How To Develop Self Discipline
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By Kevin Lemus

Conjure up a situation where you have a big exam at the end of the week. You keep putting it off because you have a week to study. Days have passed, and now it’s the day before the exam. You barely did any studying; you kept putting it off and getting distracted. You’re now stressed and anxious. People have experienced a situation like this countless times. To avoid this, you must develop self-discipline. In this article, you will find an explanation of the importance of self-discipline and how you can achieve a level of discipline provided by Buddhist Monk John.

Discipline is one of the most important skills an individual can master. We can use self-regulation to study on time and complete our work. Yet, many have not fully developed this skill. Like other skills, it is challenging to establish discipline by yourself, but not impossible without practice.

Before you learn how to develop self-discipline, you must understand the importance of gaining it. As previously stated, it’s a valuable skill that helps you to stay focused on your goals. The University of the People says the benefits of self-discipline include: achieving goals, not giving up, and improving self control (University of the People, n.d.). These accomplishments are improvements for people and even help psychologically. There is satisfaction when you complete your task within a set time. The ability to control yourself during temptation is something to be proud of and makes you happy. To demonstrate that self-discipline comes a long way, an NLH article 1 by Angela L. Duckworth and Martin E. P. Seligman explored different studies. The studies prove that people with greater self-control seemed to get the most out of every learning opportunity. They discovered that student ranks in report cards matched with the ranks of self-control rather than IQ 1 (Duckworth & Seligman, 2017). Their research determined that success is achievable not only by people with high IQs but also by people willing to put in constant work.

An excellent place to start with developing self-control is in mind.

Monk John states. “The easiest way to cultivate discipline is to not think”. Do not overthink; our minds work best when there is no internal debate. When it comes to completing tasks, it should be straightforward. There should be no debate about it.

Monk John describes it as having two inner voices that dictate our actions. One tells us to “do it”, and another tells us not. It is this hesitation that kills the drive to complete the work. It is surprising how often we let our emotions take over our decision-making. To effectively prevent this mental block, Monk John advises deciding beforehand whether an assignment is worth it. Choosing whether it is worth the time and effort helps create a sense of importance in your work. Then when the time comes to do something, do it.

Once you control your emotions, it’s great to set up a plan to help you stay focused. First, establish your motivation. Your motivations are the driving force that keeps you productive. Your motivations can be anything, realistic goals you set or a playlist you can listen to. Establishing good time management skills is a must-have. Your time management contributes to the development of your schedule. Time management can help you limit your procrastination by creating a time limit while also providing a time slot for a break (Duckworth & Seligman, 2017)1. University of the People 2recommends identifying strengths and weaknesses. Identifying them will help you create a schedule that will help you prioritize one item over the other. Finally, you must remove any distractions or temptations (Gleeson, 2020)3. Distractions can include phones, video games, televisions, or news. As stated in the introduction, this step-by-step process does not work immediately; you must put in the time to practice this to develop truly self-discipline.


  1. Duckworth, Angela, L., & Seligman, Martin., E., P. (2017). The Science and Practice of Self-Control. Perspect Psychol Sci, 12(5): 715-718. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/1745691617690880 ↩︎ ↩︎ ↩︎

  2. University Of The People. (n.d.). Self Discipline For Students. https://bit.ly/3TQiPoA ↩︎

  3. Gleeson, Brent. (2020, 25. August). 9 Powerful Ways To Cultivate Extreme Self-Discipline. Forbes. https://www.forbes.com/sites/brentgleeson/2020/08/25/8-powerful-ways-to-cultivate-extreme-self-discipline/?sh=6648f02c182d ↩︎