It's components
Difficult or easier?
Is it good or bad?
The decision to discipline yourself to do what works in life
It's now or never
The resistance - not really real
It is the only choice in any sense at all
Implementing it
Affirmations, declarative statements

Lack of self-discipline is not a "character flaw", it is just A MISSING OF A PRACTICE that enables your handling life better.  The "practice" is simply and doably "RETURNING TO THE PATH", when you are off the path that will take you to where you would best go. 

We confuse it with the idea that the process of getting back on the path seems hard.  It is only hard if we do it the wrong way: with force and negative feeling.  Instead, we need to do it the right way, with much greater ease, for tremendous returns and alot better feelings!

Returning to the path is, essentially, a FORMABLE HABIT, constructed just as we construct all of of our habits.  And once we build it, it will be easy and automatic - and serve us powerfully.

We build it "cumulatively", by practicing a bit at a time, but not criticizing ourselves when we do not "do it", just accumulating "credits" for every time we do something that contributes to building the habit - and, eventually, we find we are experiencing it, more and more.

It is not "hard to do", unless we "make it hard to do" by being in resistance to it, because of conflicting needs.  That seeming "resistance" is actually solvable.  We just need to learn the general modus operandi of handling conflicting needs - without adding the suffering! (Read that linked article as it is essential to understanding how  all the pieces fit together!_______________________________________________


Discipline = Keeping yourself on the pathway to your destination

IT'S COMPONENTS (It is a metaprogram, not a single unit, with subcomponents.  To do the whole process, use The Change Worksheet.)

1.  Identify what I want (the destination)

2.  Do I want it enough to 'spend' to get it? (Is it worth the effort? What are the payoffs/benefits?)

3.  A de-cision ("cutting off" of alternatives), a commitment.

4.  Healthy self-talk about it (enjoy the journey)

5.  "State" management (alert, energetic, high resourcefulness)

6.   Designate "The Pathway" (to it, like a map to follow so waste time)

7.   Manage yourself (get feedback, return self to the pathway, accept 'failings')                                   
Yes, you will have to work on each of these pieces in order to improve the whole, but you'll find as you do this that you get some good results even before you've gone far down this path to improving discipline.
(I am constantly adding to and making distinctions in this area. Of course, each of these strategies and tactics that I recommend must work for me as an individual.     I am looking much deeper and then testing it on myself, a test that must be passed in order for this to be valid.  If you are interested in this section use the email link, and then I can prioritize further refinement of this.) 


Is discipline difficult?  Does it make life hard and no fun? 

You'd certainly think so, given the rhetoric around it.  But it is just "the drift", the culture, that is giving it an undeserved bad rep!

Yes, discipline takes some discipline and effort to be installed.  But the irony is that it makes life easier and sets it up to be able to have more fun!  And people who are reasonably well disciplined are happier!  And they are effective in getting what they want!

One of the keys here is to redo the beliefs one has about discipline and which are holding you back from it.

Discipline is a "practice" and as you do it it becomes easier and more automatic since it becomes a Habit.

In addition to beliefs, the underlying issue revolves around whether one takes "feelings" seriously and let's oneself be run by them, for they are not wise indicators beyond the basic physical needs.  Read Feelings - Manage Them Or Be Run By Them.  It is necessary to handle this issue asap, as it affects your whole life!


Definition:  A systematic method to achieve order for the purpose of achieving desired results.   The exertion of sufficient control to stay on a productive path. 

A discipline is often connoted to be a "way" of being such that it gets one what one wants.  The disciplines of meditation or Buddhism or Taoism or yoga are all "ways" to get what one want.  Let's use the word "discipline" simply to mean "the way" to what is wanted. 

Note also that, over time, in any culture, a basic definition of a word accumulates additions related to it.  Many of those additions are "connotations", which are additional meaning added to an explicit meaning.  Initially, these are separate, such as in the connotation of "mother" suggesting also love, care, tenderness, etc.  But in many cases the connotations become (get collapsed into) part of the definition in the dictionary, being improperly confused. 

It is confusing and adds conflicting beliefs when one "collapses" two or more meanings into one word, so that the one word means a number of different things.

The word "discipline" by itself is a good thing, simply like following a road that goes directly to where one wants to go.  It, however, has been collapsed by most people in this culture with concepts that are used to attempt to cause discipline, but are not discipline itself.  To "discipline" oneself, or another, now has the added definitions of self-sacrifice and/or punishment/pain, neither of which is necessarily part of discipline!  

Yes, to a child or to anyone who has not looked at it "in the light" and not used logic and reasoning it "seems" to be those two things and it seems that this is a "truth", but it is not!  As part of maturing, this is an area to look at and to re-decide and re-define, separating out the untrue beliefs and re-forming them into true, helpful beliefs.

