Have you decided that you want to improve your self-discipline, but you aren’t sure where to start? Don’t fret, because you aren’t alone, and improving your self-discipline is no easy task.
Below is a 30-day plan with one step each day to help you work towards improved discipline in your life. It’s important to note that the activities on this list are cumulative. This means that each day you will add the activity listed to your routine, while continuing with all of the activities from the previous days.
30 Day Self Discipline Challenge
Day 1: Get Up Early
Say goodbye to sleeping in. Or even just sleeping in some days. A major part of being successful in your self-discipline journey is getting up early and starting your day at a reasonable time. And although you may not realize it, your crazy sleep schedule may actually be causing you to feel more tired.
Either way, it’s time to resolve to get up early. Set your alarm to the exact same early time each day, and when that alarm goes off, get out of bed. It’s as simple as that.
Day 2: Create A Morning Routine
Now that you are getting up early, it’s time to develop a routine for your mornings. This could be as simple as get out of bed, brush your teeth, and get dressed. However, it is to your benefit that you add other aspects to this routine such as exercise, breakfast, and meditation, but if you aren’t ready to jam pack your morning routine just yet, don’t fret, just make sure whatever routine you develop that you continue to do it in the same manner each day and start it right after you wake up.
Day 3: Prepare For The Next Day In Advance
Although you may be tired in the evenings, it’s time to set yourself up for success in advance. This means laying your clothes out in advance, maybe packing your lunch the night before, and setting the things you need to take with you by the door. This way you won’t be scrambling around in the morning and you’ll be less likely to forget something important.
Day 4: Create A To Do List For Each Day
Next, you need to create a to do list for each day with at least five items on it. And you need to complete them each day before you go to bed. If you have a full morning routine, it may help to add this to-do list to the things you do to prepare yourself for the night before in advance.
Or you can create your to do lists for the entire week at the beginning if this works better for your schedule. Whatever you resolve to do, sit down, and write out your to-do list, and don’t let the day end until it is finished.
Day 5: Create An Evening Routine
Besides just preparing yourself for the next day, and finishing your to do list before bed, it’s also imperative to create an evening routine for yourself. Again, your evening routine will depend widely on what you would like to accomplish in the evening, but it should most certainly include basic necessities such as washing your face and brushing your teeth.
And make sure you start your evening routine at the same time each evening so that you will be in bed at the same time as a regular sleep schedule is a crucial part of self-discipline.
Day 6: Decide Which Goals Will Become A Habit
At this point, you need to decide which goals in your life you want to accomplish by habit. This could be exercising every day, or eating healthy, or maybe keeping a cleaner house. Whatever you decide, sit down and map out just how you will make these goals a habit. You can plan to insert them into the routines you are building, (such as cleaning every night during your evening routine) or schedule them individually(dedicating one day each week to cleaning), depending on the habit you are looking to form.
Day 7: Start Eating Regularly
Whether healthy eating is on your list of goals or not, it’s time to develop self-discipline in your eating habits. Whether you’re a meal skipper, or a constant snacker, decide on meal and snack times for your schedule and stick to them. Although this will likely be very difficult for you, only eating at the times you allot for yourself will go a long way in developing discipline.
Day 8: Cut The Sugar
On day 8, start cutting sugar out of your diet. Not only is it bad for your health, but if you are constantly eating sugary foods, this is likely wreaking havoc on your metabolism and cause you problems when it comes to sticking to your meal times.
Instead, stock your shelves and workspace with healthy snacks such as nuts and granola, and when you do crave something sweet, reach for fruit instead of candy or cookies.
Day 9: Start Writing Everyday
If you haven’t already, it’s time to add writing in a journal to your everyday routine. You can add this to your morning routine, or your evening routine, the choice is up to you. You can journal traditionally, evaluating your day and emotions, or you can simply make lists of your goals, the choice is again yours. Just ensure you are doing some sort of writing each and every day.
Day 10: Start Reading Everyday
Not only do you need to be writing every day, but you also need to be reading. Reading is a critical aspect to learning as well as connecting to those around you. This can also be fit into any of your already existing routines, or even into a break at work. It’s best if you aim to read for thirty minutes each day, and read something you can learn from. But it is also okay to reward yourself with a fiction book every now and then.
