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Have you ever asked yourself: why do I have no self-discipline?
If so, you’d probably be surprised to learn that the fact that you ask this exact question is one of the reasons for it!
Self-discipline can be incredibly difficult. But having it is the key to so many doors you’d like to open.
I remember that studying back in University was super hard for me. It seemed like it took an enormous amount of willpower to finally start studying for the exams or start writing for assignments. In fact, I always only seemed to be able to start when I had so much pressure that it was impossible to put it off any longer.
Well, I could have, but then I would definitely not have passed…
So, my self-discipline was kind of – and still is – driven by pressure.
Once I realized that, I could use it to my advantage.
So, let me show you why you think you don’t have any self-discipline and some simple steps to finally change it!
Why is self-discipline so difficult?
Let’s start with an important question: why is self-discipline so difficult?
Well, the answer is almost obvious. Humans are lazy by nature! We all are, there’s no point in denying it.
And there’s a good reason for it. If you look at it from an evolutionary standpoint, it doesn’t make sense to use resources for things that aren’t required to survive. So, it only makes sense to put the next hunt off until it’s absolutely necessary. And you’d run the fastest when you were chased by a lion.
For the rest of the time, it made much more sense to save your resources by resting and occasionally mating, maybe.
Achieving greater things isn’t a trait that we have by nature. A few early humans, who became leaders, probably had a little more of it. But the wast majority let the circumstances determine their discipline.
This is why self-discipline is so difficult. It’s not a natural trait of human beings.
Why do some people lack self-discipline?
As I’ve just explained, human beings naturally don’t have an innate self-discipline.
Their actions are mostly based on the pressure coming from their environment.
I don’t mean pressure in a negative way, but it is what drives people after all. It’s that thing that keeps you moving every day.
You go to college because you need a job. You get a job because you need to pay for food and rent. You want a better car because you want other people to think a certain way of you.
These are all external kinds of pressures.
Okay, so that’s about the same for everyone.
But then there are some people who seem to get things done effortlessly and achieve everything they want. And some others seem to really struggle to even finish their education, right?
So, how come, some people lack self-discipline all together.
The answer is mindset!
Why mindset is so important
Having the right mindset is everything!
You can achieve almost everything if you really, really want it!
Now, you might say: that’s not true. I really want get more in shape but I just can’t resist chocolate and I tried going to the gym but nothing changed…
Sorry to break it to you but if this is your answer, you don’t really want it! Yes, you would like a nice body but you want chocolate and chilling on the couch more. It’s that simple!
The good thing is that self-discipline is sort of a habit that can be built up over time. This makes the process much easier. However, you need that initial first step for which some kind of willpower is required. And to get there, you first need to get the right mindset in place.
You can try all the other things listed in the article and still fail at getting self-disciplined, simply because you think that you’re incapable of becoming it!
Don’t worry, I’ll show you how you can do all that in a minute.
How to create a self-discipline habit
Self-discipline can not only become a habit, but habits can also help you get more disciplined.
Either way, habits are the recipe to achieve your goals, which you ultimately want by getting more disciplined, right?
How habits can help you to get disciplined
Let’s look at the easier way, which is how habits can help you become more disciplined.
The reason why I’m so obsessed with habits is because they are an amazing time saver and they get you where you want in automatic mode!
Instead of needing a huge amount of willpower to get a task done, you only need a little bit to develop a habit. Once it’s established, your brain can focus on other things.
In this case, that initial willpower is exactly what we need to work on self-discipline.
By developing a habit you need to get out of your comfort zone. Even if it’s just a little bit, you need to come up with some willpower in order to get started. After that, it becomes more and more automatic to the extent that you won’t need any willpower anymore.
The reason why this can help you get more disciplined is because it’s actually the same with self-discipline. You’ll also have to chunk it down in little pieces that require little willpower and then repeat the action until it’s automatic.
This will also help you get the right mindset.
Developing little habits will show your that you’re actually capable of achieving things you want! This gets you in the right direction.
Here you can learn more about how habits are formed and how they can be changed.
The best habits to become more self-discipline
Of course, not every habit is suitable to get more self-discipline.
If you want to go dairy-free and work out for an hour every day overnight, then you’ll most likely be nothing but overwhelmed!
These are way too big and difficult habits to start.
Instead, pick something where you really have to get out of your comfort zone to train your willpower. But that are easily done in a short amount of time.
If you need some more inspiration, check out my article about 14 good habits to have for your everyday life.
The perfect example for this is taking a cold shower in the morning.
I know it sucks! Taking a warm shower for 20 minutes sounds so comfy, I know. But that won’t get you anywhere!
If you want to get more disciplined, only focus on this one habit to start with. In the beginning, it will look like you need an enormous amount of willpower. But I’m sure you’ll discover even after a few days that it’s not that difficult.
Plus, think about the benefits: you’re immediately fully awake, you feel warm once you get out of the shower and you’ve got a good blood circulation which helps you get in thinking mode.
Tidying one thing before going to bed
Another habit that will help you get more disciplined is to tidy one thing every time before you go to bed.
This is a particularly good habit if your place is messy because the result will blow your mind, trust me!
I’m not telling you to clean your whole room or house. All I’m saying is, every time before you go to bed, you pick up one thing and put it away.
