Return to site

Self-discipline and Self-Control

What is Maturity: a Series of Mini Blogs 10/16


Self-discipline takes follow through, perseverance, and determination. Self-discipline and maturity are not found separately. They require each other and one creates the other. Self-discipline is a symptom of maturity, maturity is a product of self-discipline, and in turn maturity fuels more self-discipline.

We talk about self-discipline all the time (breaking and creating habits; accomplishing something you want; general change), but not a whole lot of action happens after the talking. I feel my perspective and experience with self-discipline is different from other's because my world is based on self-discipline. What? How? One word: ballet.

There are so many metaphors for life in ballet BECAUSE it requires discipline. Every day a ballet dancer is at the barre; strengthening, stretching, challenging themselves to be better than yesterday, working on the minutia, taking feedback and correction, and never ever giving up. Every day we plie, tendu, articulate the entire body, work that much harder to hold every muscle of stronger and longer, and every day we reinforce for ourselves the value of our self-discipline because results are inevitable when applying that much focus and energy.

There is no easy way to become a ballet dancer. No short cuts. The proof is in performance. You're either there or you're not and the evidence is instant and obvious. Self-discipline is like this, too. There's no way to fake your way through and no where to hide the flaws. Proof is in the results of your life and they, too, are obvious if not always instant. You can make up an instragram post about how you're being so disciplined in your activity and diet, but if your body doesn't change the truth of your discipline shows clearly.

Leaving the extreme discipline of ballet and coming to a more normal life-style, self-discipline is still essential for all of us to grow. Diet, exercise, how we use our time, the words we speak internally and externally, what we choose to spend our resources on, and how we raise children ALL REQUIRE SELF-DISCIPLINE. One way to this about it is that it's parenting yourself consistently and persistently.

For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. (Hebrews 12:11)


Self-Control is in the moment while Self-Discipline is over the long term. Self-control requires self-discipline, but self-discipline does not always require self-control. Real life example of this: I am an extremely disciplined ballet dancer, but I still work on controlling myself to not talk in class.

Self-control serves you in a moment but is a smaller muscle than self-discipline and so cannot be expected to hold you up as long. Self-control keeps you from texting your ex, while self-discipline keeps you on a path to choosing a better guy.

Self-control is essential in the emotional moments of response and can be a barometer of our self-discipline work. If you've been learning to be disciplined with your money then your self-control stands a better chance of kicking in to say "No" to those shoes you just saw on Instagram. (No, totally not talking about myself here. *coughcough*)

I HAVE noticed in myself that sometimes I'll have a moment of amazing self-control that inspires more self-discipline, but I also know that if I don't keep up the discipline then the more emotionally based self-control doesn't happen as often.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. (Galatians 5:22-23)

We need BOTH.

Are you currently working on a self-discipline/self-control habit? How do you think about these two? Separate? The same? Why is self-discipline important to your growth? How could self-control change your daily joy level? This can all be rhetorical or you can totally answer me in the comments - I love to know more about people!

All Posts

Almost done…

We just sent you an email. Please click the link in the email to confirm your subscription!