Self-discipline is having the self control to do only what we truly choose to do, rather than being blown about in the winds of our desires. Self-discipline gives us the will to persevere. It helps us to meet our goals, to be productive instead of procrastinating. It keeps us from saying or doing things we regret. We are vigilant and honest with ourselves, which frees us to live by our highest values. We are able to weed out bad habits and cultivate good ones. Self-mastery is fulfilling to our souls.

In Family Life

The virtue of self-discipline within a family is akin to the steady hand that guides a ship through turbulent waters. It manifests itself in the actions and attitudes of each family member, serving as a beacon of order and responsibility. Self-discipline in a family is demonstrated through the commitment to fulfill one’s obligations and responsibilities, whether regarding chores, homework, or simply punctuality and reliability.

It means resisting the allure of immediate gratification in favor of long-term goals and the well-being of the family unit. Self-discipline is a cornerstone of harmonious family dynamics, fostering an environment where trust and mutual respect flourish, ultimately nurturing the bonds that hold a family together.


Those who make channels for water control the waters; makers of arrows make the arrows straight; carpenters control their timber; and the holy control their souls.

— The Dhammapada 10, Buddhism

 The Practice of Self-Discipline

  • I have the self-control to make wise choices.
  • I resist distractions.
  • I persevere in meeting my goals.
  • I get things done.
  • I have the strength to be tactful.
  • I carefully cultivate my character.

Balancing Self-Discipline

Self-discipline is a valuable virtue that can lead to personal growth and fulfillment when balanced appropriately. To maintain a healthy balance of self-discipline, consider these virtues:

  • Moderation: Practicing moderation helps prevent overdeveloped self-discipline. It encourages flexibility and the ability to enjoy life’s pleasures without becoming enslaved by strict rules. Moderation allows for occasional indulgences while still pursuing long-term goals.
  • Compassion: Balancing self-discipline requires self-compassion. It’s essential to treat oneself with kindness and understanding, acknowledging that everyone has limitations and occasional lapses in discipline. Compassion allows for self-forgiveness and resilience in the face of setbacks.
  • Courage: Courage is necessary to develop self-discipline when it’s underdeveloped. It takes courage to confront weaknesses, make changes, and set and commit to goals. It also helps individuals stand up to their desires when they conflict with their values.
  • Wisdom: Wisdom helps individuals discern when to apply self-discipline and when to let go. It guides decision-making by considering long-term consequences and recognizing when strict discipline may be counterproductive.
  • Gratitude: Practicing gratitude can help individuals appreciate the benefits of self-discipline without taking it to extremes. It fosters contentment with what one has achieved and reduces the need for excessive discipline driven by unquenchable desires.

Using these virtues to balance self-discipline can ensure that it remains a positive force in your life, guiding you toward your goals without losing sight of your well-being and the joys of life’s journey.