The muscle of self-discipline

No matter how badly we want to start doing something or stop doing something else, we always start strong, run out of steam, and fail to deliver.

Because no matter how strongly we want something, without the self-discipline to deliver, we will never achieve those goals. Motivation is a momentary thing, not a long term solution.

Without finding a way to strengthen and maintain self-discipline, the best-laid plans will only ever be that: plans.

What is the solution? I don't know. I'm still looking for what works for me as well. I think the answer lies in practice.

Practice being focused for short periods of time and then longer and longer. Practice doing the things you don't want to–especially when you don't feel like doing them.

You need the practice to make your will power, your self-discipline, your focus better and stronger. But like any muscle, you need to pace yourself and not wear yourself out every morning and run out of will-power-steam by mid-afternoon.

This is where eliminating decisions and establishing habits becomes so important.

When we have strong daily routines (morning, evening, etc…) we allow our strong self-discipline muscles to remain strong all day long instead of wearing them out by lunch time.

This is because we've eliminated unnecessary decisions and also anything that requires us to constrain our focus to the task at hand. You stick to the task at hand because it’s what your routine is and you’ve been doing that routine for long enough that it has become habit.

Start meditating, start reading, start eliminating unnecessary social media, and practice focusing every day. Practice doing that task you really don't want to just because you don't want to do it. When you get a package, force yourself to wait an extra day before opening it just because it's your self-control forcing yourself to wait and do something you really don't want to.

Strength the muscle and use it wisely. It helps.