7 min read

It's Time For You To Get Disciplined!

Discipline will determine the outcome you want. Here I discuss the tools that helped me become more disciplined in my pursuit of success.
It's Time For You To Get Disciplined!
Photo by Sebastian Herrmann / Unsplash

‌‌How To Become More Disciplined?

All you have to do is, just become more discipline and you will succeed!

What a concept! That's the kind of advice you'll hear from the older folks.

That's why I wanted to elaborate on it and offer you a little more to stimulate your neurons.

In my research for this post on this topic, I have come across a number of sources that helped me wrestle with this idea.  But like anything in life, it starts with you.

YOU have to want to improve your life and want to have discipline in place to help you. Without discipline, you are just dreaming of success without actually putting in the work.

Neither I or anyone else can force you to have discipline in your life but here are some tips on how to kick start your discipline to achieve results.

Start small and increase in incremental chunks

To begin anything new, we go headfirst into what is often gruelling work, only to discover that it isn't something we're ready for. After a few days, we find ourselves being miserable while we were being 100% being disciplined and our willpower and motivation started to fail and we fall back to watching TV in our boxer shorts while eating that pizza.

So, the trick is to add smaller steps into your routine. Small and easy enough to do but will have an impact on your day. Then you combine three or four of these, and you really begin to compound your disciple to make improvements in your life.

Let me give you an example.

I used to watch TV and wish I could be productive as my wife bathed and put our daughter to bed. However, I lacked the drive to accomplish anything (or so I kept telling myself).

Day 1 - I wanted to get healthier, and I'd heard that stretching is good for people, and it seemed like everyone I respected was doing it, so I decided to give it a shot. I saw a stretching video online and committed to stretching for 5 minutes every day before watching TV.

After a few days that became ok, I decided to prep my daughter's breakfast before stretching to give myself more quality time with her in the morning.

After a couple of weeks, my goal was to stretch for extended periods of time and listen to audiobooks to broaden my knowledge. I listen to podcasts and fascinating audiobooks to keep myself entertained and stretch for longer periods of time.

After a month or so - After stretching, I committed to spending at least 30 minutes a day to my passion project. It typically means I do it for longer than 30 minutes since I am inspired to do more. and of course, sometimes I spend just 30 minutes only.

As you can see, my 5-minute discipline changed my entire evening into a more productive one. So you can probably guess when I'm writing and editing this post.

As our attention spans are ever decreasing due to the instant gratification addiction we expect significantly faster improvement in the beginning, but in reality, we only start making meaningful progress once we have persevered for a longer length of time. Because you need to earn it before you can have it. If you practise anything on a regular basis for a year or longer, you will progress far faster.

Think of discipline as an investment into your success for every disciplined task you complete gives you a % increase in performance and that interest compounds over time. Assume you have £10 on January 1st. If you deducted 1% every day, you'd have £0.25 by the end of the year. In comparison, if you increased that £100 by 1% every day, you'd have £374,10 at the end of the year!

As James Clear puts it... small changes have remarkable results.

This is called the Plateau of Latent Potential.      

Source: James Clear

In a nutshell, being disciplined with minor habits over a longer period of time will provide greater effects than a significant change in habits over a shorter period of time.

Schedule your weakness

We all have our guilty pleasures; some prefer to eat pizza and play on their PS5, while others like to fill their faces with sweets and pastries and watch the newest Netflix offering.

It's ok sometimes. it's good to have a cheat day, let go of all the rules and just do whatever you like. Just don't make a habit out of it. If you do end up going off track, then dust yourself off and get back on track straight away with your new eating plan as soon as possible because you should NOT live by it.

This particular idea was difficult for me to embrace since, in my stoic mind, it was all or nothing, and as we all know, all those paths lead to nowhere.  I used to find it hard to accept that I need to have a cheat day. I used to be very strict sticking to hard discipline especially in my diet and lasted for months but ultimately those Pizzas came back with a vengeance. Now, let's just say that I know better.

