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Self discipline is self love.
And self love isn’t always easy!
But it’s one of the most important journeys any of us can ever take.
In this post, we’ll take a look at how self discipline is self love, followed by some self discipline examples and tips on how to strengthen your self discipline.
Let’s dive right in!
How Self Discipline Is Self Love
Are you keeping yourself from living your ideal life?
A big part of loving yourself is honoring your goals in life.
Your dreams, your hopes, the things that keep you going.
That takes self discipline!
Some even argue that self discipline is the highest form of self love.
I don’t know that I agree with that, personally.
There are a lot of aspects to self love, and I believe they’re all of equal importance.
But without self discipline, self love can be hard to maintain.
Even the very practice of loving yourself requires self discipline at times!
When you’re feeling insecure or unlovable, it takes discipline to remind yourself that, actually, you are worth loving and you deserve to take good care of yourself!
Self Love Isn’t Always Pretty
Self love isn’t all rainbows and glitter and empowering mantras (though such affirmations can definitely help!).
You’ve got to be committed to doing what’s best for you, even when you don’t feel like it.
Sometimes, self love means going through withdrawals when you realize you need to leave an addiction behind.
Self love means assessing what true self care looks like for you, and doing it even when it’s hard.
That can be really difficult!
That’s why self discipline is so important.
But… what exactly does self discipline look like in action, and how can you get better at it?
Self Discipline Examples
There are a lot of areas of life that might need a touch (or a push!) of self discipline.
Here are some examples of self discipline, and how they show up in your self love journey.
- Doing chores – this ensures a clean and organized environment for you to thrive in!
- Sticking to a routine – a good morning, evening, or other regular routine creates structure in your life and can be a great way to improve your mental, emotional and/or spiritual health!
- Getting enough sleep – your body needs rest in order to operate at its best, both physically and mentally!
- Taking care of your hygiene – keeping yourself fresh and clean will invigorate you and boost your self esteem!
- Eating healthy – getting the right balance of nutrients can not only help your body maintain health in the long run, it’ll also help you feel better and more energized in the day to day!
- Staying active – living a sedentary lifestyle is damaging to your physical and mental health, so it’s important to stay active however you can, especially if you work in an office or sit a lot throughout the day!
- Getting work done on time – procrastination can be tough to beat, but prioritizing your work, school, or other projects will help you feel on top of things and avoid feeling overwhelmed!
- Taking care of dependents – not only is this vital for your kids, pets, or anyone else you give care to, it’s also important to remind yourself that you are a responsible, dependable person!
- Quitting a bad habit – whether it’s a substance, a behavior, a mentality, or anything else that’s dragging you down, letting go of something that hurts you is one of the best things you can do for yourself!
These are just a few self discipline examples, but I’m sure there are even more that you’re thinking of in relation to your own life.
Where do you feel like you need more discipline?
And, furthermore, how are you going to treat yourself on your journey?
Types of Self Discipline
Beyond the actions you take, the approach to self discipline itself can come in different forms.
How are you motivating yourself to do your chores, or quit a bad habit?
Here are a couple examples of types of self discipline:
Self Discipline as Tough Love
“NO! We’re not doing that because it is dangerous.”
Sometimes, self discipline can be a stern word or a warning.
This can help to really drive the point home that you’re committed to doing what’s best for you, not just what feels good in the moment.
Of course, you never want to go too hard on yourself – remember, self discipline is self love, not self berating!
But for some, a little tough love might be what’s needed to motivate yourself to do what you need to do.
This can look like withholding things from yourself until you meet a particular goal.
You might tell yourself:
“No, we’re not going to get on social media until we’ve finished our work for the day.
And that’s final!”
Think of a parent who, while definitely loving, does not coddle their child when they do something harmful.
Sometimes, you’ve gotta be that parent for yourself!
But tough love doesn’t work for everyone…
Self Discipline as Gentle Guiding
Especially for those who may have experienced abuse in the past, sometimes a stern word can make us feel even worse.
It might even make us less likely to follow through!
So, for those who need it, self discipline can also take the form of gentle guidance.
Think of yourself as a young toddler, still learning about life.
Be the gentle parent to your inner child, guiding yourself away from any danger or toxicity and into wisdom and peace.
“I know we really want to drink right now, and I understand why. But remember, we’ve decided that’s not good for us!
What can we do instead to remind us how much we love ourselves?”
Neither of these approaches to self discipline are Right or Wrong – it’s up to you to determine what works best for you!
You may find yourself using a combination of both tough love and gentle guiding as you strengthen your self discipline.
