6 Ways to Master Self Control | How to Be More DISCIPLINED
Hey, what is goin’ on guys? So today we are gonna be covering six important strategies for improving your level of self-discipline. Now before we get into the nitty-gritty, I do wanna take a brief moment to define what exactly self-discipline is, because when I asked you guys to tell me about your problems with discipline on Twitter the other day, I got a lot of answers, ranging from motivation to distractions to cell phone addiction, all kinds of things in between. And while all these answers are legitimate problems, I don’t think that all of them fit neatly into the category of self-discipline. Where they do fit is in the broader category of behavior change, and that is the big goal for most of us, we wanna change our behaviors to be more aligned with our goals and our long-term desires. And when it comes to that general mission to change your behaviors, I see four main areas that we need to focus on, one of which is the cultivation of self-discipline, which we’re gonna tackle in this post, but also the building of new habits, which can make that behavior automatic, the customization of our environment, which can remove roadblocks and help us resist temptations by basically removing them, and of course, the consumption of as much Brawndo as possible, since it is the thirst mutilator. But, as you may have guessed, this post is only about that first area, self-discipline. And where I wanna start is by asking and answering two questions.
Number one, what exactly is self-discipline? And number two, how does it differ from motivation? Because I think a lot of people get these two terms confused. To start, I wanna share a quote from the writer Samuel Thomas Davies because it actually answers both those questions in a pretty tidy way. “Self-discipline is about leaning into resistance, taking action in spite of how you feel, living life by design, not by default. But, most importantly, it’s acting in accordance with your thoughts, not your feelings.” Put another way, motivation is your overall level of desire to do something, whereas discipline is your ability to do it regardless of how you feel. And for any of you who’ve ever woken up thinking, I don’t feel like it, which is all of you, myself included, you can see now how important self-discipline is. It’s building that baseline that allows you to act in accordance with your long-term goals, no matter how motivated you feel. So, with that being said, let’s cover six important strategies for building your self-discipline. And we’re gonna start with one that doesn’t seem very tangible or actionable at first, but stick with me here, because this is a mindset shift that I’ve found more helpful than any other self-improvement technique I’ve tried in recent memory.
FOCUS ON IDENTITY
To put it simply, when you’re trying to change your behavior forget about the goal you’re trying to achieve, the external outcome, and instead focus on the change in identity you want to happen. This is a concept that I first read about in James Clear’s book, Atomic Habits, which I highly recommend, by the way. And there’s this passage near the beginning of the book that really encapsulates it well. So I’m just gonna read it to you here.
Imagine two people resisting a cigarette. When offered a smoke, the first person says, “No thanks, I’m trying to quit.” It sounds like a reasonable response, but this person still believes they are a smoker who’s trying to be something else. They are hoping that their behavior will change while carrying around the same beliefs. The second person declines by saying, “No thanks, I’m not a smoker.” It’s a small difference, but the statement signals a shift in identity. Smoking was a part of their former life, not their current one. They no longer identify as someone who smokes.
So, the general idea here is that once you’ve embraced a change in your identity, you’re gonna find yourself acting in alignment with that change. And if you’re wondering why exactly this happens, the third chapter of Robert Cialdini’s book Influence, The Psychology of Persuasion, has a great explanation for it. Essentially, humans feel this natural compulsion to act consistently with their past decisions. As he writes in the book, “Once we have made a choice or taken a stand, we will encounter personal and interpersonal pressures to behave consistently with that commitment.” Those pressures will cause us to respond in ways that justify our earlier decision. And shifting my mindset in this way has been incredibly helpful in the past couple of months. And the first way that I implemented it was by starting to think of myself as an athlete. Now, I’ve always been a pretty active person, and I’ve had a laundry list of athletic goals on my website for quite a long time now. But I never really took the leap and started thinking of myself as an athlete. And there were some imposter syndrome reasons for this. But, after reading that passage in the book, I decided to take the leap and start thinking of myself as an athlete, not just as somebody who does active things. And that shift in mindset has done wonders for my levels of self-discipline in many different areas, from going to the gym more consistently, to training harder while I’m there, to even improving my diet, which has been a lot better than it used to be over the past couple of months. So, seriously, if you take nothing else from this post, I’m puttin’ this first for a reason, start thinking about behavior change in terms of the identity that you want to embody rather than the goals that you want to achieve.
If you want to find more information about this, Click here