If you are struggling with social media, don't do what I did and shut it out.

Instead, schedule it because you still want to see what jenny from 5th grade is up to.

Allow yourself 15 mins to connect with friends in the morning and in the afternoon. And I don't mean mindless scrolling through people's feeds. I mean write them a message and ask them how they are doing, and schedule a call and connect. in the world of messages and instant communication, it's a nostalgia trip for everyone involved.

You can also look into Pomodoro Method to schedule your little breaks of weakness. if you are into that kind of thing.

in a nutshell, scheduled exceptions help you manage your cravings and keep you disciplined to achieve your goals.

Create discipline starter kits to encourage you to do the thing.

What do you mean by discipline starter kits?

Good question and I am glad you asked. They are great, really effectively they are frictionless prods to point YOU in the right direction to get bypass your resistance of change.

Let me elaborate: Take tiny, symbolic efforts in the direction of the desired outcome.

Let's say you want to want to read more, get two or three new books on your Kindle and put it down where you usually relax. This will encourage you to read more rather than watching TV or be a vegetable on your phone.

As another example, when dieting, switch from milk chocolate to dark chocolate and eliminate all other sweets in favour of fruit... Just be aware that 95 percent cocoa chocolate has a nasty flavour. You can't say I didn't want you.  ☠️

In a nutshell, create/strategically place good discipline nudges to help you carry out the good habits.

Create clarity of thought

We all lead hectic lives and are pulled in different directions for attention and decision making, and as a result, we are getting stressed on a daily basis and our brains have a hard time in unwinding and finding clarity and focus to really know what is important.

When you are mentally exhausted you cannot be productive in any meaningful capacity. This is a lesson I have learned from my 20-month-old girl. When she is tired.... the old quote from Kyle Reece is quite fitting here...

It can’t be bargained with. It can’t be reasoned with. It doesn’t feel pity, or remorse, or fear. And it absolutely will not stop, ever.

You can watch it here: Link

When your brain becomes exhausted, you must recharge the battery and reboot because you are not being your best self. Taking a break is an essential aspect of the process that should not be overlooked.

Ok, so what do I mean by taking a break?

For me, there are two ways...

First, meditation to empty your thoughts and clear any clutter that your brain has collected during the day. I am sure you already have heard 2 billion times why meditation is good for you. For me it is simple, it allows me to be in the moment and just process the day and clear any junk from my mind to keep my focus on the things I want. Weirdly, I also get inspiration to write these blogs after a short meditation.

But don't take my word for it.

Miyamoto Musashi -  had been a Japanese samurai swordsman as well as a philosopher, 'Musashi', as he was commonly called, became famous for his double-bladed swordsmanship and his unbeaten record in 61 duels. He has written one of the most admired books on martial arts and the philosophy of life.

Mushashi in his writing states that a person who does not meditate cannot think clearly at the time of need.

So, sitting down for 5/10 mins with nothing on your mind can give you an extra edge in your daily life.

The second method is a little more difficult. you have to put your mind and body into an uncomfortable place where it is only you that defines the outcome.

Combat sports is my choice. It's a method for me to remain humble on a daily basis. It's a humbling feeling to realise that someone can overcome you. It keeps you in check and helps you to think about things that are important to you. For example, when someone defeats me, they show me my weaknesses and where I need to grow. The benefit of this is that it transfers into my daily life and has a positive impact. I've found that I'm listening to folks a lot more than I used to... because being choked out tells you... "You don't have all of the answers Pal!"

I don't mean just go to the gym and do light sparring. I mean really beat you. there is something powerful about that that speaks to me on a primal level and allows me to be the better version of myself.

I am not going to tell you which martial art is best, but all I say is this.

How you train, is how you going to fight.

Alternatives are Marathon run,  Tough mudder, long-distance road bike ride. etc in these situations, you are truly looking at yourself and really finding out who you really are.  

In a nutshell, meditate or find solitude in a physical pursuit that requires a real struggle to overcome and concur your mind.