Alongside having a growth mindset, the most important belief system to have in your life is being self-disciplined.
I define self-discipline a bit differently, and less rigidly - It’s the habit of making the right choices, and taking right actions, consistently despite circumstances.
By this definition, we all have moments where we lack self-discipline. We make the indulgent choice in our diet rather than the healthy one. We get lost in distractions rather than focusing on the most important thing to do in the day. And the problem is, these lapses in self-discipline often create a slippery slope that lead to more poor choices.
That’s why it’s so important that we have checks and balances in place so that when we start to drift, we can be routed back on track.
One of the best ways to bring yourself back into your core habits, daily disciplines, and high-performance routines is to have rebound days. On these days we remind ourselves of our protocols, renew our commitments, and add extra priority and accountability to the choices we make.
Tactically, this requires intentionality. When we are more prepared and organized with how we want to show up, we make it easier to do so. Rather than it always being a battle of will power, you can set up your environment for success to make desired good choices easier.
After a cheat day in your health or a distracted day in your work, you make a detailed schedule for the next day that represents the level of performance you want to hold yourself to. This then makes it easier for you to fit in the exercise, healthy meals, self-care habits, and work tasks that allow for you to have a great rebound day.
The faster we can rebound and get back into our optimal daily routine, the easier it will be overall. The further you drift the harder it is to work your way back.
So if you had a day where you didn’t live up to being the person you wanted to, my primary recommendation is to schedule out what tomorrow will look like instead.
Detailed scheduling is what I call a Super Habit - A small, easy action that creates disproportionately positive results for you. Taking 5 minutes to plan your next day creates hours of focus.
There are 9 Super Habits in total that are outstandingly effective just like this. They each help you create healthy, productive, high-quality days with very little effort. If you want to learn what the other 8 Super Habits are, click here and I’ll tell you all about each one and the single daily process that makes you consistent with each!
The Power Of A Commitment
There’s a really powerful shift that happens when you make a commitment to something. And to be clear, a commitment is not that you like the idea of something, or you have the intention to do something... But that you’re fully prepared to make something happen.
This means you’ve set up your environment to be conducive to success, you have clarity on exactly what you’re hoping to do and the plan you’ll be following to do it, and accountability that provides a consequence to not following through on it.
Now here’s the shift. When you make a commitment, your mind is no longer occupied with determining if you want to do something and it begins figuring out how you’ll do it.
Read that again: When you make a commitment, your mind is no longer occupied with determining if you want to do something and it begins figuring out how you’ll do it.
We can get so caught up in thinking too much. Is this really what I want, is this the right way to do it, is this even worth it? And while those are important perspectives to have, it’s very possible to overdo it. Overthinking is a form of self-sabotage that keeps you stuck exactly where you are.
Making a commitment allows you to convert all of that mental energy into something more productive and actionable.
Let’s say you want to release weight. Is it 10 pounds, or is it 50? Is it before or after the Holidays or this big work push? Overthinking will cause you to conclude something that is comfortable, which usually means that you decide to delay what you actually want.
So make a commitment: I’m going to lose 10 pounds in 10 weeks. Perfect! Now you get to start thinking about what you need to do to make that happen. Or better yet, I’m going to lose 10 pounds in 10 days. Same thing - How? Well your mind will find a different set of solutions to meet that new commitment.
A bit divergent but relevant, this is at the core of what Dr. Benjamin Hardy calls 10x thinking. When you set a goal, or make a commitment that is 10x the scale as what’s comfortable, it forces you to think differently about the problem.
But the primary point here, the only way you get into that solution-oriented thinking is by first making a firm commitment (one that is clear and known to yourself and others), and then your mind will start figuring out how to get started.
So what’s a commitment you can make today to reach your goals? It’s worth considering, isn’t it?
"Be here now."
In a world that is busier, more distracting, and trying to hijack our attention more than ever, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to be present. Rather than having a moment to ourselves waiting in a line, we compulsively check our emails. Rather than focusing on preparing our meal, we have a podcast or Youtube video on in the background.
But if we’re being honest, does constantly seeking stimulation and splitting our attention actually offer the quality we want in our lives?
Thatcher Wine wrote a book about "Monotasking". The punchline is when we do one thing at a time we do everything better. It seems counterintuitive because you’d think that doing more would lead to more. But when it comes to creating outcomes, we need to consider quality just as much as we consider quantity.
This became top of mind for me when Best Life Community Changemaker Joan Bucchino shared a story about an experience she had with her brother Jimmy. They were driving in Upstate New York together, very casually, and Joan in the passenger seat was on her phone playfully texting someone. Jimmy, recognizing the opportunity asked her to “Be here now.”
