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Posted: February 01, 2021

Secrets of Self-Discipline: How to Become Supremely Focused

We all know how entering the new year goes. You make a list of New Year’s Resolutions and do well at implementing them for about the first month or so, then the motivation and desire to fulfill those resolutions gets lost by the end of the year. Here at ATA Martial Arts, we challenge you to make 2020 the year of fulfilled New Year’s Resolutions. If you need help figuring out resolutions, we suggest following along with the Life Skill Cycle over 

Discipline : Is to obey what is right.


It means to practice good habits. And what are good habits? Simply put, they are behaviors that make us better human beings. Discipline begins with obedience. When we are children we must obey our parents, teachers and mentors, since they are the ones who are responsible to show us the right path.

What is Self-Discipline?

Self-discipline is the ability to do what you should be doing. Self-discipline often means putting off your immediate comfort or wishes in favor of longterm success. For example, if you want to become physically fit, you might endure the short-term discomfort of 5:00 a.m. gym times to attain the longterm benefits of being healthy and feeling great.

In “The Chimp Paradox,” Dr. Steve Peters explains we’re already the people we wish to be. Our emotional mind simply stops us from behaving how we need to achieve our ideal state. Self-discipline gives us the ability to overcome our emotional mind by moving forward with physical action.

Developing self-discipline does more than help you get ahead in your career. It’s been proven to help people:

  1. Achieve longterm goals - Self-discipline allows people to resist immediate wants in support of higher-impact, longterm goals. Grit guru Angela Duckworth speaks to this in her 2016 research on perseverance and “passion for longterm goals,” also known as grit. Her study found “the achievement of difficult goals entails not only talent but also a sustained and focused application of talent over time,” or what we would call self-discipline.
  2. Decrease anxiety - When we’re stressed, we each have our vices (Hi, my name is Meg and I procrastinate when stressed). When we experience negative emotions, humans tend to distract themselves by doing or thinking about something else. In fact, a 2016 study found improving self-control may help students deal with anxiety-related problems during school testing.
  3. Increase physical health - This is likely pretty obvious, but people who demonstrate regular self-discipline are better able to resist the use of health-damaging substances like tobacco and alcohol. Self-control is also linked to lower rates of obesity and addiction.
  4. Positively impact relationships - Yep, self-discipline can also make your relationships better. Psychology Today says, “The capacity for self-control is a capacity for empathetic perspective taking -- the ability to step outside one’s own point of view.” Taking these steps allows us to override our automatic defensive reactions and adopt more constructive behaviors contributing to healthier, happier relationships.
  5. Become more resilient - Do you bounce back easily after adversity? Self-discipline can be a predictor of resilience. Apparently, the more resilient you are, the better control you have over impulses and delayed gratification. Psychology Today says, “A resilient person has a belief in her own abilities to manage life’s challenges and situations effectively.”
  6. Feel happier - The more productive you are, the more creative and happy you are. The more we feel in control of the origin of our behavior, the better sense of well-being we have -- and that makes us happy!


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