I confess. I haven’t always been disciplined. There were periods of my life where discipline was nowhere to be found. Good habits were non-existent. And my life was entirely run by what felt good to do. Drinking. Partying. Overeating. You name it. That was me. The old me, at least.
What about you? How disciplined are you? Do you lack self-discipline? Or are you crushing it in that department? I’ll bet you might be struggling one way or another. Otherwise, you likely wouldn’t be reading this, right? But I’m not judging. So don’t get me wrong.
All I want to share with you is what’s worked for me in the past. And likely could work for you. But let’s face the truth. It’s not easy to create self-discipline. It’s not easy to put in the time or do the work. But you have to start somewhere.
How Do You Create Self-Discipline?
Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about human behavior. However, it was born out of necessity. I kept repeating the same mistakes over and over. But I couldn’t understand why. Was I just a glutton for punishment? Did I just want to torture myself? Or was there something deeper, more profound going on?
Questions like that led me to creating this blog. The very place you’re reading these words has been an outlet for me. It’s been a destination for sharing what I’ve learned. I wanted to get off the rollercoaster ride of success and failure. As I’m sure that you do too.
So where do you begin? That was my question. How do I create true self-discipline? The kind that could help me create and design the life of my dreams. And you know what? I’ve learned some powerful lessons. So if you’re struggling to create rock-solid discipline, listen up.
3 Principles To Understand
I’ve made lots of mistakes. I’ve struggled. Failed. And my life has collapsed numerous times. But in this journey of life, I’ve learned 5 deep-seated principles that govern our behavior. The path to self-discipline starts here first.
1. We will do more to avoid pain than pleasure
You probably have some lofty goals in your life. But how often do you find yourself working towards those goals rather than moving away from them? I struggled immensely with this. I used to stop and think, why aren’t I doing what I need to do right now?
And then I remembered something I heard from Tony Robbins. He says that human beings will do more to avoid pain than to gain pleasure. Think about it. Would you do more to make an extra $25,000? Or would you do more to stop someone from stealing it? Clearly, it’s the latter.
Think about tax season. You dread it all year. But you put it off. Then, what happens? The night before the filing deadline, something changes? The pain of not doing it exceeds the pleasure of putting it off. So, you scramble to get it done. We do the same thing when we put off our homework or studying for an exam in school.
2. We always do more for others than we do for ourselves
Ever find yourself giving incredible advice to others? Maybe your friends regularly look to you for guidance. You seem to be an expert at helping others. Yet, when it comes to helping yourself, you struggle. Why? It’s because human beings will always do more for others than for ourselves.
We can easily dish out relationship advice. But when it comes to our own relationships, we struggle. This isn’t something to be ashamed of. It’s normal. But here’s the thing. You have to think like this. How can I use this to push me forward rather than hold me back?
And then something I remembered something my mentor, Russell Brunson, says. When you focus on serving others, that’s when you can break free. This is the basis of reciprocity. Go out and give to others. And do it without expecting anything in return. Yet, how often do we do that?
3. We will always stay consistent with our beliefs
There are areas of our lives where beliefs shape our every action. Politics. Religion. Marriage. Education. And more. We believe so deeply in certain things that our actions never miss a beat. Isn’t that true? We always stay on course with what we believe.
If you believe money is the root of all evil, how do you live your life? Do you live in a state of abundance? Or do you live in a state of scarcity? I’m guessing it’s the latter. Why? Because we will always do what’s in line with our beliefs.
Yet, changing beliefs is incredibly hard. We might think it’s possible to change. We might see others living life how we want to. But when it comes down to it, it’s impossible to make that shift. Why? Because our actions stay consistent with our beliefs.
Where Does Discipline Come From?
How do you create self-discipline? If you’re a parent, you’ve come across this question with your children. You have a notion of what right and wrong. And you do your best to convey this to your children. However, each parent-child relationship is unique.
There are infinite choices. And infinite possibilities. Both for the child and the parent. But what most people don’t understand is this. Children are like sponges. They pick up and see everything. Not just what you tell them. But what also what they see you doing.
However, that’s nothing new to most. What most don’t get is the following. By the time we’re 6-years old, our brains are hardwired. Our personalities have shaped. Most beliefs have been implanted. And changing course becomes incredibly difficult. Unless, of course, you understand how to reprogram your mind.
