5 Actionable Ways to Become More Self-Disciplined

5 Actionable Ways to Become More Self-Disciplined

A note on discipline (00:00:00)

  • Discipline involves making work enjoyable rather than forcing oneself to do unpleasant tasks.
  • The aim is to make work feel effortless and enjoyable, like a downhill journey.
  • Overcoming the initial resistance is crucial, and discipline is essential during this phase.
  • Ryan Holiday exemplifies self-discipline through his apparent enjoyment of his work and life.
  • To achieve self-discipline, set clear and specific goals, break them into smaller steps, create a plan, eliminate distractions, and practice self-compassion and forgiveness.

1. The Main Thing (00:03:36)

  • To improve self-discipline, focus on a few important tasks rather than attempting too many things simultaneously.
  • Prioritize tasks and eliminate non-essential activities.
  • Consider seeking therapy to enhance emotional well-being and mental health, which can contribute to better self-discipline.
  • Limit goal setting to three or four per year to avoid feeling overwhelmed and inconsistent.
  • Ask yourself what you would do if you had limited time each week and prioritize those tasks.
  • Avoid taking on too many commitments, as this can lead to feeling overwhelmed and less likely to be self-disciplined.

2. Progress Not Immediate Success (00:08:56)

  • Progress is more important than immediate success when adopting a new habit or mindset.
  • Lowering the bar for action can help overcome perfectionism and increase consistency.
  • The Fog Behavior Model (B=MAP) suggests that motivation, ability, and a prompt are necessary for behavior to occur.
  • Start with small, easy actions and gradually increase the difficulty over time.
  • Develop a generalized skill of self-discipline that can be applied to various aspects of life.
  • Trust the process by repeating the same action multiple times and gaining a sense of its rhythm.
  • Enjoy the process by recognizing and overcoming challenges along the way.

3. The Lower Self & Higher Self (00:14:15)

  • The concept of a "higher self" and a "lower self" explains the tension between long-term goals and immediate gratification.
  • Internal Family Systems (IFS) therapy recognizes that we have multiple different "characters" within our brains, each with its own needs and perspectives.
  • IFS therapy aims to get these different characters to communicate with each other and find a middle ground, rather than suppressing or ignoring certain aspects of ourselves.
  • Acknowledging and accepting the concerns of different parts of ourselves can help us find compromises and make decisions that align with our long-term goals.

4. Flexible Routine (00:18:29)

  • Lack of structure and routine can lead to inconsistency and decreased self-discipline.
  • Creating a flexible routine around desired activities can improve self-discipline and prevent burnout.
  • Focus on general principles rather than specific routines for flexibility and structure.
  • Set a minimum viable session goal to maintain consistency.
  • Use the ABC goal system (A goal: Ideal scenario, B goal: Alternative vigorous exercise, C goal: Minimum activity) to ensure progress even with limited time or resources.

5. Stick Don't Switch (00:24:26)

  • Pick one thing and stick with it through ups and downs.
  • Sticking to a method improves self-discipline and consistency.
  • Ryan Holiday's prolific writing is due to his consistent use of the same note card system for 20 years.
  • Constantly changing productivity apps or systems increases cognitive burden and reduces productivity.
  • Reducing cognitive friction by sticking to one system lowers the initial hump of starting a task.
  • The secret to success is picking something and not quitting.
  • People who stick to one system produce more output and are more disciplined and impactful than those who frequently switch.
  • Seneca's concept of "emia" refers to tranquility and staying focused on one's path without distractions.

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