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Do You Struggle with Self-discipline?

messy office of someone who lacks self-discipline

Self-discipline is one of the most important character traits a person can develop. But many of us struggle with maintaining self-control and worry about our lack of willpower. Here are ten questions to ask yourself to see if low self-discipline may be a concern for you.

The older we get, the more we realize that we’ve all experienced a lack of self-discipline from time to time. From mindlessly snacking in front of the fridge to procrastinating on a deadline to skipping another session at the gym, we can all relate.

But some people seem to struggle more than others. Fortunately, the ability to control your behaviors can be changed and with practice, anyone can develop strong willpower and disciplined behaviors.

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What is self-discipline?

Self-discipline is the ability to control one’s thoughts, feelings, and actions to achieve the desired goal. People who are self-disciplined resist temptation and stay focused on their goals. They stick to their plans and see them through to completion.

According to MindTools, Self-discipline is the ability to push yourself forward, stay motivated, and take action, regardless of how you’re feeling, physically or emotionally. You’re showing it when you intentionally choose to pursue something better for yourself, and you do it in spite of factors such as distractions, hard work, or unfavorable odds.

Discipline:
Doing what you know you should do, even if it’s not what you want to do.

What causes a lack of self-discipline?

There are many factors that impact a person’s self-discipline.

Some factors (many of which particularly tend to affect women over fifty) include:

  • lack of a clear goal or plan for your life
  • temptations and distractions
  • lack of self-confidence
  • sleep deprivation
  • preference for comfort and ease
  • trauma or unstable environment
yellow post-it note with words "managing yourself" as a reminder of a struggle with self-discipline

10 Questions That Will Help You Know if Self-Discipline is a Struggle for You

Here are ten questions that can help you determine if you may lack self-discipline. Answer as honestly as possible – and know that, no matter your responses, self-discipline is an area that you CAN improve.

1. Do you have trouble following through with your goals?

If you don’t get things done that you said you would, it’s likely because you’re not organized, aren’t setting goals effectively, or have not set up your environment to its best advantage.

2. Have You created a Plan or Schedule?

If you don’t have any plans, or methods for making plans, self-discipline could be the reason. If you do make plans or have a schedule, and yet you never stick to it, this could also be a sign of a lack of self-discipline.

Self-discipline embodies the ability to make plans, stick to your plans, and move forward despite any distractions or disruptions that come your way.

3. Are You a Habitual Procrastinator?

Many folks try to put things off until the last moment, insisting that they work best under a strict last-minute deadline. Unfortunately, this often leads to sub-par work, as well as extra stress and anxiety.

If you’re frequently putting things off until the last minute, it may be time to start working on your self-discipline.

4. Do You Frequently Give In to Temptations?

Many people who lack self-discipline also give in to temptation or impulses because they have difficulty saying no to themselves.

This can be a significant problem if it leads to overeating, spending too much money, or engaging in other harmful behaviors.

5. Do You Have a hard time saying “No”?

There may be things you don’t need to do that you are now doing. If so, you are unlikely to get those things done promptly or well.

If you say yes too fast without looking at your schedule first, you may be a people-pleaser. But it also just might be a self-control issue.

6. has Staying Focused Been an Issue for You?

When you work on self-improvement but ignore your self-discipline, you set yourself up for disappointment. You may jump around from task to task, or issue to issue, too quickly to gain resolution on any of them.

You can make significant progress toward your goals but if you lack self-discipline, it won’t be easy to maintain that progress. Ultimately, you feel you don’t complete anything.

7. Do You Make Rash Decisions?

If you tend to make decisions so fast that you don’t even think about your choices, you may regret them later. This is an issue of impulse control.

It’s always best to make decisions when you have all the information and have had time to think things through. Otherwise, you may make decisions that are not in your best interest.

8. Are You Often in Stressful, Difficult Situations?

When you avoid planning ahead or preparing for difficult situations, you set yourself up for failure. As a result, you end up feeling overwhelmed and stressed out, which can lead to poor decision-making.

Self-discipline gives you the ability to take the time to think issues through, alleviating the stress you would otherwise feel.

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9. Do You Feel Like Your Life is Disorganized and Chaotic?

People who lack self-discipline are sometimes chaotically messy because they don’t have any system to follow or a set of rules to guide them.

Studies show that clutter leads to a lot of stress and anxiety, as well as problems personally and professionally. When you are internally disciplined, you will tend to make choices that lead to order and calm.

10. Do You Frequently Feel Overwhelmed or Out of Control?

This happens if you often take on more than you can handle, or you allow yourself to get caught up in activities that are not productive.

Focusing on what is truly important can be difficult when this happens, and you may feel scattered, stressed, and overwhelmed.

when you struggle with self-discipline, the route to a goal may be squiggle and convoluted, such as this woman' and her hand-drawn diagram that's all over the map

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Everyone is capable of self-discipline when they conquer the real reasons their willpower is struggling.

Final Thoughts on Do You Struggle with Self-discipline?

What were your results?

Did many of these questions sound alarm bells for you?

If you recognize these signs in yourself, it’s likely because you lack self-discipline.

The good news is that self-discipline is not a character trait. It is a skill, something anyone can work on and improve with time and effort.

You can increase your self-discipline. It is within your power and ability to do.

In addition, making a concerted effort to control your thoughts, words, and actions will lead to positive changes throughout your life. Try making some positive changes, and see what happens!

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