How To Rewire Your Brain For Discipline
I use the word brain here. But really, we’re talking about your mind. Your brain is just the hardware. Your mind is the software. The operating system. It’s the thing responsible for all your decisions. What I’ve learned is that upgrading this software is hard. No, scratch that. Sometimes it can feel downright impossible.
Why is this the case? Because we’re set in our ways. Like Pavlov’s dogs, we have conditioned responses to everything. It’s just who we are at the foundation. Everything we think, say, feel and do is largely habit driven. In fact, 95% of it is unconscious by the time we’re 35-years old.
So how do we change? How do we flip the script? What I’ve learned is this. You have to use the principles of human behavior to reprogram the mind. It’s not as complex as it sounds. It’s actually easy when you know what you’re doing.
1. Get Clear On What You Want
What do you want? No. I mean, what do you really want? Okay. Okay. You want to be disciplined. I get that much. But why? For what reason? What benefit? What will self-discipline do for you? Will it help you achieve some goal? Break a bad habit? What?
You might think this is obvious. But what I’ve realized is this. We don’t usually know what we want. We might think we do. It might live in the abstract. But it’s not concrete. It’s not definite. Meaning that we haven’t clearly defined this.
When you get clear on what you want, there’s a tectonic shift. Like an earthquake. It’s so strong that you can feel the vibrations flood your body and mind. To do this you need to write it down. On paper or on a screen somewhere. What do you want? Why do you want it?
2. Create Real Leverage With Micro-Changes
A majority of what we do is unconscious. So much so that it runs our lives. That’s why it’s so hard to change. It’s hard to evolve. In fact, it feels impossible at times. But there are ways to change. First, you get clear on what you want. This way, you have a target.
Next, you have to hack your mind. You have to alter your operating system. How? You do this using the micro-changes approach. These are small, incremental shifts. Keep in mind that small changes over time yield big results.
So how does it work? It’s simple. Take the one thing you want most. Let’s say it’s to workout. You have trouble sticking to it. Commitment issues, if you will. How do you change that? Just workout for 3 minutes per day. Walk around the block a few times. Or just do 3 push ups. That’s it. But do it every single day.
What happens when you do this? It seems so small at first. But it creates momentum. And it breaks procrastination. Plus, it’s too small to fail. Everyone has 3 minutes. Or anyone can do 3 push ups (or just one if that’s too many to start with).
The point is to go very small. But stay consistent. This creates momentum. And it builds the habit up slowly over time. Watch. Try it for yourself and you’ll see. Set an alarm on your phone to remind yourself to do this. It’s simple. Easy. And highly effective.
3. Disrupt Your Patterns
We all have patterns of behavior. We wake up at the same time. Take the same route to work. Make the same kind of coffee. Visit the same websites. Scroll on the same newsfeeds. And so on. You get it, right? You have patterns. We all do.
But the biggest thing that stands in the way of discipline is also this. Patterns. You want to change but you can’t seem to. You don’t want to eat that chocolate cake, but you can’t stop. Avoiding that cigarette after a meal seems impossible.
I get it. But, look. The only way to break out of this is to disrupt your pattern. Do something that will break the pattern. As soon as the thought springs up, you have to act. Splash water on your face. Or put your thumbs in your ears and say something silly 5 times. Or do jumping jacks. Whatever it takes.
The point is that you have to disrupt your pattern. If you’ve read anything about NLP, you get it. If Tony Robbins was coaching you one on one he’d splash water in your face. He’d do it every time you started playing the negative script. So why not do it to yourself?
The 30-Day Discipline Challenge
Information is power. Or is it? We have the world’s information at our fingertips. But it’s not about how much information we have. It’s about what we do with it. Sometimes, no amount of reading or learning is enough. You have to actually take action.
To create discipline, you need the right information. But you also need to take action on that information. What usually holds us back is accountability. When you have no on to be accountable to but yourself, it’s hard to create discipline.
And that’s precisely why I created the 30-day live discipline challenge. This is the ultimate way to create rock-solid self-discipline in your life. Join a thriving community of like-minded folks. Interested? Want to learn more. Come join us today.