The Art of Will-Power and Self-Discipline

The alarm trills loudly next to my left ear, emitting from the cell phone clutched in my hand, half buried under the pillow. My fingers automatically twitch against the buttons, silencing my wake-up call and continuing the snooze cycle for the sixth time. Five more minutes…


Copyright Emily Sirkel Photography


I actually am a morning person. Once I’m up, I’m cheerful and alert, ready to tackle the day. It’s just that getting-out-of-bed detail that proves to be a problem. Getting up in the morning has recently become even more difficult for two reasons: First, an early Christmas present from my parents – a memory foam mattress topper – has proven to be a blessing and a curse. It is incredibly comfortable, but also dangerously seductive, whispering sweet temptations about staying in bed all day.


The second issue is another blessing-curse paradox. I am blessed to have a job where I am able to choose my own work schedule, but this freedom means I do not have to be at work at a specific time, allowing the “five more minutes” refrain to sing in my head unrestrained. For a while my husband and I were carpooling, so my exit from bed in the morning was dictated by his work schedule. But now that he is self-employed and works from home, this is no longer a factor. And I really like my sleep.


So I confess, I have become a snooze-hitting, oversleeping, foot-dragging greeter of the morning. My self-discipline in this regard has hit a record low. And down there with it is my self-restraint in regards to chocolate consumption (give me a jar of Nutella and a spoon and I’ll return the clean spoon within a day).

I could also mention my house cleaning, gym attendance, and Christmas newsletter writing – but I don’t want to get depressed.


So, the point is, I struggle with will-power and self-discipline. While I pride myself in being dependable, meeting or exceeding expectations, and reliably fulfilling my responsibilities to others, when it comes to fulfilling my promises to myself, I tend to come up short.


I have had “bouts of success.” In the past I’ve accomplished noteworthy personal goals that required significant self-discipline, like going an entire year without drinking soda, spending money on nothing but bills and necessities for a month, abstaining from sweets for forty days, or losing thirty pounds. But more often than not, my best intentions get lost in distractions, excuses, procrastination, or momentary personal gratification.


As the end of the year approaches, New Year’s resolutions begin to bounce around in my head. But I don’t want to just make some half-hearted New Year’s resolutions yet again; I want to take steps toward building lasting habits of self-discipline. So, in next week’s blog post, I will share with you my personal plan for becoming a person of discipline.


In the meantime: What tips do you have for overcoming procrastination, excuses, and the various other traps that tend to sabotage your own self-discipline?


5 Replies to “The Art of Will-Power and Self-Discipline”

  1. I am looking forward to reading your personal plan for becoming a person of discipline… and learning from you! Who doesn’t need more discipline? I sure do!

  2. The best secret I know is planning ahead. Make sure you get enough sleep by going to bed with enough time before the alarm rings to get nine hours so that you gradually get rid of your sleep deficit. Have fruit around so you have something sweet to eat when your body says gimmie sugar.

    1. Great tips! I think planning ahead really is key. Once we’ve pinpointed our weaknesses, the best course of action is to plan ahead of time how to counter them!

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