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5 ways to become more disciplined

5 ways to become more disciplinedimage
Date Posted : 05/10/2015

Jeans that don’t fit. They’re a bit tight, they pinch too much round your tummy. So you don’t wear them any more.

“I just need that thing. It goes with the other one.” A month later it lies there, hardly used, and you’re overdrawn at the end of the month again.

“Now the kids are in bed shall we just get a take-away and watch that programme we like?” Another Friday night vegging, you’re getting fatter (see where we started) and your relationship is getting staler.


Plenty of people tell us how important it is:

“We must all suffer one of two things: the pain of discipline or the pain of regret or disappointment.” — Jim Rohn

“With self-discipline most anything is possible.” – Theodore Roosevelt

“Discipline yourself to do the things you need to do when you need to them and the day will come when you will be able to do the things you want to when you want do them!” – Zig Ziglar

We all know what it feels like when we don’t have discipline. We all struggle with discipline. And we all know that it is discipline that separates us from here – our sorry lazy-arsed selves – to there – the happier, richer, slimmer, more loved, more perfect you, living the life you want to live.

So, if we know discipline is the answer, then why don’t we do anything about it?

The answer is really simple. Because the pain of discipline is more vivid at that moment than is the anticipation of the pleasure we will experience in the future when the results of our discipline pay off. We fixate on what hurts us now, rather than what will make us happy in the future. That stops us being disciplined, and so we take the easy way out – trading what we most want (which we will achieve through discipline) for what is easy now.

There are five things you can start doing right now that will help you immediately become more disciplined.

  1. Embrace the problem
  2. Minimise the barriers
  3. Do it anyway
  4. Find pleasure in the pain
  5. Celebrate small wins

Embrace the problem

Admitting you are too fat, too broke, too unhappy, too bored or whatever ‘too’ is upsetting you is the starting point of the self-discipline that will get you the results you want. I wrote in “Embrace problems” that it is only by facing up to where you are in your life that you can grow and move forwards. Embracing your problem creates a powerful reason for you to become more disciplined.

Minimise the barriers

It’s Sunday evening and you’re slumped on the sofa watching TV. Today you’ve had a great pub lunch. A few beers, a tasty roast, and a few glasses of wine. So tomorrow’s the day. The day when you start to go to the gym after work. Monday morning, you’ve woken up late (you’re slightly hung-over) and you are now scrabbling around your bedroom trying to find your gym kit and a bag to put it in. Where are your trainers! Oh they're not there. And dammit, I’m going to miss my train. OK. I’ll go to the gym tomorrow. And that never happens. Make it as simple and as easy as you can to what you have to do. Pack your gym kit the night before. Take away every small barrier so being disciplined becomes a little bit easier. 

Do it anyway

Discipline takes a moment. It’s the moment when you decide to have that third glass of wine…or you don’t. The pain of discipline is fleeting. It only takes you to be strong in that moment when you have to do what you know is right but don’t want to. And then it’s gone, you’re out of bed out the door and running, or you’re drinking a juice instead of a wine, and the pain of making the right choice is forgotten. Discipline is doing it anyway in that moment of pain, and the more you do it, the easier it gets. 

Find pleasure in the pain

Look at you as you trot along in the early morning, up before most other people. (The photo is a view from my 6am run.) You’re not like them. You’re the kind of person who has goals, and who works towards them. You’re strong. Even if it hurts and you’re unfit and you’re not happy. Find pleasure in the pain because it’s the hurting that makes you different. It’s the hurting that will take you from where you are to where you want to be. Hurting that gets less the more you do whatever you have to do. And then there is no pain anymore, what once was hard becomes truly pleasurable. And gets you to where you want to be.

Celebrate small wins

Small wins are progress. The jeans that don’t feel quite so tight. Being less overdrawn at the end of the month. Cooking a meal together and laughing together in a way you never can when you order a curry. Small wins are markers on your journey. Celebrate them.

To become more disciplined is easier than you think. Try each of these techniques next time you have to do something you have to do but don’t want to do you: you’ll find it’s not as hard as you thought.

To become more disciplined is the start-point of achieving anything you want in life. Tomorrow we’ll look at being more deliberate. I’ll leave you now with one last thought on what discipline can bring you.

Discipline equals freedom.

What freedoms are important to you?

Author: Magnus Wood

Article from LinkedIn.

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