Developing Self-Discipline and Willpower: A Beginner’s Guide 

by | Mar 8, 2023 | Personal Development

There are many common threads when considering the traits of successful people. Self-discipline and willpower are up there at the top. In fact, we attribute much of our success to developing self-discipline and willpower early on in our lives. We truly believe that we are where we are today because we’ve mastered delaying gratification in order to reap the rewards in the future. 

Discipline is one of our core values, and we hope we can encourage you to make it one of yours as well.  

Why Developing Self-discipline and Willpower is Important 

We truly believe that your best YOU is waiting on the other side of willpower. Whether it be your health, business, relationships, or mindset, success boils down to the ability to do the necessary tasks that you don’t feel like doing. 

We think that Forbes™ defines self-discipline perfectly stating that, “it is the bridge between goals defined and goals accomplished.” 

That’s the truest statement right there! 

Five Steps to Developing Self-discipline 

We don’t want to simply tell you why you need willpower in your life to become successful and reach your goals. We want to show you. Here are five steps to help you get started. 

Step #1: Eliminate excuses. 

“Excuses are a mirage that makes today seems easy but makes tomorrow harder” – Venessa 

The first step to developing self-discipline is to eliminate excuses. Decide TODAY that nothing will get in your way of this new journey. Be realistic about where you’re at now, envision your ideal future self, and then begin to do the work to get from point A to point Z. 

Mindset really is everything when taking that first step and staying the course! 

Step #2: Start small. 

Green tiles spell out the phrase, “Little by little,” on a pink background.

Our first piece of advice when embarking on a new self-control journey is to start small. Because developing self-discipline is easier said than done! And we understand that, so we don’t want you to feel overwhelmed when getting started.  

We suggest focusing on a few areas of discipline. Here are some ideas: 

  • Drink more water.  
  • Don’t hit the snooze button in the morning. 
  • Go for a walk every day (or another healthy daily activity).
  • Plan your week ahead of time. 
  • Read every day. 
  • Start meal planning

We know … this list might feel like overkill if you try to do everything all at once. But we encourage you to pick two or three things and make them a non-negotiable part of your daily routines. If two or three feels like too much, there’s zero shame in starting with one.  

Step #3: Have a plan. 

A water jug with encouraging words sits on a teal table surrounded by as assortment of fruits.

Preparation is key. If you’re new to developing self-discipline, you’ll need to put systems in place to accomplish your goals. When starting small, saying to yourself “I’m going to drink more water,” won’t magically make it happen. Instead, set yourself up for success!  

Here’s are a few examples of how to prepare: 

  • Purchase a water bottle that encourages you to drink more.  
  • Set a timer on your phone to remind yourself to drink.  
  • Make a habit of bringing your reusable water bottle with you everywhere you go.  
  • Commit to drinking water at restaurants instead of soda. 
  • Download a habit tracking app to help keep you accountable. 

Again, don’t let the list overwhelm you. This process is all about trial and error. Choose a combination of two or three items that you think will work for you and go for it! 

Step #4: Compete with yourself or create a community. 

A watch tracking steps sits on a purple surface.

Make it a competition! Challenge yourself to make a plan and stick to it. The habit tracker can help be an outside motivator to compete with yourself. Sometimes motivation comes in the form of a reward that you treat yourself to when you’ve reached a goal. 

If you need more external accountability, see if friends or family want to join you in a challenge! If you’re on a weight loss journey, the group of you can keep each other accountable with a daily workout routine or a water drinking challenge together. Maybe your goal is to read more—create a book club together. You get the idea.  

You would be surprised by how many people would love to join you! Striving for excellence as a community is powerful. 

Step #5: Have a “why” that makes you move. 

Four question marks cut out of pink and brown cardstock sits on a brown surface.

If you still find yourself struggling to stay committed to a certain task, reevaluate your “why.” To keep with our “drink more water” theme, ask yourself WHY you want to make this change in your life. Maybe it’s to lose weight. Ask yourself “why” again. Maybe you want to lose weight to have more energy. WHY? Maybe it’s because you want to have fun playing with your kids and spend more quality time with them. BINGO.  

“Losing weight” might not make you move into action. But having more energy to play with your kids will.  

No matter what self-discipline task you’re working toward, make sure your “why” is big enough.  

Developing Self-discipline and Willpower Will Change Your Life! 

With our whole hearts, we believe this to be true—hard work and discipline will change the trajectory of your life. We hope these four steps help catapult you into a lifelong journey of becoming your best self. 

Although we believe willpower is a key ingredient to success, there are others. Check out our blog on, “Clear Signs You Will Be Successful” to discover more.