How to overcome procrastination and encourage self discipline

There is only ONE way to be self disciplined and avoid procrastinating, and that’s holding YOURSELF accountable.

But there ARE things you can do to encourage yourself to encourage the habit of discipline.

First, let’s get a working definition of discipline. Many people feel like they understand the word without ever reflecting on what it really means, what it means to them. To me, discipline means acting in accordance with my goals despite my changing feelings.

So, if I want to get in shape, and “in shape” means running every day, then discipline would mean getting into a run and finishing what you planned even though you really don’t want to do it, and your feelings are telling you not to.

What’s procrastination? It’s simple: it’s delaying action WITHOUT a reason and WITHOUT a deadline to action.

Right there, we have embedded in the definition of procrastination the secret to beating it: SET A DEADLINE TO ACTION, AND BEGIN ACTING IMMEDIATELY DESPITE YOUR CHANGING FEELINGS.

Procrastination is overwhelmingly due to avoiding uncomfortable feelings. The answer to procrastination is to set a date with fate, and use that date to drive you.

To remedy procrastination and begin the habit of self discipline do this:

  1. Set a date with fate — Put a date on when you’re going to do something. Whatever it is you want to do that you’re feeling resistance to.
  2. Make a social commitment — Sign up for a race, call a friend and tell them you’ll meet them at the gym, post your goals on social media.
  3. Raise the stakes — Put money, reputation, or something else on the line to make it real. This will be a scary thing, but it will work.

Deadlines, commitments and stakes are what will motivate you and carry you through feelings that will want to dissuade you from your goals.

Now here’s the secret sauce. Once you’ve made these commitments, create a powerful vision. Take time, build it out, imagine yourself moving through obstacles.

A powerful vision wherein you’ve rehearsed yourself moving past feelings that want to stop you, obstacles that want to stop you, and the moment you triumph and experience the object of your goal, will act as a bulwark against anything that will rock you from your self-discipline.

Here’s the best part: every time you overcome a moment of trial, it will get easier to stay disciplined in the future.

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