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How Long Does it Take to Become Disciplined? (You May Not Like The Answer)

So you want to become disciplined. You’ve read books, devoured articles, and watched countless YouTube videos. Yet you still have trouble “getting it together” and locking in the proper habits and routines. Look, I understand; an absence of self-control leads to frustration, poor self-confidence, and a lack of belief in yourself.

How do I know? Because that was me back in the day.

In fact, I was a pot-smoking, 3-time high school dropout. So I’m familiar with the effects a lack of discipline can have on a human life. But since then, I’ve cleaned up my act. I eat healthy, exercise, journal, and practice almost all the other self-improvement habits every day.

But how did I go from teenage burnout to a disciplined machine? And more importantly, how long will it take you to do the same? Keep reading to find out.

What Science Says About Becoming Disciplined

There is a lot of talk in many self-improvement circles spouting validity around the 21-day rule of habit formation: The general idea is that 21 days is the “sweet spot” to create a new habit or break an old one. However, this notion isn’t quite accurate.

The reason being is that there are many factors that contribute to the forming (or breaking) of a habit, such as:

  • The individual: Everyone’s different; we all have our strengths and weaknesses. Some people just have an easier time forming new habits and breaking old ones than others.
  • Environment: “As the twig is bent, so shall the tree grow.” Your environment plays a huge role in your ability to become more disciplined. Is your pantry filled with junk food? Do you keep a TV in your bedroom? Are you surrounded by people who lack the desire to improve themselves? These are the components that make up your environment. Fix them, and you will see your self-restraint skyrocket.
  • The habit: Are you trying to develop the habit of saving 10% of your income? This habit is easy. Do you want to start hitting the gym for an hour a day, 5 days a week? This habit is difficult. The habit you’re trying to adopt will dictate the degree of difficulty you’ll experience with incorporating it into your life.

So what timeframe can you realistically expect to develop your self-restraint?

You may not like the answer because, in all honesty, it depends. There is no definite length of time that will be the same for everyone. But according to science, through continuous effort, you can develop self-restraint anywhere between 18 to 254 days—with day 66 being the “sweet spot.”

But again, this is not written in stone; it’s more of a general overview of what to expect.

The Truth About Becoming Disciplined

There is a rarely spoken truth regarding self-discipline. And that truth is—and you may not like this answer—becoming disciplined is a life-long pursuit. It is a constant tug-of-war between proactive and passive, attentiveness and indifference, vigilance and neglect.

What does this mean for you?

It means you are only disciplined for as long as you behave and conduct yourself in a disciplined manner.

You could have lived a life of moderation and self-restraint for the past 10 years, but the moment you start neglecting your disciplined lifestyle, you can no longer be placed in that category.

Therefore, becoming disciplined takes place the instant you start ACTING disciplined. Conversely, you lose this status the instant you STOP acting disciplined. It’s a constant battle that you will fight every day for the rest of your life.

And nobody talks about this idea. But don’t let that deter you because the advantages of adopting this trait far outweigh any drawbacks.

The Benefits of Developing Self-Control

So why go through all this effort to become disciplined? Here are a few benefits as to why this quality is more than worth the effort:

  • Self-esteem and self-confidence
  • Personal integrity
  • Consistency with good habits
  • The breaking of bad habits
  • More money in the bank
  • A healthier and stronger body
  • Development of clear thinking
  • Achievement of goals and objectives
  • Greater self-respect
  • More focus and concentration
  • Improved productivity
  • Better time management and much more

“Discipline is the root of all good qualities.”

~ Former U.S. Navy SEAL, Jocko Willink

Some Simple Practices for Developing Self-Discipline

To a great extent, how far you go in life is in direct proportion to the degree of self-discipline you exercise. And the truth about this essential quality is that you can have it simply by acting it out in your daily life.

Here are a few habits you can practice to build your discipline muscle:

  1. Take cold showers
  2. Wake up early
  3. Read daily
  4. Listen to educational podcasts or audio books instead of music
  5. Exercise consistently
  6. Eat healthily
  7. Start journaling

When incorporating these or other disciplines, keep this thought in mind: Start small. While it’s tempting to want to revolutionize everything in a day, this rarely turns out to be a wise idea.

Why? It’s simply too much too soon.

Most people fail at their goals because they bite off more than they can chew. The solution? Make success easy. Begin with one habit and practice it for a month; if you like it and it complements your lifestyle, keep it. If it doesn’t, discard it.

Then move on to the next habit—rinse, recycle, repeat.

What’s Next? Strengthen Your Self-Control

Becoming disciplined is the single best thing you can do for yourself; it will enhance every facet of your life. Moreover, and perhaps most important of all, it puts you on the path of self-improvement, which is a journey that’s as rewarding as it is adventurous. But the best way to develop is with a system, a proven roadmap that can help get you from A to B.

And that’s what my ebook, The Disciplined Mind, is designed to do. So if you’re ready, grab your copy today to start cultivating self-control toward your grandest goals and dreams.

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