13 Things Disciplined People Don’t Do (That Most People Do)

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There are those in the world who seem to have unlocked the key to getting stuff done.

They walk among us, silently conquering tasks while the rest of us look on in awe.

At the heart of their achievements lies their self-discipline, which can make them feel like superheroes compared to us mere mortals.

When it comes to understanding their secret sauce, it is not always about what they do, but rather, what they don’t do.

So, let’s look at 13 things that disciplined people just don’t do.

1. They don’t rely on willpower alone to get things done.

Once upon a time, there lived a peculiar species known as the Disciplined People. Their unorthodox life approach fascinated many, for they didn’t solely rely on the mystical force of willpower.

You see, it’s a common misconception that disciplined folks possess unshakable willpower.

While willpower is indeed a powerful force in the realm of self-control, our disciplined friends recognize that it’s a finite resource, much like a wizard’s magical mana.

Instead of continuously casting their “willpower spells,” they reserve the potent energy for particularly challenging moments or as a last resort.

They believe in the existence of their daily “willpower potion,” which must be carefully managed and strategically used to achieve their goals.

The secret behind these disciplined beings’ remarkable success was their uncanny ability to form an alliance with other mystical forces like “habit,” “routine,” and the ever-elusive “planning.”

These companions provide a sturdy foundation for disciplined people to build upon, ensuring that willpower is never overtaxed and always available in times of need.

2. They don’t wait around for motivation to strike.

Disciplined individuals understand that motivation can be an elusive and fickle beast. Rather than waiting around for it to magically appear, they take matters into their own hands.

They know that the initial spark of motivation is often ignited by taking action in the first place.

A humorous example to illustrate this point is the tortoise and the hare. While the undisciplined hare may wait around for motivation to strike, the disciplined tortoise has already begun making steady progress toward the finish line. The hare, convinced that he’ll eventually feel motivated enough to catch up, is left in the dust as the tortoise wins the race.

So, the next time you find yourself waiting for that perfect moment of motivation to strike, remember that disciplined individuals don’t wait around—they create their own motivation through action and perseverance.

3. They don’t let their feelings lead them astray.

Disciplined individuals have a knack for not letting their emotions steer them off course.

Sure, they experience feelings just like everyone else, but they don’t allow these emotional states to dictate their actions, especially when it comes to making crucial decisions.

They understand that emotions can be as fickle as the wind, and relying on them for guidance can lead to chaos, confusion, and an unhealthy degree of spontaneous shopping sprees.

One day, they might be feeling on top of the world, brimming with confidence and enthusiasm. The next, they could find themselves wallowing in self-doubt with a pint of ice cream nearby for comfort.

Disciplined people are well aware of these emotional rollercoasters and have learned to ride them with grace and stability, without getting derailed from achieving their goals.

They don’t mistake tears for weakness, nor loudly expressed opinions for strength. They understand that feelings are like the weather; they come and go, but don’t necessarily hold the answers to life’s deep questions.

4. They don’t spend time worrying about outcomes.

Some people say that a disciplined person is like a well-trained dog—always focused on the task at hand, and never distracted by the mailman.

And one of the more common distractions that disciplined people don’t waste their time on is constantly worrying about outcomes.

Imagine someone trying to build a sandcastle while simultaneously fearing that the next wave will wash it all away. They would probably never finish the job.

This is because worrying about outcomes consumes mental resources, preventing people from focusing on the task at hand.

Disciplined individuals understand that the best way to make progress is to focus on what they can control: their effort, hard work, and dedication.

They know that outcomes, while influenced by their efforts, are too unpredictable to spend time stressing over. In other words, they let the chips fall where they may.

So, when it comes to disciplined people, they steer clear of those pesky, productivity-sapping thoughts about outcomes.

They simply put their noses to the grindstone, roll up their sleeves, and get to work, embracing the mantra of “what will be, will be.”

5. They don’t let perfectionism get in the way of action.

One thing disciplined people never, ever do, is let perfectionism get in the way of action.

You see, disciplined folks realize that chasing perfection is a wild goose chase that never ends.

Instead of striving for the impossible, they embrace “good enough” as their mantra and set the stage for productivity to shine.

