4 Keys to Being More Disciplined

4 Keys to Being
More Disciplined

Discipline is a PRACTICE, not a personality type . . . 

When you think of a disciplined person, what sort of traits do you think of? Maybe someone who is always on time, maybe that friend who gets up at 5am rain or shine for their workout, maybe your spouse who religiously sticks to their budget every month, or maybe that gal on the gram who posts her outfit everyday without fail.  All of those are examples of a practice of discipline.  

What I want you to notice and acknowledge for yourself is that there is definitely SOMETHING that you are already very disciplined about - even if it's something as "small" as just brushing your teeth everyday, you absolutely have habits and routines that you are disciplined about performing. This is proof that you too can be disciplined about whatever action you want, YOU could be the friend who gets her steps in everyday no matter what, you just need to know how.  

And that's the key here - discipline can be practiced and learned, it's not something you either are or are not.  The most disciplined people you know don't possess some magical skill or trait that you don't have, what they've done is simply organized their life in such a way that it's easy for them to be disciplined.  The 4 Keys to developing discipline are:

1. Thoughts
2. Environment
3. Accountability
4. Ownership

It all boils down to this: discipline is really just self-control of thought and action.  I mean think about it; when you discipline your child for doing something you told them not to, what are you doing? You're teaching them self-control of thought and action.   If they can learn it, so can you!! 

We ALL have something we'd like to be more disciplined, and consistent about, so I encourage you to share this episode with friends!  And if you like this kind of information, you might LOVE the Healthy Mind, Healthy Body Program and Membership!


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Full transcription available at the bottom of this post

Show Notes: 

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Full Transcript: 

Welcome back to the no nonsense podcast, I'm so glad you're here. Today we're talking about how to be more disciplined. The idea of discipline brings up different things for different people, you might immediately go to thinking about discipline, like disciplining your children, telling them, maybe don't hit your sibling, and then giving them consequences if they do hit their sibling. Or you might think more along the lines of self discipline, like being more consistent in the habits that you really want to perform. Like, for example, working out regularly, both of these types of discipline, are teaching self control and self control is the key. That's really the root of what we're talking about when we're talking about discipline. So today, I want to give you three really powerful ways to increase your self control and your discipline. Let's go.

Welcome back to the no nonsense wellness podcast, the place for women who are trying to do all the things and stay healthy, sane and actually enjoy life in the process. Hey, I'm Tara, a trained therapist, a life coach, a nutrition coach and a fitness instructor. And I'm on a mission to help you take back control of your mind, health and life. Each week, I'll be cutting through the nonsense and getting real with you. I'll bring you the insight and information you need to take control of your weight and health. Find food freedom. And finally break free from the thoughts that are sabotaging you and holding you back. You, my friend, are powerful, and the world needs you to start showing up in a bigger way. It's time to get unstuck and start moving forward. So let's pop in those earbuds, tie up those shoes. Let's walk and talk.

Before we get started, I want to remind you that the Healthy Mind Healthy Body program is open for registration right now. If you are someone who is tired of being on the diet roller coaster, yo yo dieting on the diet, off the diet, lose the weight, gain the weight, I promise you, there is a better way. And it's not like anything you've tried before. So if you're interested in ditching diets for good, getting healthy for good, losing the weight and keeping it off for good, getting control over food in mind and your body and probably your life in the process. And Healthy Mind Healthy Body program might be a really good fit for you. So head to, forward slash join, read all about it, check it out, ask me the questions and get yourself registered. Immediately. When you register, you have access to the entire program, you have access to it for your entire life. And you have three months of free coaching with me to hold your hand every step of the way. So head to and check it out. 

