Self-discipline is a form of freedom. Freedom from laziness and lethargy, freedom from the expectations and demands of others, freedom from weakness and fear — and doubt. H.A. Dorfman

Often discipline is viewed as punishment - if anything, it is quite the opposite. Discipline enables you to live in the world with a deep-seated belief that you are your own best resource and that you can rely on yourself. Having self-discipline is an incredibly freeing feeling.

Self-discipline refers to the training that you give yourself to accomplish a certain task, or to adopt a particular pattern of thought or behaviour, even though you would rather be doing something else. Self-discipline is the assertion of your willpower over your more self-defeating desires.

Discipline calls for self-control. It requires that you become conscious of the fact that you are responsible for your own thoughts, feelings and behaviour. You may need assistance from others, but you can’t expect that somebody else should be responsible for your thoughts, feelings and behaviour.

If you are to achieve optimal success in all areas of your life, you should set goals and formulate a plan, take action, monitor your progress, make changes where necessary, and celebrate your large and small successes along the way. Every step requires self-discipline, in order for you to achieve your goal.  

The ultimate aim of being self-disciplined, would be to change your behavioural patterns, to be more supportive of your goals in life. This implies that it requires more than just a once-off effort to become self-disciplined. You need to take small steps consistently. This helps you build up your resilience, and therefore bring about change. The changes you will observe will be in your personal development, growth in your belief that you are competent and deserving of attaining your goals.

Self-discipline is a positive and conscious state of mind that allows you to carry out actions, regardless of how you feel. When integrating self-discipline into your life, the following five traits are considered important:

  • Willpower: the choice and ability to assert your will.
  • Effort: your determined hard work and commitment.
  • Persistence: your consistent and continued drive.
  • Time: effectively allocating and making use of your time.
  • Acceptance: encourage yourself and celebrate doing your best.

It is important to be flexible and to modify, as well as moderate your progress as you go. Being self-disciplined requires you to love yourself and to set limits that show love toward yourself. 

When you are self-disciplined, you start seeing improved behaviour, and this builds your self-esteem significantly. Self-discipline is the backbone to building self-esteem. It provides you with a sense of achievement - you are able to take responsibility for your life, putting effort and dedication into every task and ultimately achieve your goals. It requires determination and a willingness to sacrifice, to give up things that may be pleasurable or easy for you to do, and to understand that there is very little reward without effort. The reward is that you feel good about yourself and nothing can be more rewarding than that sense of competence.

A common characteristic in people who lack self-discipline is the desire for immediate gratification. This means that rather than waiting for something to happen in the future, most people prefer to have or experience something right now, without waiting. This short-term mentality causes you to miss the “bigger picture”. When you chose not to be self-disciplined, you will feel less energetic, less valuable and less free. On the other hand, when you live with self-discipline, you actually free yourself from lethargy and value yourself more. Self-discipline is your choice.