Self-discipline: We hear this term thrown around but few people understand what it is and how it can transform your life.

Self-discipline is the ability to exercise self-control and develop good habits even through challenges. It also means sometimes doing things you don't want to in order to achieve your goal.

One area where self-discipline is necessary for change is eating habits.

Cutting board surrounded by freshly cut fruit and vegetables Do you opt for fruits and veggies when you need a snack?

Define Your Goal

Determine what exactly you want to change. Be specific and have a plan!

Illustration of a red X

"I want to be healthier."

This goal is not specific enough. How will you know when you've achieved your goal and what will you do to make it happen?

Illustration of a green checkmark

"I want to lose 50 pounds over the next 12 months. I will follow [eating plan] as recommended by my dietician and alternate weights and cardio 4 times per week."

This is a great goal! You have numbers to guide you and a plan in place for achieving it.

Set Realistic Goals

Eating salad for all 3 meals, 7 days a week is not realistic. This is not a sustainable goal, nor will you be happy maintaining it.

Man eating salad from a tupperware container making goofy faces A more realistic goal might be:

I will swap out my potato sides for leafy salad three times per week and have dessert once per week.

Milhouse from

Break Down Your Goal Into Steps

Have a long-term goal, then set short-term goals to achieve it!

EXAMPLE: Make healthy eating a habit (long-term goal)

  • Set a realistic timeline to reach the final goal

  • Create an action plan: work backwards from your final goal date

  • Create a daily schedule: make sure to schedule in breaks or rewards

Goat jumping up onto a ledge and a caption that says


Which is NOT a realistic long-term goal?

Setbacks Happen!

Had dessert after dinner last night? No problem! Sure, it happened, but don't dwell on it.

Instead, use these lapses to:

  • Reevaluate your goals to make them more attainable

  • Renew your motivation: remind yourself why your goal matters to you

Actresses Susan Sarandon and Amy Sedaris. Amy Sedaris says

Take Action

Actor George Lopez passionately saying Get started on your self-discipline journey to healthier eating today!


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