Many adult athletes that I work with often ask me how to be more disciplined. Discipline is having the ability to take action regardless of any resistance that you might be feeling. It means showing up and DOING IT no matter what. A lack of discipline can show up as:
- avoiding things that you know you “should” be doing
- lack of motivation, determination, drive, and/or ambition
- not following through with commitments to yourself
- procrastination, disorganization, overwhelm, confusion, aimlessness
- having a tendency to quit or give up
- things tend to pile up and then you get overwhelmed
- feeling of laziness
- fear of failing
- no sense of purpose or meaning in the things you do
- difficulty following a routine, breaking bad habits, or creating healthy ones
A lack of self-discipline is the number one mindset challenge that holds people back from accomplishing their goals and achieving greatness. Self-discipline is a learned habit that serves as the bridge between goals defined and goals accomplished. Here are 5 tips to be more disciplined and follow through with the actions needed to succeed.
1. Think "opportunity" not "obligation"
Think about the things you do in terms of the opportunity that you get rather than the obligation of the thing. More often than not the actions that are required to achieve a goal aren’t always things that I want to do.
Actions require time and effort, and some days I don’t want to spend my time or effort on doing these things. If I think of these actions as an obligation that I need to complete in order to accomplish something, I’m less likely to complete them. But! If I reframe my thinking and consider how these actions are benefitting me, I’m more likely to follow through with them.
Next time you don’t feel like doing something that you know will propel you in the direction of accomplishing your goal, take a minute to answer this first: if I complete this action what opportunity with this provider to me?
This is one of the best self-discipline tips that I use in my life.
2. Master the basics
Success comes when someone has the ability to master and complete small things. These are the things that when done once or occasionally, don’t yield results. But when these things are done repeatedly over a long period of time and done correctly, the results can be tremendous. Doing the basics seems uncool and unsexy, but mastering these small, fundamental things is the key to being great at that thing.
We should all know by now that squatting is an exercise that can transform athletic performance. But any strength and conditioning pro will tell you that the transformation will only happen if every single squat is done with proper form and if the exercise is performed repeatedly over a long period of time. The athlete that performs 10 squats every once in a while with poor form is not going to see the same results as the athlete that performs multiple squat reps multiple times per week with perfect form and has been doing this for years.
I like this reframe for 2 reasons. The first is that doing a lot of small things correctly and consistently will lead up to big results. The second is that if you’re following through with the small things in one area of your life, then you’re more likely to follow through with the small things in every area of your life.
3. Create a supportive environment
Once you’ve decided on the goal that you want to achieve, and have identified the actions that are required to achieve that goal, now you need to think about how you can design your environment so that completing those actions is easier. An environment that supports your goals is one that encourages you to follow through with the necessary actions but also one that removes temptation and distractions that will sabotage your success.
Creating a supportive environment means that you’re either making it easier to follow through with the action you need to complete or making it harder to follow through with the actions that will not allow you to complete the desired action.
If you want to mediate more because your goal is to improve your self-awareness or ability to focus, identify things about your physical environment that will support this action. Spend some time, money, or effort in creating a calm and peaceful space that is solely used for meditating. Schedule time in your day to meditate and don’t let anything or anyone distract you from meditating at that time.
What can you change about your environment right now that will support the actions that you need to do to achieve your goal?
4. Move more often
When the human body moves, magical things happen to the biochemistry within the body to be more focused, more motivated, and more active. I believe that the more active you are, the more actions you will complete throughout the day.
Over the past year, I’ve been working toward incorporating at least 20 minutes of movement into my daily morning routine before I sit down at my desk to start working. Some days I’ll go for a walk outside, other days I’ll do yoga, and other days it includes an early morning training session in the sand before work.
What I’ve learned is that when I do some form of movement in the morning I am able to stay focused and my day is much more productive than the days when I didn’t do it. I’ve also found that beginning my day with movement encourages me to move more and sit less throughout the day. I am more likely to complete my chores and check more things off my list on the days that I’ve moved more because my body has been primed for action.
“Move More Often” is the go-to self-discipline tip for anyone looking to increase his productivity.
5. Count down to act
If you’re having trouble motivating yourself to do something and you’d rather do the easy thing than the hard thing, don’t allow yourself to think about not doing it and give yourself 3-5 seconds before you DO IT.
Mel Robbins wrote a book called the 5 Second Rule. This book teaches us to stop thinking about why it is that we don’t want to do something push the excuses aside. If you don’t feel like doing something now, you’re never going to feel like doing that thing. So instead of complaining, start counting down from 5 and just do the thing that you don’t feel like doing.
You can also use a 3-second rule where you tell yourself “In 3 seconds I’m going to do this thing.” Then count down from 3 to 2 to 1. By the time you get to 0, you do it. That’s it.
When your morning alarm sounds, turn it off, and then give yourself 5 seconds to get your ass out of that warm bed.
Give yourself 3 seconds and then schedule the thing. Submit the request. Get off the couch. Or wash the dishes that have been sitting in the sink all day.
The idea here is to not give yourself the time to think about why you don’t want to do the thing, but instead, give yourself time to do the thing.
Use these self discipline tips in your daily life and achieve your goals faster.