How to Become More Disciplined – Take Control of Your Mind and Life

“Motivation gets you going, but discipline keeps you growing.”

How to Become More Disciplined – Intro

It is often said that the hardest battles take place in the mind. I agree with this statement. Getting yourself to do something is often way harder than actually doing it. Many people end up quitting the gym simply because they don’t have the motivation to keep going. Many people end up procrastinating because they don’t have the motivation to do their homework. Many people end up living a lesser life simply because they never had the motivation to improve. There is one key flaw in the thinking of all the people I just described. It’s a flaw that we’ll touch on in a little bit and it’s a flaw that self-discipline can correct.

Me saying that doesn’t make mastering self-discipline any easier of course. Learning how to become more disciplined is one of the hardest mental battles that you’ll ever fight. I want you to be aware of that while reading. I don’t want you to think that I’m going to teach you some kind of cheap trick that will make you magically feel like doing your work because I’m not going to do that.

There’s no tricks or shortcuts to mastering discipline, all there will eb is a lot of struggle and hard work. Throughout this guide you may come across a lot of information that won’t be easy to digest. You may also come across many mindsets that contradict your current one. This will not be easy to read and you may start to feel a little uncomfortable. Regardless, I encourage you to approach this guide with an open mind. I can personally guarantee that you’ll learn many valuable lessons beyond the discomfort you may initially feel. Remember: no growth comes from within the comfort zone.

I think I have rambled on for long enough now, it’s time to get started. Remember to let go of your pride and embrace the lessons you’re about to learn. Let’s do this.

Changing Your Mindset

As I just established in the intro, discipline is a mental battle. In order to win a mental battle, a powerful mindset and a strong resolve is needed. Your mindset will fuel your resolve. The stronger it is, the better resolve you’ll have. If you struggle with self-discipline, then you probably have a weak mindset (told you I wasn’t pulling any punches). Correcting that mindset should be your first course of action when cultivating self-discipline. If you already believe you have a good mindset, I still encourage you to read this section. You never know what

Before we do that though, I’m sure you recall in the intro I mentioned a certain flaw in the mindset of many people who struggle with self-discipline. It’s a pretty common flaw from what I’ve seen so it’s possible you may suffer from the same flaw. Let’s take look at it.

The Flawed Mindset

The flawed mindset is quite a complex one to dissect but it can be boiled down pretty easily to one simple phrase – “If I don’t have the motivation to do something then I won’t do it”. This mindset revolves around the idea that if you don’t feel like doing something then it’s not worth doing. To some people, this may seem like a normal mindset. To me and many others though? We all consider it a weak mindset to have.

If you only do what you feel like doing in any given moment then you will end up as a miserable procrastinator who will never achieve their dreams. No one feels like doing the their work do all the time. There are no exceptions to that rule. Even the most successful people have days where they lack motivation. The difference between you and them is that they will do their work regardless of how they feel and you will slack off. Can you seriously afford to keep living like this?

Having this mindset will limit your potential. You’ll waste countless days being lazy instead of spending them being productive. Every day you waste is a day that you limit your potential even further. You can’t keep skipping out on doing things just because you don’t feel like doing them. You need to have discipline, show some self-control and get the work done regardless of how you feel. That’s what true strength is, remember that.

Now, why don’t we go about fixing this mindset?

Embracing the Growth Mindset

There is no mindset more powerful than the growth mindset. It’s a mindset that doesn’t fear anything. Not risks, not failure, nothing. That’s what makes it such a strong mindset, and you’re about to learn all about it (lucky you, eh?). One of the core reasons why people often lack motivation is the fear of taking risks, a fear that originates from another fear – the fear of failure. The fear of failure is a fear that will completely ruin your life if you let it take control of you. The growth mindset is a mindset that doesn’t fear anything to all. It’s great for cultivating self-discipline too, so let’s take a look at the core beliefs that shape this mindset:

  • View Failure as a Lesson: The growth mindset doesn’t fear failure, it embraces it instead. You’re not going to succeed on your first try when trying something new. Failure is pretty much a guarantee on your first attempt. That doesn’t mean you should give up though, it just means you have a lot to learn. It means that you need to use the mistakes you made on your first attempt as a lesson for you next attempt. You’ll probably fail again, but that’s a good thing! It means there’s more to learn. You’ll probably fail countless times, but each setback will make you stronger. Remember that.
  • Challenges = Opportunities: People without a growth mindset will look at a challenge and see something that must be avoided. People with a growth mindset look at a challenge and see a great chance to test their skills. Someone with a growth mindset never backs down from a challenge, no matter how dire the situation is. Avoiding the challenge may seem like the easier option, but remember that you won’t grow or become stronger by doing that. You’ll only be reaffirming your weakness. I would’t stand for that.
  • Stay True to Your Values: Every single person who has the growth mindset lives by their values. Their values serve as a moral compass, guiding their actions and ensuring that they don’t stray from their path. These values will differ depending on the person. Everyone with the growth mindset does share one value in common though – the value to stay true to your values. This is without a doubt the most important value one can have in life. Without it, all your other values and principles will be for naught. You can’t just decide to have all these values and not stick to them. You have to stand by your principles, even when it doesn’t benefit you.
  • Your Goals Should Align With Your Values: Having a growth mindset means having every action you take revolve around your values. This means that the goals you’re striving towards should also align with these values. I want you to think hard about your current life situation. Ask yourself what you value the most, then ask yourself if your current actions reflect those values, then ask yourself if the goals you’re chasing echo them too. If you answered no to any of the last 2 questions, it’s time to rethink things.
  • Never Give Up: Having a growth mindset means forfeiting your right to give up on your dreams. Giving up would go against the entire growth mindset. Giving up would also throw a wrench into your dreams of cultivating self-discipline. Those with discipline don’t give up. You shouldn’t either, even if the situation is dire. Never give up.

