How to Be More DISCIPLINED - 6 Ways to Master Self Control

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- Hey, what is goin' on guys?

So today we are gonna be covering six important strategies

for improving your level of self-discipline.

Now before we get into the nitty gritty,

I do wanna take a brief moment to define

what exactly self-discipline is,

because when I asked you guys to tell me

about your problems with discipline on Twitter

the other day, I got a lot of answers,

ranging from motivation to distractions

to cell phone addiction, all kinds of things in between.

And while all these answers are legitimate problems,

I don't think that all of them fit neatly

into the category of self-discipline.

Where they do fit is in the broader category

of behavior change, and that is the big goal for most of us,

we wanna change our behaviors to be more aligned

with our goals and our long-term desires.

And when it comes to that general mission

to change your behaviors, I see four main areas

that we need to focus on, one of which is

the cultivation of self-discipline,

which we're gonna tackle in this video,

but also the building of new habits,

which can make that behavior automatic,

the customization of our environment,

which can remove roadblocks and help us resist temptations

by basically removing them, and of course,

the consumption of as much Brawndo as possible,

since it is the thirst mutilator.

But, as you may have guessed,

this video is only about that first area, self-discipline.

And where I wanna start is by asking

and answering two questions.

Number one, what exactly is self-discipline?

And number two, how does it differ from motivation?

Because I think a lot of people

get these two terms confused.

To start, I wanna share a quote from the writer

Samuel Thomas Davies because it actually answers

both those questions in a pretty tidy way.

Self-discipline is about leaning into resistance,

taking action in spite of how you feel,

living life by design, not by default.

But, most importantly, it's acting in accordance

with your thoughts, not your feelings.

Put another way, motivation is your overall level

of desire to do something, whereas discipline

is your ability to do it regardless of how you feel.

And for any of you who've ever woken up thinking,

I don't feel like it, which is all of you, myself included,

you can see now how important self-discipline is.

It's building that baseline that allows you to act

in accordance with your long-term goals,

no matter how motivated you feel.

So, with that being said, let's cover

six important strategies for building your self-discipline.

And we're gonna start with one that doesn't seem

very tangible or actionable at first,

but stick with me here, because this is a mindset shift

that I've found more helpful than any other

self-improvement technique I've tried in recent memory.

(smooth, upbeat music)

To put it simply, when you're trying to change your behavior

forget about the goal you're trying to achieve,

the external outcome, and instead focus on

the change in identity you want to happen.

This is a concept that I first read about

in James Clear's book, Atomic Habits,

which I highly recommend, by the way.

And there's this passage near the beginning of the book

that really encapsulates it well.

So I'm just gonna read it to you here.

Imagine two people resisting a cigarette.

When offered a smoke, the first person says,

"No thanks, I'm trying to quit."

It sounds like a reasonable response,

but this person still believes they are a smoker

who's trying to be something else.

They are hoping that their behavior will change,

while carrying around the same beliefs.

The second person declines by saying,

"No thanks, I'm not a smoker."

It's a small difference, but the statement signals

a shift in identity.

Smoking was a part of their former life,

not their current one.

They no longer identify as someone who smokes.

So, the general idea here is that

once you've embraced a change in your identity,

you're gonna find yourself acting in alignment

with that change.

And if you're wondering why exactly this happens,

the third chapter of Robert Cialdini's book

Influence, The Psychology of Persuasion,

has a great explanation for it.

Essentially, humans feel this natural compulsion

to act consistently with their past decisions.

As he writes in the book, once we have made a choice

or taken a stand, we will encounter personal

and interpersonal pressures to behave consistently

with that commitment.

Those pressures will cause us to respond in ways

that justify our earlier decision.

And shifting my mindset in this way

has been incredibly helpful in the past couple of months.

And the first way that I implemented it

was by starting to think of myself as an athlete.

Now, I've always been a pretty active person,

and I've had a laundry list of athletic goals on my website

for quite a long time now.

But I never really took the leap

and started thinking of myself as an athlete.

And there was some imposter syndrome reasons for this.

But, after reading that passage in the book,

I decided to take the leap and start thinking of myself

as an athlete, not just as somebody who does active things.

And that shift in mindset has done wonders

for my levels of self-discipline in many different areas,

from going to the gym more consistently,

to training harder while I'm there,

to even improving my diet, which has been a lot better

than it used to be over the past couple of months.

So, seriously, if you take nothing else from this video,

I'm puttin' this first for a reason,

start thinking about behavior change

in terms of the identity that you want to embody

rather than the goals that you want to achieve.

(smooth, upbeat music)

All right, strategy number two

is to frequently remind yourself

of why you're being disciplined in the first place.

At the end of the day, we have to have a strong why

for our actions if we want to do them consistently.

And every time I think about this concept,

I'm reminded of a story about the actor, Jim Carrey,

and it goes like this.

After he had arrived in Hollywood

and he was still kind of an impoverished actor,

one day he took out a napkin and he drew himself a check

made out to himself for $10 million,

and postdated for 10 years in the future.

And then he put that check in his wallet

so that every time he'd bring out his wallet,

he could see it and remind himself

of why he was working so hard, what he was working towards.

And this is something that you might find

very helpful to do as well.

Try writing down your goal or the identity

you wanna assume and put it maybe on a sticky note

next to your desk or by your computer

so you can see it every single day

and know that this is why I'm building my self-discipline,

this is the reason for all the work I'm putting in.

(smooth, upbeat music)

All right, strategy number three is to find ways

to embrace discomfort and embrace the resistance

you feel towards doing something

that takes hard work or that's unpleasant.

Just like going to an actual gym and lifting weights

makes you better at lifting weights in the future,

and able to lift more weight the next time you go in,

every time you embrace discomfort,

you're essentially doing a rep of the exercise

that is self-discipline because it is a skill

that can be learned, it is a muscle

that can be built over time.

