derail you from your goals. Stay focused on what really matters to you.

5. Maintain Persistence in the Face of Setbacks

Maintain Persistence in the Face of Setbacks
Maintain Persistence in the Face of Setbacks

To achieve your goals, you need to develop persistence. This means continuing to work hard towards your goals even when faced with failures, rejections, or setbacks. Success is rarely achieved overnight, so you must be willing to overcome obstacles through determination and commitment.

When you face rejection or failure, it’s normal to feel disappointed or discouraged. But don’t let those feelings cause you to give up. Take a step back and look at the situation objectively. See if there are any lessons you can learn, then renew your determination and try again. Every successful person has faced rejections and failures along the way. The key is to persist in the face of them.

Stay focused on your goals and progress, not perfection. Don’t expect to do everything right the first time. Mistakes and setbacks are inevitable, so look at them as learning opportunities. Focus on your growth and the progress you’re making over time, not individual failures. With persistence, you can accomplish amazing things.

Staying persistent and overcoming obstacles is challenging, but it gets easier with practice. Each time you renew your determination in the face of failure, you build your mental toughness. Success comes to those who refuse to quit. So keep putting one foot in front of the other, stay focused on your goals, and never stop learning. With hard work and persistence, you absolutely can achieve success.

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6. Develop Habits and Routines That Stick

To achieve self-discipline, you need to establish habits and routines that become second nature. Start small by choosing one area of your life to focus on, like your morning routine. A consistent wake-up time, exercise, and healthy breakfast can set the right productive tone for your day.

Once that habit is ingrained, build on your success. Maybe you add in time for meditation or journaling. The key is to start small and not take on more than you can handle. Give yourself time to adjust to each new habit before adding another.

For maximum effectiveness, attach your new habits to existing ones. For example, if you already walk your dog each morning, start doing some light exercise like squats or lunges before heading out for your walk. That way you’re leveraging an existing habit to build a new one.

Be flexible and make adjustments as needed. Don’t be too hard on yourself if you slip up. Just get back to your routine the next day. Reward yourself for milestones achieved to stay motivated. Self-discipline is a journey, not a destination. With regular practice, those once-difficult habits will become second nature.

The power of habit and routine is that they minimize decision making. When habits are in place, you don’t have to spend mental energy figuring out what to do next. You just flow seamlessly into the next task. This autopilot-like state is essential for achieving self-discipline success. Put in the work to build good habits and routines, and you’ll be well on your way.

7. Practice Self-Control and Delayed Gratification

Practice Self-Control and Delayed Gratification
Practice Self-Control and Delayed Gratification

Exercising self-control and delaying gratification are two of the hardest but most rewarding skills to develop. When you have the discipline to avoid temptation and work towards long-term goals, you’ll achieve far greater success.

Start small by choosing one habit at a time to focus on improving. For example, cut back on checking social media or watching TV by 30 minutes a day. Use that time instead to read, exercise, or work on a hobby. After a few weeks of sticking to your limit, decrease it by another 30 minutes.

Gradually, you’ll gain more control over your impulses. Delaying gratification means sacrificing short-term pleasures for bigger, long-term rewards. Have a deadline coming up but friends want to go out? Politely decline the invitation and get your work done. You’ll feel better having that task completed and be able to fully enjoy yourself with friends another time.

Building self-discipline and the ability to delay rewards takes an immense amount of mental strength and practice. Start with small changes and be kind to yourself if you slip up. Each time you make the tough but right choice, your willpower grows. Success comes from the daily discipline of good habits and decisions, not quick fixes or cutting corners. Stay focused on your goals and keep putting one foot in front of the other. The rewards of self-control and patience will be well worth it.

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8. Reward Yourself for Milestones Reached

Self-discipline is challenging, so rewarding yourself for achieving your goals along the way is important for staying motivated. Set short-term targets and milestones to work toward your bigger goals and give yourself incentives when you hit them.

For example, if your goal is to lose 20 pounds in 6 months through diet and exercise, set a milestone to lose the first 5 pounds in 4 weeks. When you achieve it, treat yourself to a massage or buy tickets to your favorite sports team. Celebrating small wins will keep you driven to continue progressing toward the finish line.

Another idea is to create a rewards chart and give yourself stars or stickers for each milestone met. Once you get 10 stars, for instance, you earn a bigger reward like going out for a nice dinner or taking a day off from work. Having concrete visual reminders of your progress can be highly motivating.

You can also ask an accountability partner or coach to provide rewards and recognition for you. Let them know your goals and milestones so they can offer encouragement and small gifts, like a gift card to your favorite store, when you accomplish them. External motivation and praise can be very powerful.