Action Steps

  • 1. Reflect on any recent setbacks or mistakes that you remember making. They could be recent ones or ones that have had a significant impact on you. How did you perceive that mistake at the time? Would adopting a growth mindset change your response to it?
  • 2. Start a journal where you record your daily efforts to build self-discipline. Record any mistakes you make as well as the lessons you have learnt through those mistakes. Feel free to write about your accomplishments in your journey to discipline as well.

There you have it, the growth mindset. The perfect mindset for becoming more disciplined. It encourages staying true to yourself and facing failure head on, never even stopping to think about giving up. Adopting this mindset means taking one massive step toward becoming disciplined, so I encourage you to use this mindset to its fullest potential.

The Power of Purpose

Over the past month, I’ve had somewhat of an epiphany. Since I’m feeling so generous, I’m gonna share it with you. Someone in my Discord server recently asked for some help with something. They said that lately they feel like they don’t get excited or enthusiastic about anything. All they feel is emptiness. I wanted to help this person, so I started thinking about how to help them. That’s when it hit me. I realized that the answer was likely related to purpose. Let me explain.

Do you know what a life without purpose feels like? If you answered anything along the lines of empty then you would be correct. When you have no goals or dreams, all you have is emptiness. That emptiness will spread across your entire life. You’ll find it harder to get out of bed, you’ll put less effort into everything and you’ll lose all enthusiasm. That’s what a life without dreams can do to someone. I chose to reject such a life.

Self-discipline becomes a lot more easy when you have a strong driving purpose behind all our actions. If you have no goals or dreams to guide your actions then you’ll have no way of controlling yourself. You’ll turn into an impulsive person with little control over your actions. You don’t want that do you? Of course you don’t, so let’s see how you can fill your life with purpose:

  • Reflect on Your Values: If you want to give your life meaning, you need to have goals. In order to have goals you need to have values that align with them (as established earlier with the growth mindset). You have to have values in order to have a purpose. Every disciplined person has a set of principles that they stick to, you won’t be able or have a reason to control yourself without them. So make sure to reflect on what you truly value in life, what you truly believe in.
  • Branch Out and Try new Things: I understand that it can be really hard to figure out what you want to do in life. I’ve been there myself, most of us have. It’s a tough spot to be in, but you’ll never find your answer by sitting around and waiting for it. You have to get out there and try out as many things as possible. Not everything you try will be for you, but I can promise that you’ll learn a lot from your experiences. As long as you give everything a fair shot, you will find your answer eventually.
  • Visualize Purpose: The power of visualization often goes underappreciated. It can really help you on your quest to master discipline. All you have to do is created a vivid mental image of an ideal version of you. This ideal you has strong values that they stick to no matter what, they have purpose in life. Envision this ideal you living a life full of self-discipline, where they do their work regardless of how they feel. This will help you to translate that behaviour across to the real world and live out a more disciplined life.

Action Steps

  • 1. Write down the 3 things you value the most in life. Reflect on how well you’re doing to live up to these principles. Ask yourself if your goals align with these values. If you don’t feel like you’re doing enough to uphold your ideals, then consider reevaluating certain aspects of your life.
  • 2. Set aside a small portion of each to spend visualizing your success. Imagine yourself living a life full of self-discipline. Imagine a day where you actually complete every single task that you set out to complete. Imagine the positive results that will come from your self-discipline efforts. This will help to reinforce your purpose.

Small Mindset Adjustments

Not every mindset shift that you make has to be a huge one. There are many small adjustments that you can make to your mindset that will go a long way in cultivating self-discipline. They may seem minor at first, but when you combine them all it results in a major change. Let’s take a look at them:

  • “What More Can I Do?”: Most people tend to rush through all their work so they can go off and do something a lot more stimulating. They don’t care how bad of a job they did, all they care about is getting it done. If you want to become more successful and disciplined, you have to stop thinking like this. Instead of rushing through it, take your time. When you’re done, ask yourself if there is anything more you can do. That is what true discipline looks like.
  • Positive Outlook: Many people view a challenge in front of them and complain that it’s “too much effort” or “too hard”. Thinking like this will kill all chances you have of becoming a disciplined person. It may be true that these challenges are hard but someone who is disciplined doesn’t care about that, they’ll do it anyways because they know it’s what they have to do. So instead of “it’s too hard” or “it’s too much effort”, say something like “it may be a lot of effort, but it’ll make me a stronger and more disciplined person”.
  • Let Go of Your Worries About Results: Many people get too fixated on results when trying to achieve something. Some can even get so worked up about it that the quality of their work takes a hit. I propose that instead of spending all your time worrying about results, you instead just focus on the task at hand. Your mind will be at so much more peace if you just focus on the present.
  • Persist Even When the Results Aren’t Showing: Let’s stay on the topic of results for a little while. Many people lose all motivation to continue their grind when they don’t see any results showing. They’ll say that it’s just not working and that maybe they’re just not meant to achieve their dreams. They’ll then give up, all because they didn’t get the results they wanted. What I find funny is how many of these people fail to recognize that a core part of success is the persistence through failure. Even I failed to recognize that at first. Success isn’t about never failing, it’s’ about persisting through it.
  • No One Is Coming To Save You: Many people hold on to the deluded idea that some wonderful person is gonna come into their life and fix all of their problems for them. Holding on to such a ridiculous idea goes against everything discipline stands for. Most of the people who think like this end up alone. Even if they do end up finding someone, the relationship is destined to fail. The ‘want to saved’ mindset causes an imbalanced relationship dynamic where one person is way too reliant on their partner. Reject that mindset and embrace self-discipline.
  • Embrace Discomfort: I touched on this in the previous section but I want to mention it again here just to hammer it home. Uncomfortable situations suck, there’s no denying that. Do you know what sucks even more though? A life devoid of discomfort. Without discomfort, there is no growth. You’ll never achieve your dreams if you coop yourself up inside your comfort zone all day. Embracing discomfort means persisting through failure, getting up even when you don’t feel like it, and not rushing through your work to just get to the end.

