Self Discipline Is More Than Self Control
Many people misunderstand what it means to be self-disciplined. They think that it involves taking action at all costs, having the will-power to grind it out, and to never make excuses. This is just a sliver of the full definition that we hear most about because ‘hustle culture’ gives people the motivation they need to take action.
But what I just described isn’t self-discipline, it’s self-control, and certainly there’s a time and place for it - To practice restraint and not have that extra dessert, to get up and get in the gym even when you’re feeling tired, to make yourself step into a cold shower even though you know how uncomfortable it is.
But there’s so much more to self-discipline than self-control. There are subconscious elements to it and environmental factors that are more influential in your self-discipline than your conscious will alone. Practicing self-control requires that things need to feel hard, that you’re actively restricting yourself from something that you feel like you want. Self-discipline is much more grounded and when you set yourself up in the right way, being self-disciplined can actually be the easy thing to do. And here are a few of the ways you can do that.
First is to build a self-disciplined identity. I call this your “Best Self Reflex”. This means that when there’s a choice to be made, you pick the option that is in alignment with the best version of yourself on autopilot. You don’t need to negotiate with yourself or convince yourself of what you want because your default response is an expression of your best intentions. This requires that you build an identity of being self-disciplined, stacking evidence of all the ways that you’re practicing self-discipline, until it incorporates as a subconscious belief you hold about yourself.
Then the second way to set yourself up for self-discipline success is to structure your environment. James Clear talks a lot about this in “Atomic Habits”. If you want to make a desired positive behavior easier to do, set up your environment to decrease the amount of effort and strain required to do it. For something you want to do less often, add friction and pain to make that behavior less desirable.
Get these two things working for you and you can reserve your self-control and will-power for when you really need it.
Now if you feel like you’re not as self-disciplined as you’d like to be (making excuses and exceptions more often than you’d like to admit) or you aren’t consistent doing the key behaviors that you know prime you to show up for your personal and professional life at your very best, let’s start thinking about self-discipline differently and do something to change that...
Today, Monday June 5th, is the first day of the Best Self Breakthrough Challenge and it is not too late to register for it. In this challenge I walk you step by step through a process that will cause you to install that Best Self Reflex in only 5 minutes a day for 21 days. Want more self-discipline, consistency, and support in your life? Click here to register for the challenge!
What To Do When You Don’t Have The Time
Trust me I get it… Life is busier than ever. So many responsibilities, places to go, people to see, errands to complete, projects to keep up. It’s hard to imagine adding anything more to your plate because, where would it fit?
But with all of these things going on, I want you to ask yourself this - Is this the balance that you want in your life?
The current level that things are at is the result of your current environment. The stress and strain are a product of the too many things you need to do. Your health and wellness isn’t where you want it because your self-care is the first thing to be deprioritized with so much going on.
This is a real problem because there appears to be no end in sight as anything you add in would make things even more unsustainable. As to not offset this delicate balance, you choose not to make a change because you don’t want to inherit the unpredictable consequences of it, so you keep things right where they’re at and tolerate the chaos that is familiar to you.
But it’s exactly this cycle of thinking that keeps you where you’re at, reliving the same problems over and over again, and continuing to not have the time for everything you want to do. Further it’s your disinterest and fear to try anything new that guarantees that there’s no end in sight. It’s the way you’re waiting for things to settle down or be more convenient that will ensure it’ll never be the case.
If you want to get a different result, you have to do something different. Plain and simple.
So if you want to create more stillness and peace in your life but you can’t because you don’t have the time for a morning routine with mindfulness… If you feel your good health slipping away and you want to reclaim it but you don’t have the time to exercise more and prepare healthy meals… If you want to have more simple, undistracted time with your friends and loved ones... You need to do something different.
And what I have put together is the most effective, most efficient, most valuable thing you can do that is different. It’s to install what I call your Self Improvement Operating System, the single tool you can use to truly improve every area of your life. And after the 21 Day Best Self Breakthrough Challenge, you’ll have it fully incorporated into your daily routine so that you can consistently make the time for the things and people that are most important to you, live with more consciousness and intentionality, and revitalize your self-discipline so that you can enforce a higher standard for yourself.
This challenge is 100% free and it only takes 5 minutes a day for 21 days to complete. This is the ‘something different’ that will cause everything to shift for the better in your life, and if you want to lock that in before you can talk yourself out of it, I encourage you to register for it right now, even if you’ve already done it. That’s the first-step to a new normal, and you can choose to take it right now registering for the Best Self Breakthrough Challenge here.
