How to Build Self-discipline as a Teenager in 2021

Welcome to this blog about how to build self-discipline as a teenager in 2021!

To start out this blog, it is important to emphasize what discipline actually is and what role it plays in your daily life. In school, many of us learn discipline as paying attention in class, following directions, and obeying the rules. However, in life, discipline is more than that – it is thinking before acting, finishing what you started, keeping a routine, and doing something despite the hardships that may come. Sure, there are many qualities that contribute to one’s success and happiness, but self-discipline is the only one that not only creates success, but sustains it.

If you’re anything like me, they’ve been several occasions where you’ve spent hours creating a schedule, making a new to-do list, and painstakingly planning how you are going to crush your goals. However, one thing leads to the other and it never happens. Well, cue the shame and guilt, the vow to do better, the obsessive planning. The cycle begins again.

The true key to self-discipline doesn’t lie in your journal or any productivity app, it lies in your mindset. Self-discipline is a state of mind, so if you want to train yourself to be more disciplined, you must shift your mindset and see the world in a new light. The first thing you must ask yourself is why? Why do you want to become more disciplined? If you don’t have a reason, it’ll be way too easy to give up when times get tough. The desire for your goal must be greater than the temptation to give up, so think about what it is you really want to achieve.

Before you begin on your journey towards building self-discipline, it’s important to understand what self-discipline ISN’T.

– It’s not about becoming a superhuman productivity machine who never fails.

– It’s not beating yourself up because you didn’t achieve more than you did yesterday.

– It’s not expecting that you’ll never be tempted to sleep in, eat cupcakes or scroll through Facebook.

– It’s not rigid and inflexible. It doesn’t mean holding yourself to an impossible standard.

So now that you know all the important details before becoming self-disciplined, here are 12 ways to help you build self-discipline as a teenager in 2021 and making it last throughout your whole life!

1. Remove temptations

As teenagers, this is probably one of the hardest things to do. With Instagram one click away, your phone barely out of reach, and Netflix as the first bookmark on our computers, we lose control over what we should be doing. However, in order to build self-discipline, we must remove all temptations which take our eyes off our goals. Turn off all notifications on your phone, or better yet, keep your phone in another room. If you want to eat better, don’t place junk food in sight. Doing these will make building self-discipline effortless, so why not do it? Set yourself up for success by removing bad influences.

2. Eat regularly and healthily

How to Build Self-discipline as a Teenager in 2021

Studies have shown that low blood sugar often weakens a person’s resolve. When you’re hungry, your ability to concentrate suffers as your brain is not functioning to its highest potential. Hunger makes it difficult to focus on the tasks at hand, not to mention making you grumpy and pessimistic. In order to stay on track, make sure that you are well fueled throughout the day with healthy snacks and meals every few hours. Eating often regulates your blood sugar levels and improves your decision making skills and concentration. Allow you brain to focus on your goals and priorities instead of on your growling stomach.

3. Don’t wait for it to “feel right”

Waking up at 6:00 AM every day, working out at least 5 times a week, eating healthier. All of these things are not going to feel right or be comfortable when starting out. It may feel like you are starting a whole new lifestyle, none of which you are used to. However, that doesn’t mean that you should quit and give up. The longer you wait, the less chance you have of following through on the habit.

Breaking a habit and building a new habit will cause of brain to think that something is wrong. However, instead of listening to the brain, we should embrace the wrong. Good things are supposed to take the time, and we must acknowledge that. Keep going despite the discomfort; it’ll pay off in the future as it propels you towards success.

4. Create habits and rituals

How to Build Self-discipline as a Teenager in 2021

According to Performance Coach Jay Henderson, “Our subconscious is automated, so we only have 5% of our conscious mind to fight the subconscious habits we have built over months, years and, in some cases, a lifetime.” So, in order to combat those subconscious thoughts, we must create new habits and rituals.

An example of this is running every day early morning. In order to wake up early and go running, you must resist the urge to press the snooze button on your alarm. Something that helps greatly with this is being specific. The more specific we are, the more drive, motivation, and focus we have for something. Research shows that when a person takes the time to think through the “what, where and when” of a new task, they are 70% more likely to achieve it. As an example, some specific steps that can help you wake up early and go running include:

  1. Remind yourself of the goal
  2. Lay out your clothes the night before
  3. Set an alarm and keep it on the other side of your room
  4. Go to bed at 10:00 pm
  5. Wake up and walk to turn your alarm of
  6. Head straight into the kitchen to drink a glass of water
  7. Put your shoes on
  8. Start running!

You get the point. This helps because you engage senses: mind, might and heart with clarity through specificity. Your mind, which wants to make you act like the picture you have of yourself, then delivers the energy, drive and motivation. Your chances of getting up and running will jump exponentially. This is because in your subconscious mind, where your habits are stored, there’s absolutely no question about what you want.

5. Challenge your own excuses

I used to tell myself that I can’t work on my blog because I have to much homework, that I can’t wake up early because I’m too tired. However, I’ve noticed that by making these excuses, I’m only going downhill and not making an effort to improve myself.

Once I realized that my homework load is not going to decrease and that I’ll always be tired, I knew I had to argue for my limitations. I started to both wake up early and write a little bit before my classes start. By doing this, my productivity increased massively and I felt a great shift in my life.

We can make excuses for everything we do in life, but for the ones we follow through on, are the ones that change our life for the better. So, start thinking of way to work around the excuse and get to it!

