9 Powerful Ways to Increase Self-Discipline and Achieve Your Goals

At this time of the year, most of us are looking back at what we achieved last year and what we would like to achieve this year. This reflection period helps us understand why we might have failed to reach certain milestones. 

Personally, one of my drawbacks was lack of self-discipline. My goals were clear, realistic and achievable, but I was simply unable to be consistent enough in putting in the work. Sometimes I would start and eventually slow down until I gave up.

I had fitness goals, signed up for a gym that was very close, invested in some cute gym wear and equipment, and went to the gym religiously for a few weeks until my discipline ran out and I simply stopped.

I wanted to read and write more, so I bought more books and ended up reading just the first 20 pages of the first book. My notes app is saturated with ‘writing ideas’ I had. My laptop is loaded with drafts from when I attempted to write but didn’t get around to finishing most of the pieces.

These are just some examples of the things I wanted to achieve, but thanks to poor self-discipline, they are still on my goals list for this year again. 

Looking back at these unachieved goals, I am not proud of myself. But I know that there are certain things I need to change if I hope to make things different this year. Achieving self-discipline is one of those things.

If you also find yourself in the same boat as I am, don’t beat yourself up. This is a chance to make better decisions and tick more things off your goal list. I hope this blog will help you understand how you can improve your self-discipline and reach greater heights.

Remove temptations.

Sometimes we fail to do what we want to do simply because there are too many temptations around.

When you can, remove those. You want to slow down on the unhealthy snacking? Avoid buying unhealthy snacks entirely.

Have a clear why.

When you understand exactly why you need to get something done, you are more likely to pursue it.

Look at the bigger picture and always remember why you need to do certain things.

Have a Plan B.

Sometimes things simply don’t go our way, but that should not be the end of the world.

Think of an alternative option that will still allow you to reach your desired goal.

Start small.

When you think of what you want to achieve, it might seem like a huge mountain that you need to climb.

Remind yourself that you do not have to accomplish everything in one go. Start small and work your way to the top.

Have a detailed plan.

Rather than planning to ‘write a book’, break it down.

Plan on when you will accomplish the smaller parts of the bigger goal. These will be easier to accomplish while working towards the bigger and desired goal.

Realize your potential.

When you believe that you can achieve something, it is easier to achieve it rather than when you think you can’t.

Forgive yourself.

Yesterday or last year you were unable to do what you wanted to do.

Yes, that can hurt, but you need to learn to forgive yourself and allow yourself to move on. Do not let mistakes from your past get in the way of you achieving your goals.

Try time-blocking.

My personal favorite is the Pomodoro technique where you focus for 25 mins then take a 5 min break.

After four sessions you then take a longer 20 min break. This gives you enough time to get things done but without exhausting you. 

Have an accountability partner.

This could be your friend, colleague or partner.

Open up and tell them what you need to achieve. They need to be in a position to hold you accountable and ensure that you remain disciplined. 

Are You Ready to Do What It Takes to Achieve Your Goals?

When you find it challenging to achieve your goals, don’t think of canceling them and having them out of your life.

Rather, focus on improving your strategy. Think of a way that would allow you to reach your destination more effectively.

This new way might be improving your sleep routine, changing the people you interact with or simply improving how you communicate with yourself.

Making changes is not always easy, but sometimes it is exactly what we need. Once we find what works, the next step is to be consistent, and that can be achieved when we have self-discipline.

It starts with the little things. So, rather than starting your day by snoozing your five alarms which you set 10 mins apart, consider jumping out of bed when the first one goes off.

By the time you finish brushing your teeth and are ready to kick start the day, you would have forgotten that at some point, you had the urge to sleep just five more minutes.

This also sets the pace for the day, and you are likely to take on everything that comes your way by the horns. 

But, self-discipline is not achieved overnight; it takes time, patience and kindness. Take one day at a time. And if you fail today, try again tomorrow. Don’t give up!


This article was written by Tatenda, who is currently completing her Psychology postgraduate studies while working as a freelance writer.

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