From The Virtues Project Educator’s Guide


Self-discipline means self-control. It is getting yourself to do what you really want to do, rather than being tossed around by your feelings like a leaf in the wind. You don’t lose control of yourself when you feel hurt or angry, but decide how you are going to talk and what you are going to do. With self-discipline, you take charge of yourself and do only what you truly choose to do, without being blown off course by your desires.


When you practice self-discipline, you are controlling your own behavior so others don’t have to. Self-disciple brings you freedom. You get things done efficiently and have order in your life. Without self-discipline, we procrastinate. We eat things we shouldn’t. We lose control of our emotions. Then people feel hurt. With self-discipline, life is more peaceful.


Observe your feelings and thoughts, then decide how you are going to behave. If you feel angry, instead of yelling and hitting, you can acknowledge your anger, then use a calm voice to tell someone you are angry and why. It is your choice. Create routines that bring order and peace to your day, such as when to wash, exercise, work and play. Set limits for yourself, like time on the phone, how much TV you watch or how long you play video games, the number of sweets you eat—enough but not too much.

What would Self-Discipline look like if…

  • You have put off doing a big job for some time?
  • You are really angry when you brother start wrestling with you?
  • You family has a rule of two sweets after school but no one is watching?
  • You notice you are watching too much TV and feeling lazy?
  • You decide you need a new daily routine?
  • You keep getting punished for breaking a rule?

Congratulations! You are practicing Self-Discipline when you…

  • Use detachment so your emotions won’t control you
  • Speak and act calmly when you are hurt or angry
  • Get the things done in an orderly, efficient way
  • Create routines for yourself
  • Do what is expected without people having to watch over you
  • Do things on time


I have self-discipline. I use my time well and get things done. I choose my actions with detachment.


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