🌼3 Unusual Ways to Be More Disciplined
Forget what you’ve tried so far — here’s your new approach.
Over the last three years, I helped hundreds of people to start writing online, grow an audience, and successfully monetize their work.
Yet, for every writer I helped, there are a dozen I couldn’t help because they were too impatient.
Read also: 7 quiet signs of a successful future
They were excited about the opportunity and the final destination but didn’t quite like the idea of showing up consistently.
And this isn’t about writing — not at all.
This is true for anything in life.
People quit going to the gym soon after they pay for a yearly subscription.
They quit building their own businesses.
They quit relationships.
They quit on their goals.
But starting is worthless if you can’t follow through on your good intentions. Or as the founder of the Forbes magazine famously said:
“How you start is important, but it is how you finish that counts. In the race for success, speed is less important than stamina. The sticker outlasts the sprinter.”
— B. C. Forbes
When you start something new, you’re excited and full of enthusiasm.
You buy new workout clothes.
You invest in educational resources.
You make a great plan.
But what next?
What will your next week or month look like?
That’s the only thing that eventually matters.
And whether you’ll achieve your desired goal is determined by your ability to do what you said you’d do.
Ideas and enthusiasm are nice, but they don’t take you to the finish line. Only discipline will take you there.
Move from setback to setback
Let’s be honest: Life is one big rollercoaster ride.
Even if you’re the most disciplined, hard-working person on earth, you’ll face hardships and failure. There’s no way around it.
The good news is it doesn’t matter whether you fail or not. What matters is how quickly you get back up.
In my world, being disciplined doesn’t mean being perfect.
I used to think that, but not anymore.
“Perfectionism is a 20-ton shield.”
— Brene Brown
Perfection can be overwhelming.
Instead, your level of discipline is tested when you have to recover from a loss or from habits you’ve missed.
How quickly do you get back to your workout schedule after skipping a few training sessions?
How quickly do you recover from fights with your loved ones?
How long does it take you to “motivate yourself” to get back to work after being lazy for a while?
You’re not perfect, and you don’t have to be.
But if you want to achieve more of your goals, and do so faster, you have to minimize the time you waste between your “down phases.”
We all slip off our good habits once in a while. What matters is that you come back even stronger.
Thomas Edison “failed” over a thousand times before inventing the light bulb and famously said:
“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”
Apparently, he recovered from each of these failed attempts fast and moved on to the next try without dwelling on his mistakes.
J.K Rowling, author of the Harry Potter series, got rejected by dozens of publishers before becoming one of the most successful and best-earning authors in history.
Setbacks suck, and so does starting from scratch. But both are inevitable, so get used to getting back up quickly — no matter what life throws at you.
Learn to love your skin
How you feel and what you think of yourself have a huge influence on how you show up and behave.
If you haven’t showered in days, hate what you wear, and feel uncomfortable in your own body, you probably won’t be the most productive or disciplined version of yourself.
Dressing confidently, taking care of your body, and establishing a strong posture plus body language can shape how you feel and act.
If you feel small, you’ll act small.
If you feel good, you’ll produce good results.
Sticking to a consistent workout schedule is easier when you enjoy putting your workout clothes on.
Being productive at work is easier when you don’t have to work on an old, slow computer.
We hate to admit it, but oftentimes, external factors do matter. They have an impact on how we feel, even if it’s just a subconscious one.
Sit and stand straight.
Create a wardrobe full of clothes that make you feel good — keep in mind you don’t need more clothes, just the right ones. A capsule wardrobe might be the right choice.
Practice power posing when you feel weak and unmotivated. Take a few minutes to stretch or even do basic exercises like squats or pushups to get your blood flowing and your heart pumping.
Take pride in your office space. Decorate it with pictures, plants, and other items that bring you joy.
Do the same for your home by making sure you mostly own items you use and like.
Surround yourself with people who make you feel good.
Use milestones to your advantage
”To maintain success, stamina is more important than talent. You have to learn to be a marathon runner.”
— Joan Rivers
Fall in love with the idea of running marathons, even if you’ll never run a real one.
People respect marathon runners because they’re a huge challenge. You don’t get rewarded for completing parts of it.
It’s one big stretch.
When my fiancé completed his first official race in 2021, I was proud as hell because I experienced firsthand how much preparation and willpower it took:
Image by Author — My partner and I right after he crossed the finish line on his first marathon.
Even though your marathon training consists of different activities and milestones, race day is all about your big goal of making it to the finish line.
Luckily, that’s not true for most goals you’ll set in your life.
Instead, you have sub-goals, milestones, and different steps that take you to the final destination.
This means you can use those milestones to your advantage.
Instead of feeling overwhelmed by big chunks of work, you can focus on the next tiny action step you need to take.
You can focus on one task at a time.
And that’s what you should do.
Your goals might be huge, but if you want to make it to the finish line, you need to take it one step at a time.
I love the concept of the 12-Week Year, which encourages you to plan your year in 12-week cycles instead of doing the typical annual planning:
“They set annual goals, created annual plans, and in many cases broke the goals down into quarterly, monthly, and sometimes even weekly plans. But in the end, they evaluated their success annually. The trap is what we call annualized thinking. […]
At the heart of annualized thinking is an unspoken belief that there is plenty of time in the year to make things happen.”
— Brian Moran
Instead of treating your big goals as huge projects, break them down into tangible and achievable milestones.
And celebrate your successes along the way.
Big goals like building your own business, finishing your studies, losing weight, or becoming slimmer/stronger require lots of time and persistence. Even though hitting your goals will take discipline, you deserve to enjoy the journey.
If you ever felt frustrated because you gave up on one of your goals once again, try to go easy on yourself and establish your discipline in a more subtle way.
Fall in love with the idea that you’re moving “from setback to setback.” You don’t have to be perfect, just be consistent and get used to quickly recovering from losses.
Instead of spending more time reading about productivity strategies, spend some time reflecting on how you feel in your skin. Make adjustments that’ll help you feel more confident, so you can show up as your best version.
Use milestones to your advantage and celebrate hitting your sub-goals. Achieving your big goals might take time, but you’re allowed to enjoy the journey and progress.
🟢Contributed by Sinem Günel
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