Last Updated on September 7, 2023 by Kayla
As a Registered Dietitian, I believe that self-discipline is one of the most underrated skills for losing weight and living a healthy lifestyle. Whether you’re trying to break bad habits or build new ones, the importance of self-discipline for weight management is insurmountable.
Without self-discipline, you fall victim to excuses, distractions, and procrastination, and you don’t take action toward your goals. You self-sabotage weight loss and fail to see results.
This post will help you cultivate the skill of self-discipline to makeover your habits, so you can start seeing the progress you desire.
What is self-discipline?
Self-discipline is a life skill, and the importance of self-discipline in weight loss and sustaining a healthy lifestyle is vital to success. There will be days you don’t feel like working out, cooking a balanced meal, or going to sleep on time, and self-discipline can help carry you through.
According to the Oxford dictionary, self-discipline is “the ability to control one’s feelings and overcome one’s weaknesses; the ability to pursue what one thinks is right despite temptations to abandon it.”
In simple terms, self-discipline is doing the work even when you don’t feel like it. Other words to describe self-discipline include:
- will power
Lack of willpower is often blamed for resorting to bad habits, halting weight loss progress. While you can white-knuckle your way with willpower, it’s never enough to produce the results you desire. Willpower needs help.
One idea I’ve shared with my women’s-only bariatric community is finding your whypower. I didn’t coin this term, however, whypower involves taking time to evaluate your goals and find purpose in everyday actions.
Knowing your values, priorities, and ‘why‘ helps reinforce self-discipline, so you can focus on getting better every day. This way, you’ll find joy in the process, not just the final outcome, helping you evolve to your full potential.
Benefits of self-discipline
Self-discipline is an invaluable tool for well-being and success. Some might argue that you can’t achieve success without self-discipline. Athletes, authors, researchers – virtually every professional or personal accomplishment results from self-discipline.
Moreover, self-discipline helps you become more organized, focused, and productive. The benefits of self-discipline include:
- Improved Self-Control – Self-discipline is learning to control your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, which helps you stick to healthy habits and reach your goals.
- Greater Achievement – Self-discipline means you make decisions and follow through without getting distracted or giving up. By staying focused, you’ll achieve more tremendous success in all areas of life.
- Increased Resilience – Self-discipline teaches you to manage challenges with grace and bounce back from setbacks more quickly. You’ll be better equipped to handle difficult situations without feeling overwhelmed.
- Improved Self-Confidence – Having self-discipline increases confidence in yourself and your ability to accomplish things. You’ll learn to stop being your own worst enemy and be open to challenges outside your comfort zone.
- Emotional Stability – Self-discipline keeps your emotions in check, so you can make decisions and take action. You can resolve conflict and avoid being impulsive with increased self-restraint.
Overall, the importance of self-discipline is essential for leading a successful and satisfying life. Developing self-discipline is not easy, however, with dedication and practice, you can cultivate a strong sense of self-discipline that will serve you well in all areas of life.
Examples of self-discipline
Self-discipline can look like a variety of things based on your individual goals. When it comes to losing weight and reinforcing healthy habits, self-discipline might look like this:
- Skipping the snooze button and getting up on time
- Scheduling a workout and sticking to it
- Planning meals for the week and following through
- Exploring new coping mechanisms rather than eating for emotional reasons
- Saying “no” and setting boundaries with a family member
- Sticking to your routine even when you’ve hit a weight loss stall
What you might notice from the examples is the mere fact of following through. This involves avoiding distractions, enduring pain, and doing the work. No excuses.
Imagine the mental energy and time you’ve wasted floundering in the “in-between” instead of just taking action. To workout or not to workout? Hit the snooze button or wake up and attack the day? Journal your emotions or eat the ice cream. Use your whypower and commit.
Think about it. Where would you be right now if you were to stick to what you said you would do? Ten pounds lighter? Down twenty or fifty pounds? More energetic and less anxious from eating healthy and practicing good self-care?
The health benefits and importance of self-discipline in weight management are undeniable. However, this doesn’t mean it’s the easy route; there are no shortcuts. Ultimately, developing self-control is a non-negotiable for creating sustainable, healthy habits.
So how do you practice good self-discipline? Let’s take a look!
How to develop self-discipline
Developing self-discipline can be challenging, but with the proper techniques and a healthy mindset, anyone can learn to become more disciplined.
The first step to developing self-discipline is clarifying what you want to accomplish. Define your goals and what steps it will take to achieve them. Identify your priorities, and be ready to execute regardless of your circumstances.
Be clear on what you hope to achieve so that you can act purposefully each and every day.
