If you ever find yourself committing to a goal, vision or outcome and can’t seem to finish, you may have told yourself:
“If I only had a little more discipline, then I’d be able to get everything I want done.”
So you guilt yourself into doing more, only to wind up with the same exact results. I’m here to tell you: the old model of discipline is broken and rarely works. Even when it does, it leaves you exhausted and feeling as if something is missing.
But what if there was a new way to re-frame our relationship with discipline and see it as an act of self-love and appreciation?
Why Discipline Is About One Thing Only
I used to be the guy willing myself to do everything in life. Again, this can work, but we need to define working. Because waking up exhausted, burned out and lacking appreciation for myself isn’t how I define working anymore.
Over years of running and launching businesses and reading anything I could get my hand on, I still felt like something was missing. I’d get inspired, with little to show for it. I’d commit to a bold aspiration, and wake up to an expectation hangover.
Damn. One day, when I was reading Don Miguel Ruiz’s brilliant The Four Agreements, it struck me like a bolt of lightning:
Discipline is not about guilting ourselves towards anything, it’s about not breaking promises to ourselves. Because of this, it’s truly about self-respect, love and appreciation.
The book discussed being impeccable with one’s word, and it hit me: it starts with you. Think about the last time you broke a promise to yourself and how it felt. You likely weren’t in a place of unabashed confidence or belief.
What if, instead, we operated from this new model instead of forcing ourselves to get stuff done?
Testing The New Model
I realized I’d created a pattern of not trusting my own word. I’d commit to things with one foot in and one foot out, only to rationalize why I let myself off the hook and how it wasn’t really my fault.
I started to be mindful of all the promises I was making to myself, including the seemingly insignificant — doing the dishes, taking out the trash, texting a friend saying I’d call them — and actually following through.
I started to follow through on the little things. I started to be more mindful of my language to myself and others. I started to feel the fulfillment which is only found in finishing.
Best of all, I started to cultivate a deep trust and respect for the person in the mirror. This alone built my belief in all areas of life: physical training, business, relationships and my spiritual connection.
I felt more inspired and in touch with myself and the world around me.
If I told myself I was going to wake up at 4:45 a.m. to hit the gym, I did so out of self-respect.
If I told myself I was going to write 750 words first thing in the morning, I did so out of self-appreciation.
If I told myself I was going to have the brutally tough conversation with someone, I did so out of the want to raise my standards.
I’m often in conversations with people who are looking to make their life better. Whether that’s launching and growing their business or getting serious about their health, it’s all the same.
So they go off and hire the next coach, program, seminar or mentor promising big results. And while the experience of starting something new is an addicting dopamine hit, it rarely lasts.
A few weeks later, they’re exhausted and running on fumes. The willpower tank is beyond empty. So they quit.
One person in particular expressed to me they’d spent $35,000 on programs and coaches during the last few years, and he hadn’t seen the results he expected. I came back to him with a simple yet obvious observation: he was the common denominator. Maybe it was time to look in the mirror.
What I’ve found is no transformation will last unless our level of self-worth and deserving match it. In other words, if you don’t feel you deserve to experience freedom, autonomy and your dream income, you won’t put yourself in a position to succeed.
And if you do, you’ll find a way to let it all go.
Embracing The New Model
So what is the new model and how can you apply it to your life?
Simple: start to see discipline as a source of self-love. The more you love and appreciate yourself, the more you’ll follow through and keep your promises. Because you have standards and are unwilling to lie to yourself.
Adopting this model has radically shifted my life and the lives of countless clients. I’ve been able to exponentially grow my income, write books, speak in front of audiences and more, all because I was disciplined.
But instead of it coming from a place of lack, need and scarcity, it came from a place of power and love. Each time, my belief and appreciation for myself grew.
And you can do the same the moment you choose to stop breaking promises to yourself.