Here’s The Perfect Solution If You Want To Maintain Self-Discipline

It’s no secret that self-discipline is a necessary ingredient to being productive. Without self-discipline, it’s likely you won’t accomplish nearly as much as you’d like.

Even so, being self-disciplined can not only be difficult but frightening as well. Our human flaws — laziness, negativity, stubbornness — contribute to our inability to attain self-discipline. So how can you overcome the obstacles that get in your way of maintaining self-discipline?

The American Psychological Association has published research in support of the notion of willpower. Willpower, also known as self-control, involves delayed gratification, a conscious effort, and maintaining control of our decisions.

With this definition in mind, in my own life I’ve found the most effective rule in implementing and MAINTAINING discipline is giving myself permission to loosen the reigns from time to time. That’s right — give yourself permission to NOT always be strict with yourself.

Let me explain.

We’re not machines or robots or AIs — we’re humans who need love, food, interaction, air, water, self-care, and so much more. Working long hours, 5am work-outs, meal-prepping, sticking to routines, etc. are not innate to our beings.

Yet, we strive to be highly functional even though it’s incredibly common to get to a point of mental, emotional, and even physical burnout. To be highly functional, we must have a level of balance that allows us to work long hours and do all the other things that go against our nature.

My solution is PERMISSION. Permission to not wake up early, permission to take a vacation, and most importantly permission to MENTALLY SHUT OFF.

I’ll give you an example of how I give myself permission in my own life.

Primarily, I give myself permission in small ways — on Friday’s for example I’ll wake up an hour later than usual, I allow myself to have creamer in my coffee although I don’t regularly consume dairy products, and I refrain from working after 5pm.

It may not seem like much, but after working 15+ hours on other days, these little golden nuggets can go a long way for my mental well-being.

Being flexible in allowing myself to have constant gratification for all my hard-work has allowed me to keep a 5am morning routine for over 4 years — and I wouldn’t want it any other way.

Photo by Andrew Neel from Pexels