“You have a lot more discipline to get up early and follow that schedule than I do.”
When my friend told me this as we were driving home from a Toastmasters meeting, I almost ran the car off the road, I was laughing so hard. No one had ever told me that I had discipline before. In fact, quite the opposite.
I don’t like to get out of bed in the morning. There are few things I would rather do than sitting on my couch and binge watch Netflix. I love junk food and despise going to the gym.
Yet, I get up every day at 5 am, I only watch television on the weekends, I stick to a pretty strict low carb diet and I am in my local YMCA at least five days a week. I don’t do any of these things because I am any more disciplined than anyone else, I do them because I have uncovered what I call the lazy person’s discipline hack.
Before I go any further, I need to address the coming elephant in the room. People always tell you that whatever you do, you should do for you. I am going to talk about how I do the opposite to get the best results.
You see, like a lot of people I know, I am willing to do a great number of things for others that I am unwilling to do for myself. This means that the two elements of the lazy person’s discipline hack are commitments and expectations.
The reason I get out of bed when the alarm goes off at five every morning is because I have a schedule full of commitments. If I don’t get up, I won’t make it to the barn before my wife leaves for work, which will make me late for my first appointment of the day. Since I would rather do anything than being late for an appointment, I leave my warm bed to feed cattle. This is the power of commitments. The reason most people can’t get out of bed early is that there is nothing making them do it. Because they don’t have meetings scheduled first thing in the morning, they can hit the snooze button.
My grandfather used to say that empty hands were the devil’s workshop, but I really think that’s true of an empty calendar. Want to find discipline? Fill it up, it will force you to.
I wish I could say that no one has higher expectations of me than I do, but that’s not true. I have found if the only expectations I have to live up to are mine, it’s easy to justify falling short.
No one reads my blog anyway, so why do I really need to get that post up for tomorrow? I’m traveling, why can’t I eat that gas station hotdog? I’m really tired, why no skip the workout…and on and on and on. My way around this is to realize that others expect more of me and I can’t let them down.
I have a couple of friends that would realize that I missed a blog post. I can’t look my friends in the eye and tell them about my diet if I sneak that hotdog and if I miss a workout, my YMCA friends notice. I might be willing to let myself down, but I can’t fathom the thought of falling short of someone else’s expectations.
As I said, there are experts that will tell me that I’m not living my life if I am only living to please others. Those experts miss the point. I love all of the benefits that being disciplined brings me. I like being productive, healthy and active. If my lazy person’s discipline hack involves living to please others, I’m ok with that, as long as I’m pleased with the result.