Self-discipline makes everything easier. The problems is that developing that self-discipline is anything but easy. It takes conscious effort to nurture and practice being self-disciplined. Luckily, you don't have to tackle a monster of a goal to become a self-disciplined person. You can tame the monster by practicing your skills on the lesser minions that you face throughout your day.
Like any other skill, self-discipline is a skill that can be practiced. As a coach, I want the players on my hockey team to become better-- but I don't just have them scrimmage during practice. Instead, we work on individual skill sets like passing, shooting, and skating. When all of these are put together the result is a better hockey player. Self-discipline is like that. You start with something very small and easy to do. As you get better at it (i.e. more self-disciplined) you can start to ramp up the difficulty.
Being self-disciplined can only be developed by taking action consistently. You have to pick something that you want to get better at and make yourself do it, all the time. Two easy ways I've improved my self-discipline is by making my bed every morning and stopping the terrible habit of biting my nails. These may seem incredibly trivial, but how are you going to trust yourself to do anything more difficult (like train for a marathon) when you don't even have the self-discipline needed to make your bed? Once your mind is convinced you can handle the easy stuff, you can turn your slightly strengthened self-discipline onto bigger and better things.
If writing that novel or finishing a triathlon or anything that takes more than a modicum of effort is one of your goals, you probably need to develop your self-discipline. Don't be afraid to start your training with the smallest of actions. Make your bed, put your laundry away immediately, do the hardest task on your to-do list first. Master the trivial. Master the minion. Then, master the monster.