Dear Diary,

I have always liked to keep lists of the goals I’m trying to reach, including all the steps required to achieve each one. Recently, I started keeping two separate lists: 

(1.) Goals I need or want to complete quickly, and 

(2.) Longer-term goals and/or projects that are more difficult and will take longer to accomplish.


As part of my planning process, I update and review the two lists each week. I can’t tell you how long I’ve had “Improve self-discipline” on my list of longer-term goals, but along with several other goals on that list, each week like clockwork, I skip right over it without much thought.


This past week, I realized that some of the goals on my longer-term list – if accomplished – would support almost every other goal on both lists. If my self-discipline was improved, it would help me succeed in many other areas without more effort. 

Another one of my longer-term goals is to finally reach my natural body size. I’ve come a very long way (60 pounds of body fat gone), but I’m not done yet. I know that in order to get there, I need to intentionally plan meals in advance, overcome the urges to eat when I’m not hungry, deal with negative emotions instead of turning to food, and measure my progress on a daily basis. 


I also consistently say I want to follow the exercise/movement advice I have received in order to increase my strength and my overall physical and mental health. Carving out at least 30 minutes each day is recommended for those of us over 60 as a prescriptive way to prevent health declines and age-related diseases.


As long as I keep telling myself that one day I will have more self-discipline, I can more easily justify the actions or inactions that keep me from having what I say I want in my life.

What if I stopped telling myself that I need to improve my discipline? What if I started thinking that I am already a disciplined person and that I do what I say I will do?

Making this kind of change is challenging since we have years of ingrained beliefs that support our old habitual ways of thinking. We have to pay attention to the thoughts we think that lead to the actions we take based on earlier learned behaviors stored in our subconscious minds.

Wouldn’t it be great to get more things done in general? To be more productive each day without overthinking the tasks on your calendar? 


Remember, self-discipline includes ongoing awareness of our thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. Consistently observing ourselves gives us insight into the patterns and triggers that contribute to temptations and distractions that can hinder our progress. 

If I can develop self-discipline according to the official definition, I should be able to control my feelings, overcome my weaknesses, and do the right thing even when it’s a hard thing. I should be able to more easily resist the temptations that are currently problematic and recognize the actions I’m taking based on earlier learned behaviors stored in my subconscious mind.


Self-discipline is a powerful tool that puts us in control of our lives. With it, we can take ownership of our actions and choices regardless of external influences. Since self-discipline emerges from within, it fosters a sense of personal accountability and empowerment.


When I am going through my weekly reviews, I sometimes hear a critical voice judging the progress I am making (or not making). When this happens, I have learned to pause, take a deep breath, and return to the planning with a bit of self-compassion. After all, I know I’m a good person and that I am deeply committed to serving other women who are looking for ways to live their best lives. 

As women over 60, we possess a wealth of wisdom, experience, and resilience. If your self-discipline appears to be limited, too, let’s behave as if it isn’t. That’s where habit change begins. Let’s go!


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Lisa Boyer