Self-discipline - how to integrate it into your everyday life

Reading time 7 minutes
Self-discipline - how to integrate it into your everyday life

Some people achieve their goals seemingly effortlessly. They are structured and organized, exercise regularly, and even manage to learn a foreign language or complete a continuing education course while working. With self-discipline!

Others, on the other hand, would like to achieve many things, but throw in the towel at the first difficulties or don't even begin to implement their goals. These people lack a crucial quality that is almost more important than intelligence or talent: self-discipline. If you're often frustrated because your goals don't seem to be inner swine was stronger again, then there is good news. You can learn to outsmart it, because self-discipline can be trained.

What is self-discipline?

Self-discipline is the ability to drive oneself to achieve a Achieve goal and to remain motivated even when things do not go as desired. Disciplined people manage to overcome hurdles they encounter and resist temptations. They block out everything that gets in the way of achieving their goals. In doing so, they accept that this may take longer.

Successful people have worked hard and often for a long time to get to where they are. The gods put sweat before success, as the Greek poet Hesiod aptly noted. The important thing here is to know that you are doing this hard work for yourself, not for others. Self-discipline is therefore the art of fighting against resistance in order to assert your own will. Once you have internalized this, it will be much easier for you to motivate yourself.

The three factors of self-discipline

Self-discipline consists of three basic pillars, namely:

1. willpower
It helps you get up from your comfy couch and put on your running shoes if, for example, you've resolved to take part in the next city run and finish with a decent time. A very impressive example of willpower is the so-called marshmallow test, which psychologist Walter Mischel conducted with a group of preschool children in 1968.

He showed them a bag of marshmallows and gave them the choice of either eating one right away or waiting until the test administrator returned and then getting two right away in return. While some kids grabbed right away, most mustered the patience to wait. Some 15 years later, Mischel assessed the children from that time a second time. He found that those who had waited not only showed greater social competence: they were also more self-confident and better able to overcome setbacks than those who had eaten immediately.

2. endurance
Perseverance is the second important factor. You will always come to a point where you don't feel like it or think you can't go on. But that's exactly when it's important to stick with it. With the right amount of stamina, you'll be able to keep going even when you're tired after a hard day's work or when it's pouring with rain.

3. diligence
To keep willpower and endurance always at the same high level, diligence is required.

These three qualities may have a dusty, antiquated image, but in fact they are the key to self-discipline. Nobody is highly motivated all the time, and there will always be times when you feel like giving up. But with self-discipline, you'll be able to pick yourself up and keep going anyway.

Success is primarily a matter of brains; intelligence and talent are not so crucial. The Navy Seals, for example, train according to this principle. They say that when you think you can't do any more, you've only reached 40 percent of your potential. The decisive factor for success is mental fitness. Self-discipline is the link between the goals you set and the goals you achieve. You define what those goals are all by yourself.

learning self-discipline

Examples of self-discipline

Besides the classics, more Sports to exercise, lose weight or stop smoking, there are still many areas in which self-discipline leads to the desired success. For example, it takes a great deal of perseverance, hard work and willpower to take the step into professional independence. But there are also many situations in normal everyday life in which self-discipline is required.

Maybe you've been putting off cleaning your windows, visiting your parents, or doing your taxes for a long time. Or maybe you've been meaning to put more money away or declutter your home. Imagine how proud and happy you are when you have achieved these goals.

That's why self-discipline is good for you

Self-discipline is useful in all areas of life. You need it whenever you want to do things that are unpleasant for you or when you want to achieve a certain goal. Self-discipline helps you to do a good job even when you don't feel like it. It gives you the strength to deal with setbacks and resist temptation.

With self-discipline, you'll manage to focus and successfully complete your projects. Don't be discouraged if you don't succeed right away. Everything takes time and if you don't know how to get started, the following tips can help you.

10 tips for learning self-discipline

1. what motivates you?
Think about why you want to do something specific. If you know what drives you, it's much easier to roll up your sleeves and get started.

2. set a realistic goal
You know your strengths and weaknesses. Therefore, don't take on too much in the beginning and set yourself a goal that you can achieve. It also helps to set a date by which you want to have completed your project. This is especially important when you are just starting to exercise your self-discipline.

3. avoid obstacles
Especially when you are still at the beginning of your path, it can happen that you get distracted. Therefore, avoid everything that could throw stones in your path. For example, if you've decided to start eating healthier, steer clear of fast-food restaurants and banish chips and chocolate from your cupboard. Also ignore all doubters and pessimists in your environment.

4. find your rhythm
Every person is individual and has their own biorhythm. If you're an early riser, take advantage of this and go for a jog first thing in the morning or complete your study workload before you start your daily routine. It's easier to achieve your goals when you work with your personal rhythm.

5. stay tuned
Self-discipline also includes patience. It takes time for you to learn new Habits so much that they're second nature to you. According to a study conducted by Philippa Lally of University College in London, it takes people an average of around 60 days to automate a new habit. But even that is different for each person. So don't be too hard on yourself if it takes longer. The important thing is to stick with your goal.

6. see your goal
Many successful people practice the art of visualization. Imagine that you have already achieved your goal! Now imagine how good it feels when, for example, you have finally lost the four kilos you wanted. Or when you finish the city run and receive your medal ... Visualizing gives your self-discipline a new boost. This is especially important when you might be going through a phase of reluctance.

7. record your progress
As you work on your self-discipline, it's important to record the successes you've already achieved. Keep a journal in which you regularly record what you've accomplished and how you feel now. This will help you persevere and keep going when you hit a bit of a slump.

8. combine things
If on some days you feel the Motivation it might help you to combine several things. For example, if you're thinking about skipping your run because you have to go shopping, grab your bag and jog to the nearest supermarket.

9. find a role model
To maintain your self-discipline, it can be useful to model yourself on someone who is very disciplined about doing their thing.

10. reward yourself
Treat yourself to something nice when you reach your goal or even just a milestone. Pat yourself on the back, because you can be proud of yourself.

How to bring self-discipline into your everyday life

Self-discipline is like muscles: The more you train, the better you get. If achieving big goals is still too much for you at the moment, then just start small. No master has ever fallen from the sky - and that also applies to self-discipline.

But with this exercise you can easily bring it into your everyday life: Set yourself a task in the evening that you want to do the next day. It should be something that costs you an effort, such as cleaning the kitchen, tidying up your desk, spending a day doing nothing but Eat healthy food or even study intently for an hour. Write this task either in your diary or on a piece of paper that you stick somewhere where you can see it.

You're practically making a contract with yourself. You can also tell family or friends about your plan and add pressure. When you have successfully completed your task, reward yourself with something you enjoy. After you've managed to find the self-discipline to do these things, you can move on to bigger goals.


Success is not the result of talent and a high intelligence quotient alone. Self-discipline is much more important. It is the engine that drives you to achieve your goals. With willpower, perseverance and diligence, you can achieve anything you want - and you will also be better able to cope with setbacks.

You can learn self-discipline. It may be a long and sometimes rocky road, but if you can find your inner bastard and have found your personal routine, your goal is already within reach. Even more Find tips for your success in our career workbook.

From us, you'll receive ten practical tips that you can immediately apply in your everyday work with the free workbook "Ten Business Coaching Tips for Your Career". With simple Coaching methods and tools that business coaches also use, you will be able to shine in front of your colleagues and superiors with your new leadership and management skills tomorrow. Get your copy now here Workbook!

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Reviewed by Dr. med. Stefan Frädrich

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