When meanings are collapsed together they result in confusion and disorientation and conflicting motivations, so it is necessary to "uncollapse" them.  In doing this, we learn to distinguish (tell the difference) between the words so that we have clear "distinctions" between them.  In life, it is necessary to use this skill if one wants an effective life - read Making Distinctions, which is part of the set of skills discussed in the Learning And Thinking section.


What meaning has been added: 

   discipline = self sacrifice

   or: = "strict control to enforce obedience"

The original meaning involving training to achieve the above was polluted by adding some of the means the culture uses to attempt to control

Punishment was used as a "means of disciplining", causing most people to collapse the idea of "discipline" with the means of trying to get a person to follow the way to getting the desired results that the punisher wanted.  Punishment and the idea of inflicting suffering as a means of motivation has been used very injudiciously.  Those who felt that they had sufficient authority and power over others used authority and the idea that one must obey authority as an expedient means of getting done what they wanted done.  While it may have, at times, succeeded in imposing order on a person, the primitive mind "made up" that the authority person is "bad".  The authority person then became an object to fight against, in a mistaken effort to fight against a threat to one's being.  It is not the authority that is "bad", but the actions taken that were unskillfully employed.  As one matures and sees this from a higher perspective using one's higher brain, one sees that there are many alternatives for getting what one wants besides resisting authority.

was stuck in there, injudiciously, along with the idea of obeying authority as a means of control, plus imposing order on a person.  Obviously, those have connotations to them that are fearful, connotations that do not belong at all to the actual definition of definition.  And the authority's "power" was based on "fear", on at least the person tying to please the authority and/or to avoid punishment.


To exhibit discipline one must have

1. Accepted the reality of the necessity of it to get what one wants and
2. Developed the decisiveness to implement it.  Yes discipline is a character trait but not having it is not a 'character weakness'; it is just a missing of something we'd like to have..

To discipline someone is to instruct a person to follow a particular code of conduct "order."  It is more of a gentle corraling back to order and need not include punishment or "imposing" something on someone.

"Self-discipline refers to the training that one gives one's self to accomplish a certain task or to adopt a particular pattern of behavior, even though one would really rather be doing something else."  (Wikipedia)  I disagree, technically.  It is the choice to do something that one feels will have greater benefit than something else that may have more short term enticement. 

It is the means to getting what you want, not some way of taking away what someone wants!  (E.g. taking away privileges to punish someone, thus 'disciplining' them.)

Deciding to be disciplined and to develop that ability is the diametric opposite of being a victim, where you hope circumstances or other people will get you what you want (or be the outside force to push you into doing something).  It is also the opposite of addictive behavior as one is not hoping to be passively showered with good chemicals or to avoid uncomfortable chemicals in one's body.  TV is an example, though smoking and drinking are better examples.


As with control, discipline is neither good nor bad in and of itself, but there is good discipline (well implemented) and bad discipline (punishing to oneself or another). 

On this site, we have thrown out the concept of good or bad and made it clear that the only valid reality concept is that of workability: it either works or it doesn't.


If you were totally rational about your choices in life, you would simply do the next item on your list that is the next highest return for your time.  (Of course, "rational" also has an undeserved bad rep from those in The Drift.)

Put it this way, if you really want to be unconditionally happy in this life, there is no other way than to go get it.  "It" is that which actually makes you happy.

Hoping "it" will come to you does not work.

There is no other way. 

So, without going through all the psychological wrestling about this to "get" you to do it, I suggest that you simply choose it and then follow the instructions below on how to get it to work for you.

Just as it does no good not to accept reality, it does you no good to not accept the reality that you must discipline yourself to get what you want in life.


So, now, choose:

     ___ I will be highly disciplined, learning whatever I need to to develop that
           character.  I see that all major successes , such as great athletes, all
           had to have it and I accept that I must have it to get what I want.

     ___ I choose not to be disciplined and I'll take my (poor) chances that it'll
           work out anyway.


During the discipline process, old brain records will come up offering “discomfort”, but they are only records of the past and they don’t mean anything.  For the primitive brain, it simply means that there are no matching records, so it is "uncomfortable" as it is "designed" to repeat what has been done in the past.  Therefore, it will select watching TV or doing whatever you did in the past to relieve anxiety. 

You need to accept the bit of chemical imbalance (which you feel as "unease") while the brain is trying to get some balance (homeostasis).  But the discomfort chemicals if largely ignored will disappear completely in 10 to 12 minutes.

The irony is that you will actually feel less unease in the long run, as your brain will take the new information and develop new circuits (so that it has matching records that say that this way of being works).  You will feel more ease with your life and your choice of how to live it, as it becomes more and more of a built-in habit.  As you practice, it feels better and better and you become more freed up, especially from anxiety and from fear.  (See Fearlessness.)


