How to Build Self-Discipline by Martin Meadows

How to resist temptations and reach your long term goals

Life is Easy When You Live It the Hard Way. Stop eating unhealthy food and change your eating habits. Do not focus on instant gratification. The author has done many extreme things. He often does them because he wants to test boundaries. Most of the work is based on scientific research. The book will share the ‘how’ and not really the ‘why’.

I have no doubt there’s nothing more important to a successful life than to maintain a high level of self-discipline and keep growing on a daily basis. Hence, I challenge myself. I want to find out if I can resist the temptation to eat after fasting for almost two days or go home when the frigid air makes my legs go numb. – Martin Meadows

The Fundamentals of Self-Discipline. The key is to AUTOMATE your behaviour. Self-discipline starts with habit formation. Research shows that it takes 66 days to form a habit. After 66 days, you won’t need to consume willpower to achieve it. When it sees the cue, you want to perform the action to get the reward. When you want to eat a chocolate, replace it with an apple. Regular physical activity is the key to success. Exercise will make you a better person. Food journaling also helps a great deal. Other good habits are meditation, waking up earlier, trying something new every day, saving money, expressing gratitude. Willpower is a limited resource and needs to be managed. Sugar only restores your willpower temporarily.

At the sight of a chocolate bar, you become self-aware of your craving. But instead of giving in, you recognize the craving for what it is – a detour that will take you away from your long-term goal. You remind yourself you can eliminate the craving by eating a piece of fruit. – Martin Meadows

What is Your Why? Stop and think when you are faced with a temptation. However, this method is short lived. It is important to visualize your goal. When you do that, the dopamine kicks in and you feel the reward without doing any work. Use your mind to prepare you for the challenges ahead. Switch your mind from event to process-oriented. Learn to focus on tasks which you are good at and can utilize your strengths. The key is to form keystone habits. Are you doing something that will enhance your life or are you doing what others want you to do. Reduce the amount of time on social media. You need a powerful why

Dopamine – Your Enemy and Your Friend. Exercise leads to an increase in dopamine. Research shows that when a cue presents itself, that in itself produces dopamine. If the reward is not obvious, there is a higher chance you will be able to resist it. Get the chocolate bar out of sight. Dopamine seeks instant gratification. However, dopamine can work for you as well. You can use it to cultivate cues for good habits. You can cultivate a cue for example, when you see your running shoes. Learn to achieve small wins. Reward yourself with healthy food, experiences, music, a break, a nap, something pleasant, relive of tension, novelty and variation.

If you always cave to temptation when you see a chocolate bar on your desk, get it out of sight. The mere sight of opening a drawer can be enough to help you exert your self-control. – Martin Meadows

The key to dopamine is that it produces the most powerful rush when the reward is in sight. If you want to form a habit to jog 3 times a week, you can associate it with drinking a smoothie when you go back home. – Martin Meadows

A smoothie delivered right after the workout will motivate you much better than the vision of getting fit several weeks or months from now. Even something as simple as listening to your favourite music while running can be enough to help you stick to a new habit. – Martin Meadows

Five Practical Ways to Train Your Discipline. Meditation trains your mind to focus on your breathing. Start small. 5 minutes a day will suffice. Sit still in a comfortable position. Close your eyes and focus on breathing. Repeat this every morning. Taking cold showers help to build discipline. Fasting helps to build long term discipline. Control small things. Keep your back straight. In the gym, you can push yourself. This will help you train self-discipline. Test and push the boundaries.

Studies show that the first feeling of fatigue is an emotion, not the signal that your body is spent and can’t go on any longer. Consequently, you can learn how to exert more self-discipline when you decide to go past the first feeling of fatigue and see how much further you can push yourself. – Martin Meadows

Self-Discipline (Or Lack of It) is Contagious. Social influence is a factor in obesity. If your friends lack self-discipline, chances are that you will as well. Surround yourself with energetic people. If your friends are laidback, you can use books and the Internet to motivate you. 20% of your friends contribute to 80% of the enjoyment. If all your friends gym, chances are that you will as well. If you don’t have a real life mentor, you can find one through books. Who is your role model in life? Even your family models can be great. Keep your friend and yourself accountable to your goals. Ignore the people who start hating you once you become successful. Channel your energy towards your goals. Find a self-discipline partner.

Seven Traps that Challenge Your Self-Discipline. Research has shown that people value instant over long-term rewards. Learn to envision your future self. If you always procrastinate, chances are that you are seeking the wrong goal. You need internal motivation. Know your ‘why’. Do not set impossible goals. Write down the action steps necessary. Making a lot of choices also requires willpower and it will tire you out. Decision fatigue also leads to decision avoidance. Reduce the number of trivial decisions you need to make each day. Reduce the number of choices. It is better to make decisions in the morning. Stress also depletes willpower. Try not to make decisions when you are angry or stressed. Read a book or go for a quiet walk in the park. Music is also one way to improve your mood. Unskilled people also overestimate their abilities to do things. An inflated belief will lead you to more temptations. Do not think you are very smart at all. Humans also suffer from status quo bias. Come up with alternatives to the status quo. Try to think more about long-term rewards. Control your stress levels.

In general, a powerful, encouraging goal is based on an internal motivation. You’ll get much more drive from your internal need to become a better person than from trying to please someone, make someone jealous or enjoy other trivial external benefits of reaching your goal. – Martin Meadows

You’ll see I only wear gray or blue suits. I’m trying to pare down decisions. I don’t want to make decisions about what I’m eating or wearing. Because I have too many other decisions to make. – President Obama

Any change from the status quo is perceived as a loss. As a result, making positive changes in your life can be much harder than you think – simply because you will perceive them as losses, even if the current state of things is no longer optimal for you. – Martin Meadows

Seven Additional Tips and Tricks to Stay Disciplined. Make yourself accountable and set stakes. Set stakes. This is a powerful form of motivation. Punish yourself if you fail to reach your goals. Give your friends or foes money. Even paying for a gym upfront is a form of commitment. Achieve small wins. Start small first. This is very important. Small wins are crucial. Set roadblocks, such as by not carrying cash or credit cards around with you. Plan for your temptations. Plan for it first, so that you won’t use willpower. Schedule rest at the end of your workout. You can even schedule a reward at the end of a long workout. Tie your habits together. Set a cue and you will perform the routine after that cue. Starting is the most difficult part. Once you overcome resistance, it is much easier.

People who lose the most weight in the first 2 to 3 weeks of dieting are encouraged by their initial success to keep going. The string of small wins helps them stick to their resolution – even when the effect of initial rapid weight loss wears off. – Martin Meadows

You don’t have to get it perfect, you just have to keep it going. – Jack Canfield



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