Research Conversations: Self-Discipline and Success

Author: Leader in Me
January 9, 2024


In this episode of Change Starts Here: Research Conversations, cognitive neuroscientist Eve Miller, Ph.D, and former educators Jennifer Chevalier, Ed.D. and Kim Yaris, M.Ed. discuss self-discipline. They explore how recognizing internal conflict as a key component of self-discipline can help us to better manage the impulses that create barriers to achieving our most important goals. 


Self-discipline is the ability to stay focused and do what needs to be done, even when it’s challenging. It involves controlling one’s emotions, impulses, and desires in the pursuit of long-term goals in spite of distractions, temptations, and external circumstances. 

Try This!

Self-discipline is essential for personal growth and success. These three strategies can aid in improving self-discipline and subsequently, goal attainment. 

Emotional Check-Ins

Assess your feelings regularly.  This can help you–or your students!–understand and manage the complex emotions that deplete energy and rob self-control.

Establish Routines

Create consistent routines and habits. This minimizes the mental effort required for daily decisions, freeing up mental energy for self-discipline and fostering healthier choices.

Monitor Internal Conflicts

Engage in reflective exercises to better understand the internal dialogues influencing your actions. This can heighten self-awareness, improving emotional regulation, and resulting in more disciplined actions and behaviors.

More Information


The Myth of Self-Control 

In this article, Brian Resnick summarizes some compelling research—and myths—about self-discipline and what really works when we want to achieve our goals.

What Everyone Gets Wrong About Discipline  

This article challenges misconceptions about discipline, redefining it as a personalized, liberating journey towards achieving one’s goals, not a restrictive or punitive measure.

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