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Studies show that those with higher levels of self-control have higher self-esteem, less binge eating and alcohol abuse, better relationships and interpersonal skills, and more optimal emotional responses.[1] Others show that those with self-discipline are more content, satisfied and happy.


Self-discipline is one of many personal development tools available to you. Of course it is not a panacea. Nevertheless, the problems which self-discipline can solve are important, and while there are other ways to solve these problems, self-discipline absolutely shreds them. Self-discipline can empower you to overcome any addiction or lose any amount of weight. It can wipe out procrastination, disorder, and ignorance. Within the domain of problems it can solve, self-discipline is simply unmatched. Moreover, it becomes a powerful teammate when combined with other tools like passion, goal-setting, and planning.

My philosophy of how to build self-discipline is best explained by an analogy. Self-discipline is like a muscle. The more you train it, the stronger you become. The less you train it, the weaker you become.

The way to build self-discipline is analogous to using progressive weight training to build muscle. This means lifting weights that are close to your limit. Note that when you weight train, you lift weights that are within your ability to lift. You push your muscles until they fail, and then you rest.

A huge mistake that a lot of people make is that they mess up, and get discouraged by this. They feel bad about messing up. This causes them to give up and not want to think about developing self-discipline.

In a longitudinal study of 140 eighth-grade students, self-discipline measured by self-report, parent report, teacher report, and monetary choice questionnaires in the fall predicted final grades, school attendance, standardized achievement-test scores, and selection into a competitive high school program the following spring. In a replication with 164 eighth graders, a behavioral delay-of-gratification task, a questionnaire on study habits, and a group-administered IQ test were added. Self-discipline measured in the fall accounted for more than twice as much variance as IQ in final grades, high school selection, school attendance, hours spent doing homework, hours spent watching television (inversely), and the time of day students began their homework. The effect of self-discipline on final grades held even when controlling for first-marking-period grades, achievement-test scores, and measured IQ. These findings suggest a major reason for students falling short of their intellectual potential: their failure to exercise self-discipline.

But if you look a bit deeper, you might realize that you never wanted to run a marathon in the first place. You liked to idea of it, or the idea of having done it, but not the reality of doing it. In this case, the problem was never self-discipline; it was a lack of motivation.

Personally, I build self-discipline by doing some kind of exercise each morning. Usually, this means either a long bike ride or going bouldering. But it could also be as simple as some calisthenics or a long walk.

In a 2013 study, Stanford researchers found that undergoing meditation training increased mindfulness, boosted happiness, and improved emotional regulation. This points to meditation as a promising technique for boosting your self-discipline, since regulating your emotions is key to acting in line with your thoughts (as opposed to your feelings).

The result of building new habits, then, is a win-win. You get to build a new habit that benefits your life directly, and you get the indirect benefit of increased self-discipline. This creates a virtuous cycle, with each new habit becoming easier to build as your self-discipline grows.

If you, too, would like to regain control of your thoughts and actions, improvement begins by understanding the definition of self-discipline, knowing the skills you need to develop it, and following examples that will inspire you to greatness.

For example, promptness requires self-discipline. If you are often late to appointments, work, or other commitments but blame it on traffic, hitting the alarm too many times, or staying up late to finish a project, you likely lack self-discipline. Instead, you should take responsibility for leaving earlier, getting up on time, or not procrastinating the start of your project.

One more sign that you need to improve your self-discipline is that you wait to feel motivated before doing something. For example, if you want to write a book and are waiting until the right moment when you feel energized to do it, you will probably never accomplish it.

But it takes more than willpower to improve your ability to discipline yourself. You need to develop skills through learning and training yourself to practice self-control until being self-disciplined becomes a habit.

A case control study was conducted. 140 cases (obese children) and 140 controls (normal weight children) were randomly chosen from grades 4-6 students in 4 Bangkok public schools. Questionnaire responses regarding general characteristics and child self-discipline were obtained from children and their parents.

It was recommended that parents and teachers participate in child self-discipline guidance, particularly with regard to eating habits, money management and time management in a supportive environment that both facilitates prevention of obesity and simultaneously develops a child's personal control.

