12 Ways To Improve Your Discipline [And Crush Your Goals!]

By Zach Buchenau

Last Updated: July 2, 2021

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Are you looking for ways to improve your discipline so you can meet your life goals? Regardless of what you do in life, discipline is absolutely vital to success. 

Discipline is about consistently doing what is required of you in order to achieve a particular outcome.

Even more than that, it’s about prioritizing your time and staying on task. 

But, do you want to know the best thing about discipline? It’s a skill; which means you can learn it, practice it, and even master it. 

In fact, for the rest of this guide, we’re going to share 12 of the best strategies you can adopt in your own life to improve your discipline.

So, if you’re ready to crush your goals and achieve things much greater than you ever thought possible, keep reading!

12 simple ways to improve your discipline and crush your goals | Be The Budget

1. Eliminate Distractions

These days, it’s getting easier and easier to give in to distractions.

Between texts, emails, notifications, social media, tv, and so much more, there is a seemingly endless stream of distractions out there trying to pull your focus away from the process of achieving your goals.

So, to put it simply, if you want to improve your discipline, the first, and most important thing you should do is eliminate and minimize the distractions in your life. 

In other words, set up at a desk in a room that is specifically designed as a workspace. Keep it as bare as possible and focus on your tasks at hand.

I even recommend setting your phone on airplane mode or leaving it in a different room while you’re working on anything that requires focus. 

Wherever you do your work, try to optimize your space so you can focus on your tasks and eliminate as many distractions as possible.

With fewer distractions, improving your discipline becomes much easier.

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2. Break Your Goals Into Daily Pieces

Large goals that require long-term discipline can be exhausting.

For instance, building your freelance business to six-figures can feel like a monumental task. But when you break things down and work through your goals methodically, you will find that it’s much easier to stay focused and disciplined.

If we take that $100,000 annual target as an example, you could phrase it in the following way: 

To bill $100,000 of work in one year, I know I need to earn $1,923.07 per week. As I only work five days every week, I need to earn $385 per day to meet my annual target. 

As you can see, breaking a monster of a financial goal into a daily number makes it seem a lot more manageable. But it doesn’t have to be related to money for this to work. You can do the same for any type of goal. 

These daily achievements will give you confidence and the belief that your long-term goal is possible.

And when you’re confident in a particular process, it becomes much easier to stay disciplined.

3. Reward Yourself For Being Disciplined

Like any habit, if you don’t ever experience any kind of reward for practicing discipline, you’ll be less likely to stick with it.

But here’s the interesting thing, discipline is the process through which you achieve your goals. So, if you wait until you achieve your goals to stop and celebrate your self-discipline, you are missing the mark.

Rather, you should reward yourself every time you practice discipline. And even a small, seemingly insignificant reward is all it takes.

For example, if you’re a blogger and you set a goal to write a blog post every single day for the next month, then you should take a moment to reward yourself every time you publish a blog post.

Whether your reward is crossing out a day on the calendar, eating one of your favorite cookies (I recommend an Oreo), or something as simple as high-fiving your spouse, immediately rewarding yourself for practicing discipline is key.

Ultimately, the better it feels to be disciplined, the more likely (and energized) you will be to stay disciplined.

4. Focus On One Task At A Time

I might ruffle a few feathers here, but I’m going to come right out and say it… multi-tasking is a myth. Beyond that, attempting to multi-task is one of the sneakiest ways to destroy your self-discipline.

You see, the more you jump around, the more opportunities you allow for distractions to creep into your day.

And, as we’ve already discussed, distractions are the enemy of discipline.

So, if you want to improve your discipline, I recommend creating a daily list of tasks every morning and sticking to it religiously.

In fact, if it’s not on your list, ignore it and add it to your list for tomorrow’s tasks.

In my own experience, this is one of the best ways to build discipline into your daily schedule. 

5. Figure Out Your ‘Why’ 

To be disciplined, you need to have a higher purpose that fills you with enough passion to be disciplined.

In other words, you need to have a reason to be disciplined—and it needs to be powerful.

After all, if you’re not invested in the reason for your discipline, you will quickly lose interest and revert to bad habits.

Oh, and one more thing, your ‘why’ needs to be incredibly specific.

For instance, try and avoid generalizations like I want to be successful. 

You need to quantify what success looks like for you and articulate precisely why being disciplined is so important. For instance: 

I want to pay off my student debt in the next 12 months and be fully debt-free so I can comfortably quit my job and pursue my dream of starting my own business.

Whatever your motivation, being specific and holding yourself to account will encourage discipline.

6. Compete With Yourself 

Competition is healthy.

It drives us to improve and to achieve better outcomes.

Whether you’re trying to be more disciplined with your finances, work, exercise, diet, or anything else competing with yourself will give you the motivation you need to keep building on your success. 

If you’re saving, for instance, you might say to yourself: 

“Last month was amazing. I saved $1000 after paying all my bills. Can I beat it this month and go for $1200?” 

