7 Ways to Maintain Self-Discipline

How to maintain self-discipline
How to maintain self-discipline

Maybe you’re trying to lose weight. Maybe you’re thinking about a promotion, a career change or a bigger bank account. But why learn how to maintain self-discipline?

Self-discipline can help with all of these goals. It’s one of the pillars of a productive lifestyle, and like a real pillar, it can support much bigger architecture for health, wealth and happiness.

What is self-discipline? How can you build it and channel it for a better life? Not everyone can do it, but if you think that you might be an exception, read on.

What is self-discipline?

Self-discipline is basically self-control. It means that you have enough control over your thoughts and actions to identity good behaviours, resist bad ones and work towards whatever aims that you have for the future.

How can self-discipline improve my life?

Self-discipline can improve everything from your eating habits to your efficiency at the office. It can help you sleep better, work harder, run farther and accomplish greater things. It’s one of the foundational skills involved with setting goals and seeing them through.

Three Cs of Self-Discipline

The best way to look at self-discipline is to memorize the three Cs:

  • Commitment: not giving up even when things get hard
  • Conscientiousness: accomplishing tasks thoroughly and competently
  • Confidence: believing that you can do anything that you set your mind to

Without all three of these cornerstones, self-discipline will fail. For example, if you don’t have conscientiousness, you might take shortcuts on your work or have lots of cheat days with your diet. If this is the case, can you really say that you’re a self-disciplined person?

7 Ways to Maintain Self Discipline

Now that you’ve learned about self-discipline and what it can do for you, it’s time to work on developing and maintaining it. Like anything else, self-discipline is a skill, and it needs to be sustained to keep it strong. Think of it like a muscle that will atrophy if it isn’t used regularly.

While there are many, many ways to cultivate self-discipline, here are just a few tried-and-true techniques.

1. Set Goals

The first step of any self-improvement routine is to establish what you actually want to get out of it. Is it health, happiness, money, friendship, confidence or something else entirely?

Once you’ve figured out the end goal, the next step is creating smaller goals to help you get there. Something that’s often used in professional project management is the SMART method:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Assignable
  • Realistic
  • Time-related

Under the SMART system, rather than just saying “I want to lose weight,” you would say “I want to lose five pounds by next month, so I’m going to exercise at least three days per week and cut back my calories by 500 per day.”

2. Establish a Routine

Your brain loves routine. In fact, if you don’t give it routines, it will create its own, and these might be unhealthy, unproductive or just plain gluttonous.

Change your habits by changing your routines. For example, if you want to improve your sleep schedule, start waking up and going to bed at the same time every day. Do this consistently every single day of the week until your body starts to anticipate your routine. When you start naturally waking up a few minutes before your alarm goes off, you’ll know that the routine has taken effect.

Read this blog on how I maintain my Daily Routine. (DMO)

3. Remove Temptations

With enough self-discipline, temptations aren’t a problem. You’ll have the willpower to ignore them even when they appear.

If you’re just starting out on your self-improvement journey, however, you might not have the physical and emotional strength to resist temptations just yet. They might manifest as cravings, distractions or general enticements that prove too much for you.

There’s no reason to make self-discipline any harder than it has to be, especially when you’re just starting out. Take the chips and sodas out of the kitchen. Remove the television from your workspace. Install browser extensions so that you can’t access social media from 9 – 5. If the temptations aren’t there, you can’t indulge in them.

4. Know Thyself

Retro instagram style image businesswoman hands holding white card sign with it starts with you! text message isolated on grey wall office background

What are your weaknesses?

This isn’t a job interview. You don’t have to dance around the subject or try to spin negatives into positives. Be honest: What bad habits do you have, and how will they impact your quest for self-discipline?

Once you’ve identified your weaknesses, it’ll be much easier to counter them. For example, if you’re on the disorganized side, you can invest in a good daily planner to manage all your tasks and projects. If you tend to lose track of time while working or taking breaks, you can start setting alarms for better time management.

There’s a way to conquer every bad habit. You just have to find it.

If you have a fear of failure you are welcome to check out 5 Ways on How to Overcome Your Fear Of Failure.

5. Track Your Progress

Tracking your progress is a great way to stay motivated, especially if your goal is something slow or not easily seen with the naked eye. It’ll be a real, tangible record of your efforts, and it’ll serve as physical proof that you are moving towards whatever finish line that you’ve set for yourself.

Here are just a few ways to track your progress:

  • Notebooks and journals. These are nice and private, and you can also customize them with colors, doodles, stickers and more.
  • Apps. Apps like “Stride” and “Way of Life” are multipurpose goal-setting programs that will allow you to make notes, generate graphs and give yourself rewards for a job well done.
  • Calendars. These can be hung on the wall for daily, visible motivation as well as a reminder of how far that you’ve come.

