No one becomes disciplined overnight. It’s a lifetime journey.
I think there’s way too much emphasis placed on “motivation” and “willpower.” Instead, I think it’s better to understand how human behavior works, and use it to your advantage.
Here are the five most important things I’ve learned about becoming more disciplined, and I hope it helps you.
Win the Morning, Win the Day
It’s a big challenge to have a productive day – That’s 24 hours. It can become overwhelming!
Instead, I only focus on two things.
- I make sure I have a good night’s sleep. If I don’t sleep well, then I’m not on my A game the next day.
This means I go to bed early, I avoid screens at night, I make the room colder, etc.
- Next, instead of trying to have a productive day…I laser focus on my mornings. If I get the first hour right, then the rest of my day will go smoothly.
This means a solid morning routine.
Mine is roughly wake up, use restroom, drink 20oz water, and walk my dog. That’s it. It looks simple but I’m hydrating myself, getting some exercise, and getting some sunlight.
Now I have energy to crush the rest of the day.
Vs imagine starting the day late, checking your phone for an hour, fapping, and then starting work.
It’s about starting your day with MOMENTUM.
Manipulate Your Environment
Make it easier for yourself if you want to DO an action. Make it harder for yourself if you want to AVOID an action.
I use to play my PS4 a lot more than I should. It’d be lunch time and I’d go over to my living room and play a few quick games. A 15-minute break would turn into two hours.
How did I stop? In the morning I’d simply unplug my PS4, and put it in my closet. I increased the “resistance.”
I used my phone as my alarm clock for a period of time. I’d wake up and immediately start checking my social media / reddit. That would turn into an hour, and I’d start my day distracted.
Now I use a standard alarm clock. I turn off my phone the night before and I don’t turn it back on until lunch time the next day.
I’m able to control my behavior because I slightly increase the resistance.
You can also DECREASE the resistance. I was moving to a new city and going to the gym was important to me. One of my criterias for my apartment was to have one with a really nice gym.
Before I struggled going to the gym because it was a 30 minute drive. I only went twice a week. Now I have a place that’s in my Condo. I go to the gym 5 times a week.
Nothing’s changed except the resistance.
I’ve noticed on the internet that people literally want to change their lives overnight. That’s not the way things work.
It’s like being able to bench 100lbs and expecting to bench 1000lbs the next day. It takes time.
Don’t have an all or nothing mentality.
A few years ago I started meditating. I told myself, “I’m going to meditate 30 minutes a day!”
For the next six months I’d only hit my goal maybe 5 times a month, and I’d keep beating myself up.
And then I decided to start small. My goal was to meditate 1 minute a day. I did that. The small wins kept me motivated. That turned into 5 minutes, and now it’s 10 minutes a day.
So for the past few years I’ve meditated consistently 10 minutes a day. I checked my Calm app and I’ve logged over 200 hours of meditation.
It’s a marathon, not a sprint. It’s ok to start small.
Think of your discipline ability as a muscle. If you’ve never done an act before then your muscle is small. Small muscles gets small goals!
What gets measured, gets results.
If you don’t keep score then how do you know if you’re winning or not? Keep score and make it specific.
I always avoided keeping score in the past. I think deep down I was afraid of knowing that I wasn’t putting in my best effort.
Don’t say meditate in the morning as a goal. HOW LONG?
As far as trackers…don’t overcomplicated it. I like HabitBull on SmartPhones. Creating your own spreadsheet is great too.
Score can mean different things depending on your goal.
If you’re trying to save money, then track how much you’re spending on a weekly basis. If you’re trying to gain weight then track your macros. If you’re trying to read more books, then track how many minutes a day you spend reading.
A common excuse is that it takes too much time…
Keeping track of my macros takes 3 minutes a day using myfitnesspal. I keep track of every penny spent using YNAB and it takes me 10 minutes a month.
You know what takes too much time? Putting in a lot of effort and not getting any results.
Is it Optional, or is it a Non-Negotiable?
What does a non-negotiable mean? It means it has to be done no matter what.
A few weeks ago I decided I wanted to do Yoga everyday for 20 minutes. I was trying to figure out where I could get it in my schedule.
I then asked myself, how important is this? Well it’s important to me because of x, x, and x.
Then why not turn it into a non-negotiable?
That means I have to do it no matter what. I think of it like life or death. Someone has a gun to my head and if I don’t do it everyday, then I’m dead. That’s non-negotiable.
In practical terms that means I do Yoga first thing in the morning, before I start work. It means I’m not allowed to sleep and call it a day unless I do Yoga.
Guess what? I’d done it 30 days in a row because I have this attitude.
It’s not optional.