You can be confident in the fact that if you can’t control yourself, you will not control your life. Self-discipline is a prevailing idea that is associated with success and high-quality living. But did you know there are different types of discipline? It’s true. And to achieve your grandest goals and get the most out of yourself, it’s essential to understand these various dimensions of self-control. But what are they and how can you use them to your benefit? Keep reading to learn the…
6 Types of Discipline You Need to Master
This list is by no means exhaustive; I’m sure there are many more forms of self-discipline. However, these are the main ones that, if you’re unable to control, can send your life floundering downward in a negative spiral. So be sure to check yourself by the contents of this list to ensure you’re moving in the right direction.
1. Dietary Discipline
If you can’t control what you put into your mouth, you’ll have a hard time controlling anything else in your life.
Dietary self-control is the baseline foundation of all types of discipline. However, back in prehistoric times, getting enough food to sustain us was a difficult procedure. We had to hunt, kill, forage, etc. We didn’t have the luxury of simply going into a grocery store and picking up a juicy steak to satiate us.
Instead, it took a cooperative effort from everyone in the tribe to find, stalk, and kill our prey. This challenging (and often dangerous) task meant that our meals weren’t always guaranteed. So you can bet that the times we were successful were the times we consumed as much as we could to sustain us until the next meal (since we had no idea when that might be).
However, in today’s world of fast food restaurants, doordash delivery services, and supermarkets on every other corner, food is no longer a problem for most of us—we have it in abundance.
But even with this being the case, that ancient caveman mentality of nutritional scarcity remains. The result? Many of us gorge ourselves. And that’s why it’s hard for so many people to exercise dietary discipline.
How To Develop Dietary Discipline
Gaining control over this aspect of your life begins with a very simple act: Cutting out the junk. Just by stopping (or at the very least, reducing) the amount of overprocessed and unhealthy foods you consume, you are taking those first steps toward a disciplined life.
Here are some healthier food options to consider:
- Greek yogurt
- Fruits and vegetables
- Salmon, tuna, and other seafood
- Water (8 to 10 cups daily)
- Nuts (almonds, walnuts, pistachios, etc.)
*Disclaimer: Consult with your doctor before making any drastic changes to your diet.
There is no “secret” method to become disciplined with your diet. It’s just a matter of small, incremental changes consistently repeated over time. Think of it like constructing a brick wall. You can’t magically position each individual cinder block in its proper place instantaneously; you do it brick by brick, one at a time continuously until your wall is built.
Similarly, dietary discipline is developed with one small positive habit a day, every day until the discipline is formed. For this reason, I recommend you start off easy: One apple a day. That’s it…
As the old saying goes, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.”
Slowly, as you continue the practice, you will naturally begin adding new health disciplines. The one apply will lead to you:
- Drinking more water
- Consuming fresh vegetables
- Eating good quality protein
- And living a better and healthier life
2. Physical Discipline
Physical exercise is non-negotiable. Your body simply cannot function the way it was designed to without a regular and consistent exercise regime. For this reason, you should strive to make physical exercise a part of your daily ritual. Exercise can help to:
- Improve brain health
- Manage weight
- Enhance your mood and sense of well-being
- Improve sleep quality
- Stave off disease and illness
- Incorporate other healthy habits into your life
As a self-improvement habit, exercise has no equal. This is one of the main types of discipline you can’t afford to ignore.
How To Develop Physical Discipline
It’s easy to get started; you can develop an exercise regime by walking around your block for 5 minutes a day. You can literally start that small and make it that easy because here’s the deal…
The more you stick with a small and simple physical activity, the more that initial act will begin growing into more challenging acts. A 5-minute walk now can turn into a marathon in a few years (or even months).
3. Financial Discipline
Do you know what your monthly expenses are? Are you aware of exactly how much money you bring in each month and where it’s all going? Have you been systematically saving and investing a certain portion of your income? The answers to these questions will determine your degree of financial self-discipline.
This is one of the types of discipline that go unnoticed by many but ranks among the most crucial. You cannot have a stable and secure life without having your finances in order.
How To Develop Financial Discipline
So how do you develop financial discipline? Simple, by adhering to the basics:
- Create (and stick to) a budget: As financial Guru Dave Ramsey says, “A budget is you telling your money where to go.” If you don’t control your income, it will run away from you. Creating a monthly budget is the best way to prevent that.
- Avoid debt: This is self-explanatory; debt will be the end of you—financially speaking. Avoid it at all costs.
- Save and invest: Financial experts agree that you should be saving and investing at least 10% of your income each month. A portion of all you earn should be yours. Think about it… You pay out to the grocer for your food, the barber for your haircut, the big companies and corporations for your subscriptions, etc. Your hard-earned money is going out to everyone BUT YOU when you fail to save. Break this cycle by committing a portion of your income to saving for yourself.
