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A Guide to Developing the Self-Discipline Habit : zen habits

https://zenhabits.net/self-discipline/

zenhabits.net

A Guide to Developing the Self-Discipline Habit : zen habits
One of the most important life skills to develop, for those just starting out in life (and everyone else!), is the skill of self-discipline. It's like a superpower: when I developed some self-discipline, I started exercising and eating healthier and meditating and writing more, I quit smoking and ran marathons, I started a blog and wrote books, I read more and work earlier, I decluttered and transformed my finances.

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Finding Motivation

Finding Motivation

... to develop self-discipline:

  • Start taking small actions to make things better
  • Do the things that hurt you less
  • Push yourself into discomfort a little bit, so you can get better at this over time
  • Get good at self-discipline with some practice.

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Other Types of Motivation

Other Types of Motivation
  • Wanting to help others: If you get better at not procrastinating on your life’s work, for example, you can help more people with that meaningful work.
  • Appreciating life: We have a short time on Earth, and the life we have is a gift. When we procrastinate and give in to endless distraction, and don’t make the most of our time, we are not fully appreciating the gift we have.

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Small Actions

Small Actions

One of the most important things you can do to get better at self-discipline is to take small actions.

It can seem overwhelming to start big, intimidating projects. Instead, start with easy actions, things so small you can’t say no.

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Discomfort Training

Discomfort Training

One of the reasons we don’t have self-discipline is because we run from the hard, uncomfortable things. We would rather do the easy, familiar things, that distract us.

One small task at a time, push yourself into discomfort. See how it feels. See that it’s not the end of the world. 

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Mindfulness with Urges

Mindfulness with Urges

Develop mindfulness around those urges you have to quit doing something hard and see that you don’t have to follow them.

A good way to do that is to set a time for yourself where you can do nothing but X. For example, for the next 10 minutes, you can do nothing but write your book chapter (or exercise, meditate, etc.).

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Interval Training

Interval Training
  1. Set your intention to practice self-discipline and not hurt yourself anymore.
  2. Set a task to focus on.
  3. Set a timer for 10 minutes. Don’t go longer, until you get good at 10 minutes.
  4. Do nothing but sit there and watch your urges, or push into your discomfort by doing the task.
  5. When the timer goes off, give yourself a 5-minute break.
  6. Repeat.

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Success & Failure

Success & Failure

Don't get discouraged when you mess up. Failure means you tried. So it’s a victory from the start.

And it also means you learned something: you now know that what you tried didn’t work. Next time, you can try something a bit different.

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Your philosophy about self-discipline

For most people, self-discipline is hard labor. It’s something to despise. But if you approach self-discipline with that attitude, it’s pretty hard to develop it.

Self-discipline is not hard at all. The lack of self-discipline is hard. 

Internalize delayed gratification

When you are not disciplined, you know only one part of the equation: immediate gratification (our desire to experience pleasure or fulfillment without delay).

But delayed gratification (resistance to the temptation of an immediate reward in preference for a later reward) is so much better in the long turn. 

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Holding Yourself Accountable

Make yourself accountable for what you do or don’t do. You don’t have to do things to prove something to others.

Make a To-Do list with your goals, intentions and proposed actions, and try ...

Being Honest

If we are not honest in our communication due to any internal fear, we are not taken seriously. People can tell when we are not honest.

There is no need to hide anything or play the victim card. Honesty seems difficult as it requires humility, but if followed, it is easier to be self-disciplined.

The Right Example

People won’t do what you are not doing, and they won’t do what you are doing, if you tell them to do so.

You need to do what’s right, but not have any expectations. Let your actions speak for you.

Struggling To Build Healthy Habits

  • We tend to bite off more than we can chew, go too fast too soon, and then get overwhelmed too quickly.
  • We’re conditioned these days to expect and receive instant gratification.

Your “Big Why”

As you’re determining the habits or resolutions you’re trying to set, make the habit part of a bigger cause that’s worth the struggle.

You’re not just going to the gym, you’re building a new body that you’re not ashamed of so you can start dating again.

Healthy Habit Building 101

There are 3 parts to a good or bad habit: Cue (what triggers the action), Routine (the action itself), Reward (the positive result because of the action).

You have trained your brain to take a cue (you see a doughnut), anticipate a reward (a sugar high), and make the behavior automatic (nom that donut). 

Compare that to a cue (you see your running shoes), anticipate a reward (a runner’s high), and make the behavior automatic (go for a run!).