How to be Disciplined (Developing New Habits)


If you’ve come across this post and looking for ways to become more disciplined, this is for you. Being disciplined is a skill that can take you a long way in life. That’s why it’s important to instill it in yourself while you’re still young.

Developing new habits could transform you into a more disciplined version of yourself. But what do we mean by these habits? It includes prioritizing things, setting goals, being reminded of them, and setting your mindset the right way. Being more responsible for everything you do, identifying your strengths and weaknesses, and a few more.

Learning to become a more disciplined individual can give you the power to remove those bad habits. This could lead you to a better position in life.

But before that, let’s talk about discipline.

a group of discplined people
A group of people learning how to be discplined

What is discipline?

Discipline is the ability to control yourself and your actions, even in difficult situations. 

It’s about being able to focus on the task at hand and not letting distractions get in your way. You can apply discipline to just about any situation because it’s a mindset that helps you focus on the things that matter most.

Habits to improve discipline

Most of you do not know that your habits play a lot in activating your discipline. There are bad habits that can lead you to neglect self-discipline, while there are also good habits that can push you to be more manipulative of your own. 

So what are these habits, and how can they transform you into a more-disciplined version of yourself?

List things every day. 

I want you to know that the key to prioritizing things so it could lead to discipline is recognizing that you’re not going to be able to do everything.

You’re not superman or Wonderwoman, so you might as well spend your energy on the essential things.

It’s essential to ensure that you first put what matters most and then set aside time for it.

If something gets pushed back, or if you don’t get it done, it’s okay. The important thing is that you are making an effort and trying to do those things, and of course, when you make mistakes, don’t beat yourself up!

Keep moving forward, and remember that every day isn’t going to look exactly like you planned.

You have ample time and energy, so you must make sure you’re using both wisely. This can be incredibly challenging when the world constantly tells you what you should be doing with your time and energy.

But if you’re cultivating discipline, you must prioritize yourself over everything else.

You can do this by making a “STRICT NO” list.

This is a list of things that are not priorities for you and will not be allowed into your life at this time to keep you focused. 

The following are some examples of things that might be on your list.

  • Social media
  • Watching TV/Netflix/Movies (unless it’s part of a goal)
  • Playing video games
  • Partying/Going out with friends (unless it’s part of a goal)

Once you know the things that aren’t worth your time and effort, you’re taking one step at a time in disciplining yourself.

Set goals.

If you’re trying to kickstart a new habit or get back on track with the one you already have, it’s crucial to set yourself up for success. 

That means ensuring you clearly understand what you want from experience and why it matters to you.

Setting goals is also an essential part of forming self-discipline. The main reason is that it helps you clarify your motivation for doing something, and that’s the first step in getting yourself off the couch and into your workout clothes!

Think about it.

If you don’t know how far or near your goal is or how much effort it will take to reach it, how can you be expected to stick with it?

And if you don’t know what kind of results will come from sticking with it long enough, then why bother?

An excellent way to start setting goals is by asking yourself these questions.

  • What do I want? (In this case, “it” could be a new body, more energy, or better mental health.)
  • How much time will this take? (Again, think about how much effort it will take to get there.)
  • How can I measure my progress?
  • Are my goals SMART?

When you have a clear goal, then you can think about the steps that need to be taken to get there.

It’s like driving with a map!

Be reminded of these goals.

There are different ways to be reminded of your goals. Here’s how you can do it.

First, you can put sticky notes on your mirror, on your bathroom door, and on the wall in your kitchen. 

You can utilize them as a reminder of the most important things, like when you need to make time for friends or family or take a break from work and play some video games.

You should also have a checklist of things you want to accomplish on your fridge. 

You might want to organize it by week and month, including big goals like finishing the draft of my novel and small goals like reading one new book every month.

Finally, you can have a board where you write down ideas for blog posts, new products, or anything related to your job. 

When you’re stuck in traffic or lying awake at night before bedtime, those boards help you keep current projects fresh in your mind so that they don’t get lost in the shuffle!

Set up your mindset the right way.

You may have heard that discipline is complex, but it’s not impossible. It’s just a matter of setting your mind right.

I’ll start by admitting that this isn’t a quick fix. You can’t just decide one day that you’ll be disciplined and suddenly change everything about your life overnight.

It takes time! But here are some things that you can do to set up your mindset.

First, start small. Don’t try to accomplish all at once because there’s no shortcut in this process; you should know that before setting any goals.

Second, be kind when you’re talking to yourself about it. You must also ensure you’re not being too critical or negative about it because it won’t help.

