The trick to success is to choose the right habit and bring just enough discipline to establish it.
— The ONE Thing
If you are what you repeatedly do, then achievement isn’t an action you take but a habit you forge into your life.
— The ONE Thing
I recently read these two quotes ☝️ from the book The ONE Thing and found the authors take on discipline to be constructive. The idea presented within the book is that we've been told a "lie" in that we must live a disciplined life in order to be successful, but in actuality we only need enough discipline to form the right habit and let the habit take over from there.
The book calls it: Selective Discipline
Discipline in itself can be burdensome to maintain, especially when we're spreading our time and energy (i.e: our life) over many things at once. However, if we take the most important thing right now and hone-in our precious energy on building systems and routines around fulfilling it, the level of discipline we need will become less demanding over time.
In that same vein, growing up in church I heard the phrase "Desire. Discipline. Delight". The idea is that we start with the desire to accomplish something, muster just enough discipline to form a habit and eventually over time it can become a delight.
I can see this in my own life when it comes to diet, exercise, reading, journaling and a myriad of other things where I just try to do the thing and fail. Our willpower is in short supply, so forming habits that are easy and accessible are incredibly useful to accomplish what's in front of us.
For me, a recent example of this is my desire to start stretching everyday. As a frequent runner, this is something I know I should be doing but absolutely loath and could never stick with. A couple of months ago, some folks at Webflow (my employer) had a week long fitness challenge and I decided to focus on stretching for at least 10 minutes a day. Right before work, I'd get the hot water going for my coffee, put on a podcast (currently The Art of Product) and go through some simple stretches. I wasn't trying to do the deepest, most uncomfortable stretches, but a little routine that just helped me create a ritual. After the fitness challenge, we decided to do a second, longer challenge, and I proceeded to continue forming that habit. My wife also started stretching with me in the evenings which has helped my body tremendously overall. Eventually, the stretching started to be less painful and more enjoyable and is now something I yearn to do.
If you want to read more about Selective Discipline, checkout this post at the the1thing.com.
With ❤️ Andrew