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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