So Joan responded, put her phone away, became present with her brother and they spent some really quality time together instead.
Sadly, weeks later Joan’s brother was diagnosed with terminal cancer that took his life very quickly. As it turns out, this time in the car was the last time they had a real opportunity to connect. Because she was reminded to be here now, Joan was able to make one last memory with her brother.
There’s so much more dimension to the present moment than we allow ourselves to see. When we choose to be present, to be here now (and not off doing something else or with other thoughts in the back of our minds), we allow the moment to deliver everything it has to offer.
My encouragement to you is - Take a moment to immerse yourself in the here and now, be present with what’s happening around you, or else you might be missing something magical.
Buffaloes Run Into The Storm
There’s a really interesting phenomenon about buffaloes that has a great lesson embedded in it. Shoutout to my brother for sharing this with me!
As wild animals, buffaloes are exposed to the elements. They’re tough beasts with thick skin, coarse hair, and big horns. They’re built to survive externally, but they also have a really unique mentality.
Apparently, when it starts to rain or storm, most animals seek cover and warmth. That, or they try to run away from it. But not buffaloes - They charge straight into it in an attempt to get to the other side.
Rather than avoiding our problems, or finding ways to be more comfortable amidst difficult circumstances, what if we were to attack challenges head on?
This is what would happen.
First, we’d be in the storm for less time. We would take bold action to work through the problem rather than just manage it. This creates a subtle mindset shift where we’re choosing the discomfort rather than inheriting it. Regardless of the external circumstances, we’re better off seeing them through this lens.
And second is it builds resilience. The storms in life will never stop coming. But as we get through more of them we get stronger. This helps us become more capable of navigating adversity and getting good results from it. We acclimate to the discomfort a little bit and expand our capacity.
The next time you’re facing something challenging, try being a buffalo. What would charging into the storm look like? What would a resilient response be? Embody that and see how empowered you are to take down whatever is in front of you, and discover what’s on the other side.
The Hard Right Vs The Easy Wrong
Throughout the day, every day, we’re confronted with choices. These choices test our will, challenge our character, and prey on our impulses.
But when we consistently make the right choices we prove to ourselves just how capable we are. This invites a wave of confidence, self-belief, and motivation that ripples into every area of our lives.
We often know what the healthy, productive, positive thing to do is? Yet sometimes we don’t choose that path. Why is that?
Hard-wired deep into our psyche is an inclination to prefer immediate gratification. As our minds try to keep us safe and alive, it is primarily concerned with the short-term consequences of things. As long as we always make it to the next moment, we’ll always survive.
Unfortunately, optimizing for the short-term experience often comes at the expense of our long-term well-being. In fact, one of humanity’s fatal flaws is how inclined we are to seek short term gratification.
But seeing the bigger picture for ourselves and the life we want to lead - We know that often we need to reject our short-term impulses in service of long-term gain, and the decision for which path we go down happens in a moment.
My coach Chase Chewning calls this “the hard right vs the easy wrong”.
The hard, disciplined, effortful thing to do, acts as an investment in your future. It works just like a financial investment. Rather than using the money to buy something that makes your life better or more comfortable right now, you save the money so that it can deliver benefits to you at a later date. The short-term sacrifice creates the long-term reward.
Let’s compare this to the ‘easy wrong’ when we make the easy choice. It’s easier to press the snooze button and stay in bed, reschedule your gym session for another day, not stand up for yourself, get fast food, or scroll on social media instead of building your career.
It feels comfortable and cozy in the moment, but do it enough times it pulls you off trajectory and slowly leads to a the weight, financial strain, or relationship trouble that you didn’t want.
The tool I’ve been using to take the ‘hard right' rather than the ‘easy wrong' is asking myself “What’s the victory in the moment?” It has steered me in a positive direction, and my health, daily productivity, self-confidence, impact, and fulfillment is improving because of it.
You’ve probably heard something like this before, but it's always a good to be reminded of it!
When It Doesn't Help To Worry
We’ve all been there, worrying about something that might happen. It stirs up anxiety, stress, and nervousness that consumes our personal experience.
Like all emotions, worrying is trying to do something for us. It’s making us feel a certain way in an attempt to influence our behavior. Ultimately worry is a survival instinct that forecasts what might happen so that we’re more prepared to respond if it does happen.
But in today’s society, there are so many causes for worry and the system is very sensitive and often activated unnecessarily.
There’s an iconic quote by Randy Armstrong that goes “Worrying does not take away tomorrow’s troubles, it takes away today’s peace.” I find it to be true.