“You’re closer than you think.”
When you close your eyes and picture your dream life, what does it entail? Is it a happy and healthy family enjoying quality time together? A strong physique and mindset that gives you confidence? Is it collaborating with leaders and mentors that inspire you?
Whatever it is, listen closely because I want to tell you something important - “You’re closer than you think.”
Life has a funny way of shifting very quickly when you’re intentional about it. You can enjoy quality time with family tonight if you make special plans and put your phone away. You can make some serious progress toward the fit body you aspire for with a month or two of consistent exercise and healthy nutrition. You’re a text message, social media comment, or phone call away from getting the attention of a mentor who wants to start working with you.
All of this is available to you right now and way closer than you think, but there’s one thing getting in the way of you seeing it...
It’s the belief that you can.
You tell yourself you don't have the time like you used to for family and friends. You’ve tried exercise and nutrition plans in the past that didn’t work for you. You wonder why a mentor would even care about you and what you have to offer them. And this lack of belief keeps you from even trying.
Do you know what that guarantees? That none of it happens. That you fail to shape your reality how you want so you settle for the mediocrity of how things are because you’re unwilling to even try.
But like I said before, things can shift very quickly when you start taking bold, intentional, consistent action. You’ll make progress on bridging the gap between where you are and where you want to be faster than you could have predicted. And when momentum kicks in it’ll just continue to accelerate you forward.
This only happens when you do something about… When you take action. And if you’re looking for something to shake you out of your current normal so that you can create a new more inspiring, more productive, more achieving and fulfilling normal for yourself, I’d like to invite you to step up to the Best Self Breakthrough Challenge.
It starts on Monday and over the course of just 21 days together in the challenge you will implement the core life-process that holds you accountable to operating at the next level - Living with less excuses and more quality. Less distractions and more purpose. Less admiring other people’s lives and more maximizing your own.
To learn more about the challenge, and to register, click here to check it all out.
Upgrade Your Engine To Upgrade Your Life
Alright, on Monday June 5th at 9am PT we’re starting another round of the 21 day Best Self Breakthrough Challenge and if you haven’t made the decision to sign up for it yet, I’ve written this article to show you the transformation you can expect when you do.
Many people on their personal development journey focus on acquiring more information.
They buy that next self-improvement book hoping to find the one sentence in it that will unlock everything.
They listen to another podcast episode to hear that new perspective that might shift theirs in a powerful way.
They put in all of this time and effort into learning and it feels productive in the moment but at the end of the day it doesn’t change their outcomes nearly as much as they’d expect it to, and they wonder what they’re doing wrong…
Now don’t get me wrong, education is great! We need new ideas and insights that fuel our growth. But education is so easily accessible these days, and if you’ve been on your personal development journey for a while now, you probably already have more than enough of it.
You don’t need more information to change your life, what you need is a new system to better use all of the information you already have.
Let me demonstrate this by using the metaphor of a car. A car runs on an engine and that engine uses gas as fuel. You need gas to work the engine of course, but at a certain point the engine will work just the same no matter how much gas you have.
Seeking more information in books, podcasts, and TedTalks is like filling up a car that already has a full tank. If you want the car to go faster, to be more fuel efficient, or to be more powerful, it has nothing to do with the fuel and everything to do with the engine.
That’s why you might feel like you’re not making progress or getting anywhere right now even though you’re investing so much time in your personal development. It’s because you’ve been stretching yourself to acquire more information (fuel) when what you actually need is to start getting new and better results by having a new and better system (engine).
Your self-improvement engine consists of the processes and tools you use to hold yourself accountable, to enforce boundaries, standards, and routines, to iterate your habits, to reflect on your performance in key areas on a daily basis, and to intentionally cultivate more self-awareness.
If you don’t have anything of the sort in place then I promise you... You are on the brink of having a massive breakthrough!
And that’s where I want to invite you to join me in upgrading your engine over the course of 21 days in the Best Self Breakthrough Challenge. Through this challenge I walk you step-by-step to install your Self Improvement Operating System, the single tool you can use to improve anything about your life and help you to reach new levels of self-discipline, consistency, performance, and productivity. And all it takes for this to become your new self improvement engine is just 5 minutes a day for 21 days.
Again, the challenge starts on Monday, and if you’re looking to breakthrough to the next tier of your potential, to get the results you’ve been working so hard for, I really hope you join me live in the first session. Click here to register for the Best Self Breakthrough Challenge, for free, today!
