Why You're So Lazy
Finally, the infamous “Self-Discipline Post”.
I’ve gotten a few inquiries about how I discipline myself to workout, study, have a fulfilling relationship and still manage to sleep. I hesitated giving my answer to this question for a while for a big reason. Perhaps this is a bit of imposter syndrome, but I don’t really feel like I’m THAT disciplined.
I have this image in my mind of what a person who leads an ascetic lifestyle is like, and I certainly don’t fit it. Still, I recognize that I have somethings to contribute on the topic. My advice is most likely unconventional but there is great value here if for any other reason than because it works for me. Hopefully some of the ideas I express work for you as well.
The biggest thing is self-perception. It is on this point that we do ourselves the greatest disservice when it comes to self-discipline. There is a lot of energy, denial and ultimately guilt that comes with self-discipline. It’s a little better if you can make it a habit, but building new habits (or eliminating old) still takes a lot of time and energy.
You can’t lose weight if you are still obsessed with the foods that will put the pounds on. You can’t stop drinking if you still associate booze with fun. You won’t hit the gym if all you think about is the pain you feel when working out. The amount of energy it takes to overcome these basic feelings is too much and you’ll lose. It’s FAR easier to change your attitude towards yourself.
The best attitudes to cultivate are superiority, vanity, self-respect and self-love. When you strongly feel these things, you do what it takes to validate this self-image. It’s a lot easier to be to make healthy choices if you wanna look good naked.
It’s easy to bust your ass if you tap into your pride and remember that you’re better than everyone else! Toxic relationships are beneath you if you have great self-love and self-respect. If it’s not in you to feel superior and vain, you will go pretty far if you focus on just having self-respect and self-love.
You must be ruthless in your priorities. It may seem like a lot on my plate, but that’s only in comparison to what people THINK they should have on their plate. I don’t spend time getting wasted or burning all Sunday watching football. I don’t enjoy those things and they don’t help me get any closer to the person I want to become. Why would I waste time doing them?
This was a problem for younger me. I think it’s a problem that many young people have. I don’t believe in finding yourself but there is something to be said for the process of sorting out what you really want vs what you’re told you should want. A lot of people never figure it out. Once your priorities are straight, you’ll be amazed at how much time you spent doing things you didn’t like to impress people who don’t care. Suddenly it’s very easy to be disciplined.
Whenever possible, simplify your life. The idea behind this is simple: with less to worry about you can do more. When simplifying, focus on what will grow. The magic of this approach is that as you get rid of things in your life that were stagnant, you free up time for things with potential. Aside from the tangible improvements that occur in your life as a result, there is also a psychological benefit. Watching things you contribute time to grow automatically increases motivation.
Lastly, dwell on your dissatisfaction. It’s hard to change if you don’t mind where you are. Everyone knows things can be better, but too often we settle for things being “just good enough” or “not bad”. Drop this attitude if you want to develop discipline because discipline is work. It’s not fun but it lets you do fun things. If you aren’t disgusted with your position in life, you’ll quickly lose the taste for hard work that comes with discipline. You’ll start asking yourself “What am I doing this for? Things aren’t even that bad!” And then you’ll stop and nothing will ever be great.
The bottom line is that discipline comes from a desire to be more and better. If you cultivate that, everything else is on autopilot. The rest is up to you.