Steps to Achieving Self-discipline

by Okeke Chukwunwike.

Many of us must have heard the word – Self-discipline, a thousand and one times, but what really does it mean? To be able to answer this question, we will first separate them. Let’s allow them stand alone as two entirely different words; Self and Discipline.

SELF: According to oxford advanced English Dictionary; self is a person’s inner being (the mind and spirit inclusive) or a person’s nature (personality)

DISCIPLINE: The oxford Advanced English Dictionary also defined discipline simply as training or control.

Therefore, Self-Discipline is the training or controlling of oneself. It is the ability to force yourself to do something when you don’t want to do it and restraining yourself from doing it even when you feel like doing it.

This definition adds a whole lots of credibility to the saying – “Govern yourself then you will be able to govern the world”.

Self-discipline can be considered a type of selective training, creating new habits of thought, action and speech towards improving yourself and reaching new goals.  It can be task oriented and selective; it is a positive effort, rather than one of denial.

Self-Discipline is the backbone of every success, though there are many important qualities that can contribute to a person’s achievements and happiness but there is only one that begets of life – self-discipline.
Despite what many think, self-discipline is a learned behaviour. It requires practice and repetition in your day to day activities.  It is all about change, either to establish good habits or to break bad ones. It requires training and control of oneself and one’s conduct, usually for personal improvement whether in terms of your diet fitness, work, ethic or relationship.  It is the ability to rule oneself.

Self-discipline is the number one trait needed to accomplish goals. Let’s break it down; self-discipline has a very big role to play in time management and a good time management leads to success. As you build self-discipline; you build time management. Constant self-discipline and self-control helps one to develop greatness of character. It is the bridge between goals and accomplishments.

Yes it is good to have great qualities but knowing how to manage them is the most important. Many may think that discipline is limited to just behaviours and words alone; NO, It goes beyond that. Self-discipline begins with the mastery of your thoughts. If you don’t control what you think; you can never control what you do. It enables you to think first and act afterward.

Any individual who aims for the top in any area of life must appreciate the might and force of habit. He must be quick to break those habits that can break and hasten to adopt those practices that will become the habit that will help him achieve the success he desires. Self-discipline has a very big part to play in your becoming who you want to become.

Self-discipline is the only discipline that last. Click To Tweet

A man without decision of character can never be said to belong to himself. He belongs to what can make captive of him.

Everyone must choose one of two pains: the pain of discipline or the pain of regret; the pain of discipline leads to success whereas the pain of regret ultimately belongs to losers. Self-discipline is an invisible magic. You can’t see, taste or smell it but its effects are massive and huge.

We have famous sports people, wonderful actors and musicians all over the media today. But what we forget to see is their level of self-discipline; the thousands of hours of super-focused work these people have put in behind the scene. We all know the story of models; for anyone to be at the top in the modelling world, you have to obey some certain rules –the number of hours you sleep, the number of hours you exercise and the amount and the type of food you eat

Life is not a waiting room in which you can amuse yourself while waiting for your time to come. To succeed in life you must develop some set of rules, laws and codes; you must set boundaries.

Bestselling Author Robert T. Kiyosaki in his book “Rich Dad and Dad” made mention of cash flow management as one among the three management skills needed for success. But the role of self-discipline must not be relegated to the background; for example a good cash flow management includes our ability to differentiate between wants and needs.

You find self-discipline even in religion; your ability to stick to your prayer schedules, study the Holy books, observe the Holy feasts/ days and abstain from sin is self-discipline.

How to achieve self-discipline

The task of achieving self-discipline is not as simple as it may sound. In fact it is difficult to achieve compared to other life skills. But it will be easier if you follow these steps:-

Self Control

Learn to say NO to your destructive feeling, uncontrolled cravings and selfish desires. Our primal self –satisfying desires constantly demand appropriate control, and if we continue to satisfy the urges we weaken our self-control. The desire to have everything all the time can dominate every action of our lives.

Count him braver who overcomes his desires than him who conquers his enemies; for the hardest victory is over self.” It is far more difficult to exert self-control over our lives today than any other time in human history and we see the result everywhere.


Motivation is the fuel that gives our success engine its drive. It is a group of reasons that develop a desire to accomplish any task. It is responsible for creating actions, thoughts and situations that are directed towards a particular accomplishment. There is no need trying to master self-discipline if you lack the motivation to have it. For example: A young footballer that goes to training every morning just because the parents insist he must go will never be at the top of his game; simply because the motivation is not within him.


Self-discipline does not come without experiencing failure, and the only way to defeat failure is through persistence and perseverance. This is the most common reason for people’s lack of self-discipline. It is because they failed once or twice at controlling their life that they became afraid to try again.


Clear and specific goals are the essential foundation of not only self-discipline but also a lifetime of success. Without clearly defining short term and life – long goals, you have no use for self-discipline. Self-discipline goals are somewhat different from success-oriental goals because self-discipline goals are defined by personal improvement. Once you identify areas of your life that you wish to gain control over, you have set your goal. For example: I am going to gain control of my finances by sticking to my scheduled budget each and every day for the next six months.

Research has proven that people with High self-discipline are happier than those without. This is true because the self-disciplined are more capable of dealing with goal conflicts. They spend less time debating whether to indulge in behaviours detrimental (harmful) to their goals and are able to make positive decision more easily.

The self-discipline do not allow their choices to be dictated by impulse or feelings, instead, they make informed, rational decisions on a daily basis without feeling overly stressed or upset.

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