Today I'm going to share 6 simple yet powerful tips for SELF-DISCIPLINE which will also help you INCREASE WILL POWER! Ultimately, this is how to achieve success in less time!
Of all the things that I see my clients wrestle with, self-discipline is continually at the top of the list. And the thing is, I think most people know it when their self-discipline needs some work!
I think people think, “If I just had more self-discipline, everything would be easier. I would get up on time every day. I would be consistent with my routine. I would be able to get the right things done. I wouldn’t get sucked in to social media and waste so much time”
I think most people think of self-discipline is the key to living a better overall life, but is that really true? And if it is true, why do so many people continually struggle with it? More importantly, what is it going to take for you to become completely self-disciplined.. and be able to sustain the behavior until it becomes who you are at your core.
We’re going to cover all that and more in today’s training guys so if you’re excited about the content today go ahead and drop a like on the video, certainly subscribe to the channel and be sure to drop some comments along the way!
If you'd prefer to WATCH rather than READ, here's the video of this training! If you prefer to read, go ahead and continue down below! Let’s dive right in!
SET UP: What actually is Self-Discipline?
Now some of you may be thinking, “well isn’t that obvious?” Not necessarily, it may seem obvious but I’ve found that many people don’t actually have a self-discipline problem.
You might think you do, and you might say thing like “if I could just be more disciplined, I would be able to get up earlier.” Ok, but is lack of self-discipline the real reason why you don’t get up earlier?
Let’s answer that question by first defining what self-discipline actually is.
Self-discipline means acting in accordance with your thoughts, not your feelings. It is the ability to commit to doing what needs to be done regardless of how you feel. George Zalucki describes commitment as “doing what you said you would do, long after the mood you said it in has left you.”
Now let’s compare that to motivation. Motivation is your desire to do something in the first place.
Let’s dig in to this a little further by looking at one of the most significant goal-setting seasons of the year. New Year’s Day.
We’ve all been there. We know the though process. This is the year to do things differently! This is the year everything changes! This is the year of our big spring break family vacation so this is the year I am finally going to lose this weight! Sound familiar.
You decide you’re going to lose 20 lbs. You decide on the meal plan. You decided on the exercise plan and you’ve even called up the gym and paid your first month membership.
You go strong for the first couple week, but then the obstacles arise. The “really don’t feel like it” days show up. The scale doesn’t seem to match the effort being put in and before you know it, you’ve already given up.
But why? You really wanted this right? Yes, but what you wanted was the end result. You didn’t really want the process. You liked the idea of losing 20 lbs, and you really liked imagining how you would look 20 lbs lighter running on the beach during your spring vacation, but you never liked the idea of what it was going to take to get there. So in this case the problem was never self-discipline; it was a lack of true motivation.
So before you ask yourself “how do I increase self-discipline?”, you need to be sure that your issue isn’t a lack of motivation instead. Reminder: motivation is your desire to accomplish a goal. Self-discipline is your ability to follow through on that goal even when you don’t feel like it.
Make sense?! Good. So then presuming that your issue really is self-discipline, let’s clear up another misconception which is self-discipline vs habits.
SET UP: Self-Discipline vs Habits
I just posed the challenge to you that you might not have a self-discipline problem, but rather a motivation problem. It is also equally possible that your problem may not be discipline, but rather habits.
Solid personal habits are essential to succeeding in being self-disciplined, so we have to have this conversation. A habit is something so familiar that you do it almost automatically. It requires very little thought or willpower, and absolutely no coercion.
So taking that into consideration, the best way to improve self-discipline is to first focus on changing your habits.
For example, if you want to commit to exercising at least 30-minutes every day, you first need to create a habit of exercising 30-minutes every day. Habits are formed over time. Habits are also formed from desire meaning you have to WANT IT and you have to know WHY you want it. Now remember, you’re not focusing on the result that exercising 30-minutes a day will bring you. That is a motivator, but your commitment has to go beyond that. This is where “doing what you said you would do, long after the mood you said it in has left you” comes in to play. That’s how habits are formed.
Initially it is going to take self-discipline to establish a consistent and committed routine of exercising 30-minutes every day, and you will definitely need self-discipline to overcome the resistance you may feel in developing that habit.
