5 Traits That Characterize Self-Discipline

5 Traits That Characterize Self-Discipline

Practicing Self-Discipline Brings Great Results

Discipline is a term people toss around a lot. But what is it exactly? Is it the ability to control your impulses? The ability to focus on complex tasks even when you don't feel like it? Or maybe the ability to adhere to rules and guidelines even if you don't like them?

When it comes to adults or children these are all essential skills. So what are the tell-tale signs that you or your child are developing this virtue that you already have within you more fully and in a balanced way.

Here are five character traits to look for as you or your child are develop self-discipline.


You can illustrate self-control with the ability to delay gratification. Anyone who can do that is likely to be considered self-disciplined.

One example would be of someone with a short temper. It may feel good to them to react quickly and without thought. They may tend to lash out at others and yell at them.  But when they are able to control their reactions and respond thoughtfully they are demonstrating self-discipline. 

    A Strong Sense of Morality or Ethics

    A self-disciplined person has values and standards which they follow. They live by those values both in public and in the privacy of their home. If they are a child, their parents trust their behavior to live up to the standards of their family. When a child is at school or the parent is at work or in other situations, they hold themselves to the standards, rules and values – if when they don’t like them.


    This trait describes the ability of an individual to initiate tasks. Disciplined persons tend to take the initiative and try things on their own. And they don’t give up easily on activities that they find challenging to complete.

    A person with self-discipline doesn’t need constant reminders or nagging from parents or employers, because they can motivate themselves. A self-motivated person strives for excellence, regardless of any incentives they might receive. Such children take action because they find pleasure in doing the right thing, not because they can get something, but rather because it is the right thing to do.


    This trait is a quality that allows people to bounce back from adversity and move through challenges. Self-disciplined persons don’t give up easily, even when things get tough. Resilience shows itself when we have the ability to withstand failure and hardship but remain optimistic and motivated for success.

    A famous example of resilience is Thomas Edison. His approach to the invention of the light bulb was that he would not give up until he found a solution. In one interview, he stated that the light bulb was not a result of 1,000 failures – it resulted from 1,000 steps.

    Developing self-discipline helps us to keep moving forward despite failures.


    Self-discipline is the key to success and joyfulness (happiness) We all want to be happy and every parent wants their children to be happy. However, if we seek happiness for ourselves or our children over personal discipline we will actually be undermining the development of self-discipline. 

    If a child always gets what he wants when he wants it, he forms a habit of asking for more, even if he doesn’t need it. This action may give him an incredible feeling of satisfaction in the short term, but it could lead to trouble later.

    It’s no wonder that self-disciplined individuals tend to be happy. Why? Because whenever they encounter a challenge, they can rise above it and accomplish their goals. Self-disciplined adults feel a satisfaction in their life. Self-disciplined children grow into happy adults.

    In Conclusion

    Discipline is an essential quality. Without discipline, there is a waste of time in unproductive pursuits that  don’t develop the necessary habits to create success later on in life.

    It’s crucial to instill a sense of self-discipline in children. It helps them develop the habits that will make them successful throughout their lives.






    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.