Ankit Saigal recently answered the question, “What are the different ways to develop self discipline?” on Quora, and I found his answer so simple but yet so effective, that I had to share it here.
A bit about Ankit Saigal:
I know that I know nothing, so I know something.
Reader of books, lover of nature, walker of streets, breaker of rules, thinker of thoughts, container of passion, learner of wisdom, writer of words, user of rationality, finder of meaning, pursuer of joy, explorer of truth, challenger of socially-constructed reality, cracker of jokes, spreader of positivity, and yes, of course, liver of life.
Let me explain.
You decide you want to start running at 6:00AM every morning. You are excited to finally make the decision and can’t wait to get up in the morning to go for your first run.
You wake up with the alarm at 5:45AM. And now you do the most dreadful of things. You know you shouldn’t do it. But you do it anyway. Habit. Oh the devil, the good old enemy. You start to THINK.
“Oh I should probably sleep a little more. Its 5:45AM and I have to go for a run at 6:00AM anyway”
“Oh I slept a little late last night and if I don’t get enough sleep I won’t be able to function at work today”
“The weather is kinda cold”
“I can go for a run in the evening anyway”
“I will compensate for today and run twice the miles tomorrow”
You think. And you rationalize. You sugarcoat your excuses with rationality and logic. It makes you feel good about yourself. It creates a façade that it is somehow best not to do what you decided must be done. The internal dialogue is draining, time-consuming, and leads to inaction.
How many times has it happened that you decided something and didn’t follow through? How many times did you rationalize your inactions and indecisions?
Let’s say in an alternate reality, you made the decision (after a lot of thinking) and after that you stopped thinking.
You wake up with the alarm at 5:45AM. You put your shoes on and get out of the house for the run. The END.
STOP THINKING. START DOING.