But eventually, you won’t even need to think about it. It’ll become an integral part of your daily process, of your daily routine. Once you get to that point, NOT exercising 30 minutes a daily will feel uncomfortable.
Still, self-discipline is a necessity to building new habits and changing existing ones.
So now that I have set all that up, let me give you 6 of my best tips for developing the self-discipline that will help you create powerful new habits that will transform your life.
TIP 1) Upgrade Your Identity, Not Your Behavior
I think most people believe that self-discipline is about regulating your behavior. Seems right doesn’t? While there is some good application to that thought process, it’s not the most powerful way introduce change.
One of my all-time favorite quotes is by Les Brown who says “To do something you’ve never done you have to become someone you’ve never been. You have to sacrifice who you’ve been in the past to give birth to who you need to be for your future.”
That’s upgrading your identity. If you can truly upgrade how you view yourself and the commitment that you have to yourself, everything else will be upgraded because of it.
For example, let’s say you’re on a mission to lose that 20 lbs and you know that your success in doing so is going to hinge significantly on you eating less junk food. So you’re at a birthday party and the host offers you a slice of your favorite cake along with a scoop of the most perfect ice cream. The natural and immediate response for most people would be to say “No thanks, I’m on a diet” or “No thanks, I’m trying to lose weight.” Am I right? We’ve all said it. But while that is a perfectly valid response, it puts the focus on self-denial.
In all actuality, you’re still the person who wants to eat that cake and ice cream; you’re just saying no to it this time because, well, you feel like you have to. Operating in that mindset can make you feel miserable and more desperate the longer you do it, and eventually there will come the time where you’re just like, “You know it, I deserve a break. I’ve earned it. Sure I’ll have some.” Then what happens. REGRET.
But how does that same scenario play out if instead, you say “No thanks, I actually don’t eat cake and ice cream.” That’s a subtle difference, but it feels completely different doesn’t it? You’re not denying yourself; you’re affirming your new identity. You’re not punishing yourself; you’re confirming your commitment to who you have decided to be. Do you see the difference? This is a powerful shift of the mind and it will completely transform your ability to turn behaviors in to self-disciplined habits.
TIP 2) Remind Yourself Why You’re Being Disciplined
To maximize your self-discipline every day, it is necessary that you keep the bigger picture in mind. If you don’t continually remind yourself why you are doing what you are doing, you will struggle to be consistent in the important daily actions on the days that suck.
I mean, think about it. I don’t spend countless hours on content creation, video editing on search engine optimization because I enjoy staring at a computer screen 12+ hours a day. I do it because I know what I am work towards. My big vision is clear and I know exactly how my consistent daily actions play in the overall success of what I am working to achieve. And that destination, that freedom, that level of income and let lifestyle are worth the self-discipline, sweat, focus and commitment that are required of me now.
Does that make sense?
The problem is so many people get caught up in solely focusing on their to-do lists, and the hard work, and how tired they are and all the question marks and challenges that they lose sight of why they are doing it all in the first place.
I think it is crucial to have visual reminders of your big vision and goals that keep them in the forefront of your mind every day. This is why vision boards can be so powerful. It’s not that vision boards have some magical properties that make all your dreams come true. It think a large majority of people create vision boards that are completely wrong and they do nothing for them.
But when you have a powerful visual reminder of the greatest desires of your heart that you can review every single day, you’ll find that being able to continually revisit that why will help you push through virtually any how.
TIP 3) Commit to Fundamentals First
Committing to the basics and mastering the fundamentals can be hard. And I get it. I’ve struggled to fall in love with the mundane tasks and focus on the basics many times myself.
For example, as an entrepreneur it is very easy for me to spend my days working on the details. Should I make a small tweak to my website design? Should I answer these 50 emails? Should I update my thumbnail designs and see if it improves conversions?
All of these things have a place, but that place should not be at the top of my to-do list. Instead, my time is and must be better spent focusing on the fundamentals of my business. For example, making sure that I am getting my daily content created; following up new prospects; keeping in touch with my current clients; etc.
As one of my favorite bosses used to tell me, “Justin, stay out of the gutter” (which is in reference to bowling). He use to always tell me that his job as my boss was to help me throw a strike every time, but sometimes if a strike wasn’t possible he at least needed to make sure that I stayed out of the gutter. Because a gutter ball is zero points. No progress. A waste of an opportunity to score.
