Momentum Podcast: 668
How to Make Self Discipline Simple Right Now
by Alex Charfen
I define discipline as keeping the commitment that you make to yourself. I have a confession to make; naturally, I'm not very disciplined. It's actually difficult for me to remain disciplined. I can intend to do something, get up in the morning, think about it, forget that I was going to do it, and then realize a day later I didn't do it. It's incredibly frustrating.
Even if something is important, if I just try to use discipline and willpower, chances are it's not going to happen. And if it does happen, it's usually the exception. Most people around me would be shocked to hear this because they see me as incredibly disciplined, consistent, and capable of doing more than most people, and just about everything I do.
This is also true.
I was not born disciplined, but I have found a simple way to create extraordinary discipline that gets results.
Full Audio Transcript
This is the Momentum Podcast.
Discipline is one of those words that gets thrown around a lot in entrepreneurial circles. Entrepreneurs will say something like, "I just need to be more disciplined. I need to have more willpower. I need to make it happen." But the reality is for entrepreneurs, you can intend to do something, get up in the morning, think about it, and then forget what you were going to do and realize later in the day that you didn't do it. And it's incredibly frustrating. In this episode of the Momentum Podcast, Alex is going to demystify discipline. He's going to teach you how to create self-discipline in a simple way right now. I hope you enjoy.
Alex Charfen: I'm Alex Charfen and this is the Momentum Podcast made for empire builders, game changers, trailblazers, shot takers, record breakers, world makers, and creators of all kinds. Those among us who can't turn it off and don't know why anyone would want to. We challenge complacency, destroy apathy, and we are obsessed with creating momentum, so we can roll over bureaucracy and make our greatest contribution. Sure we pay attention to their rules, but only so that we can bend them, break them, then rewrite them around our own will. We don't accept our destiny. We define it. We don't understand defeat, because you only lose if you stop, and we don't know how. While the rest of the world strives for average and clings desperately to the status quo, we are the minority, the few who are willing to hallucinate there could be a better future, and instead of just daydreaming of what could be, we endure the vulnerability and exposure it takes to make it real. We are the evolutionary hunters. Clearly, the most important people in the world, because entrepreneurs are the only source of consistent, positive human evolution. And we always will be.
Hello. Hope you're having an awesome day. I know I am. [Cadey 00:01:50] and I just toured at school this morning with our kids. We've been homeschooling our kids for most of their school career. They've had a stint in a private school. They had another stint in public school. Neither one of them finished the year of the school. We had a really hard time with it. But this morning, we toured a school here in Austin that we are incredibly excited about. So today was a very good day. In fact, we took a tour of this private, non-accredited type of homeschool [inaudible 00:02:16] school. And when we got in the car, both kids were like, "Hey, how soon can we come back in and shadow at this school? And how quickly could we start going here?" So for my kids to be excited about going to school, incredibly exciting day for us.
I wanted to jump in and share about discipline. This is a word that I've been hearing a lot. I've been hearing a lot of talk about discipline, a lot of talk about being disciplined or being a disciplined person or having the quality of discipline. And here's what I see discipline as. Discipline is the ability to consistently keep the promises that you make to yourself. That's it. That's 100% of what discipline is. And somebody says, "Well, what if it's about keeping the commitments you made to somebody else?" Well, the way I look at any commitment I make in the world, the way that I define any commitment I make in the world to get something done, is that first I'm making that commitment to myself. And then there may be a third party involved. There may also be a commitment to somebody else or to a program or to a course, or to a group of people, but for me, first, I'm making that commitment to myself and then I'm doing it for other people.
And, I have a confession to make. Naturally, I am not a very disciplined person, but I figured out a way to be disciplined. Recently, I was talking to one of our members and he had just started using our Momentum Planner. We just recently did a promotion on these, put it out there. We're going to have another promotion in a few weeks. So it's coming up, not right now, but it's coming up. So there'll be available for sale again. And he started using the Momentum Planner. He said, "Alex, it's crazy how much I'm getting done with the Momentum Planner." He says, "I swear I'm getting as much done in a day as I would get done in some weeks when I wasn't using a planning system like this, when I wasn't laying things out in the morning, when I wasn't clear about what I needed to do." And to me, what that sounds like is he's saying, "I am so much more disciplined than I was before. I'm getting so much more done. I'm keeping those commitments to myself."
And I hear that. I actually hear. I hear there's an increased level of discipline, because this is how I demystify discipline for myself. This is how I remain disciplined, because here's what's funny. When I say that I'm not a very disciplined person, a lot of the people who know me, who are around me, proximal to me, who work with me, they'd laugh at that. They would probably say something like, "Alex is one of the most disciplined people I've ever met. I've never seen anybody as disciplined. I've never seen anybody who's as consistent and structured and rigorous as he is with what he commits to and what he's going to get done." That's how I show up in the world.