Self-Discipline Techniques

Having a disciplined mindset is great, but it’s basically useless if you don’t actually use it for anything. A mindset is only a mindset. It means nothing unless you translate it into your actions. There’s no better way to start doing that than the self-discipline techniques that you’re about to learn, so let’s go ahead and check them out:

The 2 Minute Rule

This technique is a very famous one that was originally compromised by an Author known as David Allen. It’s a very simple technique that focused on getting small things in life done like tidying your desk, responding to messages and organizing your clothes. It can also be used as a way to break down larger tasks too. Here’s how to do it:

  • Step 1: First of all, you need to identify all the tasks that you still haven’t done. These can be small and simple tasks or larger tasks that you need to get done.
  • Step 2: Group together all the tasks that you believe will take 2 minutes or less to complete and do them immediately. You have just beaten procrastination by doing this.
  • Step 3: For the longer tasks, break them down into smaller and more manageable steps. Each step should ideally take around 2 minutes to complete.From there, you can plan out when you’re going to complete each component of the task. This’ll help lighten your workload significantly.

I love the 2 minute rule, it’s great for staying organized and on top of things. It’s really saved me in my daily life, especially when doing simple things like cleaning my room and organizing my clothes. I’m sure it’ll help you quite a bit too, so don’t be afraid to incorporate it into your daily life.

Temptation Bundling

Temptation is one of the main roadblocks you’ll encounter when trying to build self-discipline. The desire to indulge in more stimulating activities can destroy all your efforts if you allow it to. If you don’t deal with temptation, you’ll never achieve self-discipline. That doesn’t make addressing your urges any easier though, which is why a technique like temptation bundling is necessary.

This technique doesn’t aim to get rid of your temptation, it aims to use it as an incentive to build self-discipline. Let’s see how it works:

  • Step 1: Identify a tempting activity that often eats at your self-discipline efforts. This could be something like watching TV shows.
  • Step 2: Choose a self-discipline task that you want to complete with more consistency. A good example of this would be going to the gym.
  • Step 3: Intertwine these 2 activities. Make it so you can only do the engaging task whilst doing the self-discipline task. This way, you’ll only be able to catch up on your favorite show while you’re at the gym. After your session, you’ll be left wondering what happens next. This will give you a reason to head back to the gym and find out.

There’s no denying that this is a good technique, but it definitely has its drawbacks. For starters, it only works with certain tasks that require discipline. It’s completely useless when doing certain other tasks like studying. There’s no way you can effectively study while watching TV. That being said, you could relegate music to just studying but it doesn’t entirely solve the issue. Some activities just can’t be accounted for due to the nature of bundling. Regardless, it’s still a great technique that can free up lots of time in your day, so make the most out of it.

The Anti-Reward System

The anti-reward system is similar yet also very different to temptation bundling. It’s similar because both techniques focus on restricting the use of distractions. They differ in the way they do this. Temptation bundling aims to group distracting activities together with ones that require self-discipline to achieve. The anti-reward system does the opposite and aims to separate them. Let’s go over how you can do it:

  • Step 1: You first need to identify all the distracting activities you frequently engage with.
  • Step 2: Lock those activities behind all your hard work. don’t allow yourself to watch TV, play games or do anything stimulating before you complete all the tasks you need to complete for the day.
  • Step 3: If you fail to get your work done, deny yourself the right to partake in these tasks for the rest of the day. This will ensure that you give yourself the appropriate punishment if you fail to stay disciplined.

This technique is one of my personal favorites, it fuels me with determination to finish my tasks. However, those of you that are attentive would’ve spotted a contradiction between this technique and something I mentioned earlier. The whole point of this technique is to use pleasurable activities as motivation to push through and continue your work for today. Earlier, I think I mentioned that you shouldn’t rush your work just to get to the end. That is a giant contradiction. It’s also a major disadvantage of this technique, so be aware of that.

The Seinfeld Strategy

The Seinfeld strategy is a strategy that specializes in building consistency (as well as self-discipline of course). This technique was famously employed by a comedian known as Jerry (you guessed it) Seinfeld. Jerry used this technique in order to improve his comedic routines, but you can use it for whatever you like. Let’s see how it’s done:

  • Step 1: First of all, you need to once again identify the task or habit that you want to complete every single day (this can also be a list of tasks/habits). Once that’s done, create a visual calendar for your chosen habit. The calendar can be either physical or digital.
  • Step 2: Commit to performing your desired task every single day. For each day that the task is successfully completed, mark the calendar with an “X” or any other sort of checkmark.
  • Step 3: Over time, a chain of marks will start to form. Your goal is to keep the longest chain possible without breaking it. Pretty fun, right?