6. Have an Accountability Partner

This is a trick that’s often touted by weight loss gurus, but it can also be applied to work, school and anything else that requires self-discipline. The premise is simple: Have someone that you report to about your progress.

It could be a trainer or a lifestyle coach. It could be a friend who has the same goals as you. If your ambitions are work-related, it could even be a boss.

The psychology behind this trick is that it’s easy to underperform when no one knows that you’re performing at all. Once you put actual expectations on your performance, however, you might be motivated to perform well.

7. Refresh Your Motivation Regularly

Motivation isn’t a magical, inexhaustible resource. Like anything else, it can fade or get less effective over time, so it’s important to replenish it just like you’d replenish oil in a car.

Maybe this means finding new affirmations to post around your mirror. Maybe it means changing up your diet and fitness routines so that they stay fresh and invigorating. You can always find new clothes to buy, new food to try, new celebrities to admire and new goals to set.

The important thing is not to backslide into old habits when you realize that you’ve lost motivation. This is a completely normal part of the process, and it isn’t a sign of failure, weakness or a lack of willpower. It isn’t a sign that you should give up. It just means that you need to find new motivation to keep you going.

Bonus Tip

Being able to focus on one thing for a well-defined period produces better work. It also helps get the work done quicker. With less noise, you also tend to have less stress and worry. If your mind is in a stress-free environment your creativity booms.

To be focused means you need to have goals and objectives defined. Once you know where you are going you can organise your time around achieving the goal in short, focused bursts. Learn more about Focus Time Here.

Final Thoughts

It’s hard to have self-discipline. There’s no getting around that. If it were easy, everyone on the planet would look like a supermodel and have a million dollars in the bank.

It takes time and effort to have self-discipline, especially in the pursuit of specific goals. It takes inner strength. It takes a person who is really, genuinely seeking self-improvement.

Is that you?

Practise makes perfect, Positive Phycology lays out some Simple Exercises to Build Your Self-Control Muscle

If you like this article, you may want to learn the 5 Secrets to Ending Perfection Paralysis

Are you ready to Launch into the Digital Space?

5 Secrets to Overcome Perfection Paralysis and Anxiety

You might already know you are a perfectionist. Your friends, family, and colleagues probably drop remarks about how you always need things to be perfect. And you believe its important to always strive for the highest level. Why shouldn’t you? Why do anything at all if you can’t do it one hundred percent! But you know your high standards are causing you to avoid getting things started, and you feel in the grips of perfection paralysis.

What is perfectionism?

Well according to dictionary.com, perfection is “a personal standard, attitude, or philosophy that demands perfection and rejects anything less.”

Its the unrelenting desire to always get things right at all costs, and this is where perfection can be so destructive. Unfortunately, the world is not perfect. Neither are human beings. We are all prone to error and mistakes. It’s part of what makes this world so interesting and full of surprises.

Achieving perfection is… well, an unreasonable standard.

The problem is if we obsess about constantly getting things perfect, we will lose out on all the opportunities to grow, experience new things, and achieve success in new areas of our lives.

What is perfection paralysis?

When being a perfectionist consumes you to the point that you start avoiding all things that you can’t be perfect in, it can lead to what is called perfection paralysis.

No doubt perfection paralysis can affect you at some point in your life. Its often a combination of fear of failure and overwhelm at the task of learning something new.

For example:

You decide you want to start your own business in digital marketing. So you begin researching digital marketing and all the aspects of the field. As you read articles and watch videos about digital marketing you begin to feel overwhelmed by the amount of information you need to learn. But instead of starting your venture, you put everything on hold. You feel you can’t start until you know everything… sound familiar?

And so your dream of starting your business stays a dream, and soon it becomes a forgotten dream. I have fallen into this cycle of perfection paralysis, so many times. But you need to break this pattern if you ever want to achieve your goals.

What are the symptoms of perfection paralysis?

Perfection paralysis might not be obvious to at first, but can manifest through our general behaviour.
If you are experiencing some of the below tell-tale symptoms you might very well be in the grips of perfection paralysis!

Four Symptoms of Perfection Paralysis:


Avoiding tasks or projects can be a big sign you are a perfectionist. And the reason that you are not starting is that you believe that you cannot do the task. Rather than just starting and figuring out what to do, you will rather avoid doing the task all together. You feel that if you cannot produce good, or acceptable work, you won’t start. And because of this, you do not meet the deadline as you have an unrealistic standard you have set for yourself.


