Emotional Health

10 benefits of self discipline

8 Mins read
12 benefits of self discipline and how to nurture it

Your level of self discipline is probably the reason why you have or haven’t accomplished all the things you set out to do. Self discipline is the gas in the tank, if it runs out, you are screwed.

We have all been in those situations where we have amazing dreams and goals. So we get pumped up and spend the entire night trying to figure out how we can achieve them. We take out our notebooks and jot down every little detail of how we are going to accomplish them. We even give ourselves a pat in the back for a job well done in taking a step in self improvement.

But sadly to say, most of the time, those ideas, dreams and goals end up being left there, in the notebooks. We find it easy to dream and envision ourselves in prosperous moments but find it utterly hard and complicated to get out of bend and put in the work.1

Everybody wants to be famous, but nobody wants to do the work. I live by that. You grind hard so you can play hard. At the end of the day, you put all the work in, and eventually it’ll pay off. It could be in a year, it could be in 30 years. Eventually, your hard work will pay off.

Kevin hart

And that is the sad part – everybody wants to make it, but nobody wants to do the work. Its the same thing that military guys say; everybody wanna go to heaven but nobody wants to die. This is the saddest part about self discipline, its not easy to nurture, its hard as hell.

Self discipline is hard, this is because part of practicing self discipline entails us giving up what we already do comfortably and without any inconveniences. It demands that we stop doing what we are already doing, so that we can be able to make way for things that may be more beneficial to us and others.

Comfort zones are the killer of dreams and goals. We find it hard to stop doing what we have become prone to doing because it is familiar and less tiring as compared to what it would take for us to get ahead. 2

For self discipline to help you in achieving your goals and dreams we have to make sure that we are ready to give up our seats at the comfort zone and put in the work. The silver lining about change is that we, as humans, have been biologically programmed to adopt into any situation that is presented to us.

Trust me, put yourself in an environment that you think will crush you, give yourself time, be patient and strive to find a way of making it tolerable. With time you will find yourself being happy in the worst case scenarios, this is because we are built to adopt and evolve.

What is self discipline

self discipline

Self discipline is simply your ability to control your own emotions, thoughts, and behavior in order to face temptations and in the moment impulses that may prevent you from achieving your goals.

It is so important for getting to where you wanna get. In a 2005 research, Angela Duckworth and Martin Seligman found out that self discipline outdoes IQ in predicting academic performance of adolescents. This being an age at which emotions and feelings are primal in dictating the direction of the choices made, self disciplined adolescents can perform better than their fellow age mates.3

Self disciplined individuals have harnessed the skill of forgoing immediate satisfaction and gratification for long lasting and more fulfilling activities. This means that they are in control of their emotions, which is a sign of a high emotional quotient (EQ). Emotional intelligence constitutes of self discipline since it is what stands between us living on auto pilot and taking control of our own emotions and lives in general.

It also teaches you on self awareness. Most people think just because they are doing something that is difficult then they are being disciplined. Wrong! Being disciplined doesn’t mean doing the toughest and most difficult things, it means doing what is best for you (self awareness is how you will get to know who you are, what you want so that you can set your goals accordingly).

The fact that what is best for you is normally hard is just a coincidence. So don’t make a list of tough and complicated things to do to nurture your self discipline when they are not in accordance to who you are as a person.

If your way of being self disciplined involves solely doing hard things then you are doing it all wrong.

10 benefits of self discipline

Gives you control of your life

Some of us have this notion of always thinking that most of the things in our lives are out of our control. This is very incorrect. The fact is; most of the aspects of our lives are under our control. So lets control them.

Having control of your life doesn’t mean that you start nit picking on each and every little imperfection in your life. A little imperfection goes a long way. Its what makes us relate-able, like-able and more human.

Don’t get stuck in auto pilot. Being on auto pilot means that you are stuck in a slump of repetition, unintentional actions and routines that don’t benefit your long time wants. If you think you are on auto pilot, its essential for you to learn how to stop living on autopilot and be self disciplined or else you will end up wasting too much time doing nonsensical things while killing your dreams.

Saves you time and money

You won’t get stuck in doing pointless chores, jobs, errands and attending parties or events that you don’t even want. I’m sure all of you have found yourselves in a situation where you ended up doing something not because you wanted to but because you were just there, it was an option so you chose it anyway.

Being self disciplined teaches you to cut out the unnecessary and excess activities out of your life. You will start to nurture a living style similar to minimalism where you only allocate time and money to what you really deem important or irreplaceable.

Some of you may think that this is sad and just over the top, you are asking yourself why can’t you use money to have more fun, isn’t that what makes you happy? What you don’t realize is that this ‘happiness’ is always short lived. That is more of being in a comfort zone than actually being happy. Being happy is taking care of your future and dreams above all else, unless you don’t love yourself.

