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How to Foster Discipline in Your Life

How to Foster Discipline in Your Life

The key to self-discipline is to have a goal that is important enough that it will push you to stop certain things and start other things instead

Discipline is one of the most important traits an individual must develop in order to increase their chances at a successful recovery in Des Moines. Without self-discipline, the likelihood of being able to successfully navigate recovery is much smaller.

Oftentimes, self-discipline becomes a catchphrase, a term that has no real meaning or purpose behind it. This is unfortunate because it is actually a fairly simple concept. “When you boil it down, self-discipline is actually composed of only two ingredients:

  • Stopping ourselves from doing things we want to do, but shouldn’t.
  • Making ourselves do things we don’t want to do, but should.”

In other words, discipline is nothing mystical, and there is no magic associated with it. Rather, discipline is a skill that can be developed. The key is to have a goal that is important enough that it will push you to stop certain things and start other things instead. That being said, there are several strategies that you can implement to develop discipline.

Before moving to these tips, let’s consider the neuroscience of habits. There is a habit loop, in which the brain moves from a conscious choice and focused effort over time to a nearly automatic response. Habits literally move out of the conscious decision making part of the brain and into the automatic response part of the brain. Though not at the same level as breathing or blinking, over time any habit becomes second nature. In other words, another way to view discipline is banking time until that which feels weird and unnatural for you now can slowly become a habit in Des Moines.

Tips and Tricks for Developing Discipline

There are as many ways to develop discipline as there are individuals in the world. Some will work for you, and some will be completely unsuccessful. The following are suggestions for you to try:

  • Accountability – Having one or more trusted individuals that you can be completely honest with about how you are doing in your recovery can be an invaluable support system for many people. Knowing that there are people who love and care for you can provide strength for you in weak moment. Understanding that you will have to describe your failure to them can be equally powerful as well.
  • Intentionally develop a new hobby – It is a well known fact that recovery is enhanced by keeping busy. One simple way to assist in your recovery and simultaneously develop discipline is to pick up a new hobby. This will both fill your time and force you to use your brain, your body or both in new ways. In the process of expanding your skills, you will also by default be developing discipline in your life.
  • Avoid triggers by a wide margin – As mentioned above, part of discipline is avoiding the things you know you ought not do. The best way to develop this aspect of discipline is to identify your trigger points and then avoid them as much as possible. A simple example will shed light on this point. If your custom has been to stop by the corner bar on your way home from work every day, drive home a different way, and avoid that corner. Even if it takes you an extra 15 minutes to get home, you are training yourself to avoid that which is unhealthy for you.
  • Try journaling – Journaling can be very helpful in the recovery process in a variety of ways depending upon the specific purposes behind the journaling and the process used for journaling. In a sense, it can be considered the cheapest form of therapy recovery treatment. Journaling can decreases stress as it becomes a method to increase mindfulness and self awareness. Journaling has also been shown to decrease stress through the recovery process and might even lower the risk of relapse.

There Is Good News and There Is Bad News

Learning to develop self-discipline in your life may be the single most important skill you need to be successful in recovery. The bad news is that all of the ideas listed above could be a failure for you. What works and what does not work for a specific individual is much more closely related to art than science and is the result of a combination of base personality, life experiences and a myriad of other factors. The good news is that this is not an exhaustive list. There are other approaches to developing discipline, and certainly at least one is bound to be successful for you.

You may not be able to do it alone. Most cannot, and there is no shame in that. If you need help, there is support available. We can help you. We can answer your questions. The admission counselors at our toll-free, 24 hour helpline can help you learn more about your addiction. They can help you find your way in Des Moines.


[1], “Self-Discipline Season has Begun,” Jonice Webb PhD, accessed January 24, 2016