“You cannot give 50 percent today and make it up with 150 percent tomorrow”
– John Wooden
I wake up.
My body is tired.
A piece of me wants to go back to bed.
But I know that’s not an option.
Today is my opportunity. Today is your opportunity.
You can move forward, take action, start achieving the life of your dreams.
Or you can go back to bed, watch some TV, drink another beer…
What are you going to do?
Who Am I To Talk About Discipline?
Let me back up for a second. My name is Izzy. I’m 30 years old. I live in Japan.
I used to be a teacher in America, but I hated my life. So over the course of 4 years I made some changes… Some huge changes.
I decided to follow my dream: to become an expert in martial arts, to become a ninja.
So I saved up money, moved to Japan, and eventually found myself in the historical city of Kyoto.
It’s ironic, 4 years ago, I had a job that demanded respect… But I lived with little respect.
I had no discipline.
I’d wake up late on the weekends. I didn’t read anything. I ate whatever food was in front of me. I procrastinated constantly.
I was wasting my life away.
Now things are very different.
I wake up daily at 5am.
I train 4 hours a day in Aikido, a martial art.
I study Japanese 30 minutes a day.
I read a book a week.
I take online courses.
I run my own business.
What allows me to do this? Why am I able to get at 5am and push myself to do these things daily?
It comes down to discipline.
What is discipline?
It’s simple: Discipline is doing the work… every single day.
Can You Be Disciplined?
Here’s an interesting question: Can you be disciplined?
My answer: Yes, without question.
How can I say this?
Because I know who I am, and I know who I was. Four years ago, as I battled with depression discipline had nothing to do with my life.
I woke up unhappy, struggled through the day, came home exhausted, wasted the night away, and did the same the next day.
But now, everyday I strive for discipline.
I strive to be a better person.
I strive to develop my character.
I know you can develop discipline, because of the experiences I have had. I’m not anyone special. I’ve simply followed a series of steps. I’m a dude with a dream who has dared to follow it.
If I can develop discipline, so can you. Period.
Discipline is a Skill to Be Nurtured and Developed
Here’s a question to ponder:
Is discipline a character quality or a behavior?
Is it both?
I believe it is both. Think about the implications of this. If discipline is a character quality and a behavior this would mean you develop discipline by practicing discipline.
And if this is a skill, that would mean you can become more and more disciplined over time.
The question this naturally leads to is:
How do you develop discipline?
Which brings us to the purpose of this post.
The 6 Step Process to Develop Discipline That Lasts
Below I share with you the 6 step process I have gone through to develop lasting discipline.
Step 1: Identify Your Life’s Purpose
Above all else you must know exactly where you want to go in your life. Once you know the direction you want to head you can begin to move like a laser in that direction.
My greatest driving force is my commitment to my life’s purpose. I want to become an expert in martial arts. I want the world to realize it’s possible to turn a crazy dream into a reality. l I want to live in America and Japan.
Knowing this drives my actions. I study Japanese, I run a business to help you follow your dreams, and I train with intensity.
Here’s a quick exercise that can help bring immense clarity to your life.
Grab a pencil and paper. Imagine 5 years have passed. All of your dreams have come true. What is a day in your life like? What activities do you do? What people are in your life? What people are no longer in your life? How much money do you make? How do you make money? Where do you live? How do you feel on a daily basis?
Write, write, and write some more.
Step 2: Identify The Actions You Must Take
Once you know exactly where you want to go in your life then you must identify the actions you need to take to get there.
Don’t make this difficult. Just let your brain flow. Look at your 5 year vision and determine the steps you will have to take to turn it into a reality.
My steps are pretty simple. I need to become fluent in Japanese. I need to train daily. And I need to create content that changes your life… so you can follow your dreams.
Step 3: Take The First Step
Once you have your plan in place the next phase of the game is to take action.
Look at your plan and take step 1. Don’t make this hard. Don’t worry about step 2, step 14 or step 79. Just focus on taking step 1.
When I decided to move to Japan, I started by saving a few dollars everyday. I kept it simple. I put the money in an envelope. Little did I know the doors that would eventually open.
It all started with step 1.
Step 4: Create Your Own Definition of Discipline
You probably were expecting something about discipline way sooner. But developing lasting discipline doesn’t work that way.
You first need to know your purpose, develop a plan, and begin to execute. Once you have that in place you have the essential building blocks to start developing true discipline.
There are 2 very powerful questions that you can answer to develop discipline. In this step I’ll give you the first question.
What does discipline look like in your daily life?
It’s just logical. To develop discipline you must know what discipline looks like in your own life. By reflecting and answering this question you will be creating a picture of discipline.
Answering this question will also help you identify what to start doing and what to stop doing to develop discipline.
Step 5: Determine The Impact of Discipline On Your Life
Now, that you know what a picture of discipline looks like I’m going to give you the 2nd powerful question:
What impact will it have over the next year if you practice discipline daily?
Basically, this is establishing a purpose or “why” behind the discipline.
Here’s the bottom line: discipline is not easy, but if you know that your daily actions are taking you to a place you’d love to go than you are drastically more likely to partake in discipline on a daily basis.
Step 6: Assess, Adjust, and Act
Taking time to step back and reflect on your life is critical. It allows you to grow from your experiences and will help you identify the steps you need to take next.
Once a week find a relaxing spot and answer the following questions:
1. What actions did I take that are moving me towards my vision? (Keep doing these)
2. What is preventing from achieving my vision? (Stop doing these)
3. What do I need to start doing to accelerate my progress? (Choose 1 new action).
Use this to guide your next steps.
Discipline Is a Consequence
There is an unfortunate misunderstanding about discipline.
The misunderstanding is that discipline is some magical force that some are just blessed with.
That’s not the case. Discipline is a consequence of knowing where you want to go in your life and knowing how to make it happen. The stronger your purpose for fulfilling this vision, the more discipline you will have. Plain and simple.
What has held you back from being more disciplined in your life?
Share your own strategies that have helped increase your daily discipline.