Discipline is defined as the practice of training people to obey rules or a code of behavior, using punishment to correct disobedience. Therefore, self-discipline is the practice of monitoring, restraining, or regulating your actions according to your code or values. It typically involves holding off on receiving immediate, short-term benefits, in favor of a higher payoff later on. The positive results you receive as a result of your strength and patience can be well worth it.
For example, imagine you are presented with a buffet of your favorite desserts, fudge brownies, red velvet cake, Boston creme donuts, and caramel apples. You can either indulge yourself or pick only one dessert to enjoy and forgo the rest. What would you do? At that moment, you might have a hard time controlling your desire to consume and cave in. On the other hand, if you are self-disciplined, you might remember that you don’t need all that sugar. You’ve been doing so well managing your eating habits lately, so you decide on the latter. This decision might seem easy, but if you struggle with self-discipline in situations like these, doing so in higher-stake circumstances may be very challenging.
What is the Point Anyway?
Disciplining yourself can seem boring and arduous. It can be difficult to find the motivation to keep going when you’re tired or disinterested. There are various aspects of self-discipline that you will need to develop, such as self-control, persistence, commitment, self-regulation, motivation, and willpower. Nevertheless, self-discipline can have immense benefits like improving the quality of your work and learning, following through on your commitments, accomplishing life goals, and enhancing your attention to detail.
When this practice becomes habitual, making future decisions that are in your best interest will become easier. As a habit, it can also push you to be consistent in the quality and timeliness of your work, improve your work ethic, and strengthen your reputation, as colleagues will know what to expect from you. You must be willing to spend the time and energy it takes to master an art or technique, and it takes discipline to do so.
There Can Be Consequences
A lack of self-discipline can indeed have negative consequences. Reconsider the earlier example at the buffet. If you consistently give in to sugary treats, weight gain, diabetes, and other health issues are real concerns. A study published in the National Institutes of Health explains that “lower self-control is associated with unhealthy coping strategies (avoidance coping), which in turn are associated with worse mental health outcomes and greater reports of physical health symptoms.” Shockingly, 40% of deaths are estimated to be attributed to issues related to poor self-regulation.
On the other hand, fewer mental and physical health symptoms were found in those that had increased self-control. Moreover, those who can regulate their behaviors typically demonstrate improved relationships, better mental health, and increased job, interpersonal, and academic success. Such persons have also been found to be at a lower risk of substance use disorders and engaging in risky sexual behavior which can result in sexually transmitted diseases. The practice and benefits of self-discipline have clear implications for persons struggling with a behavioral addiction or substance use disorder. What do you have to lose to become more disciplined?
How You Can Cultivate It
An important point to make here is that self-discipline is a lifelong practice. You need to continue to flex those mental muscles to keep them strong and supportive. If you’re interested in embarking on this mental and spiritual journey, consider some of the following suggestions for how you can get started today:
#1 Remove distractions and temptations.
Turn off your phone, dump the cookies and cake, and find a quiet space if you have to. If you know something in particular bothers or tempts you, don’t hesitate to remove it from your space entirely.
#2 Eat healthy foods on a regular schedule.
This is important because low blood sugar can compromise your decision-making capacities and ability to focus. This can make sticking to your self-discipline goals challenging.
#3 Embrace getting out of your comfort zone with new habits.
Maybe you want to start waking up early every morning and go running. You may not enjoy it at first, but you will likely get over the initial discomfort. You will be okay!
#4 Treat yourself.
Setting self-discipline goals doesn’t mean you can’t take breaks or indulge. Carve out time to enjoy a treat, take a break, or reward yourself for your hard work.
#5 Accept the hiccup and move on.
Don’t beat yourself up if you don’t always accomplish your goals, no matter how small they might be. Determine where you went wrong and set a new goal.
Self-discipline is the practice of monitoring, restraining, or regulating your actions according to your code or values. It involves being persistent and committed to your goals, pushing forward even when you’re tired or unmotivated. Practicing self-discipline can improve the quality of your work and build your reputation as a person who never gives up on their goals. It also has implications for other aspects of well-being, with studies indicating that fewer mental and physical health symptoms are found in those with increased self-control. Those suffering from mental illness or behavioral addictions could benefit from such practices and techniques used to control detrimental behaviors and emotions. If you or someone you know is experiencing these issues, Achieve Concierge is at your service. We offer comprehensive mental health services that treat the body, mind, and spirit. We know that each patient is a unique individual and deserves to be treated as such. Call us today at (858) 221-0344.