How to Strengthen Your Self Discipline
Now, you may have an idea of what things you want to be more disciplined about, and how you want to treat yourself on that journey.
But sometimes, no matter how much we know something is or isn’t good for us, our brains can lead us right back into old patterns.
Here are some ways to reframe the way you think about things, in order to help you strengthen your self discipline.
Instead of framing things as “I should do this” or “I shouldn’t do this” or creating a moralistic guilt around the issue, try looking at it from a more positive perspective.
How can you empower yourself?
What’s more empowering: spending another hour on social media, or spending that time working toward your personal goals?
Then, remember that you want to make choices that empower you in your ideal self, rather than shame yourself into making those choices.
Self discipline is either about doing things even when you don’t want to do them… or not doing things even when you do want to!
In order to get rid of an old habit, you need to replace it with a new one.
If you try to tell your brain not to think about pineapples, all you’ll be able to focus on are pineapples!
You’ve got to redirect your energy into something else.
When you catch yourself about to do something you’ve decided you want to stop doing, don’t just tell yourself to stop.
Give yourself something else to do.
For example, I’ve recently started working on breaking my bad habit of picking at my skin.
So, when I catch myself doing it, I say, “We don’t do that anymore,” and then I redirect my hands to do something else, like snap my fingers, or play with a fidget toy.
Even better if you can replace an old habit with a new habit that will bring you closer to your goals!
Say, when breaking the habit of sleeping in late, you don’t just get out of bed – you get out of bed so you can start your new habit of doing yoga or meditating.
The Ice Cream Analogy
This is a little out there, but stick with me.
One of my best self discipline tips is to think of certain things in your life as different flavors and types of ice cream.
Vanilla, chocolate, strawberry… Dairy, almond, soy…
There’s plenty of delicious ice cream out there!
But if you’re lactose intolerant, no matter how good that ice cream tastes when you’re eating it, you’ll probably regret it later.
I’ve got lactose intolerance and a soy sensitivity, so if I want to enjoy ice cream, I need to go lactose-free or try an almond- or cashew-based ice cream.
Some things in life might taste good, but leave us with an upset stomach afterwards.
Or, maybe they don’t leave us with upset stomach, but they ruin our health over time if we overindulge.
So, the next time you’re tempted to go back to a bad habit, think about the type of ice cream that habit is.
Is it going to make you feel sick later? Have you been eating too much of it?
Find a Different Version of the Flavor
Maybe you really like coffee flavored ice cream.
But you’ve been eating a cashew-based coffee ice cream when you’ve got a nut allergy!
So, find an alternative. How can you satisfy your craving for that flavor without triggering your allergy?
For example, maybe you’re trying to quit smoking.
Nicotine gum* can help satisfy the craving for nicotine, without the harmful effects of tobacco.
*Please note that nicotine gum isn’t exactly healthy, either, but it’s been proven an effective stepping stone in overcoming addiction to cigarettes. I am not a doctor and am not offering any medical advice, here. If you want to stop smoking, seek help from experts! Here’s a basic rundown from the CDC on using nicotine gum to quit smoking.
Here’s another example that might require a bit more introspection.
Let’s say you want to stop using social media so much.
Try to identify what “flavor” social media represents for you!
Are you just looking to be entertained? Do you feel like you need some attention? Connection with other humans?
How can you satisfy that craving without using social media? Where else can you get that “flavor”?
Maybe you’ll find that spending time with friends or family is a better way for you to satisfy your desire for connection.
Or that laughing with friends, reading a satirical novel, or watching an episode of your favorite comedy is a refreshing break from endless scrolling through memes.
Maybe it was the desire to create that tugged you toward social media, and you’ll discover that doodling in your sketchbook is more satisfying than obsessing over making the perfect post.
It’s up to you to decide what flavors you like, what flavors you don’t like, and what versions of those flavors are the best for you.
Don’t Focus on Your Mistakes
Self discipline is hard work!
And sometimes, we fall short of our goals.
Never beat yourself up for failing to live up to your ideals.
That can create a vicious cycle where we begin to identify with our mistakes and end up making them again and again!
Instead, think of self discipline as a road trip on your self love journey.
When you hit a bump in the road, pull over, assess what tripped you up in the first place, and make adjustments.
Then get back on that road and keep going!
May you always find the strength to continue on your journey of self discipline and find joy in discovering your potential. ❤️
Looking for more encouragement on your self discipline journey? Try using these empowering affirmations!
Self discipline can be hard when you don’t know what you really want. Here are some tips for discovering your ideal life!
Do you have any more tips or ideas for self discipline? Share your wisdom in the comments below! ⬇️⬇️⬇️