Third, be realistic about what will work for you and not what works for everyone else. You don’t have to live with somebody’s expectations. 

Your goals are yours, not theirs, so seize the moment and live for yourself. Just ensure that no one gets hurt while you’re targeting those goals!

Fourth, try setting aside time daily for self-reflection and reflection on your progress. This will help keep you concentrated on your goals and remind you why it’s vital for them to happen.

Lastly, instill patience!

If something isn’t turning out the way you thought it would when you started this journey, don’t give up!

Instead, figure out why things aren’t working as well as expected and try again with a different approach. Or technique that might work better for what needs to be done at this particular moment.

Take responsibility!

Taking responsibility for whatever you do is one way to teach yourself discipline.

Holding yourself accountable for your actions means acknowledging that the things you do have consequences and that there is a reason why you did what you did.

You can’t just blame other people or say that “It isn’t fair.”

You have to own up to your actions and think about what needs to be done for things to go differently next time.

Taking responsibility for your actions also means you are trying not to make excuses for yourself or say, “It wasn’t my fault.”

Instead, when something goes wrong, we want to look at the situation and see what went wrong so we can adjust.

If we always blame others or say things didn’t happen because of us, nothing will ever get better. We’ll never learn how to change our behavior to improve things.

When we account for our actions, we take ownership of our choices. When we own our options, we can learn from them and grow from them.

Listen to podcasts regularly.

When we’re talking about getting things done and being more self-disciplined, it’s pretty easy to see how listening to podcasts on the topic can help.

But there are other ways that podcasts can support your efforts.

For example, listening to a podcast about productivity will help you set goals and stick to them if you’re trying to learn how to be more productive at work.

If you want to be healthier, listening to a podcast about health will help you set goals related to eating well and exercising regularly. And if you’re trying to figure out how best to handle stress, listening to a podcast on stress management will give you some ideas on how best to deal with it.

Another great thing about podcasts is that they don’t require much time or effort. Even just five minutes spent listening while walking around the block before work can make a big difference in your productivity levels!

Podcasts can also give you some practical tips for developing your own self-discipline techniques. 

This might include things like setting goals and reminders or even just learning techniques from other people who are already successful at being disciplined.

Build a Military Like discipline

As you know, soldiers have great self-discipline and are the perfect role models we can view on this topic.

With this in mind, you need to see some of the values they uphold that make them excellent people in terms of self-discipline. 

By looking at these values, you might get some that you can also apply in your life.

  • Respect.
  • A good leader and follower.
  • Decides for the best of the majority than your own.
  • Gives 100% effort to everything you do.
  • Accountable for all of your actions.
  • Follows regulations, rules, and policies.
  • Maintain physical fitness.
  • Treat others right.
  • Take pride in everything you do.

These are called military discipline. Soldiers are trained to become full-disciplined individuals that can protect the country and the people. Their discipline can either make or break the military code and save or break the nation during difficult times.

Just like soldiers, you can indeed cultivate discipline and become better individuals. You need the perfect motivation and habits to promote and strengthen your discipline.

Bonus: Discipline tips for students!

Being a student can be draining, and discipline plays an important role inside and outside the classroom. So, if you want to improve your discipline, take a look at these tips! 

But heads up, some of this could be challenging and even painful for you to start, so make sure to commit!

  • Eliminate distractions such as phones. 
  • Limit watching Netflix or other movies during weekdays.
  • Read more since reading improves comprehension.
  • Reward yourself after accomplishing school work.
  • Surround yourself with great people.
  • Set academic goals.
  • Identify the subjects where you are good and where you are bad at.
  • Set a learning routine.

Consistency can make it happen!

Consistency is important when you’re imposing self-discipline on yourself because it helps you build momentum.

If you’ve never imposed self-discipline before, you might be surprised at how hard it can be to stick to a plan.

It’s tempting to give in and do whatever feels good at the moment. But if you’re consistent and stick to your plan, eventually, it will become easier.

When things get challenging, you have to decide whether or not to follow through with your plan or whether or not to break it. Remembering your past successes can help keep you motivated and committed.

Self-discipline is just like our body’s muscles.

The more we work hard and practice, the stronger it gets. The more consistently you practice self-discipline, the easier it will be to do things that are good for you in the long run.

Always remember that the first step is clearly defining your goals.

This can be as simple as writing them down on a piece of paper or in an app. Still, it helps to have some kind of record so you don’t forget what they are when you’re feeling tempted by something that’s not going to help you achieve your goals.

After defining your goal, your next step is to figure out how to make that goal a reality for yourself and how you can stay consistent so you’ll not lose all your efforts. 

Garo Kotchounian

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