How To Find Happiness Through Self-Discipline

woman reading book with coffee
Twenty20 / @viktoriaalisevich

When you think of self-discipline, you might, like me, think about things like Ketogenic diets, #norestdays, and “It’s a lifestyle, not a diet.”

Are you rolling your eyes yet?

Regardless of your answer, there’s one thing about the self-disciplined that’s been scientifically proven, no matter what area they’re working to improve: People who exert self-discipline and self-control are actually happier. Why? They don’t have to deal with motivational conflict.

Think about it for a second. How good does not having to spend the majority of your time resisting temptations or fighting your urges sound? Imagine what you could do with all of the extra time and energy you’d have. The possibilities are endless!

Get a head start on increasing your happiness by following these tips below. It’s not always going to be easy, but once you’ve mastered the art of self-discipline, you’ll be glad you did.

Know what your weaknesses are. 

If you’re reading this article, you’re probably pretty self-aware and already know what your worst vices are.

Maybe you got a DUI once and know that you’re only a few drinks away from another alcohol-related traffic accident (or jail time) whenever you go out drinking. Or, maybe it’s something a bit less harmful like an addiction to Instagram, sugar, or expensive lattes you know you could make better at home.

If you want to overcome your weaknesses, you have to accept that you’re human and prone to temptations and overindulgence.

Rid yourself of whatever tempts you. 

Have trouble staying on task at work due to the constant barrage of notifications? Turn them off! Put your phone in Airplane Mode if that’s what it takes.

Want to stop eating ice cream? Throw out the pint of Ben & Jerry’s that’s stashed in your freezer.

When there aren’t as many distractions or temptations, it’ll be easier to focus on the end goal.

Get some sleep. 

Sleep deprivation will wreak havoc on your life. You won’t be able to focus, and you’ll be more likely to make poor decisions in areas like your diet.

If you get the seven-nine hours that are recommended for adults, it’ll be a lot easier to start your day off on the right foot, and you’ll be more likely to make better decisions throughout.


Everyone knows exercise has a wide range of long-lasting benefits but did you know that it can have an effect on your self-discipline, too? Once you’ve felt a runner’s high, you’ll be a lot less tempted to eat those donuts in the breakroom at work.

Set goals. 

How do you expect to change if you don’t have a specific end goal in mind?

Keep it SMART, and you’ll be much more likely to achieve the self-discipline necessary to meet it.

Maintain a healthy diet. 

Even if you’re looking to improve your self-discipline in areas which aren’t related to diet or exercise, eating healthy can help.

When you eat garbage, you’re going to feel like garbage. And when you already feel like a pile of trash, it’s going to be harder to stare your weaknesses in the face and overcome them. After all, you’ve already ruined today, right? What’s one more bad decision?

Set the tone for the rest of your day by starting it with a healthy meal. And, when you’re not ravenous, you’ll be able to focus more and think clearly, which often results in better decision making.

Treat yo ‘self. 

When you give yourself something to look forward to upon meeting your goals, you’ll be that much more motivated to actually accomplish them. And, you’ll likely spend a lot less time obsessing over your weaknesses—because you’re focusing on the bigger picture.

Know that no one’s perfect. 

There are good days and then there are bad days.

Even the most self-disciplined people have them.

But, when you’re focused on resisting temptations to accomplish a goal, you’re going to have a lot more of good days and be happier because of it.

Now, go show them who’s boss! Thought Catalog Logo Mark

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