One thing that has been a constant throughout my life has been discipline because through martial arts I learned the value of discipline and the innumerable benefits it yields. Through discipline we tackle life’s obstacles much better, we deal with stress in a healthier way, we get more done and faster, we are overall more functional as human beings. Oftentimes discipline must be developed, which on its surface can seem like a daunting challenge, but it doesn’t need to be when you practice it incrementally.
Herein I will be going over some tips to easily develop discipline over time, doing small things, minute changes that compound over time. When I have taken in students who lack discipline or have a client in my mental health work who requires more discipline, these are the exact tips I give to them and have seen amazing results over the years. You can pick and choose which tips you want to do, or even stick to one, then add another, then another over a period of time.
In any case, I am positive you’ll see the benefits of discipline in your life by sticking to doing some of these and when you do, shoot me an email and let me know.
1.) Write a list – Write a list of things you want to do or accomplish by the end of the day and by the end of the week and check them off as you do them. Be sure to check the list daily several times, as a refresher of things you WANT to get done, and by want, it doesn’t mean NEED to get done, just things you’d like to see completed. Things that you need to do, should be done firstly, before attempting to do anything you want to get done, so bear that in mind.
2.) Make your bed – Wake up and make your bed, even if you get nothing else done in a day, you’ve made your bed and accomplished that. This should be how your day begins every morning and is a powerful way to start the day off right, as you start it off by accomplishing something.
3.) Create routines – I’m sure you’ve heard of morning routines and the like, but it doesn’t have to be relegated to mornings. A good morning routine would be to make your bed, wash your face, brush your teeth, and have a healthy breakfast. Aside from the morning routine have set times for lunch and dinner, have a 30-60 minute workout scheduled in there, and maintain consistency.
4.) Meditate – Meditating for 5-10 minutes a day will have a huge impact on your overall wellbeing, as well as your discipline. Meditation helps clear the mind, helps in focus, helps with stress, keeps one living in the moment, if you keep practicing consistently it builds discipline and maintains a sense of peace and calm.
5.) Keep a diary – This might seem like a child-like practice, but journaling helps you to stay on track, to remember key dates, times, and happenings, and even when you think there’s nothing to write, jot down how you feel, what you’re thinking about, and any plans you might have. Every night write in your diary, be sure to date each page and to write down everything and anything about you or that’s important to you. Imagine having a friend you can tell literally everything to and know they won’t spill the beans… that’s your diary!
6.) Sleep routine – I already mentioned creating routines, but a sleep routine is especially important, as it sets you up to recharge and refresh. A good sleep routine should be brushing your teeth, writing in your journal if you do so, getting dressed (or undressed) for sleeping, and anything else important to your getting a good night’s rest. Whatever your sleep routine is, it should situate you in a state of readiness to sleep, it should relax and calm you.
7.) Schedule in “Me” time – So what’s special about this? For one, you need to decompress from the stresses of the day, but keep it scheduled so you don’t overindulge in me-time. It’s important to maintain the me-time per the schedule and to start and stop when it says so, even when you’re having a lot of fun.
8.) Speaking of schedules – A schedule is important to keep your day on track, to maintain free time and work time and to keep the two in check, to maintain a workout schedule, to keep an eye on how time is spent (and not wasted), when to eat, go to sleep, et cetera. Keeping a schedule is a huge step in being disciplined and keeping everything on track!
9.) Make time for the big 3 – Mind, body, and spirit are the trinity of a happy and healthy person, so it’s ultimately important to make time for all three. Read a book, meditate, take a course, learn something new, practice some music, those help care for the mind; workout, go for a walk, go hiking, do yoga, practice martial arts, those will care for the body; read something holy, find time to pray, study a topic of spiritual importance, go to your mosque, church, or synagogue, those will help the spirit.
10.) Wake and sleep schedule – Science has well established the importance of getting the right amount of sleep, whereas discipline establishes that going to bed and waking up at a scheduled time allows you to get enough sleep while maintaining and building discipline. If you decide that your bedtime is at 11 pm, you know that you must get ready for bed before that and can ensure that you’re in bed on time and if you go to bed at that time, you know you have to get up at 7 am to get the recommended eight full hours of rest.