I really love this one, partly because of how silly the concept is (shouldn’t have expected anything less from a comedian). As your chain grows longer, you’ll find yourself not only becoming committed to your goals, but also to not breaking the chain. It’s so silly, but it’s really effective.

The Power of Saying No

Our last technique is really as simple as it sounds, but it’s an incredibly important one. If you are truly serious about becoming disciplined, then you need to learn how to say no to temptations. You will never become a disciplined person if you are unable to say no and resist instant gratification. If you can say no with ease, then there are no limits to your potential. Let’s see what the best way to go about doing this is:

  • Step 1: Identify common temptations that frequently hinder your progress.
  • Step 2: Try to recognize when these temptations arise. For this, you should use techniques like mindfulness (check out my mindfulness guide for tips and techniques!)
  • Step 3: Instead of succumbing to the temptation, just pause for a moment, don’t do anything except breathe. After a quick breath, I want you to just say no. Tell yourself that while you may want to do this in the moment, you’ll only end up regretting it later. So don’t give in.
  • Step 4: Remind yourself of your larger goals and why it isn’t worth it to give in. This’ll help you to keep going when things get tough.

The power to say no to temptation is honestly a superpower. If you can consistently do it, then I have no doubt in my mind that you will make it. Yes, I’m going that far. That being said, it’s also the hardest technique to learn on here. You’ll liley struggle a lot learning it but man is it worth it. To me, it represents true discipline.

Mindful Self-Discipline

And here I thought I wouldn’t have to talk about mindfulness after the last guide… No worries, let’s get into it.

Self-discipline is an amazing practice. Mindfulness is also an amazing practice. Combining the two makes for an even more amazing practice. it’s not just that though, mindfulness also solves one of the biggest struggles you’ll face when trying to cultivate self-discipline – focus.

There are many people who want to build self-discipline within themselves. Most of these people will fail to do so because they can’t stay focused. They will constantly get distracted by their phone, their TV or any other object within their vicinity. Eventually, they’ll just fully give in to the distractions and stop trying to become a disciplined person. You can’t allow yourself to fall into the same trap these people did, which is why you need mindfulness.

Mindfulness is all about living in the present and embracing the moment.. When in a mindful state, you will be free of any past regrets or future worries. Your mind will be sharper and more focused, which will make concentrating a lot easier. This will make achieving self-discipline a lot easier, especially when you use mindful discipline techniques. Speaking of those techniques, let’s check some of them out.

Mindful Tech Consumption

Since technology is the world’s #1 distraction, I thought I would start by addressing it. Being able to reduce the time you spend endlessly scrolling on social media or binge watching shows when you know you have work to do is crucial for mastering self-discipline. Let’s see how you can use mindfulness to reduce your time doing such acts:

  • Set Boundaries: You need to be able to control yourself when using technology. A great way to do this is through boundaries. You should set certain time periods where you’re not allowed to go on technology unless it’s an absolute emergency. You should designate certain spots of your house as no technology zones where you are forbidden from it. This’ll help you to control your usage more effectively.
  • Remove Tech From Workspace: In order to completely remove temptations, you should remove your phone from your workplace whenever you sit down to do some work. The further away the better. if you do get up to grab your phone, you should use the long walk to get it as a chance to reconsider your actions.
  • Mindful Transition: Before engaging with technology, take a few minutes to partake in some mindful breathing (read the mindfulness guide to learn it). After you have become more focused, set a clear intention for your technology use. Ask yourself why you are going on your phone. If the reason seems pointless, then don’t do it. For those of you arguing that this is a waste of time, so is going on social media.
  • Practice Digital Detox Days: If you want to get more used to living with less tech, then detox days are essential. During these days, you will not be allowed to use any form of technology, 0 whatsoever unless it’s related to doing your work. Use this time to engage with other, more mindful, activities. You can do stuff like get your work done, read a book, take a walk or learn a new skill. If you feel tempted to use technology, use a mindfulness technique like body scan or mindful breathing to help ease your temptations.

After you spend a little while using mindful tech consumption, you’ll notice that the temptation to mindlessly scroll on social media will start to slowly fade. Well, the temptation won’t exactly fade away, your resistance will just be getting stronger. Mindful tech consumption also encourages more productive technology use. So even if you’re on your phone a lot, you’re always suing it to do something useful.

Mindful Time Management

Time management is also a key part of self-discipline. Those who know how to effectively manage their time have a significant advantage over those who don’t. They are more organized, more prepared and more focused. Someone who doesn’t know how to effectively manage their time will end up lost and distracted. They’ll end up wasting time thinking about their dreams instead of actually spending time chasing them. You cannot end up like that (how many times have I said that…). Let’s see how you can use mindfulness to manage your time better:

  • Prioritize Tasks Mindfully: Before diving into your to-do list, I encourage you to list your tasks based on priority and complete them in that order. Make sure to do this mindfully as well, it’ll help you to order your tasks with more clarity. Listing your tasks like this gives you a better sense of direction compared to if you were to just complete them randomly complete them.
  • Practice Single-Tasking: I am a firm believer of the statement “Multi-tasking is just doing multiple tasks poorly”. When multitasking, your attention is constantly divided up. You can never fully focus on one task, which means that you won’t be able to do as good a job on it compared to if you were solely focused on that task alone. It’s better to focus all your attention on one job so you can do it well. You’ll also be way more efficient this way since your enhancved focus will lead to a lower chance of you getting distracted.
  • Take Mindful Breaks: To ensure your focus levels are as high as possible, I encourage you to take breaks every so often to practice some mindfulness exercises. I personally recommend a quick 2 minutes of mindful breathing whenever you feel stuck. A quick pause to do some mindful breathing could help you figure out what to do next without losing any focus.

