5 Observations to Improve Discipline

“Discipline equals freedom” – Jocko Willink

That bold statement by Jocko Willink on the Tribe of Mentors podcast resonated deeply with me and sent me on what is becoming a year-long journey to understand the meaning of discipline and better apply those principles in all areas of my life (not just productivity). Inspired by Gretchen Rubin’s podcast, Happier I set “Discipline” as my one-word theme of the year.

Throughout the past six months, I’ve been struck by five observations about discipline:

Discipline needs a positive reward

Discipline is inherently hard.  It’s the act of denying ourselves something now for future benefit.  Charles Duhigg shares that every habit has a reward that reinforces that habit in our brains. We can effectively change our habits and be more disciplined by being intentional with how we use those rewards.  My favorite example of this is the jar of chocolates Duhigg has on his desk that he can only eat from once he’s finished a weekly review.

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