If only I could be more disciplined.
When I think about the word discipline, my mind instantly conjures up an image of some lanky pimple-faced recruit getting verbally chewed out by his drill sergeant then promptly bending over to receive a righteous dose of boot-up-ass motivation.
Yeah, that’s me…. Militarized! Maybe you’re the same.
Frankly, thinking about discipline isn’t fun. For many (myself included), thinking about discipline means thinking of how lazy you are and how much work you have to do. It’s a recipe to feel overwhelmed – no wonder most people don’t like to think about being more disciplined because let’s be honest… who really wants to do more work?
Which is why we try to avoid the thought of discipline altogether. Whenever we do think about discipline, at best most of us throw it in a magical place called the closet of I’ll-get-around-to-it-ideas forever to gain dust next to the used kitchen appliances your family hawked on you.
We go to the closet from time to time, to browse our thoughts and get a quick high of motivation but frankly, we prefer to leave the whole “discipline” idea there… we don’t want a boot up our ass… that’s uncomfortable.
But I want to shake the sofa. Maybe it’s time we give this discipline idea a try.
What if there is another way to look at discipline and not feel overwhelmed at the thought?
Well, I have predictable news for you… there is.
Below is a guide you can use to improve your thoughts on discipline.
Showing up is Half the Battle
Woody Allen, that witty, weird bastard hit the nail on the head. Maybe he even hit his thumb too. What the Hell do I know? His idea is simple: Showing up is half the battle. Why? Because when you show up to the tasks you need to do, you’re already there, so it’s easy to rationalize you might as well get it done. For me, the two areas in my life that I try to be disciplined in is writing and working out. The moment/hours before I absolutely dread the thought of going to the gym and the thought of writing. However, once I’m at the gym or begun writing for over 10 minutes, I love where I’m at and I’m happy I went there. I truly find that my discomfort is rarely in the activity, it’s in the thought of the activity. That’s why when I show up, I know the hard part is over. So the trick is to simply show up at the activity you are procrastinating. Like Woody said, showing up is half the battle.
Create Before Reading
Oh reading, you are the friendly face procrastination puts on while he stabs you in the back, but with bleeding holes, we come back for more like a fat guy to an all-you-can-eat hot dog stand. Hear me out: I think reading is great, but I don’t think you should be reading when your goal is to write.
Here’s what I mean – I perform comedy and I know that I should be writing jokes to become a better comedian. However, sometimes when I sit down to write jokes, a little thought comes in my head and goes, let’s look up some current events. I need current events to write about. Once I have current events writing will be a breeze. So instead of actually writing, I spend my time doing anything but. Really what I’m doing is mentally masturbating and no work gets done. The kicker is even if I never write, my brain will act like a sympathetic mom. “It’s ok you didn’t write honey, you read and reading is good!” Well, I’m about to play the part of the drunk stepdad telling the kids that Santa Claus isn’t real. What your mom is saying is bullshit.
As writers, we are famous for allowing reading to distract us from writing. I’m here to tell you, don’t do that. It’s ok to read before or after we write but never during. The fact is, if you’re not putting words on paper, you’re not writing. It is that simple. It’s that sober.
If you’re anything like me, you have a mini panic attack when you’re not attached to your phone. I’m no doctor, I can tell you, this thought is not healthy and we all probably need help. Candidly stated – your phone is the enemy of discipline. I mean come on, some of you are holding your phone right now! But fortunately, there’s an easy solution to help us.
Do you know what the best way is to cure an addiction? Don’t bring the addiction into the house. That said, when you’re working on the task at hand, make sure your phone is turned off and in another room. Out of sight and out of mind if you will. People have lived thousands of years without a phone, I’m sure we can manage 30 minutes to an hour without ours. In other words Your friend’s Facebook status can wait to be liked.
Adopt an I Get To Do Mentality
Instead of a stubbed toe, slightly annoyed – dammit I have to do____. Try on a humble, I get to do ____. The simple trick of viewing a negative experience as a positive one is some mental gymnastics you can perform to get the job done.
Hold Yourself Accountable
This is like black coffee – sometimes you just have to drink it. You’re in charge of your life. Realize this, hold yourself accountable, and become the CEO of your life. If you need to get your writing done, walk your ass to the chair and get started. You can do this.
But Be Human
Your mom only has one birthday a year, it’s ok if you spend it with her. You haven’t seen your friends in weeks, it’s ok to hang out with them. Your nephew has a baseball game and he wants you to watch him play. Go ahead and do that. Never forget that you’re not a robot and life happens. If something comes up that throws you off your routine, it’s ok, you can get back on the routine later that day or tomorrow.
That’s it folks, being disciplined is mainly a mental battle. This is good because it means you have a say in this, your voice actually matters. If you want to be more disciplined especially with your writing, please know that you’re in the driver seat and you get choose the speed you travel. With that I wish you luck and hope this helped.
Please like, comment, share and tell me what you think. What do you do to become more disciplined. If this helped you, please post on your social media in hopes this helps someone else.