I like mindful time management a lot. I used to get spend a lot of my work time getting distracted on my phone. This affected me negatively quite a lot. I would end up not being as productive as I wanted to be and it made me extremely unhappy with myself. When I decided to try out mindful time management, this all changed. I noticed that my focus levels were way higher than before and thanks to this, I was getting a lot more done. Tasks that previously took me an hour now only took me 20-30 minutes. I saved myself so much time.

In the world of self-improvement, time is everything. You need to make the most out of every single day so you can become the best version of yourself. Getting distracted will make you way less productive than what you should be, so you can’t afford to do that. That’s why mindful time management is so valuable.

Mindful Decision Making

One of the most overlooked aspects of self-discipline is decision making. When it comes to discipline, people usually talk about getting work done despite a lack of motivation. What many tend to overlook is having the discipline to make the right choices in difficult situations. Some examples of this would be not giving in to the urge to masturbate, not giving in to the urge to vape or smoke or not letting your anger get the better of you. It always involves staying calm in a stressful situation.

You should view decisions like these as a battle between what you want right now and what you truly want. Picking what you want right now is the easier and more gratifying choice. You’ll feel pleasure in the moment but you’ll always end up regretting your decision. Picking what you truly want is the hard choice. You’ll feel uneasy in the moment but you’ll feel pretty good about yourself later. Which one are you picking? The answer is obvious.

Making these choices isn’t easy. Many people don’t even try to fight their urges, the choice is just that hard. Regardless, you still need to choose the hard choice. You’ll never grow as a person if you only make the easy choices. Mindfulness can help out with this, let’s see how:

  • Pause and Reflect: Before making a decision, you should pause for a moment and really think it through, You don’t want to end up making a bad choice just because that’s what your impulses wanted in that moment. A brief pause could save you from severe regret. During this pause, you need to comprehensively think about your actions. Ask yourself why you’re doing this, if this action lines up with your goals and if you’ll regret it after you’re done. If you find yourself making a decision that you know is bad (like vaping or masturbation) call yourself out for it. Tell yourself that you’re being pathetic and reject the urges. Use the urges as a chance to prove your resilience.
  • Clarify Your Intentions: This is heavily built off of the last point but I still feel like it’s important. Whenever you are about to make a decision, reflect on your dreams. After that, reflect on the action that you’re about to take. Ask yourself if this action aligns with your dreams. Then, reflect on why you’re doing it again. Don’t try and sugarcoat any depraved intentions, call yourself out for them. By calling yourself out for ill intent, you’ll be less likely to follow through on your actions.
  • Consider The Ripple Effect: Most people who make depraved decisions like vaping or masturbating all make one fatal mistake. They only consider what they want in this very moment. Their entire life is based around this philosophy. Basing your actions on what you want in any given moment is a sorry way to live. You’ll constantly give in to your impulsive desires instead of actually striving to be stronger. Next time you’re about to make an impulsive decision, consider the after effects. Think about the regret/shame that you will feel, think about how those you care about would feel, think about the health consequences and think about its effect on your mental health.

Mindful decision making is great. If used effectively, it will absolutely save your bacon (no way I just said that) in multiple situations. What I like most about it is how it rejects impulsive and emotional decision making. It pains me to say that today’s society has far too many people who mainly rely on their impulses when making decisions. There are too many people with too little self-control. Mindful decision making aims to fix this problem by cultivating self-discipline through logical thinking. You should definitely try it out sometime, it will save you.

Building Long-Term Habits For Self-Discipline

So far, you have learnt a myriad of techniques that you can use to cultivate self-discipline within yourself. The techniques are all highly effective in their own manner and they will provide results if executed correctly. However, these results will be futile if you are unable to consistently practice these techniques over a long period of time.

I mentioned in my previous guide, the mindfulness guide, that many people struggle to stay consistent when practicing new techniques. If you don’t keep yourself in check, then it’s easy to silently give up and quit without even realizing. Many people fail at learning new things because of this. They’re all motivated and fired up at the start, practicing this new skill every single day. But as their motivation starts to fade, they slowly start to practice the technique less and less. It’s an easy trap to fall into and it’s one that’s hard to escape.

If you want to avoid silent failure, then you’ll need to start cultivating long term habit. These habits will be strongly integrated into your daily routine and they will make it so you manage to get all your work done for the day even if you don’t feel like it. Because of such strong results though, setting up these kinds of routines ill require a lot of effort and time, so be aware. Now that I’ve said my piece, let’s check out some of these long-term habits:

Habit Stacking

Habit stacking is a fun little technique that involves linking multiple habits together. Its main purpose is to help you integrate new habits into your daily routine as efficiently as possible. Doing this will make new additions to you daily routine feel less like an intrusion and more like a core part of it. Let’s take a look at how you can use habit stacking:

