Is Self Discipline a Skill or a Personality Trait?

Article last updated on January 16, 2022

Self discipline is a skill that anyone can develop.

Self discipline is the ability to control our impulses and actions.

Are you busy or effective?
If your revenue is growing at a snail's pace it's time for a reality check.
Are you busy or effective?
If your revenue is growing at a snail's pace it's time for a reality check.
Self discipline is a developed skill

This is a key part of success because, without self-discipline, we would never achieve anything.

The only thing that separates successful people from unsuccessful ones is their willingness to put in the effort required to become better at it.

The good news is that you don’t have to be born with self discipline.

You can learn it through practice. And if you want to improve your self discipline, there are some things you should know about how it works.

Since I was about 18 years old, I’ve been very determined to achieve my goals. Even though I had moments when I wanted to give up, I found ways to keep myself motivated by finding new reasons why I should stay focused and continue moving forward.

Now, with a lot more experience around self-discipline and the ability to improve this skill, I’d like to tell you that it acts like a muscle because if you don’t nurture self discipline, it will atrophy. Just like any other muscle in your body, whether you use it or not, it will get weaker.

So what does this mean for you? It means that if you want to succeed, you need to build your self-discipline as much as possible.

To do so, you’ll need to find out which habits are holding you back and decide whether they’re worth keeping or not.

Ways To Improve Self Discipline

Since self discipline is a skill, that means we can improve it, so I’m going to share with you my top 20 tips on how you can improve your self-discipline right now.

  1. Be honest with yourself – Are you really ready to make changes? If you aren’t, then stop making excuses and just go ahead and do it.
  2. Start small – Don’t try to change everything all at once. Instead, focus on one habit that you think needs improvement and work on that first. Once you feel comfortable with that, move onto another one.
  3. Make a plan – Before you even begin working on improving your self discipline, write down exactly what you want to accomplish. That way, you won’t be surprised by unexpected obstacles along the way.
  4. Have accountability partners – Find someone who wants to help you stick to your plan. They could be friends or family members. Or maybe you already have an accountability partner, but he/she isn’t helping enough. In that case, look into getting a coach or mentor.
  5. Keep track of progress – Write down everything that you do each day. Include details such as what time you wake up, what you eat, how many hours you spend exercising, etc. By doing this, you’ll notice trends that will allow you to see where you need to improve.
  6. Reward yourself – When you reach milestones, reward yourself with fun activities. Maybe you can treat yourself to a massage or take a trip somewhere.
  7. Use rewards wisely – Do not overdo it with rewards. For example, instead of buying yourself a fancy meal every night after finishing a project, buy yourself a box of chocolates.
  8. Learn from others – Read books on success and personal development. Pay attention to the stories that resonate with you. Also, ask questions to those who have achieved great things.
  9. Set realistic goals – Don’t set unrealistic goals for yourself. As mentioned before, focus on one goal at a time.
  10. Take action – Now that you’ve decided what you want to achieve, take action towards it. No matter how big or small the task may seem, always take action.
  11. Stay consistent – Consistency is key. If you want to develop a new habit, you must consistently perform that behavior.
  12. Focus on the process – You should never lose sight of why you started in the first place. Remember why you wanted to improve your self discipline in the first place.
  13. Give yourself permission to fail – We all know that failing is part of life, but when you’re trying to improve something, you shouldn’t give up too easily.
  14. Celebrate your successes – Every little victory deserves a celebration. So, whenever you complete a milestone, celebrate it!
  15. Be patient – The journey to becoming more disciplined takes time. However, if you keep at it, you’ll eventually succeed.
  16. Know your triggers – Your environment plays a huge role in whether you act responsibly or irresponsibly. So, pay attention to your surroundings. Identify any environmental factors that trigger bad habits. Then, try to avoid these situations.
  17. Practice mindfulness – Mindfulness is the practice of being fully present in the moment. Being mindful allows you to appreciate the simple things in life.
  18. Visualize success – When you visualize success, you’re setting yourself up for it. So, imagine yourself already achieving your goal.
  19. Don’t compare yourself to others – Comparing yourself to other people only leads to negative feelings.
  20. Focus on the process – Focusing on the process instead of the result will lead to greater satisfaction.

Lack of discipline is a common problem for almost all of us.

It’s easy to get distracted by our daily routines, which makes it difficult to stay focused on our long-term goals. But, there are ways to overcome this challenge and build this skill.

Discipline in life is an important quality because it helps us accomplish our goals. Without discipline, we’d be lost and would end up accomplishing nothing.

Discipline over time leads to positive change.

This means that you need to work hard to become more disciplined. And, once you do so, you’ll reap the benefits.

Uncommon Benefits of Self Discipline

Self discipline can help you achieve many different things in life. Here are some of them:

  • Improve your health
  • Build confidence
  • Become happier
  • Learn about yourself
  • Find out what motivates you
  • Get rid of procrastination
  • Be more productive
  • Live a healthier lifestyle
  • Increase your willpower
  • Gain control over your emotions
  • Overcome addictions
  • Feel better about yourself

I am sure you are aware about most of them, but I want to mention a few benefits that are a bit uncommon as you build a skill of self discipline.

No mental blocks

When you have no discipline, you may feel as if you cannot move forward with anything. But, when you learn how to manage your time well, you’ll find that you don’t experience such mental blocks anymore.

This is because when you are disciplined, you make sure that you take care of every single task before moving onto another one. In addition, you should also make sure that you finish each task in a timely manner.

Gain emotional control

If you lack self discipline, then you may not know how to deal with your emotions. You might feel angry, frustrated, sad, etc. But, when you develop this skill, you’ll gain the ability to control your emotions.

You’ll be able to handle your emotions without letting them affect your behavior. Plus, you’ll also be able to express your emotions in a healthy way.

Develop a soft skill

Soft skills are those skills that allow you to interact with others easily. They include communication, listening, empathy, social awareness, etc.

But, if you lack self-discipline, you won’t be able to perform these tasks effectively. As a result, you’ll struggle to communicate with others, listen to their problems, empathize with them, etc.

As you become more self-disciplined, you’ll have a professional life where you’re able to connect with people easily.

Build self esteem

If you lack self-discipline, then you may not feel good about yourself. You may think that you’re not capable of doing certain things or that you’re not smart enough.

However, when you start practicing self-discipline, you’ll realize that you are actually capable of achieving great things. Your self-esteem will increase significantly.

Strong self-discipline makes you feel confident about yourself. It allows you to believe in yourself and in your abilities.

This will result in long-term gain for you in multiple areas of your life.


Developing the skill of self-discipline is important for everyone. If you don’t have it, then you should definitely strive to acquire it.

The sooner you start working on it, the faster you’ll see results.

You’ll make healthy choices that create a healthy lifestyle. You’ll improve your relationships by being more responsible. And lastly, you’ll enjoy life more by making wise decisions.

Marko Matijasevic

Marko is performance-based growth strategist, focusing on business growth while maintaining a strong emphasis on authenticity in every individual he works with.