top of page

8 rules to build self-discipline | Math Lobby

Updated: Nov 26, 2022

Many have thought that self-discipline means to stay on task, stay true to your initial goals and complete what you have planned. But self-discipline is much more than that. There are a series of steps that you can follow through in your daily pursuit of excellence.

In this article, Math Lobby is going to explore what is self-discipline, difficulties of self-discipline and give you some tips on improving self-discipline.

What is self-discipline?

Self-discipline is the ability to push yourself forward when no one is looking; stay motivated and take action regardless of how you are feeling physically and emotionally.

Self-discipline means that you have the ability to consistently make high-quality decisions that empower you instead of low-quality decisions that are limiting. I.e. Working on a math geometry problem vs scrolling on tiktok, going to the gym for an exercise vs bingeing on fast food

This means that you are able to put off short term pleasure (or endure short-term inconvenience or discomfort) to pursue long-term gains.

Common scenarios where self-discipline is needed are: Continuing on working on a project even when the initial passion has faded away; starting a book and then following through to the last pages; fulfilling promises you make to others and saving money.

Why do people not have self discipline?

This is because we run from hard and uncomfortable things. Humans prefer the easy, comfortable and familiar things. Instead of facing work that is difficult or complex like studying for subjects that we do not like or understand, we run to distractions like netflix, video games and shopping as an escape. We need to pushback into the discomfort, a little at a time, and get good at being uncomfortable.

Self-discipline is really hard. It is hard because you are making your present self work hard but only the future self will get all the benefits. The present self does not like that. It likes instant gratification activities that are comfortable and easy.

Is self-discipline an innate character trait that we were born with?

Short answer is no. Self-discipline is a skill that we can learn; like a muscle we can go to the gym to strengthen. This skill is honed slowly at the start and then with each passing day strengthened. With time, this becomes a habit that is unconsciously done.

Studies show that highly disciplined people develop their ability to make consistently disciplined decisions.

Why should one build self discipline?

Self-discipline can improve learning and enhance performance . Studies have shown that students that have a high degree of self-discipline retain more knowledge than those without self-discipline. Additionally, researchers discovered that students with strong self-discipline are more careful in their tasks, which improves their performance.

This trait is also a more accurate predictor of success than measuring their IQ and it is part of the 20% of skills that can contribute to 80% of the results.

What are the different types of self-discipline?

There are 3 types of self-discipline:

1. Active discipline

Doing what you need at the moment.

I.e. Studying and avoiding distractions, following through with what you have planned to do.

2. Reactive discipline

Controlling your thoughts when dealing with an unforeseen circumstance.

I.e. Your teacher announcing that there is a surprise quiz, or your classmates mocking your grades at school.

3. Proactive discipline

Doing things in advance to better control a situation.

I.e. Preparing for exams or pre-reading a chapter before your Math lessons.

8 rules to build self-discipline

Here are 8 tips which can help you to have better self-discipline:

1. Set small goals and increase the level of challenge overtime.

1a. Choose a goal

1b. Set SMART goals

S - Specific : i.e. Revise a chapter on Geometry for my end of year exams

M - Measurable : i.e. Work on 3 questions from the past year papers

A - Attainable : i.e. Make sure the 3 questions is attainable to start with and not too difficult

R - Relevant : i.e. Make sure that these 3 questions are at the level of exams standard

T - Time-bound : i.e. 1 hour to work on these 3 questions

2. Find your motivation

All humans have a short time here on Earth. If we procrastinate and give in to endless distractions, don't make most of our time, we are not fully utilizing our own potential. We need to be purposeful about how we spend our time.

I.e. I want to do this task because this gets me one step closer to my goal of getting an A in my end of year exams for secondary 2 so that I can go to a good class and select the subjects I want to take in secondary 3.

3. Identify Obstacles

You need to find out what are the obstacles you are likely to face and devise a strategy for overcoming each one.


Obstacles: I could be distracted by scrolling on Tiktok and Instagram.

How to overcome it: Move to another room where my phone is not there. Or download an app that allows me to lock my phone.

It is important to identify the obstacles that we will face as self-discipline will collapse because we did not identify the obstacles we will face and have not developed strategies to overcome them.

As we are unprepared to deal with the obstacles when they show up, it will shake our firm determination to do something.

4. Monitor your progress - Write down in a journal and track progress. This reinforces the positive changes you have made in your life.

5. Commit to daily excellence - Everything you do, you should do it with all your heart. It is important to consistently strive for excellence.

6. Priming rituals - These rituals motivate ourselves to work on our goals even though we may not feel like it at first.

This type of ritual elevates the mindset and makes it much easier to overcome procrastination and get moving.

Taking a cold shower

Exercising : 5 mins to get energized.

Deep Breathing exercise

Reading affirmation statements

Review your long term goal

From these rituals, you get into this peak state of mind which lets you make high-quality, productive decisions instead of the ‘normal’ state of mind . This is what athletes refer to as the peak state.

7. Complete high value tasks first

Think through and plan in advance which are the tasks you need to absolutely complete first first. These tasks are typically harder or completing these tasks will allow you to be closer to your goals.

8. Learn to tolerate discomfort

“A little discomfort can go a long way to help us learn, grow and change,” says Entrepreneur contributor psychologist Tasha Eurich. “When we experience new things, we create new neural pathways that kick start our creativity … In addition to making us creative geniuses, new experiences enhance our memory.”

If you have any pending questions, please do go on to our Facebook page, Instagram or contact us directly at Math Lobby! We have certified mathematics tutors to aid you in your child’s journey to becoming a better student!

As always: Work hard, stay motivated and we wish all students a successful and enjoyable journey with Math Lobby!

If you want to receive more Study Tips to help your child,

Contact us via SMS/WhatsApp/Telegram/Call +65 96322202




176 views0 comments


bottom of page