  • Identify Anchor Habits: The first step you need to take in order to learn habit stacking is to identify your anchor habits. These achor habits are already existing parts of your daily routine. They will serve as (you guessed it) anchors for your new habits. An example of one of my anchor habits would be posting twice per day on TikTok.
  • List New Habits: Once you have identified all your current habits, I want you to start listing all the new habits that you want to integrate into your daily routine. Once the list is done, I want you to list them again 2 more times. For the first list, you should order these habits based on the scale of change it’ll provide to your lifestyle. For the second list, I want you to order them based on how urgently you want to integrate them into your life.
  • Linking: Now that you have made your lists, it’s time to start integrating the new habits into your life. First, you should start off with the smaller scale habits. Try to spot any connections between the new habits and your anchor habits. For example, I want to start making videos for my TikTok page instead of just slideshows and I want to get out a lot of videos quite quickly. I can use the connection between the 2 habits to start implementing video editing into my daily routine by making myself do a bit of editing after a slideshow is done. You can pair your new habits with literally anything you want to as well, so you don’t need a connection. You could make yourself do some meditation after brushing your teeth in the morning. Or make yourself go to the gym 1 hour after eating breakfast. You could then make yourself eat a healthy lunch after the gym. After lunch, you could then make yourself work on a project. The possibilities are endless.
  • Linking Part 2: For the larger scale habits, you’ll need to go for a more gradual implementation strategy. Implementing a massive change all at once can often be overwhelming. It could hinder your productivity rates in other habits due to how big the change is. It’s better to implement these kinds of changes a bit more slowly. You should till link them up with other habits though. Let’s say you want to become a YouTuber. Implementing the change all at once would fill you with tons of motivation. You’ll get your first video done with ease ands you’ll upload it with anticipation. It probably won’t do that well because that’s how YouTube is but you’ll move on to the next. What many people notice at this stage is that their motivation levels plummet. This could be due to the 1st video’s poor performance or because they miss their old lifestyle. Either way, they’ll likely quit. If you implement the change more gradually using linking though, you’ll find it easier to manage. It’ll naturally become more part of your routine if you do a little more of it each day.

Habit stacking is a great technique to me. I have implemented many great habits into my routine thanks to it. It saves so much time, especially when you’re still figuring things out at first. Habit stacking literally makes self-discipline that much easier. Your mind always takes quite the heavy toll when you implement change into your life. Habit stacking helps to reduce that toll and make becoming a disciplined person a lot easier. Keep it in mind when I’m going over the rest of the techniques.

The KeyStone Habit

A keystone habit is like an in real life key item. It is a single transformative habit that will cause a ripple effect throughout every other aspect of your life. It’ll change the way you live forever. A keystone habit could even be the key you need to unlock a lifestyle of self-discipline. Those of you that have been in the self-improvement scene for a while likely already have a keystone habit. Those of you who haven’t likely need one, let’s see how you can find your keystone habit:

  • Reflect On Your Core Values: A keystone habit should align strongly with your core values. A behavior that aligns strongly with these values will have an easier time spreading its influence across your entire life. So think about what you truly value in life, it’ll help you decide what changes you need to make.
  • Evaluate Impact: Once you have found a few habits that line up with your values, you then need to assess how they will impact your lifestyle. Analyze the impact they will have on areas like your physical health, mental health, productivity levels and overall lifestyle. If you see a potential positive impact, then I would recommend you to pursue that habit.
  • Experiment and Adjust: It’s highly unlikely that you’ll find your ideal keystone habit on your first attempt. This calls for some experimentation. Play around with implementing various keystone habits in your life. You could spend a week trying out one habit, then spend another week trying out the next habit. You could even overlap 2 habits and see how they perform side by side. When experimenting with keystone habits, you need to assess which habit has the most potential to serve as a catalyst for positive change within your life. If you feel like one doesn’t do this well enough, don’t hesitate to adjust your approach to things. Your goal is to discover that one habit that will change your life for the better, so do everything you can to find it.

What’s funny about keystone habits is how many people have one without even realizing. My keystone habit is the gym, it transformed my life completely. Before I started going, I was a skinny loser with a terrible mindset. But as I continued going to the gym and growing stronger, I experienced a total shift in my mindset.

I started to understand the concept of discipline and why it’s so important. I realized that relying on motivation to go to the gym was wrong and I should always rely on my own self-discipline. I realized that I was being a coward for always trying to avoid pain so I vowed to face it head on. Everything I once thought was crumbling around me. In its place came a much better mindset. One that I carry to this day.

I urge you to do everything in your power to search for your keystone habit as well, you never know what kind of change it will bring.

The Power of a Strong Morning Routine

Your morning will likely set the mood and tone for the rest of your day. Thus, a disciplined morning routine will help you to live out a disciplined day full of productivity. On the contrary, an unproductive morning routine will lead to an unproductive day. Let’s see how you can build your ideal morning routine:

