Three Cs of Self-Discipline
Welcome to the second lesson of the course. Having revealed the three types of motivation, next I’ll introduce you to the Three Cs of self-discipline and why it’s essential to introduce them into your life.
The first C we’ll discuss is…
I like to say that self-discipline is not an event, but a process. It’s not like one day you’re lazy and the next you have the willpower of a Buddhist monk.
Commitment is a continuous process of choosing delayed gratification over instant little rewards. It’s shifting your attitude from an event-oriented mindset to a process-oriented mindset.
If you want to go on a diet and you’re looking for a magic pill that will help you lose weight without permanently changing your nutritional habits, you’ve already lost. You need to commit yourself to the process of eating healthy for the rest of your life.
If you want to build a business, it’s not about engaging in money-making schemes that can give you quick income. It’s about committing yourself to providing value to your clients, day in and day out.
Think strategies, not tactics. Long-term results, not unsustainable ones. Focus on the daily process, not the final outcome.
A study by psychologist Angela Duckworth and her colleagues shows that the cousin of self-discipline is grit—the passion and perseverance to achieve your long-term goals. It’s strongly associated with being conscientious.
People who are conscientious are thorough, organized, efficient, industrious, reliable, and systematic. This mix of traits makes them more self-disciplined and ambitious.
If you aren’t naturally a conscientious person, you can develop this trait by paying more attention to the structure of your daily routine and your thoroughness, efficiency, and reliability. Focus on implementing more order in your life. Create systems, keep your desk tidy, be on time, keep your promises, and pay more attention to details.
Repeated practice will help you gain the traits necessary to develop the work ethic and grit to stick to your goals for the long term.
The last C necessary for powerful self-discipline is confidence.
Low confidence can make you believe you’ll never be able to launch a successful business, lose weight, or learn a foreign language. Since you don’t believe you can do it, you won’t even try. And if you don’t try, you’ll never build confidence needed to achieve your goals. To battle this problem, focus on small wins to push your limits.
For instance, if you can’t imagine yourself mastering a foreign language, start by learning a few simple words or phrases. Memorize them, and if possible, use them with a native speaker. Then try something a little bit harder, like learning some sentences or simple grammar rules.
When you gain initial momentum, you’ll build up your confidence and realize that you actually can master a foreign language with enough time and dedication. The key is to start with a low-resistance activity that will help you slowly start stretching your comfort zone.
Implementing these Three Cs in your life will make a huge difference to your self-discipline. Tomorrow, we’ll talk about how to hold yourself accountable—a simple technique that can dramatically strengthen your resolve.
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