The Merriam Webster definition of discipline is control gained by enforcing obedience or orderly or prescribed conduct or pattern of behavior and self control. The thing we're focusing on the most is really all of those because they do all apply. But it's that self control piece. disciplined people don't have some magical power that you somehow don't have. What they've done is simply created their life and manage their thoughts in such a way that discipline becomes easier for them. It's easy for them to do what they say they're going to do. I bet there's things already in your life that you're disciplined about, maybe you're already really disciplined about getting to work on time. Or maybe you're really disciplined about staying on your budget every month. Or maybe you make your bed every single morning without fail. All of those things require discipline. So I bet if you took a second, there's already several places in your life that you are actually already pretty disciplined. Now I know that because in this podcast, we're always talking about our relationship with food and fitness and health, that those maybe are the places that you feel less disciplined and for some reason, for so many of us, it's always those places, right? We might be really good at doing everything we need to do for our family or for work but when it comes to the things that we're doing for us and our health, we all of a sudden become less disciplined and there's a lot of reasons for that. But what I want to do today is give you three real keys real tools that you can use today to To start being more disciplined in the areas of your life that you want to be. 

So the first key number one thing you have to do to be more disciplined is to stop saying that you're not disciplined. You have got to just take that out of your vocabulary, because I hear it all the time. Oh, I would, you know, I wish I could just go to the gym everyday. I'm just so undisciplined. I'm just not disciplined. I'm just not good at this. I don't know why you got to stop just using that language. It seems so obvious, right? That that's what we should stop first. But none of us actually pay attention to that part. We just keep saying it. It's like saying you're overwhelmed all the time. This is something that I do, I'll say that I'm overwhelmed. Well, guess what I create more of when I say I'm overwhelmed, more overwhelmed. I just stay stuck there. The same is when you are calling yourself undisciplined. The more you call yourself undisciplined, the more your actions will prove that you're right that you are undisciplined. Okay, so we got to get it out of our vocabulary. Every single change that you want to make in your life starts in your head, okay, it starts with your thoughts and your words, your words are so powerful. Your words just represent your thoughts, right, your thoughts or words in your head, your words, or thoughts that came out of your mouth are the same thing, right? They are creating all of this for you. We've talked on this podcast extensively about the formula for success. So really quickly, that is, we have a circumstance in our life, we have thoughts about that circumstance, those thoughts, then create feelings and emotions and beliefs about that circumstance. And those feelings, emotions, create actions, and those actions create our results. 

So in this case, we have thoughts about being on disciplined, and that then goes down the chain. And we have actions that then prove that we are undisciplined. So how can we change that, so that we are creating thoughts and words and emotions that are creating the results that we want, which is being disciplined, and following through on the actions that we want to perform? Think about a time in your life, when you decided to make a commitment to do something. So you made a commitment just to yourself that you were gonna do this thing? And then you follow through on that thing, and you actually did it? How did that make you feel? How did you feel when you performed that action? What were your thoughts about the action? What were your thoughts about the immediate results of that action? What were your thoughts about the future results of that action? Okay, let's put this into an actual tangible thing you can imagine. Let's say yesterday, you decided that this morning, you were going to wake up, you're going to set your alarm at 7am. And you were going to put your workout clothes on you were going to drive to the gym, you were going to go to Zumba class, and that was going to be your workout for the day. And then this morning came, your alarm went off, you put on the clothes, you left the house, you went to the class, and then you got to pat yourself on the back and be like, Look at me. I am awesome. Look how disciplined I am. I'm amazing. There's no stopping me. Right? You did the thing that you said you were going to do? So think about your thoughts about that about yourself. When you did that. How did you feel about yourself? What did you think about yourself? Now change that. And imagine you got up this morning, you hit snooze on the alarm? You didn't get up till eight, you got up, you drink coffee for an hour, and you never went to the gym the entire day. Okay, so I want you again, put it in there. What are the thoughts? What are the beliefs? What are the emotions? What are the actions? What are the results, put it in that formula? And so when you start doing this, this is an exercise in, okay, if I want this to be my action, if I want going to the gym to be my action that I'm going to take what are the beliefs? And what are the emotions I need to be having that will create that action? What are the thoughts that I should be having to create that action? The thoughts of I'm amazing, look at me go I can do anything that's probably going to create that action again, don't think so the more times that you can put yourself in that place, the easier it's going to be for you to keep performing that action. Does that make sense? If I'm constantly in a spot of I am undisciplined, I don't stick to anything. I never do this. Well, what are you going to keep doing? Yeah, not doing that. But if you can be in a place and you can manage your thoughts and manage your emotions to be in a spot where you think Look at me go I can totally do this. I already did it before I have proof. I am amazing. Watch me do this. What are the chances that you're actually gonna go do it again? Much higher? Yes. So stop saying that you're not disciplined. Check your thoughts and check your emotions. That's step one. Okay, that was all just step one. 