  • Wake up Early: Many young people have a habit of waking up at 2 or 3pm on every single day off they get. To me, this is such a sad way to live and you have to stop living this kind of lifestyle. The day is almost already over by the time you get up. You’ll rarely see the sunlight (especially in winter) which is terrible for both your physical and mental health. You’ll also feel super tired all the time because of how unnatural waking up at this time is. You have to be disgusted at yourself for allowing yourself to live like that. Take control of your life and change it. Have some discipline man. You already know exactly what you have to do, so just do it already.
  • Get Up Immediately: It’s become somewhat of a trend for people to wake up and proceed to scroll on social media in bed for around an hour before finally deciding to get up. I shouldn’t even have to explain why this is terrible for self-discipline (as well as just a bad lifestyle choice in general). It wastes so much time, time that you could be spending doing work. I urge you to get out of bed as soon as you wake up, whether you feel like it or not. While you’re laying in bed and mindlessly scrolling, those who are actually going to make it are already up and working hard on their dreams. How long will you keep this up?
  • Count What You’re Grateful For: As soon as you get up, I want you to take a look out your window and count every single thing you are grateful for having. Even things that seem insignificant at first count too. It doesn’t matter how small it may seem, include it too. Doing this every single day will remind you that there is always a reason to smile. You’ll also become a much more appreciative person too.
  • Morning Mindfulness: It’s not uncommon for people to wake up with a billion thoughts inside their head. Many people wake up still plagued by yesterday’s worries, it’s truly a sad way to live. If this is the case for you as well, then you’ll have a hard time focusing on your work. To rid yourself of yesterday’s worries, I suggest a bit of morning mindfulness. This could be in the form of a body scan, mindful eating, some simple mindful breathing, or you could even incorporate it into my next point. Remember that worries and regrets are poison, so choose to let go of them.
  • Physical Activity: The final thing I recommend you do (aside from all the basics that are so obvious I didn’t bother mention) is some exercise. Some physical activity will help get your blood pumping and ready for a productive day full of hard work and discipline. If you’re unsure about what kind of physical activity you want to do, I have a few suggestions: some stretching, yoga, a morning walk/run, or you could even join the breakfast club and hit the gym. After completing your morning exercise, you’ll notice that your mood has improved. You’ll feel a lot better about yourself after letting out all your stress through some exercise.

A powerful morning routine is something that very few people have. In fact, you can get a good idea of how disciplined someone is based on their morning routine. So if your morning routine consists of you waking up; scrolling on your phone for an hour; finally getting up when it’s already past noon; eating an unhealthy breakfast; having a vape (disgusting); choosing to put off your work again and then going off to waste more time, tell me how you’re ever going to achieve self-discipline. That was a rhetorical question, you’re not going to as long as you don’t change that lifestyle. Disciplined people don’t live like that, you know they don’t.

The Art of Self-Reward

One of the most powerful motivators out there is reward. If you told 100 people that if they lock in and work hard for the next few or so years and they might be able to make a lot of money, only around 10 of them would actually do it. But if you told those same 100 people that if they locked in for the next few years they were guaranteed to become millionaires, all of them would do it. The reason many people don’t end up chasing something greater in life is because there is no guarantee of a reward. So why don’t you offer yourself more of an incentive to become disciplined by rewarding yourself for working hard?

  • Set Milestone Goals: Dividing up your larger goals into smaller milestones. Then, set yourself a reward you can give yourself upon reaching that milestone. You’ll notice that setting yourself milestone goals like this will dramatically increase your motivation when chasing these goals. The excitement of hitting that next milestone and getting that next reward will help you keep going in moments where you would usually throw in the towel.
  • Self-Compassion: Self-compassion is essential if you want to have good mental health. Being kind to yourself is one of the best things you can do for yourself. In the context of self-freward, it serves as a form of acknowledgement and validation for your efforts. Whenever you reach a milestone, make sure you congratulate yourself for it. Make sure that you know how much of a good job you’re doing. being kind to yourself makes becoming a disciplined person a lot easier, but also a lot harder if you’re not careful. Don’t become too kind to yourself. You have to also be hard on yourself. Being too kind to yourself will make you run the risk of letting some of your shortcomings slide. That is the opposite of discipline. You have to make sure that you account for your shortcomings as well, you can’t just let them slide or you’ll repeat them again. I would actually argue that doing that is showing way more self-compassion then letting yourself off easy ever will. You’re doing what’s best for you, even if you don’t want to. That is true self-discipline in my eyes.
  • Create a Daily Reward System: A daily reward system is a great way to keep you pushing through your work on the days where you really don’t want to keep going. A good reward system should aim to promote self-discipline while also allowing you to enjoy some leisure time to yourself. A good reward system als doesn’t allow you to engage with any desired activities until all daily tasks are complete. What I would do is write a list of everything you need to do today, get it done, then treat yourself. That’s the best way to do it.

The best part about self-reward is the incentive it provides for you to become more disciplined. Rewards serve as a strong motivator to power through difficult times, they’re like a light at the end of the tunnel. That being said, you will need to have some form of pre-established self-discipline to set up a strong reward system. You’ll need to be disciplined enough to give up that activities you enjoy that most and relegate them to rewards. It’s like a discipline investment, using discipline to cultivate more discipline. Pretty great if you ask me.

Overcoming The Challenges of Self-Discipline

Mastering self-discipline obviously isn’t easy. I mean if it was, then everyone would be workin hard and society wouldn’t have many of the problems that it has today. The sad part is that everyone has tried to become more disciplined at one point or another, but many of those people have failed because of the challenges that come with trying to achieve self-discipline. You can’t allow yourself to become a part of the percentage who tried and failed, you need to become one of the people who overcame the hardships and mastered discipline. In this section, I’ll be going over how you can overcome the challenges that come with self-discipline. Let’s begin.


Procrastination is one of the most common challenges that the youth of today faces. It is a common barrier to self-discipline, often stemming from fear, a lack of motivation or overwhelm. I personally know a few people who struggle with this problem and it pains me to see these people continuously leave everything they do until the very last minute. There’s even a member of my Discord server who struggles with it (you know who you are, I hope you’re reading this).

