Self-Discipline: It’s Not Easy

Self discipline is one of the most challenging and difficult things to do. It’s often easier if someone like a parent or teacher keeps a schedule for you and helps you meet deadlines and goals. In this Irvine private tutor’s experience, the closer you get to finishing high school, the more self-discipline you should have. Many students do really well when another person helps with deadlines and, hey, we will all have a boss one day so keeping to someone else’s schedule can be an excellent skill to have later in life. However, colleges and universities strongly value a student’s ability to make things happen and get things done without excuses. Many students can be caught off guard when long term deadlines become an everyday reality and that perfect 4.0 can easily plummet.


To avoid difficulties transitioning from high school to college, lets’ look at some ways to increase self-discipline.

One – Be Your Own Boss

When you think about taking over the role of your parent or teacher, it can be scary but also exciting. Now you are in charge of your schedule. Don’t try to make this transition happen all in one term but rather think about small ways you can take over scheduling and commitment responsibilities yourself. Start out with a ‘teacher replacement’ such as an electronic schedule or planner that actively reminds you when it is time to do something. For example, if you were to write something down in the notepad of your cell phone, what are the chances that you will remember to look at it days or even weeks later? I know I wouldn’t remember. Rather, use your mobile device to remind you of important deadlines by programming an alarm to sound three days before your assignment is due. Its’ hard to ignore the everlasting beeping from a cell phone!

Two – Start Early

Waiting until the first semester of college to work on self-discipline can lead to more stress than is necessary. College is suppose to be fun after all. The sooner you start implementing changes, the better. If you’re currently in tenth-grade, grade, think of two or three things you can do now that will help you in the future. For instance, you could start arranging study group sessions or time with an Orange County in-home tutor. Or, you could arrange your homework schedule at the beginning of each week. Add a new item of responsibility each term and by the time you go off to college, you should be all set.

Three – Take Inspiration From Other Parts of Your Life

Self-discipline can be found in areas of life other than just academics. Sports, work and family can be great role models for taking care of your own schedule and responsibilities. If you’re interested in sports or working out, try making a schedule where you set a reasonable goal, like jogging for 20 minutes, or lifting the 5 pound free weight 10 times. It’s not about straining yourself; just making a commitment and sticking to it. If you and your parents feel that a part-time job can fit into your schedule, think about all you could learn from this experience. Punctuality, completing tasks in a timely manner and talking to all sorts of new people is a great way to focus on getting things done while facing distractions.

Plus, you get some money at the end of the day! Family can also be a big help. Ask a parent or sibling if there is a weekly task that you could take over. Having one thing that is consistent can help with self-discipline.

Four – Ask For Help

You’re asking a lot of yourself by taking over all these responsibilities. If you have an older sibling or friend, ask them how they were able to cope with deadlines during their first year of college. Taking good advice as well as learning from another person’s mistakes is a wonderful way to avoid some of the pitfalls of a transition. Keep in mind, private tutors aren’t only here to help you improve grades; we’re here to prepare you for college. Since our tutors are college grads  themselves, they know what life skills and tools are necessary to succeed.

Five – Learn From Your Own Mistakes

It’s okay to try and fail as long as you keep trying again. If you find that the motivation just isn’t there all the time, think about something you could do to get there next time. Maybe a small reward for each deadline you conquer will help you get through all that work. Look, I know you’re excited for college and the freedom it brings, but be smart. The best way to get the most out of university life is to have self-discipline. Developing this crucial skill will allow you to do well in class, and still have fun with your friends.

Most importantly, consistency is key (read our post “3 Tips for Consistency in Education“). Meeting some deadlines some of the time is a good start but being able to make yourself get through your responsibilities all of the time is the moon you want to shoot for.

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