If you are self-disciplined, you are highly successful at motivating yourself and managing yourself, without needing anyone else to remind you. You don’t need anyone else to manage your time for you or check in on whether you’ve done what you said you would do. Your life is packed with shining self-discipline examples.
That’s easy to write, but it’s not so easy to do. However, the effort to maintain self-discipline is worth it.
In their study, The Science and Practice of Self-Control, Angela L. Duckworth and Martin E. P. Seligman concluded that “a surfeit of longitudinal evidence has affirmed the importance of self-control to achieving everyday goals that conflict with momentary temptations.”
If you want to succeed in life, self-discipline is the key to making it happen.
“With self-discipline, most anything is possible.” – Theodore Roosevelt
In this article, I’m going to look at 15 self-discipline examples. You will then see areas that you might want to focus on when looking to achieve your goals and desires.
1. Getting up on time
The first of our self-discipline examples is all about starting off your day on the right foot. Not everyone can be a morning person, but you can make sure you get up on time.
When the alarm goes off, it can be tempting to sink back onto your pillows and just have five more minutes. And then five more. And before you know it, you’re running late, there’s no time for a good breakfast, and you’re stressing already.
This never gets your day off to a good start.
However, if you are self-disciplined enough to get up when the alarm goes off, you’ll have plenty of time to start your day off well.
You’ll have time for yourself in the morning, time to take a leisurely shower, and time for a good morning routine that sets your day off on a high note.
Starting well gives you the motivation to continue well, and to be self-disciplined throughout your day.
Why is self-discipline important? Well, you can see the difference it can make to your day already.
2. Sticking to an exercise routine
The hardest part of sticking to an exercise routine is getting started, especially when you really don’t feel like it.
The difference between those who stick to a routine and those who don’t is self-discipline. It’s why gyms are full in January and February and then membership trails off in March.
People make New Year’s resolutions to get fit and keep up a fitness routine. They do go at first, when they’re feeling motivated and excited about it. But once those feelings wear off, if they don’t have the self-discipline to make themselves continue, then exercise will fall by the wayside.
You know exercise is important. You know you want to stay healthy and feel good. Find a way that works for you to keep yourself moving and sticking to your routine. Whether that’s keeping your end goals in mind, picturing yourself in a bikini come summer, or putting a photo on your fridge of what you want.
The more you go, the more it becomes a habit, and the more self-discipline you have to keep yourself moving forward.
“The first and best victory is to conquer self.” – Plato
3. Being punctual
People with great self-discipline are very punctual. They don’t like to keep people waiting and they respect other people’s time.
Being on time for appointments takes more than just setting off on time. It takes self-discipline to plan your day and organize yourself so that you know what’s coming up and you do arrive on time.
4. Meeting deadlines
Another good one of my self-discipline examples is meeting deadlines. You have to have the self-discipline to manage your workload over the life of a project, as well as day-to-day. You need to keep yourself on track and ensure you’re getting done what you need to each day.
Consistently meeting deadlines is a prime example of someone that is self-disciplined. Anyone can meet a deadline once or twice, but it’s only the really self-disciplined that can consistently meet deadlines time after time, without outside help and reminders.
5. Eating well
There are so many things that you could eat. We have such a range of different foods from different cultures now. The amount of choice is staggering.
Unfortunately, so is the amount of junk food.
Without self-discipline, it’s far too easy to eat a chocolate bar and some cookies for lunch because you’re in a rush and they were there.
Eating well comes down to planning ahead. If you decide what you’re going to have each day at the beginning of the week, you can shop in advance. You may choose to batch cook to save time. You can plan every meal instead of grabbing something that’s convenient, but not necessarily healthy.
All of that comes down to the self-discipline to decide that you’re going to eat healthily and stick to it.
6. Creating good habits
Of all my self-discipline examples, this one is the overarching principle behind them all. If you create good habits in every area of your life, you are miles ahead of anyone who doesn’t.
Creating and sticking to good habits aids self-discipline. Instead of having to force yourself to go to the gym after work, it just becomes what you automatically do.
This really can be the key to becoming more self-disciplined. It is true that there isn’t a finite amount of self-discipline. You really can increase how much self-discipline you have. And it starts with great habits.