6. Take small actions/Start small

How to Build Self-discipline as a Teenager in 2021

Becoming disciplined doesn’t mean taking huge steps and starting out big. That would potentially make one burned out and not motivated to stay consistent as it would be hard to do. However, something that helps one stay consistent and keep going is to start small and take small steps. When our minds think that something is easier, we are more likely to do it.

For example, if you want to do 30 pushups each day, start by doing just one and you’ll eventually complete many more. If you want to walk for 1 hour each day, start by walking for 10 minutes and you’ll keep going! It doesn’t matter how small the action is as long as you’re going in the right direction. Pick a habit that is significant enough to make a difference and small enough for you to be consistent. Action inspires further action and momentum creates more momentum.

7. Trust in a good habit

“When a behavior becomes habit, we stop using our decision-making skills and instead function on auto-pilot. Therefore, breaking a bad habit and building a new habit not only requires us to make active decisions, it will feel wrong. Your brain will resist the change in favor of what it has been programmed to do.

The solution? Embrace the wrong. Acknowledge that it will take a while for your new regime to feel right or good or natural. Keep chugging along. It will happen.” – Jennifer Cohen, 5 Proven Methods for Gaining Self Discipline

Jennifer explains it well. Once you set a good habit in motion, you need to trust that it will get you closer to the outcome you desire – even when you feel like quitting.

8. Set clear goals and have a plan

Setting clear goals and having a plan is key to become self-disciplined. Without having an idea of where you want to head up, how can you start and stay that way? Without having a plan on how you want to achieve your goal, how can you stay consistent with sticking to a habit every day?

Know what you want to do and how you want to do it so you can crush your goals and become self-disciplined!

9. Find motivation

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10. Understand yourself and know your weaknesses

You may think that understanding yourself and knowing your weaknesses have no relation to becoming self-disciplined, but it actually plays a key role into staying consistent and becoming a more disciplined person. How? Well if you understand yourself, you know what you want and what you don’t want. If you know your weaknesses, you can set goals to improve them and make sure that you set goals that aren’t too hard for you to achieve.

11. “It’s just what I do”

The power of saying “It’s just what I do” is massive once you realize how much of an effect it has to become disciplined. One of the reasons it works so well is because it turns your habits into an “identity-based habit.” Personally speaking, I have told myself to cultivate a habit and I ended up never following up on it. Just like that, you can tell yourself to eat healthy or workout at least 2 times a week, but if you don’t make that part of your identity, it’ll be much harder to keep that habit and make it a lifestyle.

It will definitely be hard in the starting days to tell yourself “That’s just what I do” because it won’t be true yet. However, after a while, it WILL be what you do. “You’ll start thinking of yourself as the type of person who has already achieved self-discipline in the habit you want.” (

  • “I’m the type of person who wakes up at 6am and writes for an hour before breakfast.”
  • “I’m the type of person who plans out my projects and doesn’t procrastinate.”
  • “I’m the type of person who always eats a nutritious breakfast.”
  • “I’m the type of person who goes straight to the gym after work every day.”

Start telling yourself that and see how far you’ll go!

12. Forgive yourself and move forward

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You shouldn’t expect perfection every time you try a new habit. “If you hold yourself to an unachievable standard of perfection, you’ll only succeed in making yourself feel inadequate.”

When you fail, forgive yourself, get up and move forward.

Make it your motto to “Never Miss Twice.” That means that if you miss one workout it’s not the end of the world, but you’re not going to miss two in a row. If you don’t write 500 words this morning, you’re guaranteed to do it tomorrow morning.

Slipping up on your habits doesn’t mean you are a failure – it means you are normal. Successfully improving self-discipline is not based on never making mistakes. It’s all about having the grit and determination to keep persisting and improving over the long term.


The Takeaway

Self-discipline is probably one of the hardest skills to perfect. But remember, it won’t explore overnight; it’ll grow over time as long as you are consistent and determined!

The 12 tips to help you build self-discipline as a teenager in 2021 are to:

  1. Remove temptations
  2. Eat regularly and healthily
  3. Don’t wait for it to “feel right”
  4. Create habits and rituals
  5. Challenge your own excuses
  6. Take small actions/start small
  7. Trust in a good habit
  8. Set clear goals and have a plan
  9. Find motivation
  10. Understand yourself and know your weaknesses
  11. Say “It’s just what I do”
  12. Forgive yourself and move forward

For more information, I highly recommend checking out the book: Self-Discipline: How to Build Mental Toughness and Focus to Achieve your Goals. Along with this, check out this video on the secret to building self-discipline!

As teenagers, it’s important that we keep improving and keep learning. Along with building self-disciplined, be sure to check out our other blog: How to be Productive in 2021!

Now’s the time to start! So what are you waiting for? Start these twelve tips now and see how far you’ll go in life! Good luck!

Next Steps

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3 thoughts on “How to Build Self-discipline as a Teenager in 2021

  1. Alan

    I just wasted an entire day scrolling through Instagram and YouTube, so I’m a bit disappointed in myself. Reading this post was useful. But building self-discipline is so tough! The annoying thing is you can’t use self-discipline to build self-discipline, if you know what I mean.

    1. Dani

      I can totally relate. Hope this blog has helped!

    2. Dani

      I can totally relate. Hope this blog has helped!

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