4. Sexual Discipline
I want to preface this by saying that this is not an argument against sex.
Not by any stretch of the imagination. Sex is a beautiful thing when it’s done with someone you love and care about (and vice versa). What’s more, it’s innate and natural to all of us and should NOT be repressed or ignored.
However, it should be controlled.
The problem? The vast majority of people out there have done a TERRIBLE job of controlling their sexual urges. This is mostly due to ignorance. Most people are simply unaware of the power of their sexual impulses.
In his landmark bestseller, Think and Grow Rich (over 100 million copies sold), Napoleon Hill describes the sex urge as the most powerful force of human drive and creativity. He admonishes throughout the book that the emotion of sex is supposed to be channelled and redirected toward productive goals rather than wasted and dissipated (which is what most people tend to do with their sexual impulses).
There are many examples of successful people who have practiced sexual discipline. Here are a few of them:
- Muhammad Ali
- Mike Tyson
- Elon Musk
- Nikola Tesla
- Steve Jobs
- Albert Einstein
How To Develop Sexual Discipline
Sexual self-control is probably the most difficult types of discipline to master.
This is due to the fact that it is such a powerful force in people. So how do you gain control of it? Like anything else, through practice. Refrain from masturbation or casual sex (hey, no one said this was going to be easy).
And here is the key to this whole process…
You can’t just ignore these natural urges; you have to direct them to other, more profitable activities. This is referred to as the art of sex transmutation. You’re essentially taking all that pent-up energy—and instead of dissipating it in a spasm of cheap pleasure—directing it to your goals, ambitions, or endeavours.
5. Emotional Discipline
Emotions are powerful.
They are the building blocks of modern civilization. Everything in our world—from the planes that dominate the skies to the smartphone devices that connect us—is the result of properly directed human emotion. For this reason, emotional self-control is among the most potent types of discipline.
Not controlling your emotions will lead to failure, frustration, and disappointment in pretty much every area of your life. As a result, you must control your emotions instead of letting them control you.
How To Develop Emotional Discipline
The one thing you don’t want to do is self-medicate when uncomfortable emotions arise. Too many people do this. They feel lonely, sad, frustrated, angry (or any other negative emotion), and they self-medicate with activities such as social media, drugs, alcohol, TV, food, etc.
It’s better to practice habits of a more positive, constructive nature. Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Deep breathing
These activities allow you to be present with those unpleasant emotions. Why does being present matter? Because it allows you to process your emotions in a healthy way by allowing them to pass through you naturally—and this is what alleviates them.
What you resist persists.
So the more you try to fight against negative emotions or distract yourself from them via negative habits that give you cheap dopamine hits, the more those negative emotions ruminate and worsen. But by engaging in the proper activities, you give yourself the opportunity to feel those emotions.
And ironically, enough, that’s when they will disappear. It’s a counterintuitive process that will all need to start practicing.
6. Ethical Discipline
This is big.
Otherwise known as principled discipline, ethical discipline refers to your responsibility of adhering to your own set of moral standards. Few things are worse than a person lacking in morals; no honour or integrity is a poor way to live life. Out of all the types of discipline, this one stands at the head of the list for leading a virtuous life.
Conducting yourself morally in a world full of corruption is no easy task; however, it is an investment that will pay dividends to anyone who chooses to live by this standard.
How To Develop Ethical Discipline
What does living an ethically disciplined life look like?
I think you already have a general idea of what such a lifestyle consists of; however, here are a few ideas that will help clarify its meaning if you’re confused:
- Keeping your word: Do you mean what you say? If you say you’re going to do something, can others trust that you will actually do it? Honouring your word is a great first step for developing more ethical discipline.
- Telling the truth: There is no hope for people who deliberately lie to others. Every fib or deceit—be it large or small—chips away at the integrity of the individual telling the lie. And while it may seem innocuous at the moment, this is actually a very slippery slope. It leads to poor character, a tarnished reputation, and eventually, a complete lack of nobility and ethical standards. So as the great Jordan Peterson so elegantly put it: Tell the truth, or at least don’t lie.
- Raise your standards of behavioural conduct: Do you throw your garbage on the street instead of holding onto it until you find a nearby trash can? Do you curse or use obscene language in public? These, and other variations of poor behaviour, are low standards of conduct that must be raised if you want to develop ethical discipline.
Mastering the Different Types of Disciplines
Discipline comes in many forms and can mean many things to many people. But ultimately, discipline represents the notion that you are the commander and chief of your world. Only by gaining control of yourself can you gain control over your life. And these are the types of discipline that will shape and determine your quality of character.
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