I just want to share with you guys what I've learned after 4 years of studying personal development. This is stuff that I wish I understood years ago, and it's now starting to change my life.
- We are in control of ourselves much less than we think.
It's been said that we are creatures of habit. 90% of what we thought, felt, and did today are the same as yesterday. We like to think that we are in control, but in fact we are not. So stop beating yourself up if you fail to do something through lack of self-discipline. It's okay. It's called human nature.
- Awareness + Willpower = Growth, but we only get very little of both.
In order to change something in our lives, whether we want to change our habits, thought patterns, or the way we feel, we first need to be aware of it, and more importantly, we need to have the willpower to change it. We need both, but we only get very little. I would say we only have conscious control over ourselves 5% of the time. 95% of the time we are at the mercy of our habits.
- Use the very little awareness and willpower you have in order to create habits that increase awareness and willpower.
Remember that we are only in control 5% of the time? Use that to create a morning ritual that will increase your capacity for self discipline. I read a quote that went something like this: How we start our day is how we live our day, and how we live our day is how we live our lives. Starting your day right will set the tone for the rest of the day. For example, if you eat a healthy breakfast, you'll much more likely to eat a healthy lunch. Whereas if you eat junk food for your first meal, you'll think that since you already failed, you might as well eat junk food for your next meal, and the meal after that.
- Start to slowly shift the 95% unconscious behavior from bad to good.
Once you have ingrained self discipline increasing habits, you'll be in a much better position to change the other bad habits that you have, or add good ones. Remember to add/change one habit at a time, since it is hard enough to change one habit. Start with the easiest ones. Over time you will gain more and more self discipline to overcome the worst addictions you may have.
Here are the habits that I've found improve self discipline:
- Exercise (aerobics and strength training)
- Healthy diet
- Adequate sleep
- Cold showers
- No fap
Remember that we can't really be in control all the time. You can train your self discipline to mastery, but another part of it is just adding good habits and removing bad ones.