Techniques to Build Sustainable Self-Discipline

Ritu Singh

Assistant Professor

(Operation Management &

Quantitative Technique)

No one is born with great self-discipline skills; It takes conscious effort. It's easy to work-out when you're well-rested and motivated, but the real challenge comes when you have to push through a workout despite feeling lazy and exhausted.That’s where discipline comes in; It enables you to “act in accordance with your thoughts, not your feelings.”The discipline keeps you accountable to yourself. It givesyou the ability to do something regardless of how you feel.Here are some ways to improve your discipline:


  1. Take Small Actions

Startwithsomething small. Do the things that hurt you less. It can be overwhelming to deal with huge, intimidating tasks.So don’t!Start withsome easy activities first, things so small you can’t say NO.

  • Want to start exercising? Just exercise for 15 minutes.
  • Do you drink5 cups of coffee/tea every day? Drink only 4 cups a day for one whole week.
  • Want to make a habit of reading? Start with 20 minutes every morning.

Push yourself into discomfort a little bit, so you can get better at this over time. It’s the little things that we do dailythat have a large impact on the quality of our lives.


  1. Make Active Goals

Active goals are specific & measurable. And specific &measurable goals are more attainable. A goal like “I want to reduce weight" is much more difficult to work toward than "I want to reduce weight by 10kg in 3 months."

When we set long-term goals in this manner, and engage in active daily goal setting, it’s far easier to achieve our dreams. Here are some ways to make and plan active goals:

  • Start by writing down some long-term goals. Seeing them on paper will hold you accountable for your actions.
  • Once long-term goals are defined, start writing monthly goals.
  • Break down those monthly goals into weekly goals.
  • Identify some important tasks of those weekly goals and plan your daily activitiesa night before.
  • Follow some morning routine to start each day in the best way possible.

Make a daily log archive of your success, so your grandchildren can see how you did it.

  1. EmbraceDiscomfort

One of the reasons we don’t have self-discipline is because we run away from uncomfortable things. We prefer to deal with an easy, familiar, and comfortable life. To exercise self-discipline skills, do something daily that will push you out of your comfort zone. Observe how it feels. See that it was not the end of the world and you are awesome enough to handle discomfort.

Some exercises you can do daily:

  • Drink a glass of warm water in the morning.
  • Take stairs, instead of the elevator.
  • Sign up for an early morning class (preferably one that costs money, to add some extra motivation).

The type of activity does not matter; the point here is to consistently start every day with something that makes you a bit uncomfortable but is ultimately gratifying.

4.      Use Technology to Your Advantage

Although self-discipline is primarily an internal factor, technology can make it easier for us to develop self-discipline. We can use applicationsto block distracting sitesand other tempting things on our phones or laptop.You can also use habit tracking apps to track your improvement.

Technology can also help us to push through cravings for something. For example, consider that you’re craving sweets. So rather than telling yourself, “You’re not allowed to have sweets,” you can set a timer for 30 minutes on your phone and say yourself that “Once the timer is up…you can have sweets…”.In general, half an hour is sufficient time to get distracted and forget what you were craving for in the first place. Though it might not work for everyone; I’ve found this technique pretty useful.


At last, remember there will always be hard days. However, as you start getting better at disciplining your mind, you'll start enjoying challenges. With the right mindset, hard work, clear goals, you can overcome anything.