“Success is nothing more than a few simple disciplines, practiced every day.” – Jim Rohn
7. Avoiding temptation
Self-discipline is a big part of avoiding temptation. You know your strengths and weaknesses. You know what tempts you and what you can easily ignore.
While you do need self-discipline to stay away from fast food or the cookie jar, you can also help yourself.
For example, when shopping, make a list before you go and stick to it. Avoid the cake and cookies aisle if you know it’s your downfall. Walk a different way home, if your usual route passes the donut shop you just can’t resist.
Whatever it is that tempts you, if you don’t buy it or go near it in the first place, it’s far easier to avoid it.
8. Following through
People with strong self-discipline are great at following through. They remember what they’ve agreed to do and keep their promises.
It does take practice and persistence to develop self-discipline and make sure you follow through, but as I mentioned above, it is possible to improve.
“With this magic ingredient, you can accomplish anything and everything you want to, and it is called self-discipline.” – Brian Tracy
9. Being organized
You’ll no doubt have noticed the number of times I’ve already mentioned organizing various aspects of your life. If you’re already organized, you actually don’t need as much self-discipline to get through your to-do list. You’re already partway there.
Start small. Instead of running around wondering if you have everything for the day, pack your bag the night before. Put your gym bag near the door, so you can’t forget it and you don’t have an excuse not to go.
Think about the small things you can do to organize yourself and aid your self-discipline. If you do this, you can use your self-discipline for the things you really need it for.
10. Managing your time well
This one of my self-discipline examples leads on very nicely from being organized. If you manage your time well, you know you’re going to get everything done. You know you’ve allowed plenty of time to travel so that you arrive at appointments on time.
You know that you’ve allowed extra time for meetings and projects to run longer. You’ve anticipated that some tasks may take longer than you thought.
While it’s not foolproof, and anything might happen to disrupt your week, if you’re managing your time well, you will cope.
Think about how relaxed you’ll feel if you’re not running from crisis to crisis because you know you have time in hand, just in case you need it.
11. Controlling yourself
Self-discipline isn’t just about getting things done. It’s also about how you react to the world around you.
Without self-discipline, you might find yourself grumbling at people who don’t look where they’re going or people who cut you up in traffic.
If you can control yourself and your own reactions, you can let all that go. You can choose to react or not react. And you’ll have a far better day.
12. Keeping your word
I’ve touched on this above when talking about follow-through, but it is important to keep your word. It is a big part of self-discipline.
People that are generally self-disciplined are known for being reliable and consistent. They’re known for doing what they say they will do, when they say they will do it. They’re known for results.
If that isn’t you, yet, what can you do to get there? What changes can you make?
Think about what a difference that would make to your working life and your home life.
“I could only achieve success in my life through self-discipline, and I applied it until my wish and my will became one.” – Nikola Tesla
13. Keeping home and work tidy
Tidy surroundings really do make a difference. If your home or office is cluttered, it can prey on your mind and be a distraction when you need to focus.
The best chefs know that they need to tidy as they go and keep their preparation area ready for the next step in the day. If you develop the self-discipline to do that too, it can make all the difference to how you live.
14. Planning ahead
I’ve talked about some self-discipline examples where getting organized can help, but with planning ahead, I’m talking long-term.
Can you work out the next two or three months on your calendar and plan what’s happening as much as you can? If so, you’re setting yourself up for success and making life easier.
You’ll also make it easier to be self-disciplined when you need to.
15. Going to bed at a reasonable time
My last self-discipline example relates right back to the first. You can only get up on time if you go to bed at a reasonable time.
Yes, it’s tempted to binge one more episode on Hulu or read just one more chapter, but you’ll be fresher in the morning if you have the self-discipline to turn everything off and go to sleep.
It’s clear how much nicer your day can be with a good morning, and this is where it starts.
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then is not an act, but a habit.” – Aristotle
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Founder of Eggcellentwork.com. With over 20 years of experience in HR and various roles in corporate world, Jenny shares tips and advice to help professionals advance in their careers. Her blog is a go-to resource for anyone looking to improve their skills, land their dream job, or make a career change.