Once your objectives are clear, step two is to hone in on the task at hand. Focus on your priorities and eliminate distractions that steer you away from your ‘main thing.’ This involves being prepared and planning for setbacks.
For example, let’s say your goal is to lose 20 pounds, and you determined that one habit of getting you there is packing a lunch for work. So, you map out meals for the week, make a grocery list, and get organized.
Once you figure out Plan A, you might have a backup plan like keeping a few healthy frozen meals on hand or looking up a restaurant menu for when things don’t go as planned. Preparation means you’ll accomplish what you set out to do despite challenges that may arise.
Arguably, the most important step in developing self-discipline is execution, or ‘doing the work.’ This doesn’t mean eating ‘perfectly’ or crushing your workouts 100 percent of the time. Instead, it means doing the best you can.
Self-discipline involves having realistic expectations and seeing the task to the end. As the Nike slogan says, “Just do it!” Give it your best because your best is all you can give.
Hard work deserves to be rewarded. To keep up motivation, find small ways to treat yourself for following through and completing what you set out to accomplish. Motivation will always ebb and flow, but self-discipline will help you lose weight beyond your expectations.
With practice, you’ll come to appreciate the importance of self-discipline and how it can help you create consistency toward your goals. In short, you can develop self-discipline in four simple steps: (1) Clarify (2) Prepare (3) Execute (4) Reward – and, of course, repeat.
To fully appreciate the importance of self-discipline and generate more of it, try using positive words of affirmation to reinforce your self-command and boost confidence and autonomy.
When you’re feeling distracted or stray from your priorities, stay grounded with affirmations for productivity, growth, and reassurance. Here are some of my favorite self-discipline affirmations.
Affirmations for productivity
- My imperfect action is better than inaction.
- Today I’m prepared to work hard to build a life I love.
- I have grit, and I don’t quit.
- When something is important to me, I work hard at it.
- I don’t wait for the right moment. I make the moment right.
- My hard work is paying off in ways I cannot see yet.
- I finish what matters and let go of what does not.
- I have the power to accomplish everything I want to do.
- I’m an expert at ignoring things that don’t matter.
- Whatever I do, I won’t quit.
- I do what needs to be done regardless of how I’m feeling.
- I don’t need motivation. I need to take action.
Growth mindset affirmations
- My strength is greater than my struggles.
- Each day is filled with new opportunities to test my skills.
- I will only give to things that add to my growth.
- I don’t need perfect conditions; I only need opportunities to succeed.
- I choose courage over comfort.
- Strength comes from growth, and growth comes from challenges.
- Change brings new adventures.
- As long as I’m willing, I can learn anything I want.
- Keep going, keep growing.
Affirmations for confidence
- I am not afraid to make mistakes because they prove I made an effort.
- I’m not immune to fear, but it doesn’t stop me from going after what I want.
- I am independent and self-sufficient.
- I am capable of so much more than I give myself credit for.
- I have high standards, and I will evolve with my expectations.
- Today I choose courage over confidence.
- I can’t wait to see how far I can go.
- I take responsibility for my happiness and success.
- Eating healthy is a pleasure, not a punishment.
- My health gets better because I prioritize it.
- To make small steps toward big goals is progress.
- I feed my spirit. I train my body. I focus my mind.
- I am the only person who controls my habits.
- My well-being is my number one priority.
Self-discipline affirmations help strengthen your ability to focus and stay on track. Affirmations remind you of your goals, strengths, and resources available to help you make progress every day. So commit yourself and continue striving for success. You’re worth it!
Words from the Wise
“We must master ourselves unless we’d prefer to be mastered by someone or something else.”Ryan Holiday, author of Discipline Is Destiny: The Power of Self-Control
If you’re feeling wishy-washy, distracted, or unclear of your priorities, I highly recommend Discipline is Destiny by Ryan Holiday. The gentle probes and inspirational accounts in this book helped kick me back into the healthy routines I’d fallen short on.
Remember that self-discipline is a skill, and practicing self-discipline is anything but easy. Hard work is a minimum expectation. Nevertheless, the importance of self-discipline in all facets of life, especially health, is critical for resisting the temptations and distractions of our ever-consuming environment.
A little bit of self-discipline goes a long way, and as Ryan Holiday says in Discipline is Destiny, “… the second we stop trying to get better is the moment we start gradually getting worse.”
Embrace the process. Stay focused, do the work, and anything is possible!
Helping women after bariatric surgery lose weight without eating “perfect.” Learn how to balance blood sugar & optimize your “tool” today! Apply to learn more!
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