This requires very little willpower. But it will help you to tidy up over time. That’s a perfect start to become more disciplined. Because to tidy your life, you first need to tidy your room!
Flossing is a super simple habit to get you going.
Just do it every evening after brushing your teeth and you’ll be amazed by how good that feels. Especially once it becomes automatic.
Flossing my teeth was something I put off for years. But once I finally stuck to it, it felt like I had achieved so much!
Don’t get me wrong, exercising can be totally overwhelming and totally the wrong habit to get started.
But, it’s also great to train your willpower! Just make sure that you make it bite-sized. Start with something super short, like exercising for 5 minutes – or even 1 minute – a day.
This will still require a little discipline in the beginning, but it’s so little that it should be easy to get the ball rolling.
The other good thing about exercising is that it helps you train your willpower. In order to exercise properly, you’ll have to want to do one more push-up. You constantly have to get over your own boundaries. You constantly have to push yourself! This is exactly what self-discipline is like!
Then it’s important that you stick to it until it feels automatic!
Always put things back where you took them from
This goes in the same category as tiding.
As I’ve mentioned before, getting your mindset right requires you to get your belongings in order first.
This is why putting things back where you took them from is a great habit to help you become more self-disciplined.
It’s also something that requires little willpower but on a consistent basis. It will be a lot of reminding yourself in the beginning. But once you get it going, you feel like you’ve accomplished a whole lot. This will get you motivated to do more very easily.
Why do I have no self-discipline? Here’s how to change that
Now that you know why you have no self-discipline – or why you think you don’t have any – let’s look at how you can change that.
I’ve already touched on how habits can help you to get more self-discipline, which is ultimately a habit, too.
Now, let’s look at the exact steps you need to follow!
Get the right mindset
Okay, let’s start with the absolute most important thing: you need to get the right mindset!
You really need to get rid of your limiting beliefs. As long as you believe that you don’t have any self-discipline, your mind is programmed to think exactly that.
Here’s a great summary:
In my opinion, positive thinking and looking for opportunities instead of being frustrated about skills you don’t have can get you so much further!
Instead of asking: “why don’t I have any self-discipline?”, ask: “how can I become more disciplined?”, “what do I need to have more self-discipline?” and so on.
This gets your brain to rewire and think in the right direction.
Instead of hindering yourself by believing you won’t achieve your goal anyway, you’re now open to find the path that leads to your goal.
I can’t stress this enough! If you don’t get the right mindset, it’s virtually impossible to become more self-disciplined. And this is what you want, right?
So, don’t put it off any longer. Open your mind towards the possibilities you have.
Believe in yourself! I know it sounds like fluff, but your mind will want to work towards what you believe in!
Act first, feel later!
Once you get the right mindset, let’s get to the next important point: act first, feel later!
If you wait until you feel like doing the thing you should, you never will!
So, get that idea right out of your head! In fact, it’s best to stop thinking about it all together. Just do the boring thing without reconsidering. And repeat this over and over and over again.
This is basically how you build a habit, so, you can get yourself right on track.
Don’t let laziness get you!
Another really important thing to become more self-disciplined is to give laziness no chance!
Were you ever in a situation where you had to get a task done super fast?
I certainly have and what happened surprises me over and over again. I was so fast at fulfilling it, not even losing a second to think about if I should do it or not. Which in fact resulted in getting the task done about 3 times as fast than I thought would even be possible!
This is the pressure I was talking about earlier. In my opinion this is one of the best tools to become more efficient in life.
The best and most fun way to do that is to fill your life with active things you enjoy. Start a new hobby, meet friends, take walks. Just fill your calendar with all of that. And then basically squeeze the boring stuff in between. Allow as much time as is realistically needed to get it done. But not a minute more!
You’ll be amazed about how easy chores, workout and homework suddenly become!
Start with baby steps
Alright, now that we’ve got the tough love out of the way, let’s go to the easier part.
The most common reason why people fail to become more disciplined is because they get overwhelmed.
This is particularly obvious for New Year’s resolutions. You want to change EVERYTHING in your life during the next year. Most of the time, this results in no change at all!
And it’s obvious why: you can’t become a completely new person overnight and change a bunch of bad habits that were deep inside your brain for years!
So, if you want to become more disciplined, you need to start with baby steps.
Pick one of the habits listed earlier in this post. If this still seems overwhelming, break it down even further.
If we take the example of exercising, you could start by doing one push-up per day. Or exercise for 1 minute. Just pick something so small that it’s almost laughable. And then do that one little thing every day or multiple times a day, whatever suits you best.
You’ll soon realize that it feels good to achieve something on a consistent basis. This will automatically lead to you wanting to increase the amount because you want to achieve more.
Just make sure you take it slow! You don’t want to get overwhelmed half way through.
Adapt your environment
Adopting new habits becomes significantly easier if you adapt your environment.
For example, if you want to eat healthier, ban all kind of junk food from your house, your work place and any other place where you usually snack!
It needs much less willpower to abstain from doing something if it isn’t in front of your eyes the whole time.
Instead, replace the unhealthy food with healthy snacks and prep your own meals so you don’t get tempted when going for lunch.
This way you can create an environment that helps you achieve your goals much easier. You can basically trick yourself in thinking you have much more self-discipline with that simple adjustment!
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