A lot of people want to be more disciplined so that they can achieve their dreams and goals. If you want to learn more, work more, be healthier or anything else, you need to be more disciplined. But before we speak about how to be more disciplined, it’s important that you understand the fact that the key to being more disciplined starts with your understanding of how discipline works.
As an example, if you think that you will choose the thing that you want to be more disciplined in and identify a specific action, and tomorrow morning when the time comes, you will find yourself automatically more disciplined and taking this action consistently then you are mistaken.
Let me write it easily for you: ‘’Discipline is not only about committing to taking the desired action that will lead you to a specific desired outcome. Discipline is about what you can do before the desired action to increase the probability of taking this action.’’ For example, if you want to be more disciplined in going to the gym or eating healthier, then you must understand that discipline starts way earlier before you go to the gym.
To test this theory, how many times have you said to yourself that tomorrow you will take a specific action even though inside of you, you were not still 100% sure if you will do it or not? That’s what I mean by saying that discipline starts way earlier. It starts by cultivating the right thinking, preparation, and environment so that you get to the level that you are saying to yourself ‘’Tomorrow I will do this.’’ Instead of ‘’Maybe tomorrow I will do this’’.
Below are 4 points or strategies that can make you more disciplined:
1-Prepare yourself mentally by being ready with counter-arguments.
If you are going to take an unusual action that needs a lot of mental or physical effort, then most probably you will start hearing some internal thoughts going like this ‘’Keep it till later’’ or ‘’We are still early, maybe you can do it at night or afternoon.’’, or even something like ‘’Why don’t you use this day to do (name any other activity here), and tomorrow you can do this (target) activity.’’…. etc.
The game here is to prepare yourself that this internal self-dialogue will happen and to prepare some counter-arguments that can push you to go still and take the action that you want. As an example, when you hear this internal voice telling you ‘’Keep it until the afternoon.’’, Your counter internal voice or argument can be ‘’No I can’t. Because maybe something will suddenly pop up at night and prevent me from taking this action’’.
2-Plan your day one night ahead.
Sometimes the problem seems lack of discipline, but in reality, it’s because we do not know what to do or where to start, or because we are overwhelmed by the number of things we need to do.
Also, the idea of thinking, planning, preparing and deciding what to do and when will consume your mental energy and consume from your willpower reserve. So why don’t you transfer all of this to a time where the day is almost over?
Each night before you sleep, spend 15-20 minutes planning the entire day and thinking about:
- What to do?
- When will you do it?
- Where will you do it?
- And how long you will work on it?
The next day when you start your day, you will find everything simpler because you already have a roadmap and know where to start.
3-Reduce the activation energy needed.
In Chemistry, the activation energy is the minimum energy which must be available to a chemical system with potential reactants to result in a chemical reaction.
In real life, the activation energy is the energy needed by you to go and start an activity. So, the more that you reduce the time- and hence the energy- needed between ‘’you’’ and the activity, the more likely that you will take action (never wondered why Amazon created the ‘’1 click buy’’ button, or why websites like Amazon offer you to store your credit card information for your next purchase? To reduce your activation Energy).
So, in anything that you want to be disciplined in, ask yourself ‘’How can I shorten the process and make it easier for me to take this action?’’. The easier and faster the way to the action, the more likely that you will do it.
4-Redesign your Environment.
Re-design your environment to make it easier for you to do the required action based on your daily behavior. For example, if you want to work more at home, but each time you go back home, you find yourself sitting on the sofa, grabbing the remote control and switching on the T.V, then remove the remote permanently from the table in front of the sofa, or change the place of the T.V.
As simple as that.
Now, do you want to make a quick check and see how all these points function together? Let us look at one of the most disciplined places in any country. The Army.
In the Army, the environment is designed so that the soldier can focus on training, learning, eating and sleeping. Of course, you can find a T.V and other ways of entertainment, but you will not find them available easily around the soldier. To entertain yourself as a soldier, it must be done at a specific place and for a specific limited time (Point 4).
The soldiers are conditioned to wake up early each day. And when they wake up, they do not think what to wear or what they will do today. They know already what they will do each day and when they will do it. Not only this, but they also clean and prepare their clothes one day earlier (point 2).
When they wake up, they have an insufficient amount of time to prepare themselves and wear their clothes, and their clothes and belongings are available and prepared 2 meters away from them, clean and ready since last night (points 1 &3).
The outcome? Disciplined soldiers who run the day instead of the day running them.
Try these four tips and let me know your opinion by commenting below or by sending me a message or an email.