Do you have poor self discipline? You are very well aware of what you should be doing but somehow you still aren’t doing it?
You aren’t alone with that. In fact, most people don’t have self discipline. Wouldn’t you agree? Most people know that eating too much sugar or drinking too much alcohol is bad for them. Still, they are doing it.
Most people know they should work out more, or do more to go after their goals. But nothing happens. Even people with relatively good self discipline face days where they don’t feel like it. Some days you might be super motivated to get things done, the next day not at all.
You don’t feel the same every single day. After all, we are human beings and not machines. But this is also the reason why – quite frankly – self-discipline shouldn’t be your key to success. Relying on your self discipline and waiting until you feel like doing something isn’t enough.
Instead, use other ways that make achieving your goals possible. If you implement the things we’ll show you into your life, there is less pressure on your willpower as you have other ways of accomplishing what you want.
You will also get to your goals much faster. Training your discipline takes years of hard work and even then there might be days where you don’t get it right. Below you’ll find the 5 reasons why self discipline sucks and what you can focus on instead.
Your willpower is never as strong as your environment. So, even if you had great self discipline, if your environment isn’t right it will tear you down.
What exactly do we mean by environment? We mean everything you surround yourself with. Your physical environment but also the people in your life. Those are both factors that can stop you from doing what you want to do.
Have you ever heard the story of the crabs in a bucket? A man was strolling down the beach and he saw a fisherman collecting crabs in a bucket. But the bucket had no lid. So the man asked the fisherman: why is there no lid, won’t the crabs crawl out again? But the fisherman replied: if it were only one crab then I have to use a lid. But if there are several then there is no need to worry. When a crab tries to escape the others tear it back down again.
Sometimes, the people in your life are like those crabs in the bucket. You are determined on changing, on making a new decision. But your environment is not supportive of that. Often it’s the people closest to you – your family and friends – who aren’t supportive of your new goal. They rather want you to stay the same. To stay the person they know you as. So they tear you down.
For example, if you want to lose weight and decide to stick to a diet or a workout plan, your friends or family might be the first to doubt it. Why you are doing that? How come you won’t you eat the cake I made for you? Why would you rather workout than hanging out with me? It’s really hard to stay disciplined with the people in your life who don’t support you.
Don’t Rely On Self Discipline – Rely On Environment
They might not do so with malicious intent – maybe they just don’t know better. They are probably afraid to lose you if you change too much. But it’s a cold truth that you can’t change when you are in the wrong environment.The environment you’re in right now might not be supportive of where you want to go. Click To Tweet
Your environment is powerful and there is little success in trying to fight it. Instead of fighting it – change your environment.
How can you create and restructure your environment so it’s easier for you to accomplish whatever it is you want to accomplish? Maybe you want more success? Maybe it’s a health or a fitness goal? Whatever it might be, start adjusting your environment to make it easier for you.
For example, if you don’t have time to go to the gym, you can make some adjustments to your environment. Have some dumbbells around, or maybe even a treadmill. But even if you don’t have that, you can still exercise on your floor.
So if you know what to do but you are still not doing it, then you might want to evaluate your environment. You’d be surprised how a few changes in your surroundings are more powerful than your willpower.
Most of us live up to other people’s expectations. It might be conscious or subconscious. Either way, most people usually don’t want to disappoint others. This is also known as the Pygmalion effect.
The Pygmalion effect was first discovered in school classes. They took random classes and conducted an IQ test on the children. Then, they told the teacher that 20% of the children in the class would have above-average potential. The researchers handed a list of names to the teacher – but those names were actually completely random. It did not reflect the actual IQ of those children.
After some time, the children were tested again. Now, the thing was that the children who supposedly were smarter really gained more IQ. This means, the teachers expected those children to be smart and the children subconsciously lived up to that expectation.
Now, you might think this is a bad thing. If you live up to the expectations of others then others can determine your success. They can influence you. But we can actually use this effect to our advantage. How so?
Instead of only relying on your self discipline, here’s what you can do: tell people about your goal. Tell them what you want to do so they’ll expect you to follow through. Most people would think I will work on that and when I’ve accomplished it I will tell others about it. They think they have to wait for results before they share what they are doing.
You want to do the exact opposite. Tell everyone about your goal. Declare it to the whole world. If you do that, the world will keep you accountable.
You Make The Rules
In fact, it’s exactly what Dan Lok did on his YouTube channel. When the channel had 10,000 subscribers, Dan announced that he will grow to 100,000 by the end of the year. And he did it. Then the next goal was to reach 1 million. He declared it in one of his videos and accomplished it again.
But why is telling others so powerful? It’s because as humans, we don’t want to lose face. We want to look good in front of others. That’s why we live up to their expectation. When you tell others about your goals you will keep it up much easier and rely less on your self discipline.
On days where you don’t feel like it, you will remember what you told others and do it anyway. If not, they will nag you and ask you what happened to your goals. There is no discipline needed. You just do it because it’s what you are required to do.
Self discipline is especially hard to rely on if you want to form new habits. Simply because it’s very hard to establish new routines. As humans, we are creatures of habits and we don’t want to change.
