Self-Discipline is Self-Care Too (& I Suck At It)

coffe mug that says "be strong" referring to self discipline

It’s probably the harshness of the word “discipline,” but something about self-discipline has always made me uncomfortable. Just the sound of it makes me want to start daydreaming or zoning out to a good book or TV show. It just sounds so…rigid and not fun.

Unfortunately for me, this means I tend to miss out on a very vital act of self-care. Self-discipline, no matter what connotation you’ve attached to it, plays a pretty necessary role in our lives. Even reading the definition of it got me surprisingly pumped me up about it:

Self discipline is “the ability to control one’s weaknesses; the ability to pursue what one thinks is right despite temptations to abandon it. Simply put, it’s “regulation of oneself for the sake of improvement.”

Sounds pretty important to me.

By getting better at avoiding temptations and regularly checking ourselves before we’re wrecking ourselves, we take care of ourselves. I like to see it as being my own parent sometimes. I never liked being told to stop eating all of the candy and chips…but now I sometimes wish someone would. That’s when we have to step up for ourselves. We have to be our own voice of reason. It not only helps us move forward, it creates a healthy, solid foundation for our lives to grow from.

Just like you would for your own child, practicing self-discipline is one of the purest forms of caring and doing what’s best for yourself.

Self-discipline is self-love.

How do you get better about self discipline when you just kinda suck at it?

If you’re reading this, I’m guessing this ain’t your first rodeo. We’ve all danced the dance, sang the sad old tune, woke up to the same disappointment. It gets pretty tiring trying to instill healthy mindsets and habits when they don’t come naturally (yet)! But what matters is we’re trying and we don’t stop. Which is why I’m making peace with my bitter relationship with self-discipline and giving this another go. Obviously don’t view me as an expert on this (I’m clearly so positive about it), but hear me out. Maybe we can grow together with this!

Below are a few of the ways I’m going to try to be better at practicing self-discipline.

Focus on your Why – your vision, your goals

It’s hard to feel strongly about doing or not doing something if you don’t know why you’re doing or not doing it. For example, I tend to focus on the why not’s when it comes to blogging. Thinking of all my doubts and worries gets me all hesitant, so I procrastinate even doing anything with it. But as soon as I’m reminded why I want to blog and connect with others, my soul positively soars. It’s that amazing feeling in my gut that this is it. This is right. I don’t know what you’re hoping to be more disciplined about, but whatever it is, focus daily on why you want it. Holding onto that feeling will be much more motivating than seeing it as an obligation.

Believe in yourself – Change your perspective of self-discipline.

As I stated so clearly in the title of this post, I don’t have the most positive outlook on my own self-discipline. I’m working on it. But I figured I’d start by sharing honestly where I’m coming from instead of pretending I’ve got it figured out.

The thing is, we need to change the narrative that we’re leading our lives with. Even if we’re honestly noticing a negative aspect of ourselves, we need to use that as constructive criticism and grow. And even if we have always avoided self-discipline like the plague, we can start embracing it. This doesn’t have to be the same rodeo that your messy first few hundred tries were. As the creator of your own life, you get to choose how your relationship with self-discipline goes. Let’s make friends with it and thank it for the structure and growth it adds to our lives.

Don’t expect perfection.

When you begin trying to lead a more disciplined lifestyle – or at least just have some self-control for once – it can feel overwhelming. This doesn’t mean it’s impossible though! It just doesn’t feel natural yet. Your mind and body have to build up some muscle memory as you continue practicing. The more you do it, the easier it will get – just like with anything! I’m assuming when you first learned how to walk or talk you weren’t super impressive with it. But you got there! Same goes with getting better with your will-power and self-control. You’ve got this.

Give your life some structure by creating a routine.

Obviously creating a routine takes some self-discipline in itself – but it’s so worth it! Having a routine gives you creative control over what you make time for in your day. When we move through our days aimlessly, we are much more susceptible to our impulses. Instead of doing what we know is best for us, we do whatever sounds best instead. The world’s most successful people have the same 24 hours in a day that you do. Being disciplined is not about having enough time; it’s about making the most of the time you have. If you want to have time for something, make time for it. Schedule it just like you would any other obligation. Your passions need to take priority too.

Recognize your weaknesses/distractions and plan for them.

We aren’t perfect, so we should expect our willpower to be either. Sure, the more we practice self-discipline the easier it’ll be become…but there’s always going to be times where we feel like caving. Recognize when those times happen and what you normally are tempted to do. How can you prepare for those moments? For me, I have a major issue with chips…Nacho Cheese Doritos to be exact. Since I know my defenses are wiped clean at the sight of those bad boys, I almost always have some kind of healthier alternative nearby. They may not be much healthier, but they don’t cause me to binge near as much as Doritos can. It’s all about being realistic and compromising with yourself.

Stop Waiting for Motivation & Just do it!

Regardless of how you feel about Nike nowadays, you’ve gotta admit they are right about one thing…Just do it. But if you’d rather not think about Nike, Mel Robbins is your girl with this topic. She actually created the 5 Second Rule – not about dropping your food, but about dropping your hesitation! She encourages people to stop waiting to feel motivated and basically start sucking it up and doing whatever it is.

All it takes is 5 seconds of doubtful thinking for us to completely shy away from whatever it is we think we should or shouldn’t do. I love how Mel specifically says with the 5 second rule you must count backwards – Like a rocket launching itself, you must literally count down to your own launching. Whatever it is you keep putting off, take a deep breath, count 5, 4, 3, 2, 1…and just do it.

forgive yourself and move forward

Failure is always a part of succeeding. Without failure, you would never learn and improve. With each mistake and setback, you’ll learn something new or grow a little stronger – even when it doesn’t feel like it. As much as it’s uncomfortable and frustrating to screw up, always try to find the patience and compassion to forgive yourself. Keep going. Two steps forward and one step back is still moving forward.

As much as it's uncomfortable and frustrating to screw up, always try to find the patience and compassion to forgive yourself. Keep going. Two steps forward and one step back is still moving forward. Click To Tweet

Where do we go from here?

If you’re working on building your own self-discipline, where do you think you’ll start? I’ve started by basically scheduling appointments for myself like I would with something at work. This way, I make it an obligation rather than a vague idea. But that’s just me! Everyone is different in how their brains function and what they respond best to, so this can be a series of trial and error for a while as you figure it out.

All I know is, after quite a few times of giving up and living aimlessly because I hated self-discipline, I’m ready to add a little more caring structure into my life.

If you’d like to hear a little motivation in terms with self-discipline and self-love, check out Will Smith’s thoughts on the concept: Self Discipline is Self Love. Amazing little speech 🙂 Until next time – Take care of yourself. As always, I’m here if you need someone to listen or just to share thoughts with.

Love always,