3 Ways to Develop Self-Discipline (You May Not Want to Hear)

I love Nike’s trademark, Just Do It. It’s the one and only pathway to self-discipline.

Being a professional is doing the things you love to do, on the days you don’t feel like doing them.

– Julius Erving

Imagine you’re a factory assembly worker.

You show up, stand in your line, pick one component, move it to the next assembly line, pick another component and do the same.

One after another and another… all day long.

Your brain cell may slowly die from boredom, but you don’t get stressed over lack of discipline.

You’re free from the guilt of wasting time. The guilt of not being productive.

That’s the good thing about having a system.

That’s why we often hear about setting goals and prioritising them.

Do one thing at a time. Reward yourself. Take a break. Eliminate distractions at all costs.

Discipline is in a way about setting up a system. And stick to it like clockwork, as a factory worker in an assembly line would do.

But some days, it’s hard to follow the system and you don’t feel like doing at all. Especially if you work from home or do your own thing in your spare time.

Being able to set up our own system sounds liberating.

Trouble is, we’re exposed to an unprecedented amount of distractions, which makes it hard to stick to even the best system.

If not impossible.

No matter how solid the system is, we fail.

So how do you develop self-discipline around distractions?

There’s no other way around it.

You’ve Got to Force Yourself to Do It

Everyone has a day when they don’t feel like doing what they set out to do.

But here’s the thing.

The moment you feel resistance?

That’s your window of opportunity to build a self-discipline muscle.

That resistance equals an opportunity because it’s your cue to strengthen self-discipline.

When you’re tempted to take a break, tell yourself you’ll take a break.

The next day, NOT today.

Today, whatever you feel like putting off, grumble your way through the motion and do it.

Argh really don’t like to do…

You may say that, but you still do it, anyway.

Comes tomorrow.

The chances are you’ll keep going.

That’s how you build self-discipline.

You Can’t Wait Until It Feels Right

There’s never a better time than today.

If you wait until everything feels right to do anything, you’re letting your emotions in charge of your life.

And we know what happens when we’re left to our own devices, right?

The TV blaring every night. Dishes pile up. Waistline expands. Books gather dust. Internet trolls dominate inbox. The wardrobe soon to explode.

You can’t wait until everything falls into place.

No matter how well you think you’re prepared, you’ll have challenges.

That’s life.

When you play a waiting game until everything is “perfect”, not only does an opportunity pass you by, you’ll also have to wait for a long time (possibly forever!).

Start now and learn as you go along.

Give yourself a chance to make mistakes and learn which will ultimately make you wiser, more confident, and become successful.

Terrified of feeling uncomfortable?

Get used to it and know that all it means is you’re outside your comfort zone. Not actual damage there, but butterflies in your stomach.

Feel the fear and butterflies running through your whole body (and mind) but take action now anyway, over and over.

That’s how you develop self-discipline.

You Can’t Choose Failure

Seriously, you just can’t.

If you’re given two super-sized glittering boxes and told one contains failure and the other success, which one would you choose?

We’d choose a box of success in a heartbeat, right?

That’s exactly what we’re given each day.

The choice is yours.

Make a firm decision that failure is not an option.

Choose success every morning. No compromise.

Your choice will guide you throughout the day to stay disciplined.

Besides, according to Ralph Waldo Emerson:

A man is what he thinks about all day long.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson

Final Thoughts

Rain or shine, just do.

Forcing yourself just to do it beats ANY system.

Because that’s what you do, no matter what.

No excuses.

Choose success. Take action.

One action after another breeds self-discipline. All day long.

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