7 simple ways to become a more disciplined person in 30 days, according to psychology

Tired of always setting goals and not achieving them?

Of always feeling lazy and irresponsible and left behind in life?

Well then, it’s time to turn your life around by becoming more disciplined. 

And guess what? Experts say that you can actually achieve it in just a month!

Here are simple ways to become a more disciplined person in 30 days, according to psychology.

1) Wake up at the same time each day

I know, I know. This isn’t brand-new information.

Many experts have been telling us that waking up early can have a dramatic effect on productivity.

But it’s not just because we’d have more hours to do work, it’s also because it makes us FEEL we’re self-disciplined.

That’s right—how we feel about ourselves has a direct link to our success (or failure).

Waking up early makes us feel more self-disciplined, which then makes us motivated to become even more self-disciplined.

Mindfulness teacher Samantha Snowden in this article by Fortune says, “Waking up early can improve one’s confidence because it can feel like an accomplishment.”

Psychiatrist Dr. Nikole Benders-Hadi adds that waking up late has the opposite effect. 

“Waking up late is like always feeling like you are behind, which doesn’t help one get motivated to do better overall.”

Now, I must admit. It isn’t easy to wake up at 5am if you’re used to waking up at 8am. So…DON’T DO THAT!

Instead, just wake up an hour earlier than usual and stick to it. 

That’s all you really need to be more self-disciplined in other areas of your life.

2) Stare at your vision board minutes after waking up

The author of Dopamine Nation, Anna Lembke, said that self-discipline can be developed by strengthening the connection between the prefrontal cortex and the brain’s reward pathways.

How?

Through deliberately using the prefrontal cortex!

To achieve this, Lembke recommends imagining what you want your life to look like 10 years down the road. 

This subconsciously makes you prioritize long-term rewards over instant gratification…which is basically what self-discipline is all about.

But if you want to increase your chances to achieve self-discipline even more, use visualization techniques.

Make a vision board, print it out, and stick it to your wall.

Why is this more effective? 

According to studies, our brain interprets photographs and sketches as real. 

It then creates new neural pathways to allow us to subconsciously do the necessary steps for them to actually come true.

You see, sometimes, all our brain needs is motivation and inspiration for it to make better choices.

3) Stack your habits

If you want a habit to stick, try adding them to your pre-existing habits, says Dr. Michelle McQuiad.

Let’s say you want to read 15 minutes daily. 

Don’t just pick ANY hour to read. Make sure you do them at the same time you do your other habits!

This has worked great for me.

So I won’t be overwhelmed by the many to-do’s of the day, I just make two chunks of habits—morning routine, and night routine. 

If I were to add reading to my habits, I’d do it at night between flossing and making my to-do list. That way, there’s very little chance I’d forget about it because…well, I do floss and make my to-do list daily.

This is much easier to remember than having plenty of habits scattered all throughout the day.

4) Swap your habits

“If we want to stick to our good habits, we should try very hard never to allow ourselves to feel deprived,” says Gretchen Rubin in this Psych Today article.

So don’t be too hard on yourself. 

You don’t have to suffer or deprive yourself to be more disciplined.

And one way to make things easier for you is by simply replacing bad habits with better ones.

This way, you won’t feel overwhelmed.

For example, if you want to quit drinking soda, you don’t have to quit flavored drinks altogether. You can replace it with fruit juices first, then sugar-free iced tea. 

And if you want to stop scrolling your social media at night, you don’t have to let go of your phone. You can simply replace Instagram with educational sites…or even read on Kindle.

This will make you more disciplined without feeling deprived. And because you don’t feel deprived, you’ll be able to keep it up and even build new habits.

5) Find an accountability buddy

Healthy lifestyle for retirees 7 simple ways to become a more disciplined person in 30 days, according to psychology

You’ll get by with a little help from your friends.

We generally tend to think peer pressure is bad but when it comes to accountability and habits, peer pressure is actually a good thing!

According to psychology, accountability plays a major role in building self-discipline. 

The American Society of Training and Development (ASTD) did a study on accountability and found that you have a 65% of completing a goal if you commit to someone.

And if you have a specific accountability appointment with a person you’ve committed, you will increase your chance of success by up to 95%.

Want to make sure you walk 10k steps a day?

Tell your friend or partner about your goal. That way, when you slack off (and you will slack off), they’d pressure you by asking “So did you walk today?” and “Hey, you promised!”

And this pressure would give you no choice but to do the things you told them. After all, you don’t want to be seen as someone unreliable, do you?

And if you can’t find an accountability partner, you can simply broadcast your goals online!

I use my Instagram stories to share my 30-day challenge and it works. 

Having an audience, I feel like I have no choice but to do what I promised. And so, even on the days I get so lazy, I show up…so I have something to show others.

Sounds lame for some, but hey, it works for me!

6) Read up about success and discipline

Do you know the science behind repetition?

It says that individuals tend to develop a preference for things they encounter more frequently.

Advertisers use this technique to brainwash us into doing things. By showing us something over and over again, we get brainwashed.

And so if you want yourself to do something—in this case, build self-discipline—then you have to brainwash yourself into becoming more self-disciplined.

How?

Devour any self-help content you can get your hands on.

Read up about time management hacks, for example.

Listen to podcasts about how habits are formed.

Get inspiration from people who’ve become successful.

Basically, be very obsessed with improving your life!

My friend who became a millionaire before forty treats self-help books as her bible. She reads them daily. She told me “I have to do it daily or else I’ll forget about it.”

And it probably works because she’s one of the most self-disciplined people I know.

7) Reward yo’self

It’s easy to start a habit, what’s hard is sticking to it.

And the trick many psychologists recommend is positive reinforcement

So dangle a carrot on a stick and make sure it’s a really delicious-looking carrot!

An article by Neuroscience News says that we can trigger positive reinforcement through an external reward like a pair of shoes or a 2-hour massage.

These experiences release dopamine, one of the brain’s favorite “feel good” neurochemicals.

That way, when you’re tempted to slack off, the reward would slap you in the face and say “Hey, don’t you want me?! I’m here waiting for you only if you do this for 30 days straight. You’re on Day 20. Don’t quit now!”

So think of a reward right now…and give yourself that when you’re able to stick to a goal for 30 days.

Final thoughts:

If you do all of these tricks, I’m sure you’ll be a more self-disciplined person in just 30 days.

But if you fail to maintain your streak, don’t be too hard on yourself. Forgive yourself and just keep trying.

The goal is to be a LITTLE more disciplined, not to become the most disciplined person to ever walk on earth.

You can do it.

I’m already excited for the brand-new you!

Picture of Mia Zhang

Mia Zhang

Mia Zhang blends Eastern and Western perspectives in her approach to self-improvement. Her writing explores the intersection of cultural identity and personal growth. Mia encourages readers to embrace their unique backgrounds as a source of strength and inspiration in their life journeys.

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