The Missing Ingredient To Automatic Habits
For years I was deeply frustrated with my own self improvement. I was reading a ton of books, listening to podcasts, and trying to fill every waking moment with more education. I was hoping that the next thing I consumed would have that world-changing insight so that I could start getting the results I had been working so hard for and that I felt I deserved.
In other words, I felt like all the effort I was putting into my self improvement wasn’t converting into anything, and I didn’t know why. But having been through that and studying this challenge in detail, I now know why.
Taking action is the mechanism for changing your life, there’s no doubt about that. Actions lead to results, and in particular new actions lead to new results. Get consistent with these actions so that they become habits and you’ll begin to compound and accelerate your progress in unimaginable ways.
Is probably what you’ve heard before…
I’d agree, it’s all very true but I’d add one very important caveat - Quality. It’s not just about taking action, it’s about taking quality action. And unfortunately when it comes to our habits they decay in quality over time.
When something becomes a habit, the mind's intention is to drive it to automaticity. This allows us to be more consistent in doing this thing, which is great, but it also causes it to become more unconscious. This means we’re less engaged and less attentive to our activity, which leads to lower quality. Like going through the motions of a morning routine instead of deeply experiencing it, or being half-there in a conversation with a loved one that deserves your full attention, the outcome of your actions depends on the level of engagement you have with them.
The solution to this is to live with more consciousness. To live with more presence and intention in everything we do, immersing ourselves deeper in it so that we can add our best to it. As long as you continue operating on the same unconscious habits you’ll be taking action passively and only within your comfort zone.
This leaves you wondering why your health, finances, and relationships aren’t changing even though you are taking consistent action. And it can be frustrating as you feel a disconnect between the effort you’re putting in and the results you’re getting out, making it harder to rationalize that the consistency is worthwhile.
The best way to have more intention and purpose in everything you do is to become more aware of your habits, check in on them on a daily basis, and reevaluate how they serve you so you can make real-time adjustments to your goals and expectations.
If you have a hard time staying consistent, feel like you’re stuck spinning your wheels in a plateau, and feel frustrated because you don’t have the time right now to do anything about it, let me share with you the most efficient way to take your self improvement processes to the next level...
In just 5 minutes a day for 21 days, I can help you install the life-structure and system that generates fast forward progress in every area of your life. Click here to learn how!
The Roots Of Excuses And Exceptions
James Clear, the author of Atomic Habits, says that “Every action you take is a vote for the type of person you wish to become.” While this is great news because it means that we can create our future for ourselves, it becomes problematic when things get in the way of you actually doing the things you want to do.
Two of the biggest culprits of this are excuses and exceptions.
Simply put, an excuse is an argument you make in your head that uses logic to change your mind on something, or make a new decision. An exception is just a type of excuse that uses the environment and present conditions to build that argument. The caveat though is that this argument is being motivated by unconscious needs and processes. I’ll get to that in a second...
But first, here’s an example. Let’s say that you want to workout on a Monday morning. The alarm goes off at 6am and you’re still feeling tired. While you want to stay firm on your commitment, you may convince yourself that the right thing to do is stay in bed “just this one time”.
Or another example - If there’s a phone call you need to make and you remember it in the evening, you might say “I don’t want to bother them at this late hour”.
In both cases, you’re using logic to change your mind and make a new decision on what you’re actually going to do versus what you said you were going to do. This is textbook self-sabotage.
The factors that motivate your decision-making exist at a subconscious level. While the argument you make is entirely rational and genuinely seems like the right decision at the moment, that’s because your unconscious mind is biasing your thinking.
Your brain is always trying to keep you preserving energy, so it comes up with this story about why you shouldn’t get up and workout “just this one time”.
Your brain fears the result of the phone call you need to make, so it delays the moment by telling the logical story that it’d be disrespectful to make such a late phone call.
Self-sabotage is an unconscious force that prevents you from taking positive action, from doing the things that you ideally want to do. It reroutes your thinking to arrive at a new, more conservative conclusion.
Now here’s the really tricky part - What if your new conclusions are right? What if you genuinely do need rest? What if it is actually too late to make that phone call? It is incredibly difficult to figure out what is self-sabotage and what is genuine sound reasoning.
This gray area is one of the things that keeps us from defeating self-sabotage and ultimately keeps us stuck right where we’re at. If you find yourself making excuses too often and lacking consistency in key areas, it’s likely because you don’t have a process to keep self-sabotage in check.
I’ve found that the best thing you can do is create more awareness around your decisions. To reflect with curiosity about the choices you made so that you can better understand what’s really at play. And to do it in a moment where you have a rational mind, with all the emotion taken out of it, so that you can sit with just your intentions as the person you want to be.
