Learning to Give, Philanthropy education resources that teach giving and civic engagement

Self-Control and Self-Motivation
Lesson 4
Academic Standards
Philanthropy Framework


The learners will investigate the importance of  self-control and self-motivation through analyzing examples of self-discipline.


One 20-minute lesson


The learner will:

  • analyze examples of self-discipline as self-control and/or self-motivation.
  • brainstorm three personal self-discipline goals.

Service Experience:

Although this lesson contains a service project example, decisions about service plans and implementation should be made by students, as age appropriate.
Learn more about the stages of service-learning.

This character education mini-lesson is not intended to be a service learning lesson or to meet the K-12 Service-Learning Standards for Quality Practice. The character education units will be most effective when taught in conjunction with a student-designed service project that provides a real world setting in which students can develop and practice good character and leadership skills.  For ideas and suggestions for organizing service events go to generationon.org.


Student copies of Handout One: Self-Control and Self-Discipline

Handout 1
Self-Control and Self-Discipline

Instructional Procedure(s):

Anticipatory Set:

Remind the students of their assignment to observe and note examples of when they or others (friends, classmates, teachers, family members) used self-discipline. They wrote down at least three examples. Give the students a few minutes to look at those notes and/or add to them or write down examples they can remember if they didn't have any notes.

  • Distribute Handout One: Self-Control and Self-Motivation and explain that self-discipline can take two forms: using self-control to not do something (as in the chocolate challenge from Lesson One that demonstrated impulse control and delayed gratification, or breaking a bad habit like smoking, losing one's temper easily) or using self-motivation to voluntarily do something that may not be easy or pleasant or convenient to reach a desired goal (like staying on a diet, training for an athletic event, or completing a difficult or long school assignment). 
  • Ask the students to share their examples of self-discipline and then add them to the chart on the handout. Discuss how each example relates to self-control and self-motivation. Complete the columns on the chart. This may be done as a class, as a small-group assignment, or as individuals.
  • Ask the students to brainstorm three goals they might like to set using self-control to NOT do something and/or using self-motivation to DO something. Tell them that in the next lesson they will choose one of those goals to reflect on.

Lesson Developed By:

Betsy Flikkema
Associate Director
Learning to Give

Barbara Dillbeck
Learning to Give


Handout 1Print Handout 1

Self-Control and Self-Discipline

Example of Self-Discipline
What self-control was or could be used in this situation?
What self-motivation was or could be used in this situation?
Example: Saving to buy a car by 18th birthday
not to go out to eat with friends
get part-time job, open bank account


Philanthropy Framework:


Katie, Parent Ossining, NY6/4/2013 1:18:33 PM

Thanks for posting this lesson. I'm running a self-directed "values course" for my soon to be 7th and 9th graders, and this lesson plan is really helpful! I'll share this content!

Submit a Comment

All rights reserved. Permission is granted to freely use this information for nonprofit (noncommercial), educational purposes only. Copyright must be acknowledged on all copies.