Keep in mind that discipline is an exhaustible resource, which means it drains each time you use it.
This is why most of your setbacks are probably occurring in the evening. You have spent the entire day using your discipline muscle and it was exhausted by the end of the day.
Put Checks In Place
If you want to become more disciplined, I recommend you set up Checks to keep yourself from straying to old habits.
For example, if you want you to stop eating unhealthy food, throw away all the unhealthy food in your home. There is no amount of discipline that will keep you from eating it. If you leave it in your home, it is not a question of if, but when you will eat it.
Automate Your Life
To extend your discipline so it will last the whole day, you need to automate as many things as possible. This is why you see people like Steve Jobs wearing the same outfit everyday. He did not want to waste his mental energy on deciding what to wear. The more decisions you make each day, the sooner your willpower tank empties, and the sooner you start making poor decisions.
That is why changing your behavior is so hard. You are consistently making conscious decisions because your old habits are automated to things you want to change.
As you continue to make the right decisions, your new habits begin to take root and they become your “old habits.”
Instead of focusing on discipline, focus on the moment. Your old habits are in your subconscious, so you need to talk to yourself to remain conscious. Ask yourself questions to keep your mind from reverting to autopilot.
I remember when I wanted to wake up early so I could go jogging. At the beginning, I was not going to bed early enough, so I kept pushing snooze. Over time, I started to go to bed early and would wake up feeling rested. However, I still pushed snooze. As a result, I would lay in my bed thinking and fall back asleep. It was not until I started talking to myself each morning that things started to change. I would ask myself, “why am I running, what do I hope to gain, what happens if I don’t run.”
This helped convince my mind, it was not a want, but a need for me to get up.
My mind no longer was trying to remind me of the warmth of my bed, but the benefits of jogging. I thought about how good it felt to accomplish something so early in the morning. I thought about how my conditioning improved and my muscles strengthened.
Once my conditioning improved, I started to think about how awful it would be to lose my gains. Now it is not a question of discipline (traditionally meaning, doing something I do not want to do), but a question of enjoyment.
Undre Griggs | Be More