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3 Easy Ways to Add More Self-Discipline to Your Life

Adam Cave
Adam Cave
Feb 21, 2018 · 5 min read

We all see successful people and wonder what makes them different. People who are physically at the top of their game, despite being older. People that have the comfort of a nice nest egg, and therefore are carefree about their careers. People who can talk intelligently at length on a variety of subjects, and seem to have a passion for life.

How can we be like them? Why does everything seem to work out for them, but not for us?

Much of success comes from self-discipline. The ability to say no when others say yes. Since life is a series of choices, by controlling your decisions you can help to control your long-term outcome. Unfortunately, we often give up long-term goals for temporary pleasures.

How many times have you had that office donut, even though you knew you wanted to lose 10 pounds? How many times have you gone out for drinks despite knowing that you wanted to save up for that trip? How many times did you daydream about pursuing your passion only to watch television?

It’s hard. I know it is. But, there are some ways to make it a little easier. We don’t have to make the right, long-term decision every time. We just have to make it the majority of the time.

I use the following three ways to make sure I am progressing to my overall goals. Each one deals with a different aspect of my life. I find that having too many rules that limit my freedom of choice is counterproductive. However, using the three methods below, I can still move forward while enjoying the path.

Tip #1: Eat 5 meals per day, but cheat on one.

Eating properly is something that almost all of us find difficult. It’s easy when we’re tired to eat something that’s unhealthy, and most of us are really tired.

I know there’s lots of different meal plans out there. I’ve done about 90% of them. However there is one that consistently works for me and that I use regularly to get in great shape.

I eat five meals per day, each spaced a couple hours apart. I make sure that four of the meals consist of completely healthy food. No preservatives. Just veggies, a protein, and a small amount of fruit or nuts. I may also throw in a healthy starch, depending on my hunger level. Then, on the fifth meal, I use the same basic meal plan, but cheat a bit. I have a small bag of chips, or some ice cream, or a hand full of whatever I’m craving.

If you’ve done the day as scripted, you’ve eaten well for over 80% of your meals. That’s good. That’s better than the majority of society. So, even with cheating a little each day, you will still make progress to living a physically healthier life.

Tip #2: Have two “Zero Days” per week.

We all spend more than we should and it’s easy to rationalize away a pointless purchase because it makes us feel good in the moment. But what feels really good is saying “No” to things you don’t need. It will make those other purchases feel that much more worth it.

Try doing two “Zero Days” a week.

A “Zero Day” is a day where you don’t spend anything. Not on lunch. Not on a tea. Not on gas. Two days a week where no money is going out of your accounts.

It sounds easy, but can be surprisingly difficult. It’s amazing how much we purchase random items that we don’t need, but don’t even second guess buying.

“I’ve had a hard day. This coffee is only $2.50. I work hard. I can afford it.”

The amount of money is unimportant to this exercise. Even small amounts count.

The point is to become fully aware of how and when we spend money. This isn’t to make you a penny pincher, but to add awareness to your life.

These “Zero Days” will help you to gain control and begin to make thoughtful, purposeful decisions with your money. It’s not about saving money to become a millionaire. It’s simply about becoming aware and gaining control.

Tip #3: Read 30 minutes per day.

Sometimes the pace of life gets so hectic that we lose the ability to focus on anything but the immediate task we need to accomplish. It’s in these times that we need the discipline to keep learning. Real discipline isn’t about what you do when it’s easy, it’s about what you do when things get hard.

Have the discipline to read each day for 30 minutes. This could be when you first wake up, or at bedtime. Use the 30 minutes to read something that could improve your knowledge on a specific subject, or a way to improve your life.

These daily 30 minutes will add up quickly, and the skills you learn will naturally begin to be incorporated into your life, improving it even further. Since time is our most valuable asset, spend 1/48 of your day doing something that can exponentially improve the quality of your life. You won’t regret it.

Final Thoughts

Having extreme self-discipline is something to aspire to, but not always something that’s realistic in daily practice. I hope these three simple ways to incorporate a little self-discipline into your life will help you to improve its overall quality, while not being so restricting that you stop doing them after only a few days. Remember that just a little bit of effort goes a long way. Good luck in your journey!


Thanks for reading! If you like this, please clap or comment or both. I hope this helps helps you reach the next level in your personal life!

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Adam Cave

Written by

Adam Cave

Father & husband. Jack of many, master of some. Obsessed with improving processes and removing the noise.

The Startup

Medium's largest active publication, followed by +525K people. Follow to join our community.

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