Other studies [4, 5] showed that childhood obesity also led to the risk of obesity in adulthood. Long-term health consequences of obesity include type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, hypertension, hyperlipidemia, certain forms of cancer, as well as respiratory and skin problems [6, 7]. Obesity in school children was influenced by society, economic conditions, environmental changes, the family's eating habits and child rearing practices[8], leading to unhealthy eating behavior [7] and a sedentary life style characterized by increased television viewing and a lack of physical exercise [9]. It has been reported that poor self-control and low self-discipline are the most important for eating in response to external food stimuli [10, 11] leading to obesity.

"Self-discipline", is the ability of an individual to adhere to actions, thoughts, and behavior that result in personal improvement instead of instant gratification[12]. Our research question was, "Are there any differences in self-discipline among obese children compared to children of normal weight?" This research aimed to determine the relationship between self discipline with regard to eating habits, money management, time management and child obesity. It also aimed to analyze the relationship between child obesity and other related family factors (e.g., socioeconomic status, parental weight status, parental guidance in child self-discipline, home environment, television viewing time).

Part III: Questions regarding child self-discipline in 3 related areas (24 item in all) were as follows: Area 1 covered eating habits (8 items) including numbers of meals and snacks etc; Area 2 covered money management (6 items) including consideration before purchase, food choices and frugality; Area 3 covered time management (10 items) including a timetable for daily routines with such parameters as "on time" and "set times" for physical exercise and television viewing. Scores for positive health effects were 1 for never/rarely, 2 for sometimes (1-3 days/week), 3 for often (4-6 days/week) and 4 for always (7 days/week). Scores for negative child health effects (e.g., unhealthy eating habits) were scored in the reverse direction. Mean scores in each group were analyzed and were graded into 3 groups for self-discipline as high (3.01-4.00), moderate (2.01-3.00) and poor (1.00-2.00).

Part II: Questionnaire on parental guidance in child self-discipline covered 3 areas (24 items) as follows: Area 1 covered child eating habits (12 items), including preparation and provision of healthy meals and snacks. Area 2 covered money management (6 items), including consideration before purchase, food choices and frugality. Area 3 covered time management (6 items) including a timetable for daily routines with such parameters as "on time" and "set times" for physical exercise and television viewing. Scoring and grading was the same as used for Part III of the child questionnaires.

Regarding child self-discipline, the risk of being obese was 1.9 times higher among children who had poor eating habits (OR = 1.9, 95% CI = 1.2-3.1). These included such things as eating more than 3 meals a day, frequently having high caloric food intake such as fried pork, fried eggs, French fries, cakes, snacks and soft drinks. In addition, the risk of becoming obese was 3.3 and 3.8 times higher among children who were poor at managing expenses and time (OR = 3.3 and 3.8; 95% CI = 1.4-7.8 and 2.2-6.6). After controlling all other variables using multiple logistic regression analysis, it was revealed (Table 3) that the first ranking adjusted odds ratio (AOR) for factors associated with childhood obesity was low level self-discipline in managing expenses (AOR 3.1, 95% CI = 1.1-8.2), followed by a poor home environment (AOR 3.0, 95% CI = 1.2-7.5), poor time management (AOR 2.9, 95% CI = 1.6-5.4), long television viewing time (AOR 2.6, 95% CI = 1.5-4.6), and father's and mother's obesity (AOR 2.2 and 1.9; 95% CI = 1.3-3.7 and 1.1-3.4), respectively (p value

Regarding sociological theory, a sound explanation why obese children lack self-discipline, watch much television and have poor ability to control their money and time was reviewed. Based on Bourdieu's theory of practice [28], habitus is the product of inculcation and appropriation necessary in order for the products of collective history, to succeed in reproducing themselves more or less complete, in the form of durable dispositions in the individuals lastingly of the same conditionings, and hence placed in the same material conditions of existence. Cited from Lindelof [26] Bourdieu develops habitus to explain the reason for behavioral similarities within different social classes. He proposed that behavior is mediated by habitus, which at a pre-conscious level organizes the individual's behavior in certain patterns reflecting the habitus. Habitus is formed in the individual's past by material, cultural and social conditions, and experiences. However, childhood and youth are of central importance to the formation of habitus. Thus, habitus cannot be grasped as it constantly changes with time and newly integrated experiences. In other words, habitus takes the past and directs it into the future as a specific way of acting in daily life. Therefore sociology treats as identical all the biological individuals who, being the product of the same objective conditions, support the same habitus. Attention must be paid to the underlying mechanism that generates unhealthy behaviour leading to obesity. To achieve a healthier lifestyle for obese individuals, a habitus is needed to stimulate and generate healthier habits. 041b061a72


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