Day 11: Plan Out Your Meals In Advance
Because you now know exactly when you will be eating, it’s also time to plan out just what you will be eating. And if clean eating is your goal, now is the time to plan out healthy meals for yourself well in advance, then shop for all the ingredients in order to save yourself from impulse eating out. This will help you to become more disciplined when it comes to mealtime and give you less excuses to buy fast food when you have a meal prepped and waiting for you at home.
Day 12: Start Small: Exercise
Exercising regularly may or may not be one of your goals, but regardless, it’s time to work out every day. If your life is busy, it can be hard to imagine yourself suddenly adding a one-hour gym routine after work each day. This is why you will start small.
Maybe on this day you agree to just do ten push-ups a day. Or maybe you go for a one-mile jog. Whatever you decide, start small, but make sure you exercise each day.
Day 13: Ask Yourself Why
As you continue on the challenge, you may find days which are difficult to add into your life and routine. Anytime you come across this, ask yourself why you want to be more self-disciplined. Are you trying to get a better job? Maybe you want to be a better person?
Whatever the reason is, remind yourself, and develop a mantra you can repeat on the days you are struggling. It can help to journal about your reasons for this journey as well to keep yourself on the path to success.
Day 14: Start Meditating
According to Healthline, regular meditation has profound effects on both your mental and physical health. So, if you aren’t already meditating, it’s time to add at least ten minutes of the activity into your day.
You can add it to your morning or nightly routine to make it easier to remember. For those who already meditate, consider meditating for a longer period of time than you already do.
Day 15: Remove Your Biggest Temptations
Everyone is tempted by something in their life. Maybe it’s sugar, or maybe it’s beer. Whatever it is for you, remove it from your life. This will make it much easier as you continue on your journey of self-discipline.
For example, if you are tempted by junk food, remove all junk food from your home. Or if you are trying to quit drinking, then say no when your friends invite you to a bar and opt to go to a park or do a class at the gym instead.
Day 16: Stop Scrolling Social Media
This one is difficult. But you need to stop scrolling through social media. It is nothing but a huge time waster. Of course, this doesn’t mean you have to cut social media completely out of your life, it just means you need to schedule your social media time, and sparingly.
Consider scheduling yourself for only fifteen minutes of social media a day. Set a timer, and close the app when it is done. This will go a long way to helping you control your impulses and have more self-discipline.
Day 17: Shut Off The TV
If the TV didn’t get the boot during your temptation removal, now is the time to chuck it from your life. Not only is the TV a huge waste of time, but it is also a distraction. In this day and age it can be difficult to get rid of your TV completely, but the least you should do is narrow it down to only one TV for your entire household, and schedule time with it like you do social media. And no more binge-watching shows.
Day 18: Work With A Timer To Train Focus
Struggling to focus while completing an activity is something that everyone wrestles with at some part of their life. But focus is an essential part of self-discipline. To work on your focus, start working with a timer.
Set it for twenty- or thirty-minute intervals in which you do nothing but work. Don’t let any outside influences interrupt you. Once you’ve mastered thirty minutes, try upping your time to challenge your focus even more.
Day 19: Challenge Your Excuses
It’s day nineteen. Are you starting to make excuses for yourself? Maybe you slipped up from one of the habits you instilled early on. Either way, it’s time to challenge your excuses. Chances are, it isn’t a real excuse, and when you challenge it, you will see that. Increase your self discipline by pushing your excuses aside and getting the things you need, done.
Day 20: Delay Your Gratification
Another important part of self-discipline is learning to delay gratification. Maybe you are shopping online and see something you really want to purchase. Start by closing the browser and waiting just 24 hours to think on it. Chances are, you’ll re-think the purchase.
And it doesn’t have to be a full 24 hours, you can even start just waiting 8 or 10, and you’ll be surprised at how easy it is to work up the amount of time you can delay gratification.
Day 21: Track Your Progresses
All of these things you are adding into your life and daily routine won’t mean anything if you can’t track your progress. The best way to do this is by crossing things off your to do list as you go, and also keep track of how many days you have completed the habit you are trying to form. It works well to have a wall calendar which you use to cross off the days you accomplish everything.
Seeing the days crossed off will make you feel more accomplished and help keep you motivated towards your goal. You can also find a number of habit tracking apps which you may want to download to your phone to help with this tracking.
Day 22: Challenge Your Fitness Capabilities
On day 12, you started working out for a small amount of time each day. Hopefully by now the small amount of working out has become part of your daily routine. Now it is time to up it. If you were doing 10 pushups every day, start doing 20.
