What are daily activities that can help me become more disciplined?

First, let’s get one thing out of the way. If we’re being completely honest, there’s nothing really attractive about the word disciplined. I don’t know about you, but to me is sounds harsh, almost like a punishment that is imposed by someone or something outside of ourselves. And if we frame this question in such a way, it’s much tougher to actually come up with a solution that is helpful to us.

But here’s a different approach that works for me.

For me, it’s a simple math equation:

Self-discipline = freedom.

Well, what does that mean exactly?

It means that when we are self-disciplined, we allocate our time more optimally so that we can afford to do what is important to us. Yes, this means getting our work and responsibilities done first so that we still can devote energy to doing the things that are important for achieving our personal goals. By being self-disciplined, we give ourselves the freedom to truly express our highest self.

Now back to the original question. Let’s rephrase it so it sounds like this:

What are daily activities that can help me become more disciplined and give me more freedom to do what I believe to be important?

Here are 5 different answers to this question. Try one out today and see how it can help you.

Answer #1. Begin each day by asking yourself this question: “What is the one thing I am committed to completing today?”

This technique trains your brain to focus on which goals are important to you right now, and it forces you to prioritize the goal you believe to be the most relevant in this moment. How do you practice this habit? Put it in writing. Write it in big bold letters on a sheet of paper and hang it on your bedroom or bathroom wall. Read it out loud as you start your day (for example, as you’re brushing your teeth or getting ready for work or school). Come up with an answer on the spot and answer it out loud. Then follow up by taking action: focus your energy throughout the day to completing your one thing.

Answer #2. Tap into your willpower early.

As soon as you start your day, chances are you’re overwhelmed with the amount of things you need to do, so it’s natural that you procrastinate on some of those things (okay, many!) and postpone them for later. Big mistake. Why? Because we all have a finite amount of willpower that takes us through the day. If you want to focus on priorities, work on them early. Do that task that you’ve been putting off all week before lunchtime. Write up a plan for the school or work week ahead of time. Finish up homework you’ve been putting off because you’d rather do something more fun. You’ll be glad that you did in the evening when it’s time to wind down and relax.

Answer #3. Train yourself to start the day with a quick yet effective morning routine.

There are many benefits to having a morning routine. It can make you feel super productive at the start of the day, it can give you focus, it can provide you with a sense of achievement early in the day, and it can even give those 24 hours your life more purpose. In addition to all of that, a morning routine gives you time (that precious commodity we all seem to be running out of!) to do what you consider important to your personal development, and gets you closer to achieving your goals.

Answer #4. Take care of your essentials.

Self-discipline is not something that is externally given to us. It is a choice we make every single moment of every day, and we become responsible for the choice (or choices) that we make. We are disciplined when we take care of the essentials: we know how to eat what’s healthy to give our body enough energy and optimize our brain’s performance, we make physical exercise a daily habit, and we practice a nighttime routine to help us unwind in the most relaxing way so we get the sleep that we need.

Answer #5. Create a peaceful place in your mind.

More important than tidying up your apartment or house, it will benefit you greatly if you regularly work on keeping your mind clean and uncluttered. Why? When it’s not full of jumbled thoughts, confusion and worry, it can work its real magic. And how do you do that? By practicing mindfulness through meditation. This small practice doesn’t require a lot of time, it’s simple to follow, and it has many benefits, including better focus and more concentration. You can try it early in the day so that you prepare your brain for the day ahead, or you can practice it at night so you have more restful and calm sleep. Download the Headspace app to start with a simple 10-minute session.

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