Okay, let's move to step two. Step two, is create an environment that makes it easy to do the thing. This is the trick for those people who you see as really disciplined. This is what they do really well. One of the reasons that we think we lack discipline is because we try to make really big changes. But usually those changes are just too much. We try to start that diet on a Monday, but it was too many things, we cut out 10 different food groups, and we are eating this and we're only eating that and it's very limited, right? Or we decide we're going to do some crazy workout thing, I got to drink a gallon of water and workout twice a day and do all these things. Like we try to do too much too soon. The trick is to keep the actions really small and really manageable. Because if I keep it small, I am more likely to actually do it. If the thing that I'm trying to be disciplined about is actually 10 things, like I gotta drink a gallon of water, I got to work out in the morning, I gotta work out in the afternoon, I also have to get 10,000 steps, I also have to do 50 pushups, I also have to eat one salad today, I also have to do this I have to write that's how we that's how we usually approach health and wellness, we try to do all the things. One thing to thing get healthy is actually like 15 things that I must perform in a day, it's too many. But if I can pick just one thing, if the one thing is get 8000 steps today, then that I can stick to you, that is a small and more manageable thing that I can stick to you. And that's the people who you think are discipline. That's what they did. They figured out what can I do? What can I stick to today? Does that make sense? It's so much easier to remain disciplined, when it's a small change. 

The other thing that you want to do is create an environment that makes it easy to perform that thing, give yourself some environmental cues. So if you decide I'm gonna get up in the morning and go to the gym, and that's the commitment I want to make and keep, then what are the cues I could put out for myself, I could put my gym bag down by the coffeemaker, because I know that that's where I'm gonna go, when I get up, I could put my workout clothes and my shoes and my car keys right there next to my bed like, Hey, I'm here, don't forget, you said you were gonna do this. You know, there's a lot of little cues I could set up I mean, seriously, you could just stick a post it note on your mirror, like that's an easy one, to remind yourself of the thing that you were going to do wherever it was that you were going to do it. So create an environment that is conducive to you performing the thing you want to perform. Does that make sense? This is like habit change. 101. Okay. But isn't that what discipline is? Discipline is just performing your habits consistently. That's all we're talking about here. So if we're going to talk about discipline, we have to talk about habit creation, and habit creation is having a plan, but keeping it small, and giving yourself some environmental cues, there's a lot more that goes into it. But we can keep it that easy right here. The other part of that then is having the plan. So like we said, you want to keep it really small, but you also have to create a plan for actually doing it. 

So let's go back to the example of disciplining your kid, when you are disciplining your child, you are trying to direct their behavior, right. And that's what you're doing when you're disciplining yourself, you're trying to direct your behavior. So what you do when you discipline your child, is you are giving them a set of rules within which to operate, right? Don't hit your sister, put your dishes in the dishwasher, pick up your dirty clothes, don't leave stuff in the living room, right? You are creating these rules for them, in order for them to perform or perform an action in a certain way makes sense. And then there's consequences for them when they don't perform and those consequences then help them shape their behavior, they're more likely to do the thing they're supposed to do, right? Okay. You've given your kids a set of rules to live by, you have removed for them the option of not doing it, they know that this is something they must do. Why? Because you have taken away the option of not doing it, don't hit your sister, they know that if they do hit their sister, they're going to be in trouble. So therefore they choose to have self control and not hit their sister. Does this make sense? You are doing that for yourself. Now, you are removing the option of not doing the thing. 