This was when I truly learned the concept of the 80/20 rule. That 80% of my actions were only producing 20% of my results and the other 20% of my actions were producing 80% of my results. That is where your fundamentals are born. You must identify those 20% actions that have the greatest impact and greatest return on your business, and those are what need to be executed day in and day out without fail.
The greatest skill in any endeavor is doing the work. And for that reason, most people don’t need more time, more money, or better strategies. They just need to do the real work and master the basics.
TIP 4) Practice Developing New Habits
At the onset of this training I explained how habits are different from self-discipline (and in many cases, more important for changing your behavior). However, the process of developing a new habit is a great exercise for building self-discipline. Because you haven’t yet developed the habit, you have to rely on self-discipline to overcome the resistance to quitting what you started.
So very simply, let’s say that you have decided to begin setting your alarm and getting up at 6:00am every morning on the first ring of your alarm. No snooze. That’s not a habit yet. Currently your habit is you set your morning alarm invariably based upon whenever you go to bed the night before. There’s no routine in the evening OR in the morning. And in some instances, you don’t even set an alarm. I’m reading your mail.
So, you’re looking to develop a new habit. And remember, the why is essential. Why do you want to get up consistently early. That’s the most important variable. Once you’re clear on that, then you know that it’s going to take some serious commitment and self-discipline because you know it isn’t going to be easy. But eventually, the more consistent you are, it will become easier and easier and eventually it will set in as a new habit.
Just be sure that you don’t try to develop a whole series of new habits all at once. That’s a recipe for burnout. Start with one, work on it for several weeks, and only move on to a new habit once the current habit has become automatic.
TIP 5) If you’re actively practicing being disciplined, allow yourself days to NOT be disciplined.
In my first couple years of being in business I was obsessive about being disciplined. There was so much that I felt I wanted and needed to accomplish, I was completely out of balance. Part of that came from that fact that I was working out of completion desperation to succeed.
I operated like a machine. Every minute of my day was planned on the schedule and truly believed that was what it was going to take for me to be successful as an entrepreneur. Honestly, it was everything that I was listening to and reading. It was the do what others don’t so you can live a life later like others won’t mentality.
Needless to say, it was exhausting.
One of the things I didn’t do enough was give myself time to NOT be disciplined. This is a hard line to draw for me. A lot of people reward themselves with “relaxation time” despite hardly doing anything to really earn it. For me, I felt like I had to earn downtime and I constantly had the view that I wasn’t doing enough — and I brought myself to the edge of complete burnout on multiple occasions.
Part of learning the art of self-discipline is knowing when to push and when to pull back. First of all, your “pull-back” time should never exceed your “push” time which is when you are actively working on your fundamentals and taking steps toward your goals. Some of you are spending way too much time pulling-back, and nowhere near enough time pushing forward.
Alternatively though, your “push” time should never been so much that your “pull back” time is completely non-existent.
Self-discipline is not a destination. You never arrive there. It’s a continual daily practice that requires constant refining. Which means you need to optimize for a marathon — not a sprint. Which leads me to my last point.
TIP 6) Think Long-Term
To quote Abraham Lincoln, “The best way to predict the future is to create it.”
If you ever wonder where you will be in 10 years from now, look at your current life. What actions are you taking to make your goals reality? How many books are you reading to grow as a person, and how many new things are you learning?
Which people are you associating with? Are you putting in the effort necessary to achieve the goals that you have today?
People oftentimes think that their lives will suddenly change through some magical event in the future, but that is not the case. Your life changes only to the extent that you change. If you are not happy with your current circumstances, ask yourself if you are taking the necessary actions to change them? If not, you are just daydreaming.
Nothing changes until you do. One of my all-time favorite quotes is by Aristotle who says, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit.”
Ask yourself today, what do your goals require of you? Who do you need to become? Visualize that person, then start today taking one step at a time to become that person that your goals require you to be.
That’s what I’ve got for you today Crew! Hope you enjoyed that one. Drop me a comment down below and let me know your thoughts and I look forward to seeing you next time! BE GREAT ~ JC