Here’s what’s great about your question: this is one area of our life that we have control over.
But before we get into the how, let’s try and understand the why.
In other words, why do you not finish what you started or why do you not do it on time?
Step #1. Identify what’s bothering you.
- Is it fear of not being able to do something successfully?
- Is it lack of knowledge you need to complete a task?
- Do you find the work overwhelming or too time-consuming?
Step #2. Find strategies to improve the situation.
It’s always helpful if these strategies are straightforward and easy to follow. If you get advice that’s very complicated and takes a lot of time to implement, you’ll likely give up sooner rather than later.
Step #3. Get proactive about making a change.
Here’s how you can do it.
Self-discipline tip #1. Get smarter about maximizing your daily dose of willpower.
When we wake up, it’s not uncommon that we’re overwhelmed with the amount of things we need to do, so we end up procrastinating and postponing our tasks. That’s a critical mistake, because we all have a finite amount of willpower that takes us through the day. If you want to focus on priorities, work on them early.
- Complete one task that you’ve been putting off all week before lunchtime. It’s going to take much less time than if you leave if for the evening.
- Write up a weekly plan for the school or work week ahead of time. That way you won’t panic when a deadline is approaching.
- Finish homework that you’ve been putting off because you’ve been watching YouTube videos. You won’t need to stay up all night making up for lost time.
Self-discipline tip #2. Take care of your basic needs first.
Before you embark on your path toward any type of achievement, it’s important to cover the basics. According to, that means meeting the first level of physiological needs such as food, shelter, and clothing. Here is the first opportunity where you can practice self-discipline.
- Eat the right food. Eat not just to be full, but also to stay healthy and maintain your .
- Get sufficient exercise. Physical exercise is critical to performing well in every area of your life, so make sure to make it is .
- Get enough sleep. When you’re sleep-deprived, you’ll never be able to function at optimal levels, either physically and mentally. Be sure to .
Self-discipline tip #3. Make a new habit stick by keeping it simple.
Every habit we’d like to acquire needs self-discipline, time, and repetition. If you’re reading this, chances are you feel that it’s time to make some kind of improvement in the way you do your work. To simplify a change you’re trying to make, start with tiny steps.
- Start with a micro task. It can be writing down a to-do list of what you need to accomplish in one day.
- Don’t multitask. Go down your list of tasks and look at each one individually. Don’t try to do a few things in the same hour.
- Divide your time into manageable chunks. Use the to maximize time and keep yourself on track.
Self-discipline tip #4. Practice saying no more often.
If you frequently find yourself running out of time to do what you need to do, it probably means you’re wasting time and energy on things that are not that important in the long run. Start building up your “no muscle” in small ways each day.
- When you’re in the middle of finishing up a project and a friend calls to invite you to a party, it doesn’t mean you should drop everything and go. It’s okay to politely say no and stay focused on your goal.
- When you are working and your mobile phone lights up with a notification of a Facebook or Instagram update, don’t look at it. Keep your phone away from you when you’re working, and check it after you’ve completed a task.
Self-discipline tip #5. Make a specific commitment to yourself.
Commitments aren’t just promises you make to other people. You can — and should — make them first to yourself. A great way to begin is to define a very specific goal you want to achieve in a certain time frame. Here are a few examples of what you can commit to. Write it down in your journal, or write it on a large sheet of paper and hang it on your bedroom wall so you see it each day.
- I am committed to focusing on my studies in the next 30 days so that I can pass all three of my exams with top marks.
- I am committed to completing my to-do list for today before I turn on the TV so that I don’t have to add more things to my work agenda tomorrow.
- I am committed to staying focused on my goals so that I can make progress in my work or school and be proud of what I’ve done.