Let me give you another example. My kids know that I don't buy them candy, they get candy from holidays and whatever. But I do not purchase candy for them. So when they are with me, they don't even ask for candy. They know that I'm not going to buy it. I have removed the option of buying candy for them. So they don't even bother asking. Does that make sense? That's what you're creating for yourself. You are making the decision ahead of time because you've made a plan about what you're going to do. And then in the moment, you don't have to make any decisions. You just do it. You don't have to rely on willpower to convince yourself to do the thing. You just do it Okay, so let's put this an example for We're going to the gym again. My plan again, is I'm going to wake up at seven, the alarm goes off, I get out of bed, put my clothes on, get my keys, go to the gym, go to Zumba class. That's the plan. Now, when I wake up in the morning, I have already decided that that's what the plan is. I don't now have to get up and think, oh, okay, what, what? What time? Should I go today? What time? Should I go to the gym today? What am I going to wear? Oh, my favorite pants are dirty? Oh, well, I don't know, it might take too long. Oh, shoot, what class was I going to go to? Oh, darn, that class is only at this time, I don't know if that time will work. You see, when you do not have a plan. Now you are relying on willpower and you're going to start negotiating yourself out of it. So when you create a plan, you are removing the option of not doing it, you are just going to go do it. Does that make sense? I have the plan. I already I know the class, I know what I'm leaving. I know what I'm getting up. I know what I'm wearing. I just gotta put it on literally and leave. This plan frees up your brain. And that's why discipline actually is so incredibly freeing. Because if I don't have to spend all that mental energy negotiating with myself, I free up so much brain space to just go do the thing. Come back do the next thing. It is absolutely awesome when you can get to that point. And it's really not that hard. 

That's what I want you to understand about all this. None of this is hard. What are we doing? We're changing our self talk so far. And we're creating a plan. And we're giving ourselves environmental cues, right? That's what we're doing so far. And we're keeping our actions small and manageable. doable, if you will. So the difference between you and someone you think is very disciplined is simply that they have a plan of action. And you're kind of going on a whim like I should do this today. I should work out today. Okay, well, what's the likelihood that you're actually going to do it when that's the thought pattern and you have no plan for it? But if you have a plan, you are way more likely to do it. Okay, cool. 

The third, big key to being more disciplined is to learn how to be more accountable to yourself. This is the self control piece. Discipline is nothing more than a habit. It's a habit of self control. And it's a habit of thought, those two things we've already talked about, right, a habit of creating that plan and performing it and then a habit of controlling your thoughts and managing your thoughts about it. We always are trying to equate discipline with having the motivation to do something, I want you to just like, take a second here positive you need to but really check inside your head and really reach in and examine your thoughts here. Because so often, we attribute motivation, someone who is disciplined is very motivated, right? That's always what we think, Oh, well, they go they work out five days a week, and they've done it for the last five years. They are so motivated, guess what? No, they're not. They don't want to get up most of the mornings, they don't want to go workout most of the mornings. Discipline has nothing to do with motivation. In fact, I think discipline is probably the opposite of motivation. 

Motivation is like this fleeting emotion that we always attribute so much power to motivation is dumb, motivation, leaves, motivation, you cannot rely on discipline and self control. On the other hand, you can rely on discipline is the ability to act in the lack of motivation. And that's what sets the disciplined people apart from everybody else. Now, you can absolutely be that person. There is absolutely no reason why you cannot be that disciplined person, but do not rely on motivation. This is very different. Discipline is acting in the lack of motivation and that has to do with self control. What you're essentially doing with yourself is making a deal you are handshaking with yourself, self. I am making a deal that tomorrow morning at seven o'clock I am putting on my workout clothes, driving to the gym and going to Zumba class deal shake deal. Okay. What you are then doing is simply honoring that deal. Now anyone, anyone else in your life that you handshake that deal with? You would honor that deal, right? So if that's what you need to pretend then pretend to that. But what you need to get really good at is honoring the deal that you make with yourself. 

We have to train ourselves to be more comfortable with discomfort. That's what discipline people are really good at doing. Like I said those discipline people that you know, that wake up at 5am and go to the gym, guaranteed at least 50% of the time. They don't want to get up. They don't feel like it in the moment. But what do they do? They honor their commitment to their self. They use self control to say self I said I was going to do this. This is the plan. I'm doing it here I go instead of Oh, well. I don't know what I'm gonna do. So Maybe I'll go do that. And maybe I'll go do this. No, they have a plan. They honor the plan, and they just stick to it. We are always seeking distraction so that we can say, Oh, see, I was so busy around the house today that I just didn't have time to work out. Right? We unconsciously seek out distraction, so that we don't have to do the thing that is hard. The thing that is hard is the thing that we don't do habitually, whatever that is, eat a salad, make vegetables, cooked dinner, grocery shop, go to the gym, whatever it is, doesn't matter. We are constantly unconsciously seeking to distract ourselves with other things so that we don't have to do the hard and or uncomfortable thing. So if that's you, I want you to put yourself in check here for a second and recognize that and recognize that you don't have to do that. Just go back to step steps one and two, and create a plan for yourself and check your thoughts. 