Like in the last example, the more specific you can get, the more likely you are to hold yourself to the challenge.

Challenging yourself is an excellent way of encouraging self-discipline, regardless of what you’re doing.

7. Focus On The Process (Not The Outcome) 

One of the hardest things I’ve had to learn in life is that I don’t get to control the outcome of any situation. Rather, all I can do is focus on the process that, in a perfect world, will lead to my desired outcome.

Why is this significant?

Because if all you do is focus on the outcome, and something goes wrong, it can make all your discipline feel pointless—even though it isn’t.

Therefore, if you want to improve your discipline, you are better served focusing on the process.

Instead of saying something like, “I want to pay off my credit card debt,” try something like: 

“I’m going to log my expenses into my budget every single day, and find a way to apply an extra $250 toward my debt every month until I’m debt free.”

As you can see, by focusing on the process, you’re dealing with something you can directly influence.

And by being disciplined and sticking to your statement, you will automatically be working towards your desired outcome.

8. Spend More Time Around Disciplined People

Discipline is contagious.

As humans, when we see someone achieving their goals and succeeding, we naturally want to emulate them and achieve success in your own life–even if the person who inspires you isn’t in the same line of work.

So, to the best of your ability, surround yourself with people who pride themselves on their disciplined approach to life.

Listen to how the talk, pay close attention to their actions, and learn from them as much as you can.

Ultimately, the more you surround yourself with disciplined people, the more likely you will be to become more disciplined.

At the same time, be aware that laziness is also contagious.

If you surround yourself with people who are content with life passing them by while they chill out and play video games, you can easily get drawn into this way of living. 

The Minimalists have a great quote on this exact topic, and it goes like this: 

“You can’t change the people around you, but you can change the people around you.” 

The notion here being, while you’re not able to change the character of the people you usually spend time with, you can change the people that you surround yourself with. 

This pithy phrase is an ideal reminder of the importance of being around people that share your values. 

9. Force Yourself To Read More Books

With the proliferation of social media, YouTube, and streaming services like Netflix, reading in the present day is a pastime that often gets left behind.

But reading is absolutely crucial for self-development and discipline. 

After all, the practice of sitting down to read a book is, in itself, an act of discipline.

By heading to a quiet corner of the house with a book in hand, you’re consciously investing in a process that is mentally stimulating. 

Reading encourages mindfulness and forces you to think in the present moment. You don’t have to read a particular genre to reap the benefits of reading, either. 

However, if you really want to step up your game, look for books on entrepreneurship, leadership, discipline, and focus. The more you read about the importance of discipline, the more you will be inspired to integrate it into your daily practice.

10. Show Up Every Day

Whatever your life goals are, if you show up and begin working towards them, you’ve already taken the most crucial step.

In other words, showing up is half the battle.

Whether showing up means sitting down and opening your budget every night, or driving to the gym every morning, the first step is usually the toughest. 

So, if you want to improve your discipline and crush your goals, the first thing you need to do is consistently show up.

11. Track Your Progress

Tracking your progress is one of the best ways to improve your discipline.

Whether it’s watching your investments grow, or your credit card debt shrink, tracking your progress is a great way to stay motivated and continue working toward your goals. 

In fact, no matter what it is that you’re working towards, be sure to check your progress regularly.

While it might not be every single day [for instance, checking the growth of your retirement investments is definitely not necessary], you should review your progress at intervals that keep you on course to achieving your goals.

12. Attack Your Weaknesses

Have you ever met someone without a weakness?

The answer is NO, because that person doesn’t exist!

We all have weaknesses and make mistakes; it’s just part of life. But how we respond to our weaknesses is absolutely crucial. 

Disciplined people don’t hide from their weaknesses. Instead, they look them in the eye and attack them.

They make a commitment to work on their flaws and seek to turn them into strengths. 

Here’s an example to help you see what we mean. 

Suppose you have a weakness for online shopping and spending money on things you don’t actually need.

Instead of just ignoring it, you could make a commitment to attack your shopping weakness and do the total opposite. For instance, rather than spending money on a new pair of shoes, you could transfer the money that you would have spent on the shoes into your savings account.

Not only will this help you break a bad habit, but it will actually help you achieve your goals faster!

Final Thoughts

Discipline is the key to living a successful life.

After all, setting goals means nothing if you don’t have the discipline to follow through with them.

Hopefully, these 12 tips will help you improve your everyday discipline and begin smashing your life goals!

So, in what areas of life are you trying to improve your discipline? And how do you plan to do so? Be sure to drop your answer in the comments!

Zach Buchenau

About The Author:

Zach Buchenau is a self-proclaimed personal finance nerd. When he isn't writing about budgeting, getting out of debt, making extra money, and living a frugal life, you can find him building furniture, fly fishing, or developing websites. He is the co-founder of BeTheBudget, and Chipotle's most loyal customer.

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