My Secret to Self-Discipline

Todd Brison

Okay first I’m going to tell you something really obnoxious, and then hopefully move into something more practical.


The secret to self-discipline is knowing yourself.

That sounds like big, fluffy nonsense, so let me take it back a little bit.

Zero things in life are sustainable if you do not enjoy them on some level. Every time I try and do something…

A) just for the money — I fail

B) just for the recognition — I quit

C) just for the fame — I get bored

D) just for my resume — I die inside

If there is a “big secret,” it’s figuring out what your personal secret is. What do you care about most? What do you not care about at all? Do less of the latter as often as possible.

  • If you operate better when you get up at 8, don’t get up at 5. (And avoid reading morning-porn articles.)
  • If you don’t need 8 hours of sleep, take 6 instead.
  • If you hate eating vegetables, drink them in something that tastes good. (or vice versa)
  • If you hate cardio, lift weights instead.
  • If you hate both, do yoga.

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to self discipline. Know what is necessary (e.g. exercise), know what you like to do within that area (e.g. basketball or whatever), and then go all in on that tiny area.

Why a tiny area first?

Because self-discipline begets self-discipline.

When you can lock in on one thing, it is easier for you to do the next thing. And the next. And the next.

Knock over one domino, and the rest will follow.

So now, a challenge:

Do one thing you are interested in for 30 days. No excuses. No days off. No misses.

I recently came off a stint as NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) cheerleader. I’m obsessed with that program because in order to write an entire novel in a month, participants all but have to write every day. Here, in this trial-by-fire atmosphere, budding writers change their lives forever- simply because they were willing to go through a bit of pain.

When you commit to 30 days of action, regardless of the cost, here’s what will happen:

You will feel great on day 3.

You will hate everything on day 8.

But by day 18, you will be unstoppable.

Stay focused. Stay balanced. Learn, and most importantly:


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