When you rely on self discipline then you have to push very hard. Every day you go in with force and willpower to see it through. That’s exhausting and most people don’t stick with it. What can you do instead? Use integration.
Integration means that you take what you want to do and put it into your existing schedule. For example, go to the gym every morning after you brought your kids to school. You are integrating the gym time because you are already out of the house.
Or, if you prefer to stay at home you could walk on your treadmill while you are on a phone call. Whatever it may be, don’t look at it as an isolated thing. Find a way to integrate it with the things you are already doing.
When you rely on self discipline alone it’s almost guaranteed that you will procrastinate. Then after a while, guilt kicks in and you feel even less like doing it. But when you integrate, you don’t actively have to think about it. You don’t hesitate, you just do it. The decision making is taking out of the equation.
Your self discipline also loses against your identity. What do we mean by that? When you want to do what you should or want to do it’s not enough to change your behavior. Instead, change your identity first.
Let us give you a perfect example. When you are a smoker who wants to quit smoking you probably will find it very hard. You’ll try to use willpower to withstand the urge to smoke. But think for a moment about a non-smoker. Do they have to worry about resisting the urge to smoke? Not at all. Having a cigarette doesn’t even cross their mind. Because they have the identity of a non-smoker.
That’s the power of identity. Your acts and behavior will follow it. So, what can you do to change your identity? Often, it’s enough to change the way you talk about yourself. For example, the smoker who wants to quit can use it like this:
If somebody offers them a cigarette, they might want to say, No thanks, I’m quitting smoking. But that means they are still thinking about their old identity. What she or he can say instead is No thanks, I don’t smoke.
It’s subtle but it makes a huge difference. This technique works because of something that is called “consistency bias.” Just like we want to live up to expectations, we also want our identity to be consistent. We tend to act in consistency with our identity. We do so, even if it doesn’t make sense. So, simply stating your new identity can already help and it’s definitely stronger than your discipline alone.
Finally, your self discipline will also be weaker than any process you create for yourself. What is process? Imagine it like a structure or a system that you put in place.
To understand why you need a process, let’s go back to the basics. Why do you want self discipline in the first place? You want to be able to do what you need to do to reach a certain goal. A goal that you set for yourself and means something for you.
You can think about it this way, your goal is the destination and the process is your journey to that destination. The goal is the outcome, the system is the process that gets you there.
So, a goal alone is not enough because you would only rely on your willpower – and as we all know willpower isn’t predictable. A process is predictable because it’s always the same. Dan Lok always says commitment is a commitment with a formal structure. When you know exactly what structure to follow it’s much easier to follow through.
How To Create A Process
So, how can you create a process? How can you implement a system that will support you?
The first step is to evaluate your current situation. What are you currently doing? What’s working and what needs improvement? You identify “the gap.”
Let’s assume your goal is to read one book a week. So, you would assess how many books you currently read. Maybe you read two books a month, that makes 24 books a year. Reading one book each week would mean 51 books a year. The difference between the 51 books and 24 books is your “gap.”
In the next step, it’s time to bridge your gap. In order to achieve your goal, what do you need to do each day? This is also called reverse engineering. It means you know your goal and now you break it down to what you need to do monthly, weekly, and daily.
For our book example, you would estimate how many pages you need to read each day and how much time you set aside for it. Then, you can integrate your habits into your daily life. Maybe you want to read each morning? Or in the evening? Or even after lunch. Find something that you do daily and link the new habit to it. You will be much more successful than with willpower alone.
Don’t Rely On Emotions
Here’s something most people get wrong. When they plan to do something, they wait until they feel like it. The problem with that is, emotions aren’t very predictable. As we said, sometimes you might be motivated and other times you don’t feel like it at all.
The issue is, most people think they are their emotions. They let their emotions control them. When really, you aren’t your emotions. You are also not your thoughts. Look at your thoughts and emotions as “information.” They are telling you something but in the end, it’s your decision if you let them rule you or if you rule them.
Everything we shared so far, are powerful tools so you get in control. If you use everything we are giving you here then you can act on your goals. You are in charge.
Your mind and your emotions might trick you into doing what feels good right now instead of focusing on what you want later. This phenomenon is also called “instant gratification.” Usually, we want to feel good right now. If something can give us pleasure right now then we would do it, instead of waiting for later.
If you want to reach your goals, however, you likely have to give up some short-term pleasure to actually achieve that long term goal. Self discipline is weak compared to instant gratification – that’s why you need a different approach.
Productivity Secrets Of A Millionaire?
Have you ever wondered how some people seem to reach all their goals while others seem stuck? How do some people become self-made millionaires while others can hardly pay their rent?
One of the keys to all your goals and dreams is your productivity. Productivity means that you create results in a certain time frame. But when it comes to that most people would rely on their self discipline and their willpower. That’s why it’s hard for them to reach their goals.
Dan Lok is a self-made millionaire and people keep asking him how he was able to accomplish all that. How does he view productivity and self discipline?
If you want to discover more about this topic, the Millionaire Productivity Secrets Video Training might be interesting for you. Dan explains how to achieve more by actually doing less. All it takes are 3 steps. Check all the details here.