This is something I can really help you with. In fact it’s a cornerstone to what I help you implement through the Best Self Breakthrough Challenge. If you have a hard time staying consistent, catch yourself being lazy, making excuses, or not balancing your life as well as you’d like to, then this challenge is designed to help you start showing up every day as the very best version of yourself in your health, work, and relationships. If you want to give it a try, you can register for the challenge right now.
Mistaking Happiness For Pleasure
Let’s outline a very important difference between happiness and pleasure. We must understand this difference because at the end of the day, the common goal we share in our lives is to experience more moments of authentic joy and happiness. However, if we go about pursuing it in the wrong way we may actually be doing more harm than good.
One of humanity’s fatal flaws is that evolutionarily we were designed to seek instant gratification. As James Clear describes in “Atomic Habits”, what is immediately rewarded is repeated and everything else is avoided. In other words, our unconscious pattern is to do things that make us feel good in the moment, which often conflicts with what makes us feel good later.
To state it another way, our hardwiring for instant gratification creates a short circuit where we engage in things that are pleasurable in the moment but don’t deliver the sustained benefits we’d rather see over the long term.
This is a short circuit - When something feels pleasurable it means that we are experiencing the benefits of doing it in the moment. Here are a few examples of how pleasure can lead us astray:
We overindulge in a meal, enjoying the taste of good food only to feel sick to our stomach later that night.
It’s the desire to have sex with a person that feels good in the moment but later complicates things in a relationship or damages your own self-respect.
We scroll on social media to find little moments of unexpected entertainment and then regret how we wasted our time doing something meaningless.
Ultimately, pleasure can be hollow but it’s enticing nonetheless because our brains crave it.
In comparing happiness to pleasure I do want to make this addition. You can feel happiness alongside pleasure in a moment. The difference though is that pleasure is only concerned with the present moment and happiness considers much more than that. It’s a reflection of how your activity relates with your core values, facilitates your growth and development into who you want to be, and supports your overall happiness and well-being in lasting ways. Examples of happiness include:
Getting word that you passed an exam you studied hard for, opening a door to a new profession you’re excited about.
Spending quality time with a person who plays an important role in your life.
Feeling gratitude for your life and everything that you have in it.
So if you can be more discerning between the two, happiness and pleasure, pursue happiness. It will lead to a much more enriching life where you feel good about who you are and how you’re filling your life with genuine joy.
"Shake it off."
Although it may seem like it, today’s positivity quote was not influenced by Taylor Swift… Too much.
Living a positive life is equally about finding productive ways to work through the negative as it is creating more positive. With that in mind, today’s positivity quote is “Shake if off”.
When someone dumps their negative energy on you, shake it off. When you tried something that didn’t go as well as you’d expected, shake it off. When start doubting yourself and take a hit to your self-esteem, shake it off. It’s a very physical expression but it serves an emotional purpose.
The expression tells you to literally move your body so that you can displace the emotional energy you’re feeling that doesn’t belong, and it suggests that there’s a quick fix to it too. Just a quick maneuver is all it takes to remove whatever it is that’s causing you to feel a certain way so that you can return to the way you were feeling before it.
“Shaking it off” is a skill and those who can do it quickly and effectively can move forward faster than other people. But oddly, the alternative of “keeping it on” can be more comfortable. It feels good to make excuses, feel bad for ourselves, and complain. It’s easier than doing something about it. But it doesn’t serve you and your pursuit toward your best self.
So when it comes time to ‘shake it off’, here are a few ways to do it. The first is to change your physiology. Instead of stewing in bad news you can choose to get moving, go for a walk, reorient your emotions and come back to a rational mind. Another thing you can do is introspect. Feel into the root of the emotion, learn about what might be causing it, and find ways to soothe the source that is causing the negative emotional response to surface.
Keep in mind, this works for emotional experiences that are quick onset and distracting. This is not a recommendation to push away your feelings but rather a way of handling emotions in the moment so that you can do deeper work later if it’s required. It’s best used in times when you need to restore your previous energy quickly because your life demands it. If there’s more to the emotion you were experiencing, it’s very important to honor it and explore it in an environment that is more appropriate.
In sports, you shake off a bad play so that you can quickly refocus on the next. At work you shake off rejection so that you can get back to work to get your next win. In relationships you shake off a poorly timed slight that didn’t sit well with you.
Our emotions serve a very important purpose, but they also can lead to poor decision making and prolonged dissatisfaction. It serves us to find ways to control our emotions, and one of those ways is to shake them off.