What Made Me More Disciplined
I have a secret I want to share with you today. I wasn't always this disciplined. As a matter of fact, I wasn't disciplined in several areas of my life.
When I decided to change my bedtime from 2 am to 11 pm, it took me over a year to finally get into a consistent sleep pattern. In the beginning, the longest streaks would be two or three nights. Then something would happen (a friend called, dinner delivery was a bit late etc.), and I would find myself up in the middle of the night again.
My negative Self Talk
"I am just this way," I'd tell myself. There's nothing I can do about it. Little that I knew, I was approaching my new habit with the wrong intentions. I was doing it just because I had heard, "it was the right thing to do." To me, that was definitely not good enough. In the book Better Than Before, Gretchen Rubin talks about four different personality types, one being the Questioner. When I read that book (and I recommend you read it as well), I finally realized why it was so hard for me to stick to these lifestyle changes. As a questioner, I am always looking for a valid reason to undertake a new challenge (or even simple tasks for that matter). I guess I didn't have a good enough reason to stick to my new sleeping regimen. After all, the only motivation I had for sleeping earlier was so that I didn't feel tired the following day. I knew myself too well. I was able to survive my entire teens and twenties in a mental state of sleep deprivation. My headaches and migraines were part of my everyday life, and I never thought I could do anything about them. I loved my late nights watching Netflix and eating junk food. They were the only times that I felt truly relaxed and free from my daytime worries.
Now that I knew my personality type, though, I was ready to take on this new challenge. I needed to sell myself on going to bed earlier and sticking to that new schedule. What was in it for me that I genuinely cared about?
The real Reason
Enter a new sense of purpose. One evening, while I was about to go to bed, I came across a video that talked about opening an online business. I knew I wanted to open a business, but up to that point, I had no idea how. I decided to watch the video until the end, and I slowly realized that the amount of time involved in running a project like that was going to be much more than I had thought. I was working a full-time job at the time, and the idea of adding an extra two to three hours a day to my schedule was horrifying. Or was it?... For the first time in my life, I was flirting with hard work and dedication. I had a clear idea of what I wanted to do and how I was going to do it. I am not going to lie; all of this was scary, but I still knew that it was my calling. As soon as the video ended, I shut down the computer and tried falling asleep. The morning after, I woke up with a sense of purpose that I had never had before. Everything was clear. I finally had my big reason to make me stick to the path.
Since then, I have been striving to be better every single day. I am not perfect by any means, but I know that I am continually evolving into a better version of myself.
If you are in the same boat, make sure to look at your intentions. Are you doing it only for some abstract reason, or are you fired up by a deeper existential motivation?
Here's the thing, I cannot see myself working a desk job for the rest of my life. The thought of me leading that type of life gives me an immediate sense of depression. I do believe that I was born to be an entrepreneur, and because of this strong calling, I am willing to push through all the BS that comes my way. I gladly fall asleep and wake up earlier than everyone else. I am happy to take cold showers in the morning. I am excited to have awkward conversations over the phone with my prospects. I love staying at home on weekends to work on my business while everyone else is partying.
If you want to become more disciplined, don't look at the tasks that you should accomplish. You first have to look at yourself and ask why you want to do it, to begin with. If the answer doesn't give you an emotional reaction, maybe it's time for you to look for another answer.