Perfectionism and anxiety often go hand in hand. It is often fuelled by our focus on what you haven’t done. The more you focus on what you haven’t done the more anxious you get, and so you only make things worse in your mind. You might also be focusing on the past. And this is also wasted energy because the past does not create the future. By constantly focusing on the past we are taking away our focus on the present. It seems so simple, but yet we all do it. You become fixated on the past and so you become frozen and do nothing rather than risk making a mistake.


One of the biggest reasons you might be stuck in perfection paralysis is you may feel like a failure. You might have done nothing to justify the feeling, but you feel like a failure. And everything seems like an impossibility. Your shame for where you are is so overwhelming that you longer talk about your dreams and aspirations. You don’t believe you can achieve them any more. You are scared that when you put yourself out there, people will laugh if you fail, and diminish you for trying.

New Thing Averse

Shame can lead to you not trying new things. And if you never try new things, you will never learn new skills or experience new things. You will never grow. You will never know what you could have achieved if you just tried to do something you’ve never tried. And the more you avoid doing new things, the more you will avoid them. And this puts you in the perfection paralysis cycle. You will rather be “perfect” by never venturing out to try something new.

The above symptoms give you a good idea of what problems can occur when you try to be perfect. Most people only want to publish their wins to the world. Social media displays an unrealistic view of what others do to succeed. Its not always fact, but often exaggerated and fabricated.

No one gets it right all the time. Its impossible.
Its not reality. People mess up.

When you believe that everyone else is perfect and that you need to be too, you will fall into the perfection paralysis trap!

This leads to fear of failure and we never start.

The ensuing embarrassment, judgment, and vulnerability can lead us to not achieving our dreams and aspirations.

This can lead to you harming good relationships in your life because you no longer communicate your failures and challenges. And those around you will not understand what you are going through in your life.

The 5 secrets to overcoming perfection paralysis and procrastination.

To be honest, these aren’t really secrets, and probably already know them, but sometimes a you need a reminder to help get unstuck and start taking action!

1 Stop caring so much about what people think!

Everyone likes to feel successful, and we don’t like to fail. We seem to care what others think. And of course, it’s good to care about that, but not if your perfectionism is leading to negative situations.

The truth is they are so busy with their own lives and their problems, they don’t even notice! Right now, think about your best friends’ failures.

Does it make you want to stop being friends with them? Does it make them look like a failure in your eyes? Probably not, they are human like you (and they are trying their best).

2 Start by Lowering Your Standards!

Yes, I know this seems the exact opposite from what most people say, but to have a high standard, you need to start small. Most kids learn to ride a bike with training wheels first. It’s ok to make mistakes, everyone does.

Once you have started working on something, you can higher your target or standard. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing. Be realistic with your expectation and you’ll stop avoiding what you ultimately really want.

3 Break It Up into Small Parts.

Every big achievement is a sum of smaller achievements (with even more failures in between).
For example, if you are trying to write a blog, break it down into a list:

– Find a topic
– Decide on your keywords
– Research topic
– Write an outline
– Fill out the paragraphs one at a time
– Find images
– Have it checked
– Publish!

Perfectionism often is rooted in being overwhelmed by a task or project. To begin with, make sure that each piece of work is small enough and has a definite timeline to it. Once the time is up, you need to move on (come back later to fix it).

4 Get An Accountability Partner.

Find someone you know and trust and let them know what you are doing. Have them check in with you regularly. There will be a greater desire to achieve the goal as opposed to explaining to someone why you did not do it. This is a great way to break your cycle of perfection paralysis!

5 Create a Routine.

One of the ways of achieving big goals is commiting to doing something every day. When you see your goal as a step by step process you need to do every day, it will become easier to face.

Everyone is different, but I like to get my most important work done early in the day. I get up at the same time every day and follow my routine. This helps me keep my momentum going and get consistent results.

My basic routine

Morning: Exercise, Plan, get a quick win
Evening: Reflect and Reward

The rest of the day seems to flow after that. Routine becomes a habit and habits are easy. Small wins are important, they make you feel good about yourself.

And do not forget to reward yourself. There is nothing wrong with acknowledging what you’ve achieved! Rewarding yourself reminds you to stay present and enjoy the journey.

Each day, reflect on what worked, and what did not. Do more of what worked the next day. And keep the momentum going, when you see that you are progressing you will feel more motivated to do more.


The reason I wrote this post was that I was suffering from the same symptoms about writing my first blog. I spent 2 weeks researching!

And I could have probably researched this topic for another year and still not know how to do it perfectly!

It was scary to put myself out there.

What if no one reads this? (well, at least no one will see my mistakes!)

What if my spelling and grammar errors are picked up by the Google grammar police scrolling through my nonsense?

What if it gets terrible comments?

But what if someone reads this and gets themselves out of the “Perfection Paralysis Cycle”?

Well then it was all worth all the effort and worry!

