Quick Tip: Discipline is the Key to Your Improvement (in Anything)

People look for the shortcut. The hack.

There is only one way. The way of discipline.

~Jocko Willink

One area of my training that I’m always trying to improve upon is my mental strength.

I’ve said several times that it is a weak link of mine, and it is something that I’ve been working to shore up for the past several months.

Part of my plan for 2018 is to share a minimum of one lesson that I’ve learned as it relates to mindset/mental strength as a quick tip each month.

Some months may have more than one, but at a minimum each month will feature one quick tip to help you strengthen your mental muscle.

One of the best ways to really learn something is to teach it, right? I know I really need to learn these lessons, so hopefully, me sharing them with you will help us both.

The Way of Discipline

Discipline Equals Freedom

Discipline Equals Freedom: Field Manual by Jocko Willink

I picked up this book before Christmas, and it landed on my shelf (like many book purchases of mine do) without more than a quick glance.

I don’t buy books to not read them, but I usually have another book or two going already. So when new books come in they join the queue and I get to them eventually.

When I cracked this book for the first time, the first page talks about the way of discipline.

The claim is simple: if you want to be successful you need discipline.

Not shortcut. No hack. No cutting corners.

Just discipline.

Hitting Close to Home

If I’m honest, I’m lacking in the discipline category.

I hit the snooze button instead of getting out of bed in the morning. I take walk breaks when I don’t need them. I stay up dicking around on social media instead of taking my ass to bed at the appropriate time. (9:00 PM, in case you were wondering…)

I don’t like to think of myself as lacking discipline, but facts are facts.

And when it comes to being disciplined, I have A LOT of room for improvement.

Become More Disciplined Every Day

Discipline is tricky.

It’s not exactly the kind of thing you can improve upon incrementally. There really isn’t such a thing as “halfway” when it comes to measuring your level of discipline.

Either you did what you said you were going to do or you didn’t. Pretty cut and dry, yes?

So how then does one go about improving one’s level of discipline?

By working at it.

Every. Single. Day.

You remember that bit from above about how there is no shortcut and no hack?

Same rules apply to becoming a more disciplined person.

By practicing discipline you become more disciplined. Sounds a bit meta, but it’s true.

Trying to outsource your discipline may help in the short-term, but to really become more disciplined it must come from within.

You must commit to becoming more disciplined every day, and avoid getting frustrated when you fail.

Note that I’m not saying that you should be ok with failing.

As you work on becoming more disciplined, you will fail. But if you keep working at it, ie continue to be disciplined about practicing discipline, you will continue to become more disciplined.

Every. Single. Day.

What does discipline have to do with becoming a better runner? A lot. #runchat Click To Tweet

What Area of Your Life, Running or Otherwise, Would Benefit From a Bit More Discipline?

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4 replies
  1. Matthew Ricardo
    Matthew Ricardo says:

    Wow the opening read from the book just really hit home. I made sure I was up and active and want to keep ensuring I do that. So easy to get that extra hours sleep, but today I see it as I gained an extra hour of making myself a better person.

  2. Kate
    Kate says:

    I really enjoyed this post & episode of the pod! One of my goals over the last year or so has been to become more productive; self-discipline has been a HUGE part of that. I’ll definitely check out Discipline Equals Freedom; I also recommend anything by Jeff Sanders (his podcast, his productivity academy, or his book)– discipline is a big piece of what he’s all about, and he’s a runner too!

    • Denny
      Denny says:

      Thanks for the heads up Kate. If Jeff is a runner, maybe I’ll see about getting him on the show to share some discipline tips with all of us!


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