Action Catalyst Blog

Two Ways to Make Self-Discipline Easier


How do you make self-discipline easier?

Imagine if it was easy. You could get yourself to do all the things you should be doing, even when you don’t feel like doing them.

You could accomplish anything in your life.

The challenge is that to get to where we want to go usually requires us to do things we don’t like doing.

That’s where the test comes in.

That’s where the separation happens between multipliers (also called ultra-performers, top producers and one-percenters) and everyone else.

Can you develop the self-discipline to do that?

For me personally, my journey of self-discipline occurs in my home gym, where each morning I make the choice to work out. (More on that later.)

There are two things that will make self-discipline instantly easier for you.

First, get outside of yourself.

What does that mean? It’s super simple.

Whenever, we have decisions or choices in our life, different parts of our brain are firing.
There’s a rational part of our brain that processes choices logically. There’s also an emotional part that releases chemicals throughout our body, causing us to feel a certain way: guilt, temptation, pride, stress, anger, frustration or worry. Your brain is designed to help you do things that make you feel good (in the short term), along with keeping you safe.

When you evaluate decisions based on those emotional impulses, generally speaking, that doesn’t help with your self-discipline. You’ll be guided toward what feels good in the short term.

So, get outside of yourself. Look back at each decision as if you were someone else. This is like a self-coaching concept to evaluate your decision more objectively.

This separates you from the emotion that will probably lead you in the direction you don’t want to go.

Secondly, self-discipline isn’t about self-denial. It’s about reprogramming.

What does that mean?

If you’re trying to change a behavior or a habit, self-denial doesn’t work in a sustainable, long-term way.

Ever try saying, “I won’t eat this because I’m on a diet”? How long did that last?

Self-denial is really only a good short-term, or emergency, strategy. What works better is to reprogram yourself to actually change the way you think about that particular behavior or situation.

Let me give you an example using my gym.

I used to hate leg day – that was every Wednesday.

Anyone who knows me knows I have the world’s skinniest legs.

I don’t have particularly strong legs either. It’s just not a muscle group I enjoy working out.

I just dreaded Wednesdays.

So I stopped calling it leg day and started calling it hot buns day.

I told myself up I’m building up some hot buns, so I started thinking about working out that day in a different way.

It’s not leg day anymore in my mind. It’s hot buns day.

The same thing happened when my wife got pregnant with Jasper almost two years ago. A.J. stopped drinking alcohol.

I also stopped drinking alcohol too, in solidarity.

Like a lot of people, I like alcohol. I relaxed when I drank it.

So when my wife was pregnant, I changed how I thought about alcohol.

I started thinking it’s something that makes me tired, increases the chances of making poor decisions, or even getting a DUI. Whenever I looked at alcohol, I’d think of those things.

Over the course of a few months, my desire for alcohol went way down.

I changed my thinking so much that I actually haven’t had alcohol since we had the baby.

I reprogrammed my brain.

There are so many things you can change your mind about: money, food, relationships, your boss or your coworkers – really, anything in your life.

You can reprogram a new story that makes self-discipline easier.

So, don’t focus on self-denial.

If you can get outside yourself, it’ll help your self-discipline.

Try it.

The reality is that self-discipline can be challenging. That’s one of the reasons why Southwestern Consulting believes in one-on-one accountability. Our coaches can provide that for you.

We’d love to offer you a free call with one of our certified coaches so you can learn about the power of having a coach in your life.

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