And here's why. A Long time ago, I gave up trying to white knuckle disciplining anything. And here's what I mean by that. White knuckle is when you are just hanging on for dear life, you're trying to get through something. You're trying to use discipline and willpower. And here's the issue with just using discipline and willpower alone, not backing him up with anything. There's this thing called decision-making fatigue that is incredibly real. When we get up in the morning, we start using willpower in the form of decision-making. If you're making decisions about what to wear, what to eat, what you're going to do next, how you're going to get ready in the morning, how early are you going to be to what you need to do, how late you're going to be. If you haven't made those decisions in advance, you are burning willpower. You are making it harder for you to be a disciplined human being.
And if you haven't built a structure or a system around what you're trying to get done, you are literally trying to use discipline on its own. That means you are thinking about each step you have to do. You're thinking about each thing you have to do. And honestly, for me, even being a person that is incredibly disciplined, if I had to do it that way, I am a train wreck. Literally,``` a train wreck. I want you to know that. If I get up in the morning and I don't do what I need to do to actually create discipline, I will not get what I want to get done. I will go in too many different directions. I'll get distracted, I'll get confused. I'll end up wasting time, burning time, burning energy, and not getting what I need to get done.
And so here's how you create a massive amount of discipline. Discipline can be created through process, structure and routine. Let me give you an example. So every day I get up and I use a written morning routine. We coach our members to do this, any of our coaching memberships that you're in, any level of our coaching memberships, one of the things we talk about is having a written morning routine. Actually written out and checking it with a pen. And the reason we do this is because this structure of having a morning routine creates discipline. And it does so without decision-making fatigue. So the way that I become an incredibly disciplined person is I surround myself with process, structure and routine for anything that's important.
I'll give you an example. It's funny, I was just going to grab my water bottle, and I think I left it in the other room, one of the things that's incredibly important to me is having drinking water, staying hydrated. I want to do the things that increase my ability to get things done during the day. I want to find the things that give me leverage. What are the habits that I can put into my life? The things that I can do repeatedly that make my life better, make me a better CEO, make me a better father, make me more connected with my wife, Cadey, what are those things that I can do? And so here's how I ensure that every day I do those things.
I'll give you another example, not just water, but I do breath work. I do a breath work exercise every morning. I can't remember the last day I didn't do a breath work exercise. And here's why. It's right here on my morning routine. There's a process. There's a structure around it. There's a reminder here that tells me I need to do this. And so here's the decision that I have to make in the morning. When I look at the average person that needs to make decisions in the morning, they're deciding what to wear, what they're going to do next, what order are they going to do things in, what process are they going to follow? And they might have some semblance of what they're doing, but if they need to change something or add something, it's very hard for people to pick something up and start doing it.
To start hydrating first thing in the morning, to start a breath work practice, to start taking a 20 minute walk every morning, those are the things that I do every morning without fail. I meditate every morning without fail, I read for 20 minutes without fail, because they're on my morning routine. And so the average person has to get up in the morning and make all these decisions about what they're going to do. I get up in the morning and I make the decision I'm going to complete my morning routine. Because I know if I complete my morning routine, I'm going to have what I need to make the first hour of my day, the best hour of my day. And I'm also going to have everything I need to be optimized, to be supported, to move forward, to do what I need to do that day. And so the one decision I make is complete my morning routine.
It's very similar with my Momentum Planner. Every morning I sit down, and this is where there's actually some thinking in my morning routine. The morning routine itself, I just follow the list. And one of the items there says momentum planning. I sit down, I plan out my Momentum Planner, which means I write down my intention for the day, I write down where I was uncomfortable yesterday, I write down my calendar, I write down what are the to-do list items, I pick the top three items that are most important for that day. And then that's thinking process, that takes some willpower, that takes some decision-making, that moves me towards decision-making fatigue, but once I've done it, I make the decision I'm going to complete what's in my Momentum Planner. I'm just going to get all this done. I built the habit. I built the process. I built the structure, the routine of doing this planning and getting it done and doing the planning and getting it done. And so this creates a massive amount of momentum, but it also creates a massive amount of discipline by using process, structure and routine.
And I think here's where so many people struggle with discipline. They don't build process, structure and routine. See if I want to get something done every single day, it's pretty easy for me. I add it to somewhere that I have process and structure. I add it to my morning routine. I add it to my Momentum Planner. I add it to my evening routine. I make sure I'm closing the day with it. And then that way I know 100% of the time I will get it done.
