I watched a video from Thomas Frank about building self discipline. His thought was: to build discipline you have to consistently face discomfort, so he proposed a challenge: to take cold shower for 30 days.
It wasn’t a proper challenge for me, because I should face the decision: ‘hot or cold water?’ and accept the discomfort by choosing cold water every day. At that time, I was in Peru and I only had cold water. It was still discomforting, but I didn’t have choice.
When I came back to Brazil, I still wanted to build self discipline, that’s why I created a challenge that I’d be willing to accept discomfort. I started to wake up every day at 5:45 AM to go to the gym.
The discomfort of hearing the alarm clock at 5:45 AM was cool in the first week. But at the end of the third week, I had already skipped some days and I was feeling my motivation decreasing. I always had a reason: “today is so cold”, “I slept poorly this night” and they were enough for me to turn off the alarm clock and go back to sleep.
Then, I remembered one quote from another Thomas Frank’s video (again) that impacted me: “If you hit the snooze button in the morning, then you’re accepting that the first thing you do that day is fail”. Because when you set an alarm clock, you’re essentially creating a goal for yourself. My goal was to wake up every day at 5:45 AM, not snoozing and waking up at 5:50 AM and, definitely, not turning off and going back to sleep.
Now I’m in the end of the second month and doing great! I still can’t avoid that lazy thought when hearing the alarm clock soon in the morning. So I just get out of the bed, turn off the alarm clock, turn on the lights, get ready and I go to the gym.
Starting the day getting up early, exercising and eating a healthy breakfast is doing a tremendous impact on my life and it’s a great way to build discipline. What do you think about creating your own challenge? It can be by waking up early and sticking to a morning routine of reading or writing, or just by choosing the cold water. Either way, you have to be willing to accept discomfort.