In their daily lives, disciplined people know that waiting for the perfect moment is like waiting for a bus that never arrives. They laugh in the face of procrastination, recognizing that it is simply fear’s annoying sidekick.

They’d much rather take calculated risks and learn from their mistakes than wait around in the land of “what ifs.”

Moreover, they use their powers of self-awareness to identify when their perfection-seeking tendencies are slipping in. They gently remind themselves that the world won’t end if their work is less-than-perfect.

Their resilience and adaptability allow them to make the best of any situation, continuously growing and moving forward.

Extra reading: 10 Ways To Strive For Excellence, Not Perfection

6. They don’t ignore the value of compound growth.

Picture an ant carrying a single leaf for its colony—it’s small and seemingly insignificant.

Disciplined people, however, never discount the power of compound growth just like the ant.

Instead, they understand that it’s the persistent accumulation of small steps that leads to significant achievements. They know that every little effort can snowball into substantial results over time.

For example, instead of chasing instant gratification, these disciplined individuals save and invest little by little. Like a squirrel saving acorns, they don’t let these mini-milestones go unnoticed.

It’s as if their motto is, “Rome wasn’t built in a day.” They harness the power of compounding to create a formidable force in their pursuit of success.

7. They don’t have unrealistic expectations about what they can achieve.

Disciplined individuals, always a step ahead in the game of life, tend to know their limits.

They’re not the ones standing in front of a mirror, vigorously chanting, “I can climb Mount Everest by this weekend!” while sporting a sheepish grin.

Instead, they understand that achieving goals requires planning, dedication, and a good understanding of their own capabilities.

The average person might excitedly create a list of ultimate aspirations, from becoming an overnight pop sensation to finding a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow. However, our disciplined friends would be sipping their thoughtfully brewed coffee, chuckling at the absurdity of these expectations.

It’s worth noting that disciplined people appreciate a healthy challenge from time to time. However, they’re not naïve enough to expect they can do anything they put their minds to.

Instead, they set goals that they have a genuine chance of achieving. Goals that may stretch them, but ones that they can reach through persistent effort.

8. They don’t make excuses not to do something.

One thing disciplined folks never succumb to is the temptation of making excuses not to do something.

Rather than having an internal dialogue of “why me?” or “that’s just too hard,” they take a deep breath, roll up their sleeves, and get to work.

After all, according to good old Benjamin Franklin, “He that is good for making excuses is seldom good for anything else.”

Picture this: On a soggy morning, as the alarm clock screams for the third time, an ordinary person might hit snooze and dive right back into their cozy slumber.

But not the disciplined minority, oh no!

They acknowledge that fleeting moment of desire and decide, “I shall not let excuses win today!” They hop out of bed, ready to tackle the day’s tasks head-on.

Don’t be fooled, though! Disciplined people are not immune to feelings of procrastination or laziness. They simply choose another approach.

Instead of wasting their precious willpower, they put systems in place to achieve their goals. They know that it’s what you do on those tough days that helps you move forward.

In their journey toward success, disciplined people steer clear of the common trap of “commitment phobia” while achieving their objectives. They understand that excuses only serve to hinder progress and, instead, take responsibility for their results.

Extra reading: 7 Ways To Stop Making Excuses All The Time

9. They don’t give in to distractions.

While their peers succumb to the siren song of social media, our disciplined hero wields self-discipline like a mighty sword, slaying pesky interruptions in their path.

In the bustling realm of productivity, disciplined people recognize that time is their most valuable resource. They hold steadfast to their goals and priorities, setting boundaries to ward off time-sucking distractions.

The cunning distraction demons often try to lure our heroes with the temptations of procrastination, but they are no match for discipline’s ironclad focus.

Now, you may think our tale’s heroes possess magical abilities or secret superpowers, but alas, they wield no special tools.

Instead, they employ the tried-and-tested strategies of organization, setting specific schedules, and taking timed breaks.

So remember, dear reader, that while distractions may lurk around every corner, the true key to success lies in never giving in to their allure.

10. They don’t overlook the importance of self-care.

Ah, self-care. It’s all about massages, facemasks, and treating yourself, right?

Well, not quite.

Real self-care is about promoting overall health and well-being, and it can look different to different people.

