How to build self discipline

So we all know I have trouble staying focused.

I'm very stubborn and perseverant, and work extremely hard if I have to. But if I can get out of those situations or miss deadlines without consequences, I become the worst procrastinator in the world.

This week, however, I really wanted to try my best at being productive and practising self discipline.

Here's what worked, and what didn't:

TIP 1: Tell everyone what you're going to do

Accountability is key if you have an extreme fear of letting people down. I personally can't stand the thought of disappointing anyone, so if I tell people that I'm going to write a chapter on my book or finish an essay, I'm going to do it, or die a horrible death (by public humiliation).

On the downside though, I also tend to keep all my projects secret because I know this about myself, which turns me into a socially closed off goblin if I keep it up for too long. Public humiliation is scary, and it might work in your advantage. Or it might just kill you inside.

TIP 2: Sit in silence and do nothing

This could also be meditation, but since I can't yet properly meditate, I'll just advice you to spend 10-20 minutes before your most important task in full silence with nothing to do but think.

Have a notebook and pen close in case you get ideas or remember something suddenly.

If your brain is a jungle of story ideas, movies, uni assignments and everything else between heaven and earth (like mine), this is a helpful way to let all those monkeys run free for a while in there before forcing them to sit still and allowing you to focus on one thing at a time.

TIP 3: Run

This takes a longer time to build into a habit, especially if you don't lead a very active life (he he, me), but it's one of the things that have helped me with self discipline the most.

Every time you feel like you have to quit because your body can't keep it up any longer, you just keep running to that tree. Then that trash can. Then that lamp. Then that other tree.

Until you realize you've ran five kilometres and are astonished at the fact that you didn't allow yourself to stop running.

Also, adrenaline feels amazing. Running is one of the best things ever, and I might be biased because I'm addicted to adrenaline, but I'm telling you that running is the fastest way to build up your mental resistance and brain power.

And now for the things that DON'T WORK:

DON'T beat yourself up if you don't succeed.

Mistakes are good for you. You learn faster by making one mistake than by succeeding ten times. Yeah, it sucks. I know you'd much rather be productive and get it right every day. But it's not going to happen.

And you might as well be having fun and rewarding yourself for a good try instead of obsessing over a little mess-up all evening. Even if you don't check off all the things on your to-do list, let yourself watch some Netflix nevertheless.

DON'T do the easiest things first.

It might seem smart to do all the small tasks before tackling the harder, more important ones. But the thing is, you can't fill up a jar with sand and rocks if you pour in the sand first.

Always do the biggest task first, and then the small ones.

Biggest rocks first, then the sand. Or you'll just keep shooting up the big goals and never get anywhere.

DON'T take days off from your to-do list.

This is something I've still not learned, because as I said, I struggle with doing things unless I absolutely have to.

It is tempting to take the weekend off and or not do anything all day if you've been productive the day before. But we all know that it'll just end in a downward spiral of doing less and less or even forgetting that you had a list in the first place.

Make it a habit to do something big and important every day. Small steps create big results. You are allowed to reward yourself and have fun and chill. But you have one hour every day to work on your goals.

One hour out of 24. Just think about it. Don't slack!

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