Self-discipline is all about fighting your greatest enemies to your success: procrastination, laziness, fear, self-doubt.
Will Smith said a very wise thing on running:
” […] When you’re running, there’s a little person that talks to you and says, “Oh I’m tired. My lung’s about to pop. I’m so hurt. There’s no way I can possibly continue.” You want to quit. If you learn how to defeat that person when you’re running. You will learn how to not quit when things get hard in your life. […]”
Once you are able to mute the voice of this little person, you are going in the right direction (this is step #1). But muting it once or twice is not discipline. It’s just a quick boost of motivation.
Let’s get to the next step:
There is also a great lesson we can learn from Jerry Seinfeld, whose rule is to never break the chain.
Here is what he meant:
when you want to achieve something and you already know what it takes to get there, commit to doing all the necessary tasks on a daily basis. Put a yearly calendar on your wall (electronic one can work as well). Whatever the thing is, that you want to do, do it daily and mark it on your calendar once it’s completed for that day.
After some time, you will develop a chain made of small marks.
The key to self-discipline is to don’t break that chain. No matter how loud the little person inside of your head screams and begs you to stop, never break the chain.
Last tip: go big or go home rule doesn’t apply here. Start small. You can’t change a long-term problem overnight, because the truth is:
“Whoever wants to reach a distant goal must take small steps.”
– Saul Bellow