Here’s What Self-Discipline Really Is

Amelia Zimmerman
2 min readOct 19, 2021
Photo by Danielle MacInnes on Unsplash

What is discipline?

It is doing something even when you don’t feel like doing it.

What is self-discipline?

It is doing something even when you don’t feel like doing it, when nobody else is watching.

Discipline is easy. You show up to work because your boss is waiting. You sit quietly in class because the alternative is detention. You do your chores because someone will be mad if you don’t.

It’s self-discipline that’s the hard part, and it’s self-discipline that takes true inner strength. Self-discipline is choosing the apple over the chocolate, the pen over the screen, the gym over the couch. It is choosing the thing you said you’d choose and doing the thing promised said you’d do, even when there are no external consequences.

Self-discipline is a hard choice in a quiet moment. (Over, and over, and over again.)

Children need discipline because they don’t understand what’s good for them, yet. Becoming an adult — a happy, fulfilled, effective one — requires self-discipline, because you do understand what’s good for you, but you are the only one who can do it.

Self-discipline is a grind. There is no instant gratification. There is no one there to praise you, nobody around to impress.



Amelia Zimmerman

☕️ Weekly nonfiction writing tips 👉