Are you ready to Launch into the Digital Space?

Six Tips to Declutter your Brain?

How do I declutter my brain

In this modern world, it’s easy for your mind to become overwhelmed. There are a ton of things we must do each day. Trying to keep all these thoughts at the forefront of the brain can be tricky. Add to this, thoughts about past events, and where you want to be in the future, and you have a melting pot inside you. On the internet, there are tons of strategies on how to deal with this, but I am going to focus on the ones that I apply daily to maintain calm. How do you declutter your brain? Let’s first see what the signs are that you might have this problem. And we all suffer from this at times in our life!

Signs of a cluttered brain

1 – Loss of focus

Focus is the ability to look at a task and be present at the moment to get it done. Sometimes for long periods. But if you are easily distracted by other things that need doing, and you can’t seem to prioritise things, you end up doing a few half jobs. This is because your concentration levels are low.

2- Decision Making is difficult

When you can’t decide whether to make potatoes or rice for dinner could be a sign of a cluttered brain. When you have a thousand thoughts passing through your mind in a second, can cause an inability to make simple choices.

3 – Unable to let go

Often a cluttered mind shows up as a cluttered workspace or home. In extreme cases, this could become hoarding. From the above inability to make simple decisions, you end up holding onto everything. Because you can’t prioritise, your workspace will have every paper open on it. Your PC will have hundreds of windows open and thousands of emails you’ll never look at again waiting to be opened.

4 – Creativity/Abstract thinking wanes

A lot of work these days is conceptual and requires you to think and compile solutions in the brain. If you know you are good at this but not able to do it anymore, it can mean your brain is fatigued. Perhaps you no longer have the passion to do your creative hobbies? Perhaps they become too hard and less enjoyable?

5 – I’m Tired”

“I’m tired” are words of a tired brain. Especially if they are spoken early in the morning.

Tips on: How to Declutter your brain and think better

These are the techniques and tools that I have picked up over the years. When I become aware of the above symptoms, I remember to apply this.

1 – Write it down

Having so many thoughts in my mind can really make me anxious. By writing them down seems to move them on. Once they are on the paper, I can see them for what they are. Probably just a set of tasks that I want to happen. To try and stay on top of this, I manage upfront in the morning by writing and prioritising. By doing this, I know where to start. At the end of the day, I reflect on the list and see if I made it happen. Did something else come up? By tracking what I want to do and what happened, also helps me to understand the real priorities of my life.

2 – Stop Multi-tasking

My job managing a software development team, and managing multiple clients means a lot of tasks coming my way. Sometimes I catch myself doing one thing, see another email, and starting on the next task before I have finished the first one. If I allow this to continue, I know that nothing will get done and I will be anxious about the work not done. In these moments I stop, breathe, and relax for about 1 minute.

What is the most important task? Who can I delegate a task to? Who can help me? Sit back and prioritise.

3 – Breath or meditate

At least once a day, for 5 – 10 minutes, I enjoy the feeling of having to do absolutely nothing. I do this each morning to find peace and gratitude for what I have. It helps to clear the mind of all my clutter. I prefer guided meditation. My favourite expert being Andy Puddicombe from “Headspace”. There is even a “Headspace” series on Netflix that will introduce you to the calm.

How do I declutter my brain meditate

4 – Build a Routine

Having a routine can keep you on track. Knowing that this is work time and this is playtime will direct your mind from one activity to the next. You may not follow it perfectly but having it there can bring you back in line. Make sure you include exercise and rest in your routine. Make sure you include family time in there too. Although you must be careful of this as “routine’ing” your family could make them feel like a task. And if you live with a free spirit partner as I do, sometimes you should concede the routine to maintain the love! Check out this post on my Daily Mode of Operation (DMO)

5 – Share Your Thoughts

During a busy day, we can forget to talk to people. There is often a great support structure just waiting for you to connect to. When I feel overwhelmed, I do two things. The first is to talk to my team. We need to be on the same page anyway. Just by talking new ideas are formed, and you might be able to solve issues faster. By doing this you automatically declutter your brain. From an emotional standpoint, I talk to my girlfriend. She is always there to listen and advise. Even if there is no conclusion to an issue, somehow the day feels less cluttered. Sometimes it’s just about letting it go.

6 – Learn to say “No”

As humans, we like to help others. I believe this anyway. But you cannot do everything, and you need to have boundaries. Sometimes there is something fun to do. I too find it difficult to say “No”. But to grow and get the clutter out of my brain, I need to say “No”


It’s normal to have clutter in the brain from time to time but knowing how to move past it is important. Once you start to put in place your ways (there are many more ways than the ones I have mentioned above), you can live a freer life. Things will get done and you will move forward.

Are you ready to Launch into the Digital Space?

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