Ten Tips for Self-Discipline (from John MacArthur)

For students, teachers, professors, and others in education, the school year is about it begin again.  That means we will all be in need of some self-discipline.  I know I certainly will.

I have been challenged, convicted, and helped in that by a list of ten tips for self-discipline that I heard John MacArthur give in a sermon once.  After I heard the sermon, I typed the tips up with a few comments, and I often refer to them to encourage me to be more self-disciplined.   (For example, compare the picture of a portion of my desk on the left to tip number 2 below.  This is certainly an area for me to exercise some self-discipline toward and dominion over today!)

Here are the tips:

John MacArthur’s Tips for Self-Discipline

  1. Begin with small things. Learn to discipline yourself in small things because these lead to big things.
  2. Clean your environment. Clean your desk, room, house, garage, etc.  Become discontent with a mess in general.  Get to the place that orderliness matters.
  3. Make a schedule and learn to conform to it. You only have so much time in this life.  You should budget it just like you do other limited resources like money.
  4. Wean yourself off of being entertained. Entertainment is often a time-thief. To be self-disciplined, entertainment must become something that you can take or leave.  Train yourself to do things that are productive when you have excess time.  Read, take a walk, plant flowers, have a conversation.
  5. Be on time. Order your little universe so that you can get to where you are supposed to be on time and in your right mind.
  6. Keep your word, even in the littlest things. Do things when you say you will and how you say you will.  This calls for discipline before and after you make the commitment. Discipline before you make a commitment is required so that you do not over-commit yourself, and discipline after is required to fulfill the commitment.
  7. Do the hardest task first. It is probably the most important.
  8. Finish what you start. If you start it, finish it.
  9. Practice self-denial just for the sake of self-denial. It reminds you that you are in charge of you.
  10. Volunteer. Forces you to leave a little space in your life and forces you to order your life such that you have a little extra time to do something that is not part of your agenda.

(P.S. — If you have any tips that have helped you, I would love to hear them.  You can share them below in the comments.)