If you were running one mile, now it’s time to run two. And you need to resolve to up the challenge for yourself on regular intervals. It could be every month, ten days, or even every week—whatever suits your body best.
Day 23: Complete Your Hardest Task First Thing In The Morning
There will be some days that you will have difficult tasks on your to-do list. Or maybe you’ve had one on your list which you’ve just been pushing to the next day for weeks now. From this point forward, resolve to start your day (right after your morning routine) with your most difficult task.
For example, if you constantly struggle with making it to the gym after work when you are tired and out of energy, now is the time to start waking up earlier and going to the gym before work when you still have energy.
Day 24: Conquer Your Discomforts
Most people have at least one thing on this earth which causes them discomfort. And this discomfort is often what leads to excuses and procrastination. On your self-discipline journey, it is critical that you overcome these discomforts. It won’t be easy, but start by journaling about the discomfort, and why you think you don’t like the activity. You can even approach the activity mentally during meditation.
But after that, it’s time to face the discomfort, whatever it may be, so that you can learn to be comfortable with the task in the future. This may need to be repeated on a daily basis until the discomfort becomes comfortable.
Day 25: Evaluate Your Circle
During this journey, you will probably encounter people who think you are crazy and don’t understand the value of self-discipline. It’s time to cut those people out of your life. This is because they don’t understand your self-discipline journey, and since they probably never will, they will be a source of constant temptation for you. It’s better to find people who support who you are and what you are doing as they will be the ones that help promote you to achieving your successes.
Day 26: Schedule Rewards For Yourself
Of course, the path to self-discipline isn’t easy. And you might be feeling a little buried right now. Don’t stress too much, as it is okay to reward yourself along your journey. Just make sure you’ve truly earned the reward, and that it isn’t counterproductive to your goals.
An example of a good reward would be one hour of TV time on a Saturday after you have finished all of your tasks for the day. Or maybe after you read two non-fiction books, you can read a fiction book next. These are both good rewards which will keep you on the path to your goal of self-discipline.
Day 27: Set Yourself Up To Save Money
Saving money is difficult, and it isn’t always fun. But part of self-discipline is not spending all of your money each and every month. Hopefully by now you controlled your spending impulses a bit by planning meals and delaying your gratification for impulse purchases. Thus, you have a little money left in your account each month. And it’s time to open a savings account where you will store these excess funds until you need them in an emergency.
You also need to set up an automatic monthly transfer to this account to keep you saving money in the long run. Before you know it, you will have a nice hefty savings account!
Day 28: Fix Your Posture
This will be a tough one, but part of self-discipline is becoming disciplined in every aspect of your life, and this includes how you sit in a chair. Posture goes a long way towards affecting your muscle and bone health, as well as changing how people think of you.
Try to always sit with a straight back, your shoulders pulled back, and your head held high. Sometimes a standing desk or other alternative work solution can help you correct your posture in the short term while you develop the self-discipline to do it automatically on your own.
Day 29: Drink Only Water
Water is essential to all aspects of your life. And in an article on Medical News Today, water goes a long way to preserving your kidney function, as well as keeping your skin looking young and healthy for years to come.
Add drinking a full glass of water to your morning your morning routine, and aim to keep a bottle of water with you to sip all day long. Avoid the coffee and other beverages with caffeine as these can put you on a roller coaster of energy which keeps you needing to drink caffeine all day long.
Day 30: When You Stumble, Don’t Dismay
And now it’s day 30! You’ve made it! Well, maybe you slipped up here and there, and this is okay! You will likely slip up a few times in the future as well. Just make it a habit to remember that you aren’t perfect.
And any time you slip up, this should be a learning experience for future times when you find yourself tempted or about to make an excuse for yourself. It may be helpful to develop a mantra for the times you stumble on your self-discipline journey to get yourself easily back on track.
Overall, the journey to self-discipline isn’t easy, and it isn’t quick. After the 30-day challenge, you will have several new habits which you will need self-discipline to maintain, but over time, they will come without thinking.
Then you will find that you’ve become someone with an amazing amount of self-discipline, and you’ll probably be well on your way to accomplishing whatever it was which led you to desiring more self-discipline in the first place.
And don’t forget, even when you falter, it’s a learning experience, and you have the self-discipline to persevere!