"Discipline is choosing between what you want now and what you want most," - Abraham Lincoln, 16th President of the United States of America
"So what's the rule with a schedule? Well it's not a bloody prison! That's the first thing that people do wrong," said Canadian Psychology Professor Dr. Jordan Peterson in one of his lectures. It's on YouTube by the way, you should check it out.
I have no idea how many times I keep going back to that lecture when I feel lazy and just don't feel like staying committed, staying disciplined, to my ideal daily schedule.
Sometimes laziness gets the better of me, and I won't stick to the schedule. I won't lie to you, it's happened quite a lot
But there are other times when I wake up at 5am, pray, meditate, and go for a walk, exactly how my ideal schedule starts for the day. There's just something about those days where I feel amazing, and the thought of my dreams are so powerful on those days that I'm constantly keeping myself in check, keeping myself disciplined.
Throughout these past few months during quarantine, I've been trying to figure out how to stay disciplined everyday, from consistently working out at a set time to consistently reading at a set time.
Now, I'm starting to figure it out. It's just like what Dr. Jordan Peterson said. "It's not a bloody prison,".
Whenever we make a schedule, something vital is required for you to actually follow the schedule day after day. You have to ask these questions to yourself, "Why am I making a schedule? What will it accomplish? Will I give myself room for mistakes?"
Once you answer those questions for yourself (take your time on answering them. You really need to understand why you're making the schedule, so it can give you as much value as possible.), you have to figure out how to stay disciplined with it.
If you're like me, you know that mental toughness alone is not going to make you a disciplined individual. Yeah, mental toughness is the driving force of staying consistent with it, but there are certain things you can do to make your journey a lot easier.
Here are three simple things that have helped me become more disciplined:
Adjust your environment.
Too many times have I woken up in the morning, mentally preparing myself to take a walk and eat a healthy breakfast, but my room is a mess. I don't know about you, but when I see a messy room, it doesn't get me going right. I end up eating some junk instead and procrastinate. That's why now I've been making sure my room is clean and organized before I go to sleep.
Waking up is the first thing we all do everyday. So why not start out the day with a refreshed, winning mindset? Clean your room, and make it look like the room of one of the most successful people on earth.
2. Surround yourself with like-minded individuals
You have the power to adjust who is allowed to spend time with you for the sake of your own intellectual and moral progress. My High School Sophomore English Teacher Steve Schultz once said, "Be the CEO of your own company,". Personally, this has been resonating with me since I heard him say it, and has been a huge driving force in helping me get to where I am today. It may sound harsh, but to stay disciplined requires you not only to adjust your material environment, but your human environment as well.
There will always be people in your life, whether family or just people you know in school or at work, who come in with a depressing, negative vibe. They think that all problems in their lives are because of someone else. These people will party as much as possible for no reason and do minimal work. They are the wrong people to associate yourself with.
Now I'm not saying cut off all contact with them. You should still love, cherish, and help them, but they should be the last people you go to for any advice whatsoever. They should be the last people you call your own 'company'.
Keep like-minded people close. it may seem hard at first, but if you know what qualities to look for, it'll get easier and easier. For me, I try to associate myself with people who are workaholics, because if one day I'm slacking off, my workaholic buddy can pull me right back up. They're pretty inspiring to me. They keep their heads down, striving to work hard for what they want in life, and don't give up until they attain what they deserve (A mindset every dreamer has to have).
3. Remember your dream
Something so vital to staying disciplined is to constantly remind yourself what it is that you want to achieve. For me, it's to become the greatest professional tennis player I can be, on and off the court. For you, it can be something completely different (Although it would be cool if you have the same dream as I do haha). Whatever it is, keep it in your head at all times. Before you do anything, ask yourself this: "Is this going to help me achieve my goals and make my dream a reality?" This is called self-examination.
All disciplined individuals understand that only they themselves are responsible for their actions. They will constantly self-examine themselves to see whether or not they're doing the right thing.
Of course, no matter how disciplined you become, you will occasionally fall short. Take ownership of your faults and understand that you are a work in progress. Just remember your dream.
So there you have it. If you implement these three things, I guarantee you will become a more disciplined individual. Don't get me wrong, though. It's going to be a difficult challenge, and it may be more difficult for you than others, but your life will improve tremendously. Just like what Abraham Lincoln said, you have to choose what you want most more than what you want now.
Discipline is hard, but like all hard things in life, it'll be worth it.