Accepting that discipline is the only choice is part of the process of giving up being the victim part of a child by acknowledging that you have your own power and that you are not dependent on others anymore.  And, when you do that, you simultaneously give up the opposite, which is hoping that something good will be "done to you" or "done for you".   That formula doesn't work very well overall, though sometimes we misinterpret getting a few benefits occasionally as "working" (while we ignore all the times it doesn't work and how  bad we feel about ourselves).

Note that happiness is defined herein as being overall pleased with oneself and with one's life..  Note also how disappointed you are in yourself when you do not follow through and you "chicken out" AND you are disappointed because you are also not getting as much of what you really want. 

By choosing discipline, you choose to no longer be in "the drift" and to no longer be "the gradually boiling frog."


If you want to get what you actually want (of course), instead of being run by the past, you must keep in place that which you’ve determined has meaning, value, and benefit. 

Convenience and comfort in the short term are not what work, if they do not align with the long term.  You get to give those up – but the irony is that you will actually feel better.

You already know 90% of what you should do.  Based on that, we’re just going directly to what you should do, educating you more later, as we go.   You'll start realizing the benefits even before you've been educated fully in it.

You must simply decide to do these and then do them.  And while you are doing them you must be learning, as your success rate will be much higher.  We build learning into the implementation process.

Once you've decided what you want, these must be structured into your schedule, so that you don't have to be constantly deciding anew all the time, for that doesn’t work for a smoothly running effective life.  

We also will build in looking at a checklist that you’ll create.  It will help you see the path to stay on.  


So, now, let’s get on with it and see what should be done in Phase I.  

We are doing this in phases as it seems to work better, though you can accelerate to the next phase right away if you wish.  We are building from the simple basics into the higher parts of running life as it can be run. 

We will be deciding what to leave behind in order to get more of what we want.  I can assure you that what you leave behind will not be nearly as valuable as what you will get.

We will use the form "Decision Form For How I Will Run My Life"                              ", which will include these prompts to have you come up with what you want and don't want:

    What I know I should do


Correcting one's misbeliefs and installing correct ones is a part of the process.  Read these initially daily for a month (from your Reminders Notebook)

I choose to install discipline into my life, as I choose to have its benefits and I see that the so-called payoffs for not going into action are illusory and flat out false.  I see that discipline allows my life to be easier and actually facilitates fun.

I consciously choose when to use the strength that is behind discipline at the time that it is needed.  I consciously choose when to set aside time for rest and rejuvenation and recreation, making sure that is placed solidly into my schedule.  I will feel better overall in life and it is likely that I will have alot more time for fun - and enjoy that time more, as there will be no "undones" burden on my mind.

Most of my feelings are but fleeting and meaningless.  I know that I will, however, feel good about having the discipline to do what I need to do!

I am the master of my life.  My feelings (my primitive brain) do not run my life.  I note them and I choose the action that I believe is most beneficial for me. I am the master and manager of my feelings.

Discipline helps me enjoy life and feel good about myself and my environment.  It helps me feel powerful in my life.   It's great!

I know that the discipline of adding system and structure to my life pays off hugely, in terms of productivity and in terms of having committed time slots that are habitually automatically used and in terms of the mind being settled.  The last one is  perhaps the greatest benefit - one no longer is stuck in the stressing cycle about not being disciplined and having lots of undones. 

I simply decide what I need to do and then do it, just as easily as walking across a room.  I simply decide what is the best use of my time at the time and then I do it. 
I take care of my basic needs so that there is no conflict with what I need to do otherwise.


Will Smith video:  The Key To Life: Running And Reading  

Good article:  Self-Discipline As A Key To A Happy Life  - Defined as using your internal will power to choose something better for yourself.  She points out the necessity of having motivation for the long term as a key to developing discipline, like the Buddhist monks who have the motivation to use every thought, word and action to benefit other beings.  A constant reminder is also necessary, as in the Reminders Notebook, on this site.  Use "delay": try holding out for five minutes longer where you would have normally just got up and crashed on the couch.

Find inspirational figures who exemplify discipline: 

Ethics: Dalai Lama, Gandhi, Mother Teresa
Martial Arts: Bruce Lee, Jet Li, Bodhidharma, Ghost Dog
Wealth: Warren Buffet, Bill Gates, Oprah Winfrey, MC Hammer
Character:  Jon Huntsman, Sr. (the businessman, not the governor)
Politics: Abraham Lincoln, Barack Obama, Sarah Palin
Sport: Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods, Michael Johnson


YouTube - enter discipline or self discipline and then listen every morning...

system, structure...
you also get more respect from other people
you're a better spouse and you can get a better spouse (no longer limiting  yourself to another person with slothful standards)...


See also Habits, avoidancedenial...