Gives your life direction and purpose

There is that feeling of emptiness and wastefulness that comes to you when you don’t do anything productive. You often start feeling like you are wasting your life and skills if you are not committed to a cause, revolution or something.

Sometimes this is because you are in a low paying job, unenthusiastic career, mediocre business, terrible relationships, meaningless causes and derailing projects. Apart from that, it happens when you lack self discipline to do anything productive, its characterized by you doing your job poorly, or not putting your entire effort in a relationship.

By practicing self discipline you will tend to focus more on what fulfills you and less of what doesn’t. It will show you direction and show you your purpose.

Teaches you to be self reliant

It has the word ‘self’ in it for a reason. Self discipline helps you focus more on yourself, making you prioritize your needs and wants and how to accomplish them. It will teach you how to depend on yourself rather than someone else for your success.

This goes back to my point where I said that it helps you realize that everything is in your control. Being self reliant is having confidence and assurance in your ability to get things done. Once you figure out how to trust your skills and prowess, you will gain more confident in the steps you take and decisions you make, which brings me to my next point.

Improves your self confidence & self esteem

Lack of confidence usually is correlated with being too critical judgmental on yourself and comparing yourself to others. When you do that, you’ll always find someone who is smarter, more attractive, skinnier, has more than you do, smarter kids, better luck and all around appearing to have a better life.

Practice self compassion. Selfcompassion puts you on the fast track to self esteem and self confidence. Instead of needing to be better than average, and avoiding failure, you embrace your vulnerability and your humanity instead of being critical of your shortcomings.

It covers over a ‘multitude of sins’

Yes, I just picked that one from the Bible;

Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins

1 Peter 4:8

In the same way that love covers over a multitude of sins, so does self discipline. The benefit of self discipline is apparent mainly in the way it changes our lives. When you are self disciplined you stop focusing on harmful behaviors, drug indulgence, immoral and socially unacceptable behaviors which go a long way in shaping your character.

Self discipline is contagious

Did you know that yawns are contagious?

So is being self disciplined.

If you want to change someone (which rarely happens by the way, people change themselves), it would be a great idea to act as an example. We as humans are so good at emulating people. We are not so good at learning through mere studying but are damn good at knowing things through experience and observation. We are visual creatures (this statement is controversial by the way, are females more visual than males? Food for thought).

Creates consistency

After learning how to do what must be done for your success to be inevitable, you will begin to realize that through the repetition of practicing self discipline, you will get to be more predictable and consistent, which is a great thing because then you can then what outcomes are going to come from your efforts.

Improves relationships

Dedication, commitment and loyalty comes form being disciplined. You will get to be fully in in relationships and projects by only allowing yourself to focus on what brings you the most joy and fulfillment.

If you are having a hard time staying in a relationship regardless of being self disciplined, then its high time for you to re-evaluate that commitment.

No excuses

We always find ways to justify our inadequacies and shortcomings. Its always easier to look for something or someone else to blame and avoid accountability when we are not self disciplined.

When you become self disciplined, you realize that everything that you do is almost always under your control, hence, you take the necessary measures to eradicate all excuses of your incompetence and dig down to find the solutions.

Bottom line

Self discipline doesn’t have to be a tedious and complicated skill for you. For you to become self disciplined, you will fast have to be self aware so that you make sure that all the decisions you make are tailored to helping you and not someone else. You should be able to nurture emotional awareness so that you can filter out what the environment and society might be compelling you to do.

After that, just take a pen and paper, jot down all your dreams, goals and ambitions. Then google everything you can about them and ask around for input so that you can make a clear and precise planned schedule on how you are going to accomplish the goals.

Last part; start grinding and be accountable to your plan at all times.

I’d love to hear from you. Would you say you are a self disciplined person? How do you see the role of self discipline in your professional and personal life?

Please leave a comment below to share your thoughts.


  1. Galliot, M. (2007). The Physiology of Willpower: Linking Blood Glucose to Self-Control. Retrieved from Journals.sagepub.com
  2. Duckworth, A., et al. (2011). Self-regulation strategies improve self-discipline in adolescents: benefits of mental contrasting and implementation intentions. Educational Psychology, 31, 17-26.
  3. Angela, D and Martin, S. (2005). Self discipline outdoes IQ in predicting academic performance of adolescents. Retrieved from Sage Journals.
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About author
I'm a psychology enthusiast and a fried chicken lover. I write bite sized articles unpacking the complexities of the human mind. The mission is to advocate for what's more important in life - the pursuit of the truth and the highest good one can do with that truth - for themselves, the people around them and the society as a whole.
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