In most situations, does worrying serve us? Is it helpful to wait impatiently for a loved one to tell us they made it home safely? Is it fair to worry about not having enough money to check out at a grocery store?
My answer to this is - When worrying brings your awareness to something and influences you to take a new action, then yes. Other than that, then no.
Here’s a scenario I experienced last week that demonstrates this. I was driving on the freeway and passed a sign that said “33 miles to the next gas station.” I checked my tank and saw I had two bars, and kept driving. Almost immediately upon passing it my gas went down to 1 bar, and soon thereafter my “low on gas” notification popped up.
This caused me to worry. What if we run out of gas? What if we get stranded? The worst case scenarios went rolling through my mind.
But then I thought about it more objectively - With this information, what decision did I want to make? I could try to turn around and get gas or continue on for 33 miles. Using my understanding of my car’s gas fuel efficiency, and past experience on how far I could go with that amount of gas, I chose to keep moving forward. I made a decision that gave me calmness and offset the worry.
That’s not to say that I didn’t worry at all, I continued to check my fuel gauge to see how I was doing. If new compelling information presented itself I would consider making a new decision, but without issue I made it the 33 miles to fuel up.
I share that story because we’re presented with situations every day that cause us to worry. But with a new perspective and frame of mind, it doesn’t need to hijack our quality of life and we can more confidently navigate forward.
What's True Is Relative
One of the primary sources of conflict we have in society is that we disagree on what’s true and what’s not. The reason it gets so argumentative at times is because having your truth invalidated is a painful thing. But the reality of it is, very often truth is subjective. What’s true is relative.
Here’s my favorite example of this: When you shine a light on a cylinder, what is the shape of the shadow? Well if you shine it from the top, the shadow would be a circle. If you shine the light from the side, the shadow would be a rectangle.
So what’s the right answer? What’s true?
As you can see there are two genuinely right answers.
In his book “Start With Why, Simon Sinek shares an explanation for why this happens so often in our lives. We operate with underlying assumptions that are often hidden or not communicated. This means that as one person draws a conclusion from one set of assumptions, and another person draws a conclusion from another set of assumptions, they can be vastly different and equally correct. Sinek calls these “perceived truths”.
This difference can be so significant that in “Start With Why” Sinek presents a set of facts that are equally true for John F Kennedy and Adolf Hitler.
Then going one step further, we often assign the label of truth to our subjective interpretation. When we feel a certain way, or interpret a set of facts a certain way, our interpretation becomes our truth. But we have a tough time differentiating between what feels authentically true to ourselves and what’s actually true. It’s in this gray area that our truth can be challenged, invalidated, or dismissed in such a way that it threatens our sense of self. And when that happens we dig deeper into our stance as a way to protect ourselves.
All this to say, context is important. Having all of the information clearly laid out is important. Separating your personal conclusions from the undeniable facts is important. And the next time you start to feel an anxiety from what you know to be the truth being put into question, layer on this perspective that truth can be a little more gray than black and white.
"It's my life, it's now or never."
I’m not a huge 80s rock fan, but there’s a Bon Jovi song lyric that delivers a deeply motivational message. The lyric goes "It's my life, it's now or never, I ain't gonna live forever, I just want to live while I'm alive".
This strikes a deep chord in me. One of the primary focuses in my life right now is to find more life in life. If we have the blessing of receiving some form of privilege, our time on Earth is about more than just staying alive. It’s about feeling alive!
This is the feeling I’m chasing - an electric, buzzing, vibrating energy that makes you feel deeply inspired and motivated by how I’m showing up in life.
And I’ve made progress on this as every day I feel myself dreaming bigger, being bolder, pushing myself further, loving deeper, and experiencing more. And as I embrace this energy I’ve gathered more clarity and purpose in my life, which I feel is accelerating me and bringing to fruition the impact I want to make.
And if you’re looking for the path forward Bon Jovi gives it to you: "It's my life, it's now or never, I ain't gonna live forever, I just want to live while I'm alive".
The only moment we have control of is the present. The only time we can impact is now. So it’s our responsibility to take advantage of that because if you don’t truly live in the “right now”, then you never will.
It’s a good intention and I bet it’s not the first time you’ve heard it, but look at what often happens. Many people delay their life and wait for a different time when things are more settled. They postpone chasing their dream or transforming their health because it doesn’t make sense right now.
But don’t you want to make the most out of life? Don’t you want to have meaningful experiences, incredible moments of connection, and be proud of the difference you made because you went for it?
"It's my life, it's now or never, I ain't gonna live forever, I just want to live while I'm alive".