I've been on a streak of breath work, of walking, of meditation for months and months. It's not even something that gets me really excited anymore, because I just know it's going to happen. And that's where my discipline comes from. And so if you're trying to just wake up and muster the willpower to do what you've committed to, to fulfill those promises you've made to yourself, if you don't have process, structure and routine around doing them, you're not going to be able to complete that many commitments. You're going to reduce the amount that you can actually commit to and get done, because throughout the day, you're going to have to be thinking about it, making the decision, understanding what you're going to do next.
But if you take a step back and say, "Here are the outcomes I want in my life. These are the things I should be doing to create those outcomes. So I'm going to build a structure around those. I'm going to add the appropriate things to my morning routine. I'm going to add the appropriate things to my daily checklist, I'm going to add the appropriate things to my closing the day routine, I'm going to create process, structure and routine around getting these things done." You remove the need for decision-making. You make the decisions in advance. You remove the need to white knuckle and sweat through things, because the decision's already made, the process is there. Just follow the process. You make one decision and you remove the need to burn willpower and you stop creating decision-making fatigue.
Here's why this is so important for us as entrepreneurs. The more of our day where we can create process, structure and routine around discipline, the more we free up our mental capacity to make the decisions we need to make as entrepreneurs. Today, with everything going on in the world, politically, economically, health wise, socioeconomically, there's so much chaos out there. The more that we can in build process, structure routine, where we know in advance what's going to happen in our lives, we've made the decision before we have to take the action of exactly what's going to happen. We have an order and a structure to what we're doing. It's written down. We've memorialized it. We created an artifact around it. There's a checklist that tells us what to do. This is how you create massive discipline and keep decision-making fuel in the tank, so that you can be a successful entrepreneur.
I think if there's one place where the average entrepreneur, under a million dollars a year, struggles completely and totally, it's right here. It's lack of process, structure and routine around what they should be doing on a daily basis. They're not making the decisions in advance. They're using willpower. They're creating massive decision-making fatigue. They're crushing their ability to make good decisions. They're overwhelming themselves. And they're staying in this place of not really being able to move forward. And so here's the key. Here's what I would suggest you do right now. You understand what are those decisions you can make an advance? What are the outcomes you want? Build a morning routine. Use a planning system like our member did. He started using this, again, getting as much done in a day as he used to get done in a week, because he's making decisions in advance. Because there's an artifact there. There's a process. There's a structure. There's a routine. And if you're willing to do this, here's what I've seen throughout my life. For myself, this means I have more energy. This means I can spend more creative time with my kids. This means I can spend more connected time with my kids and with my wife. And this means I have a lot more energy to do what I want to do as an entrepreneur.
And so the way that I create the outcomes that I do in the world, the way that Cadey and I create the success that we do in our business, the way that we create the income that we have and the impact that we have with our members, is by working on ourselves first. I create process, structure and routine around what I need to do. It makes me appear insanely disciplined, but it also gets me massive results. And so, if there's anything in your life that's important to you, ask yourself what's the process? What's the structure? What's the routine that you put in place, where you've made the decision in advance, you don't have to make decisions in the moment, you've set aside the time where it's going to happen? It's part of your morning routine. It's part of your day. It's part of your evening routine. This is how you create discipline.
And here's what I know about us as entrepreneurs. When we keep the promises we make to ourselves, this is key, this is advanced entrepreneurial psychology, it's so important. When we consistently keep the promises we make to ourselves, we will make bigger and bigger promises to ourselves. We will reach for more. We will create more realistic goals that we go out and achieve. We will manifest the things we want into our lives by creating process, structure and routine around doing the things that are going to bring those things into our lives. And so, this is my way of demystifying discipline and creating massive discipline in my life. And I hope that helps you do the same thing.
And if you're in a place where you're ready to create more discipline and move your business forward and have process, structure and routine, not just around your morning routine and your day and your evening, but around how you run your company, how you meet with your team, how meetings in your new company are run, the process through which you go through to make decisions, how you prioritize, reach out to us. This is what we help entrepreneurs do. We help entrepreneurs go from six to seven figures. We help seven figure entrepreneurs go to eight figures and we help eight figure entrepreneurs go to multiple eight figures, and then sometimes even cross nine. And we would love to help you do the same.
If you go to billionairecode.com, answer a few questions for my team, you will be able to download a copy of our Billionaire Code Matrix, the nine levels you go through to go from zero to a hundred million dollars as an entrepreneur. Our ebook Billionaire Code Decoded, which will give you a detailed explanation of each level. And if you are ready to and you'd like to talk to us about how we can help you, you can set up a call with my team.
And remember, discipline is keeping the promises we make to ourselves and the way you get there consistently, and become an incredibly disciplined person that people even talk about and point to as discipline, is to create process, structure and routine. I know, because naturally I'm a train wreck when it comes to this, but when I put process, structure and routine in place, I'm one of the most disciplined people you'd ever meet. Thanks for being here today. I appreciate your time and will look forward to talking to you again soon. Billionairecode.com.