6, 7, 8

Learners define self-discipline and discuss how this trait affects themselves and the common good. A survey helps learners determine a personal self-discipline score for their own self-awareness.

PrintOne 20-minute lesson

The learner will:

  • discuss personal qualities that help people keep resolutions.
  • complete a survey to determine personal level of self-discipline.

copies of handout Personal Self-Discipline Survey


  1. Anticipatory Set:

    Ask whether anyone in the group has ever made a New Year's Resolution and how it went. Each year half of the people living in the U.S. make New Year Resolutions. The Top Ten resolutions are:

    1. Spend more time with family and friends
    2. Exercise
    3. Lose weight
    4. Quit smoking
    5. Enjoy life more
    6. Quit drinking
    7. Get out of debt
    8. Learn something new
    9. Help others
    10. Get organized

    Ask: Of those who make resolutions,what percentage of people do you think report that they are successful in keeping their resolution? (allow time for a few guesses)

    Answer: Data shows that the success rate varies each year, but less than 15 percent of people keep their resolutions after a week. Some surveys show only 4 percent of people keep them. Discuss why we make resolutions (such as self-improvement) and why they are hard to keep (busyness, lack of motivation or self-discipline). 

    Ask: Do you think people would do better if they thought their self-improvement benefitted the common good? If it would help them be more successful in life? Discuss the elements that could lead to successful self-discipline. Make sure to avoid judgment or holding some character traits as more valuable than others. 

  2. Discuss whether participants think they have good self-discipline. Define self-discipline as the ability to pursue one's goals even when temptation to do otherwise is strong. Allow them to take a personal assessment of their current level of self-discipline, using the handout Personal Self-Discipline Survey.

  3. Make sure participants know this survey is for their information only, for self-awareness. Review the instructions and explain how to compute the personal score.

  4. When they are finished, ask for their reflections on the accuracy of their score and the assumptions of the survey. Does the score feel right to them? Are the questions equitable and realistic? What could this self-awareness do for them? How do these traits affect their relationships and future decisions? How could my personal goals for self-discipline affect the good of the community?

  5. They may refer to their self-discipline survey in future lessons.

Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.III Philanthropy and the Individual
    1. Standard PI 01. Reasons for Individual Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark MS.4 Identify and describe the actions of how citizens act for the common good.