I was wide awake. Had been for the last hour before looking at my phone and noting the time.
My mind was as alert as it would be at 12 noon.
These weren’t random-middle-of-the night thoughts. I had ideas coming to me. I was thinking critically about some things I’d been working on in the days prior.
My first instinct, the one that I’d followed an hour earlier, was to go back to sleep. Wait out my thoughts, then grab those valuable last hours of rest.
Hours. This isn’t a denomination of time that you play around with when it comes to sleep.
This had happened to me before. It happened to you before. Even if you have to lay in bed, wide awake, until your designated wake time, you do it.
What the hell would you do at 2:10 AM anyway?
I tried. For ten minutes.
But I was SOOO awake, I couldn’t stay laying there.
I got up.
It was a long day.
I hit a mini-wall around 1 PM, but I fought through it and finished the day.
The best thing about waking up that early? You’re very ready for sleep. I slept peacefully and uninterrupted through the subsequent night.
We’re all creatures of habit.
We go to the same places, talk the same ways, do things at the same times throughout our lives.
Stepping out of our routines — waking up early or staying up late, taking a new driving route to work, leaving work early without an emergency to tend to— feels wrong, even when there’s no harm done and no possible downside.Stepping out of our routines — waking up early or staying up late, taking a new driving route to work, leaving work early without an emergency to tend to— feels wrong, even when there’s no harm done and no possible downside. Click To Tweet
This is how routines come to own us.
For awhile, I would listen to podcasts while lifting weights.
One day, I just felt like listening to music instead. So I did.
A part of me felt like I was cheating myself. Not being mentally productive enough for that 20 minutes.
I’m not the only one who’s had such moments. Here’s what most people do in those cases —
1) Force themselves to do the “right” thing that they don’t want to do.
Discipline has its limitations. One such limitation is when you make yourself do something again just because you’ve always done it, even though its positive effects (if any) are negligible at best.
2) Do the thing they really want to do, beating themselves up over it both during and after the desired activity — ensuring that it doesn’t happen again.
The long-term effect of this is that you live in a box of your own design, ultimately unhappy — but, safe and predictable in your own mind.
3) Do the thing they wanted to do, start to beat themselves up… then realize the freedom they just exercised.
The sad follow-up to this is that the euphoria is fleeting, since the person in question rarely repeats this action.
There’s a way to use discipline. And, there’s a way to have discipline use you.There’s a way to use discipline. And, there’s a way to have discipline use you. Click To Tweet
Discipline is a tool designed to make your decisions and actions unconscious and simple to repeat.
Discipline frees you from having to think too much, since the important decisions (what time to wake up, whether to have ice cream or not, stay home and study vs. go to the bar) are already made.
The best use of discipline is for you to apply it to the most important aspects of your life, and allow yourself freedom of choice and variety everywhere else.
When discipline uses you, you’ll find yourself doing things because… well, you don’t know exactly why. You’re just doing them.
It’s almost as if you have a boss breathing down your neck, and you’re wary of stepping outside of the boss’s expectations.
Thing is, there is no (external) boss, and the only limiting expectations are the (irrational) ones that you’ve created for yourself.
They say that if you put up an electric fence for your dog and leave the fence activated for a few weeks, you can turn the fence off and the dog still won’t dare cross the lines of the (deactivated) fence.
Too much “supposed to” hardens to becoming a human electric fence. There are no walls restricting you, but you feel a slight internal “shock” every time you approach the boundaries.
You don’t want to deal with those myriad “supposed tos” of yours, so you just cooperate with them instead.
Fight this by starting small.
Break one of your own rules.
Wake up earlier or a little later.
Have a dessert that you’re not supposed to have.
Say YES or NO when you were supposed to say the opposite.
Feel the freedom you just exercised.
Slowly work your way up.
Discipline, habit and routine are all good things to have. Just remember that you use them — they don’t use you.Discipline, habit and routine are all good things to have. Just remember that you use them — they don’t use you. Click To Tweet
Giving yourself permission to step out of your own box is a topic of The Super You, which helps you to unlock and live with your highest possible Level of Confidence.
Get The Super You as part of the Bulletproof Bundle, which you can get here: http://WorkOnMyGame.com/BB