This is why I'm such a proponent of taking cold showers,

because a cold shower is something

that most people don't want to do.

It's not very comfortable standing under that stream

of ice cold water, and that's the point.

Every morning that you get into the shower

and you choose to turn that handle to cold instead of hot,

you are embracing discomfort,

you're leaning into the resistance,

and that makes you better at doing so in the future

regardless of what the task is.

So, as you go through your daily life,

find ways to embrace discomfort.

It could be cold showers, it could be signing up

for a 6:00 a.m. ROTC fitness class,

it could be takin' the stairs instead of the elevator.

Basically, whenever your brain throws up that

I don't feel like it excuse,

that is an opportunity to build that self-discipline muscle,

and you should take it.

(smooth, upbeat music)

Okay, we are on to item number four of our list,

which is to target the fundamentals first,

and by the fundamentals I mean

the biological necessities of life,

your sleep, your nutrition, and your exercise habits.

These are all crucial to pay attention to

because the part of your brain

that handles executive functioning,

the part that regulates your desires and you impulses,

requires a lot of energy and regular rest

to function at peak levels.

Always remember that you are first and foremost

a collection of biological systems,

all of which require the right inputs

if you wanna get the best outputs out of them.

And, I know, it's easy to picture the brain

as separate from all of this,

as existing in this metaphysical realm

where the only needed fuel sources are motivation,

and determination, and wholesome memes.

But, the brain needs rest, and it needs exercise,

and it needs the right balance of nutrients

just as the rest of your body does.

So, if you're sleep deprived,

which, judging from the amount of views on this video,

you probably are, or you haven't gotten enough exercise

regularly, or your diet is crap,

that is where you should focus your discipline first.

(smooth, upbeat music)

And that brings us to our fifth item on the list

and it pains me to say this one

because I personally hate doing it but,

you may wanna try meditation.

And the reason you might wanna do this

is that meditation has been shown scientifically

to help people improve their levels of self-discipline.

In fact, a 2013 study at Stanford University

showed that people who went through compassion training,

which was a specific meditation program,

were better able to regulate their emotions afterwards.

And this is crucial for remaining disciplined

and being able to make rational decisions.

Now, an easy way to get started would be

by using guided meditation, which you can use

through apps like Headspace and Calm,

or through many free videos here on YouTube.

But the form of meditation that I've always practiced,

which I think is better for the development

of self-discipline specifically,

is a form of what's called zazen meditation,

where I simply sit and concentrate on my breath

with my eyes closed.

And when my attention is inevitably pulled away

by a random thought, I work to notice that,

and let that thought go,

and then bring my attention back to my breath.

And doing this over the long term

has helped with both self-discipline and concentration.

And like I said, I am not a huge fan of meditation,

it's probably the self-development practice

that I hate doing the most,

but the benefits of doing so are undeniable.

(smooth, upbeat music)

And that brings us to our final item on the list,

which is to practice building new habits.

Now like I said earlier, building new habits

is kind of a separate discipline in the overall pursuit

of changing your behavior.

But, the initial stages of building a new habit

often require self-discipline,

because the behavior isn't automatic yet.

So, this can be a great way to,

not only establish a new habit,

but become more disciplined in the process.

Now, I've got an entire video on building new habits

coming up for you guys in the next couple of weeks,

but until then, remember that for whatever habit

you choose to build, start small, track your progress,

maybe use an app like Habitica, or Strides,

which is my current favorite one, or HabitBull on Android.

Celebrate your wins, and also remember to not focus

too much on purity, on perfect streaks.

Instead, focus on making sure that your trend

is going on an overall positive direction.

And remember that as it is doing that,

and as that behavior is becoming more automatic,

your self-discipline is improving in the process.

Now, if you've already taken care of

those health fundamentals we talked about earlier,

and you're looking for a new habit to sink your teeth into

and to get this process started with,

then one that I might suggest would be taking on

an independent learning project

and putting some daily effort into learning something new.

Perhaps, if you have the same interests that I do

in the area of computer science and algorithms,

not only are these two topics incredibly fascinating,

but if you happen to be the kind of person

who wants to be web developer someday

or wants to be a programmer,

then learning these computer science fundamentals

can really give you a leg up on the competition.

And, if you're looking for a good place to get started,

then you should check out the computer science courses

over on Brilliant.

Brilliant is a fantastic learning platform

for anyone wanting to learn math, science,

and yes, computer science, much more effectively

and much faster than they normally would.

This is because Brilliant takes

an incredibly active approach to learning.

Instead of just passively delivering material

like in a lecture, they immediately throw you

into challenging problems that keep your interest high

and give you something to apply your current skill set to

right from the get-go.

Now, with this approach,

you are going to get stuck sometimes.

Like I got stuck with the sorting algorithms part

in their computer science algorithms course.

But, when you find yourself in that stuck situation,

they do have this incredibly detailed wiki

where you can go look at example problems

and detailed explanations of all the concepts

within their courses.

And once you've done that, you can then go back

to those problems armed with new knowledge and solve them.

And the best part is, while you're doing this,

while you're solving these problems,

in their computer science courses

or maybe in their calculus course

or their course on classical physics,

you're not just getting better at solving problems

within that one topical area that you're focused on,

you're becoming a better problem solver in general.

So, if you wanna start improving your analytical

and creative problem-solving skills across the board

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then you should go over to

and sign up to start learning for free today.

And if you're one of the first 83 people to sign up

with that link, you're also gonna get 20% off

their annual premium subscription.

I wanna give a big thanks to Brilliant as always

for sponsoring this video and being a huge supporter

of my channel, and thank you so much for watching as well.

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