The Fourth thing that you can do to make this a little easier on yourself is just track it. Right. The more data and information you have, the more decisions you can make. So what we tend to do is let's use the gym example again, we will track it for like a week or two weeks. And we'll be like, Wow, week one, I went for five days. And then week two,I went three days.  Oh no I'm not disciplined I suck.

Disciplined people are going to stick to something for much longer than two weeks. So what you need to be thinking about is, what would this tracker if I tracked my progress? How many times I did this thing? What would it look like after a month, two months, six months a year. Then, if you take an entire year and track your progress and Track, track you doing this thing that you said you were going to do? Now you have some actual data you can work with, check your progress over a year. And I bet you will be totally impressed with how good you did. It's not just what you did today. And it's not just what you did this week, it's what you did this month, this six months this year, we've got to give it more time. Discipline is simply consistency over time. We just don't give it enough time. So again, those three keys, the first thing you're going to do is check your language, check your thoughts, check your emotions, and make sure that you are feeding yourself thoughts and emotions that are actually going to create a situation where you perform the action. Okay, the second thing is making that plan for yourself creating that environment, and giving yourself environmental cues to help you perform that action. And making sure that you have a very specific plan for performing that action. And keeping that action really small and manageable. Making sure that it feels really doable that your one action isn't actually 10 actions in disguise. Okay, that's basic habit creation stuff right there. And then the third piece is learning self control, learning how to be okay being uncomfortable. Learning how to have a better habit of self control better habits of thoughts, and making sure you give this enough time. 

Discipline really, essentially is just taking ownership of your life. I mean, that's what this really boils down to, instead of all the subconscious distractions and all the ways that we sort of allow ourselves to get off track discipline really is just taking ownership for everything. Discipline is not perfection. Discipline is being able to move forward through setbacks, not somehow magically, never having setbacks, the people who you know who you think are very disciplined. It's not like they magically don't have anything bad happened to them. They don't have life happen. They don't have stuff that gets in the way. They don't have injury or illness or whatever. Of course they do. It's just that they keep going in the face of setbacks. And that's what the practice of discipline teaches you how to move forward through setbacks. And discipline truly is the key to freedom. I know we think about discipline as a bad thing, like we're getting in trouble, but really, when you practice discipline in one area of your life, it actually makes it way easier to practice discipline in other areas of your life. That's why I had you at the very beginning. recognize all the areas that you are already disciplined and because if you can recognize that and acknowledge that, it opens up the door for you to think, Okay, well, I actually am really disciplined at staying on a budget. So I bet I could use those skills to stay on a workout schedule. I bet I could. I know I'm already disciplined. It's already in me. I bet I could do that. Do you see what I'm saying? So once you start doing it in one place, and acknowledging that and really giving yourself credit for that, it becomes so much easier to do In all the other areas of your life, so I know that if you choose to be you can be a disciplined person, you can create the habits that create the routines that create your life. You have control over that. 

Okay, my friend, I hope this was really helpful if you have a friend who you think needs to hear this message, take a screenshot, put it in your Instagram, tag me, share it with them, email it to them however you want to. There's all kinds of ways to share that podcast but if you think that would be helpful, send it out there. I would really appreciate that. And I think So would they. Okay, my friends until we talk again, be well

Hey, friends, thanks so much for being here. If you found value in today's episode, will you do me a favor and head over to iTunes? Find the no nonsense wellness podcast and subscribe and leave me a review. It would mean the world to me and help other people find the show. And I'd love to connect with you more. So find me on Instagram @tarafaulmann. Take a screenshot of this episode and share it in your stories and tag me. I'll see you over there.

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