There are many different techniques that can be used to overcome procrastination, however I have to warn you that they are not easy at all. I can guarantee that you will not have the motivation to do some of these techniques. What you have to do is still learn them regardless of the lack of motivation, you have to show discipline. Now let’s get to it:

  • Break Down Tasks: Many people get put off by the daunting nature of certain tasks and end up procrastinating as a result. This often happens when a task is perceived as too tedious to get through, especially if the task in question will take multiple hours to complete. To offset this tedious nature, I suggest you break down larger tasks that you don’t feel like doing into smaller ones that are more manageable. From there you can plan when you’re going to complete each component of the task. Doing larger tasks in small chunks like this is way more manageable than doing them all in one go.
  • Set Clear Deadlines: Procrastination always culminates in a very stressful deadline day. Leaving your work until the very last minute is naturally gonna make you feel very stressed. One solution to this is to set your own deadline day a few days before the actual one. Like if you get set a task on friday that’s due in exactly a week, you could make your deadline for that task on tuesday. If you end up missing your own deadline, then you should punish yourself for a few hours without screen time the following day. You can’t let yourself get off easy.
  • The 5 Second Rule: The 5 second rule is a fun little technique where you play a quick little game with yourself that’ll force you to get your work done. All you have to do is start counting down from 5. Before you reach 0 though, you have to commit to starting your work. If you reach 0 and you haven’t started, you can either start immediately or punish yourself accordingly. I like this technique a lot since it puts you under pressure and forces you to make that hard decision that you need to make. Perfect for cultivating self-discipline.

Procrastination is one of the world’s biggest issues. If you don’t deal with it, you will not live the life you wanna live. You’ll only end up becoming a lesser version of yourself. So make the most out of all these techniques and use them to become better, you got this.


Impulsivity can easily get in the way of self-discipline and derail your efforts to be better. It does this by forcing you to make decisions to partake in activities that will undermine your long term-goals. if you don’t really know what I’m talking about, here’s an example of an impulsive decision. Let’s say that you’re wondering what to do on a Friday night and you have 2 choices: you can either go to the gym or go clubbing. The impulsive decision would be clubbing. It’s a decision that prioritizes what you want right now over what you want the most. Here’s how you can stop making these kind of decisions:

  • Pause Button: When you feel an impulsive decision coming, you need to interrupt your mind before your impulsive side takes over. To do this, you need a pause button of sorts. I suggest that your pause button should be a deep breath. After your deep breath, count to 10 and then assess the situation. Think about what you truly want instead of what you want right now. You’ll save yourself from a large amount of guilt this way.
  • Identify Triggers: Knowing what causes your impulsive desires to manifest can be of great advantage to you. if you don’t know where to start looking, then here are some common triggers: stress, boredom, anxiety and social pressure. Once you have found your trigger(s), research some healthy coping strategies for that specific trigger.
  • Practice Delayed Gratification: We live in an era full of instant gratification. Most people these days live their life chasing that next dopamine hit instead of their dreams. I find it to be quite a sad way to live, you’ll never achieve anything substantial living like that. So instead of instantly giving in to the temptation, delay it. Tell yourself that you won’t until you have done your work or it’ll have to wait until tomorrow. The more you delay impulsive actions, the more patience and self-discipline you will build.


I know you’re stunned that something like resilience has shown up in the overcoming challenges section but let me explain. Resilience isn’t the challenge here, it’s the lack of resilience that comes as a challenge to many. Some people simply don’t have the mental fortitude to keep pushing through whenever things get tough. If you’re one of those people, then you to start making some changes in your life. Let’s take a look at some changes that you can make:

  • Develop Problem Solving Skills: I see way too many people these days get faced with a problem that they don’t know the answer to and immediately give up. I can understand them of course, their struggle to find the answer puts them in an uncomfortable situation that in their mind they have to avoid at all costs. And thus, they give up. You can’t give up just because things get uncomfortable though, you need to learn how to thrive in these situations. To do this, you have to improve your problem solving skills. I suggest that you break down bigger problems into smaller components like you would do with procrastination. You also need to make sure you think logically rather than emotionally. Don’t expect to find a solution immediately though, that is unlikely. You don’t need to though, so don’t stress it. Just focus on breaking things down and thinking logically. If you do that, you will find your solution.
  • Build a Support System: Not every problem can be solved alone, which is why having a strong support system is so important. When things get tough, the strength of your support system will determine how quickly you bounce back. You can find support in many different places too. Family members, friends, online friends and advice forums online are all available to you. So don’t be afraid to seek support in trying times.
  • Practice Self-Care: Prioritize self-care practices that help improve your physical, mental, and emotional well-being. Engage in activities such as exercise, meditation, journaling, or hobbies that recharge your batteries and provide a sense of balance and fulfillment. Taking care of yourself like this will help you to keep going during the tough times. Compare it to someone who doesn’t care for themself, they wouldn’t have the fortitude to keep going. Someone who takes proper care of themselves will be able to keep going. Remember that.

The moral of the story with resilience is that the stronger you are mentally, the easier it will be to persist through tough times. Those with a weak mental state won’t have the fortitude to keep going when things get tough. A poor mental state can easily be spotted through someone’s lifestyle. They give up easily, they always sleep super late, they never put any effort in, they don’t exercise and their room is a total mess. By fixing all of these problems, you’ll notice your mental state improve and you’ll start becoming more resilient. That’s the moral here.


I’ve said this a million times so far this guide but discipline is so important. Without it, you’ll never truly become the person that you know you want to be. You’ll end up as a shell of what could’ve been. You shouldn’t worry about that though, you now have all the tools at your disposal you need to become a disciplined person. All that’s left for you to do is set out and use them to take control of your life. It won’t be an easy path, but it’ll be one worth walking.

Remember, you got this.


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