We all know how to improve our lives. The hard part is having the self-discipline to do it over time.
But what if I told you that spending ten minutes a day could change your life forever. Ten minutes a day and you can have the self-discipline you need to control your life.
We lack discipline because we don’t love ourselves.
The word discipline has connotations of difficulty and punishment. We feel like having good discipline is restraining. We think freedom, or the ability to do whatever we want, is the opposite of discipline.
This could not be more wrong. I agree with Will Smith when he says self-discipline is self-love.
Will says ‘self-discipline is when you forgo immediate pleasure for the exchange of long-term self-respect.’ It has nothing to do with punishing yourself.
Imagine telling someone that you can’t sleep or wake up early because you don’t have the self-discipline. Sounds a little unfortunate, but somewhat reasonable. Now imagine telling that same person you can’t sleep or wake up early because you don’t love yourself enough to do so.
Self-love means loving yourself so much that you stop yourself from doing the things that will hurt you in the long run. It’s loving yourself so much that you choose to skip the party to study for that exam. It’s loving yourself so much that you choose to put down the cigarette for a longer life.
To master self-discipline, you must learn to love yourself. Not in the arrogant, ‘I am the most important’ way, but in the self-respecting ‘I deserve my best’ way.
Like any fruitful and loving relationship, it takes time. So the first thing you should do to build self-love or self-discipline is to spend time with yourself. Before I go on, here’s just a short list of successful people that prioritize spending time with themselves.
- Dan Lok – Serial Entrepreneur and Millionaire Mentor
- Tony Robbins – Personal Development Leader and Entrepreneur
- Ray Dalio – CEO, Bridgewater Associates
- Steve Jobs – Founder, Apple Computers
- Hugh Jackman – Actor (Wolverine!)
- The list goes on and on…
From looking at what the people above do, here are 6 easy steps for you to master self-discipline:
Wake up ten minutes earlier every morning (Have a regular sleep pattern to do so consistently).
- Take 3 minutes to picture the 3 of the things, experiences or people you are grateful to have in your life. Picture every detail.
- Take 3 minutes to picture 3 parts of your vision you want to make into reality for the future. Again, be as detailed as possible
- Take 2 minutes to imagine yourself completing the two to three things you want to do today that would make the day great. (Make plans the day before for what you want to be done)
- Take 1 minute to affirm who you are and who you want to be. You can use affirming statements such as ‘I am confident’ or I am productive’. Help these qualities become a part of your identity.
- Take 1 minute to be present with yourself, don’t think of anything and just focus on the peace in the moment
- Take the last minute to get out of your bed and make your bed
In the words of Tony Robbins, ‘if you don’t have ten minutes a day, you don’t have a life’. So make time and commit ten minutes a day to this. You can spend more than ten minutes of course, but I wouldn’t recommend less.
Over time, you’ll be surprised at how this little habit can change you. These ten minutes aren’t religious, but if you have a faith you can turn it into a themed prayer.
If you search online for how you can master self-discipline, you’ll find long lists of tips and strategies. I personally don’t have the discipline to follow such big lists so the above strategy works for me, and it will work for you too.
Discipline over time becomes a habit.
Habits don’t require much willpower meaning you can focus your attention on other important items if you’ve built the habits. Turning your good disciplines into habits one at a time is the key to success.
In Charles Duhigg’s The Power of Habit, he goes over keystone habits, which are habits that have a positive ripple effect in other areas of your life. By committing to ten minutes every morning, you’ll hit a few important keystone habits which will help you build other great habits.
Here are a few keystone habits you’ll hit:
- You’ll be setting goals consistently – setting goals and achieving them will help you win in the long term. Remember, focus on setting the goals. Don’t worry if you don’t achieve it in the day. You’ll get better at selecting goals you can complete over time.
- You’ll be grateful – starting the day off with gratitude will give you a mindset of abundance. This will help you remain positive over time. It will make every day better. I mean imagine starting your day by reading about the latest tragedy in the news. No thanks!
- You’ll start every day with a small win – I hope you’ve read my article on the power of small wins. Making your bed every day will help you start every day with an easy win
- You’ll be more focused – By focusing on the future you want and who you want to become, you will be more intentional to do things that will get you closer to your vision
- You’ll respect yourself more – People demand your time and attention all day long. By starting the day with yourself, you give yourself the time and attention you deserve before battling the day’s demands.
Last but most important, these ten minutes will teach you the power of consistency. Once you turn these ten minutes into a habit, you can start creating consistent progress in other areas of your life such as exercise, planning, writing a journal or even saving money.
Mastering self-discipline requires you to love yourself, and understanding that every bad decision you make is a form of self-sabotage.
My hope is that you can love and respect yourself enough to move towards the greater things that are yet to come, so you can do the greater things that are still to be done.
The first thing you can do to lead the disciplined life is to give yourself ten minutes a day to be present in the moment, to be thankful for what you have, to remind yourself of why you are alive today, to look forward to the future, and to set yourself up for the best day you can.
Sounds like a lot, but it only takes ten minutes a day. What can you lose?
Take Action: Take ten minutes every morning to go through #1-6 above. Do so for the next two weeks (and hopefully longer).
If you’ve turned this ten-minute morning routine into a habit, feel free to tell me how it is working for you by commenting below. If you want my weekly insights and the latest updates, subscribe below!