“I’m just not disciplined at all,” said my client, explaining how she often starts something and then doesn’t see it through. It’s a familiar story to many; I’m the first person to own up to being flaky.
Are we then doomed to lives of mediocrity? Will our passions only ever be a hobby?
In fact, nobody is born with discipline – or without it. It’s an action, or rather a number of repeated actions, and can be trained just like a muscle.
Your mission today is to learn how discipline is easily achievable for you.
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Task 1: What’s your discipline habit?
Because discipline isn’t a character trait, but rather an action, the question whether you have it or not is a question of – you keep hearing me mention this – habits, which are based on your beliefs.
I identified three types in a previous episode on self-discipline. I then suggested self-indulgence as a way to break through resistance. Your task is to find which category you fall into and identify your personal habit.
Once you’ve done that, you’re ready to develop real, healthy discipline.
Task 2: Your next step
This task depends on your result from Task 1:
Iron discipline: Well done but don’t ignore your own needs. Be good to yourself and regularly check if the goal you strive for with so much discipline is still aligned with what you want.
Given up: Set yourself baby steps. Start with tiny commitments, and then work your way up. You’ll soon see that you’re capable of much more discipline than you thought possible.
Try and fail: Your beliefs are really good at justifying rationally why you can’t stay disciplined today. To combat this, you need to cut through the cr*ap with a simple Nike-style “Just do it”. Make a decision that you won’t indulge in any inner debates and do it regardless. It sounds simple, but it works!
Remember: Discipline consists of action, not thoughts or words.