It’s easy to picture a disciplined person zipping through life like a superhero, sipping green smoothies and conquering marathon runs. However, they know that self-care isn’t a luxury or a sign of weakness—it’s a crucial ingredient to a healthy and balanced life.

Instead of constantly seeking quick fixes at the expense of overall wellness, a disciplined person pays attention to their body’s signals. Whether that means taking a break, seeking support, or spending time doing things that recharge their internal batteries, they nurture their well-being.

Extra reading: 18 Elements Of An Effective Self-Care Routine

11. They don’t say yes when they want to say no.

Some people tend to please others like they are trying to achieve a world record in altruism.

But disciplined individuals? Not even close!

These steadfast champions of personal determination have mastered the art of saying no when they really, truly don’t want to commit to something. Cue dramatic gasps from people pleasers across the globe!

Disciplined individuals understand that time and energy are precious resources they shouldn’t waste. While they might still perform acts of kindness or lend a hand when needed, they never do it at the expense of their well-being or other priorities.

So, instead of saying “yes” and secretly wanting to cry (come on, we all know that feeling), they gracefully decline when it’s appropriate and move on with their lives.

Extra reading: How To Say No To People: 7 No Nonsense Tips!

12. They don’t try to do too much at once.

Multitasking, as tempting as it may sound, is the sworn enemy of disciplined individuals.

Disciplined folks understand that multitasking is a myth that leads to us spreading ourselves too thin, leaving much to be desired in the quality department.

When disciplined people take on a responsibility, they have an unwritten rule that’s as solid as the laws of gravity: one task at a time. They know that dividing their focus is equivalent to reciting the alphabet backward while tap-dancing—simply not practical or efficient.

So, how do these self-mastery maestros conquer their to-do lists without succumbing to multitasking’s magnetic allure? They devise a well-organized plan and prioritize like a pro.

Each task is carefully selected, placed in an orderly queue, and handled with the utmost care and dedication when its time arises.

And as our disciplined doer wraps up each self-contained mission with a shiny bow of completion, they march onwards to the next—leaving multitasking in the dust.

13. They don’t go too easy or too hard on themselves.

Disciplined people steer clear from the extremes of treating themselves with kid gloves or acting like a drill sergeant.

They find a balance between going too easy and too hard on themselves. It’s almost like they possess an internal scale that stops them from wandering off course.

For instance, they avoid beating themselves up over minor setbacks. Instead of wallowing in self-pity, they brush themselves off and then redirect their focus to the next goal to conquer.

Self-discipline isn’t about berating oneself for every tiny mistake; it’s about learning from and moving past them with grace and aplomb.

Nor do disciplined individuals get caught up in talking themselves down. You won’t find them uttering phrases like, “oh, I just can’t do this,” or “I’m not good enough.”

Instead, they’re firm believers in the power of self-talk that’s laced with wit and encouragement. They might say something along the lines of, “nice going, champ—you’ll get it next time!”

Even when celebrating their achievements, disciplined people refrain from inflating their egos or getting reckless. They treat themselves with a pat on the back, accompanied by a mental chuckle, while quickly plotting their next move.

In a nutshell, disciplined people have learned to thread the needle between being too lax and overly harsh with themselves. They’ve found that sweet spot where gentle humor and self-awareness can coexist, allowing them to stay focused and disciplined while not taking themselves or their setbacks too seriously.

Extra reading: 18 Signs You’re Being Too Hard On Yourself

Want to be more disciplined but are struggling to do it by yourself?

Speak to a therapist to get where you want to be. Why? Because they are trained to help people in situations like yours. They can help you to identify the reasons for your lack of discipline and provide tailored advice to get you through those mental blocks.

BetterHelp.com is a website where you can connect with a therapist via phone, video, or instant message.

Many people lack discipline and most try to muddle through and force themselves to do things – unsuccessfully. If it’s at all possible in your circumstances, therapy is 100% the best way forward.

Here’s that link again if you’d like to learn more about the service BetterHelp.com provide and the process of getting started.

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About The Author

Steve Phillips-Waller is the founder and editor of A Conscious Rethink. He has written extensively on the topics of life, relationships, and mental health for more than 8 years.