Nothing Works Without Discipline

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Why do some people have better impulse control than others?
Why do some people achieve their goals while others don’t?
Why do some people set and stick to a self-defined standard like no drinking or no smoking while others struggle to keep their desires in check?
It all boils down to discipline and self-control.

So what is discipline?
I think that discipline is the ability to follow set rules diligently.

What about self-control?
I think that self-control is the ability to keep one’s actions, emotions and desires in check, especially in trying situations.

Examples of discipline:

  • Waking up an hour earlier before work to hit the gym because you want to lose weight and look/feel better.
  • Putting in extra effort into a side hustle after a day job, because you want to achieve financial independence/pay off a student loan.

Examples of self-control:

  • Not drinking more than 14 units of alcohol regularly because you know it’ll eventually damage your organs.
  • Choosing not to kiss a stranger even though you really, really want to because you don’t know where they’ve been.

Like most things, it’s always easier said than done because of something called willpower. It’s the ability to keep yourself motivated and determined to do something difficult. (Say working out or choosing to sleep early even though that last episode of your favourite series has you desperate for answers and not sleep).

It’s been argued that willpower is a like battery, and the more needs you have drawing energy from that battery, the less will you’ll have left to do the things you need to do.

As an example, let’s imagine that you’re trying to quit smoking and drinking, all the while hitting the gym early in the mornings. We’ll assume that every day, your willpower battery starts at 100% then dwindles throughout the day. You get by on most days, but today is just one of those days. Work has you on edge because of an upcoming performance review, your partner is throwing a tantrum for no reason (according to you), and you’re behind on a loan payment.

As you can tell, getting through this day in the right way will draw heavily on the battery, and at the end of the day, you’ll definitely feel spent. It’ll suddenly feel unexacting to take a puff or swing by the pub for shots or a glass of your favourite drink because you’re basically out of juice. It’ll feel harder to resist the simple temptations that you easily ward off on a good day not because you’re weak, but because you’re out of will power.

Discipline, self-control and will power work together to make sure you do what you need to do, do what you want to do and do it for as long as you feel like.

Why am I talking about these three things?

Because we need to understand them and how they work to be and perform at our very best.

Imagine for a second that you could control your:

  • Health
  • Happiness
  • Fulfilment
  • Prosperity
  • Peace

I’d go on, but you get me, right?

Now snap out of your dream/fantasy and understand that you can.
Understand that you really can get healthier.
Understand that you really can be happier.
Understand that you really can do what you want to do, but it’ll cost you.

Nothing’s for free.

We trade in our time to acquire knowledge.
We trade in our time and knowledge/skill for money.
We put our feelings, mental, emotional and physical health on the line to get into relationships.
We trade our money for the things that we can we afford.

Well, why don’t people push themselves?
To do more? To be more?
Bottom line? Because it’s easier.

It’s easier to complain than to put in the work.
It’s easier to blame than to take responsibility.
It’s easier to give up than to persevere.
But once you study the best of us, the people who have been immortalised throughout the ages…

You’ll see that they had discipline, self-control, and immense will power. Our icons had to overcome insurmountable odds to do what they did, and that’s why we celebrate them… As a reminder that it has been done and it can be done again.

The choice is all yours though, and you have to do something about it if you want things to change.

Nothing works without discipline, self-control and willpower.

Not love. Not work Not relationships. Not money. Not power.

So perhaps you’d like to increase your discipline, self-control and willpower. How would one go about that?

Think of them like a muscle. The more you train and exercise, the more athletic you’ll be.

Remember that this growth is a process. And for it to happen efficiently, you’ll have to do some accounting.

1. Change your perception.

Understand that you are not this or that. Stop thinking that you’re a fixed being because you’re not. Look at the way you’ve changed since your childhood. Think of all the things you’ve learned and experienced…

You grew, you are growing, and you’ll continue to grow. Level up.

2. Make tiny achievable forward-moving plans.

Do you walk? Jog.

Do you jog? Run.

Do you read? Read a book today.

Read one book? Read two.

Saved a dollar? Save two.

Forgave your mom? Forgive you.

Just move forward, you can do it.

3. Reward yourself.

Positive re-enforcement is a thing and a basic one at that, it’s shocking how very few people use it.

Learn to reward yourself after meeting/fulfilling an objective/goal/plan. Your brain will thank you, and so will your body.

Take your wins while you can because you win every day!

4. Be gentle with yourself.

This self- improvement journey will be long and treacherous. It will be filled with ups and downs and drama.

Somedays, you’ll be resilient, and you’ll push beyond the limits…

Somedays, you won’t feel like at it all, and you won’t want to do anything.

And that’s okay. Remember that it’s about progress, not perfection.

When you fail, don’t be one of the people that’ll stand against you.

Give the love that you need to yourself because no one else can love you the way that you can.

Be Kind.

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