The key is to frequently revisit your goals, establish reasonable milestones along the path, and genuinely reward yourself for achieving them. Staying disciplined is challenging, so maximizing motivation and maintaining momentum is critical. Celebrate all your wins, big and small, and you’ll build an unstoppable drive toward success.

9. Learn From Setbacks Instead of Beating Yourself Up

Learn From Setbacks Instead of Beating Yourself Up
Learn From Setbacks Instead of Beating Yourself Up

Everyone experiences failures and setbacks in life. The key is to not dwell on them or beat yourself up over them. Rather, adopt a growth mindset and look for the lessons you can take away. Ask yourself:

  •  What can I learn from this?
  •  How can I improve for next time?
  •  What am I grateful for in this situation?

Looking for the silver lining and opportunities for growth will make you stronger and wiser. Don’t label yourself as a “failure” or “loser” just because you’ve had a temporary setback. You are so much more than one single event.

Treat each failure as a chance to learn and do better next time. Maybe you lost a big client or didn’t get that promotion you wanted. Instead of getting down on yourself, reframe it as gaining valuable experience. Try to understand why things didn’t work out as planned. Then make a concrete plan for how you’ll improve and do things differently in the future.

Everyone stumbles at some point. What matters most is how you respond to difficulties and disappointments. Choose to respond with wisdom, courage, and determination rather than self-pity. Embrace a growth mindset, learn from your mistakes, and get ready to succeed next time! You’ve got this.

Staying focused on constant self-improvement and maintaining a positive self-image will help ensure your success and happiness over the long run. Don’t dwell on the past; just keep your eyes on the future and move forward, one step at a time. You have so much amazing potential, so stop beating yourself up and start achieving it! Success is a journey, not a destination. Leap from your failures and use them as stepping stones to becoming your best self.

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10. Minimize Distractions, Overcome Procrastination and Time Wasters

To achieve your goals and become self-disciplined, you need to avoid the things that sap your time and energy. Identify what distracts you or causes you to procrastinate and take steps to minimize them.

Turn off notifications on your devices and apps so you’re not tempted to check them. Let people know that you’ll respond to messages during certain times of the day, not constantly. Unsubscribe from websites and email newsletters that waste your time.

Make a schedule for work, tasks and projects to avoid feeling overwhelmed. Break large, daunting tasks into smaller steps. Reward yourself when you complete them to stay motivated. Start working, even if you don’t feel like it. You’ll usually gain momentum and motivation once you’ve begun.

Remove clutter and excess physical items from your space. A messy, chaotic environment reduces focus and productivity. Have a dedicated workspace for important tasks and work if possible. Let natural light in and play calming music without lyrics.

Learn to say “no” so you don’t take on more than you can handle. Be selective about how you spend your time and who you spend it with. It’s okay to turn down invitations or requests that don’t align with your priorities. Focus on what really matters to you.

Making a habit of avoiding distractions, overcoming procrastination and minimizing time-wasters is key to developing self-discipline. Staying organized, creating schedules and routines, starting tasks even when you don’t feel like it, learning to say no and removing excess clutter will help you achieve your goals and become your most productive self.

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11. Track Your Progress and Celebrate Small Wins

Track Your Progress and Celebrate Small Wins
Track Your Progress and Celebrate Small Wins

Make tracking your progress and celebrating small wins a habit. Set goals that are SMART-specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. Then break them down into smaller, actionable steps.

Use a journal, spreadsheet, app or other system to track your progress. Note the tasks you complete, habits you form, and milestones you reach along the way. Even the smallest wins are worth celebrating! Seeing your progress over time will keep you motivated.

Reward yourself when you achieve your goals. Treat yourself to something you enjoy as a form of positive reinforcement. The rewards don’t need to be big—a cup of your favorite coffee, an episode of your favorite show, or even just time for yourself can work wonders.

Share your progress and wins with others for added accountability and encouragement. Their praise and congratulations will give you a boost of confidence to keep moving forward. But try not to get too hung up on external validation. True satisfaction comes from within.

Most importantly, be kind to yourself along the journey. Self-discipline is a process. You’ll have setbacks at times, but they’re opportunities to learn and improve. Focus on consistency over being perfect, and celebrate every step of progress, big or small.


In conclusion, self-discipline is essential for achieving success in life. It gives you the strength and willpower to form good habits, accomplish goals, overcome obstacles, and ultimately become the best version of yourself. However, self-discipline is not about being harsh or punitive – it’s about being kind yet firm. Start small, celebrate progress, and remember that setbacks happen. The true satisfaction comes from within as you develop the skills and resilience to turn your ambitions into reality!


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