People who have discipline are always painted in a much better light than deserved. I know because people who have spent time with me always admire my discipline. I still laugh because people have such an incorrect picture of what conscious discipline is. When someone says, you are discipline; they think you have this superhuman power to do what is right at all times. You can focus on what you want in the long run and always stick with that thing. This could not be further from the truth.

There was a tonne of obstacles, and one of the biggest ones was eating like a champion. Like most schools, my school cafeteria served trash. Bagels with butter, giant cookies, fries, you know the typical crap. It tasted great but was not what I would call fuel for a Ferrari.

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Prepare In Advance

When I was in high school, I will never forget getting a smack in the face lesson about discipline. This one event connected so many dots that I refused to see or connect before. I had a goal from day 1 of high school, and that was to get a full scholarship to a D1 college.

There was a tonne of obstacles, and one of the biggest ones was eating like a champion. Like most schools, my school cafeteria served trash. Bagels with butter, giant cookies, fries, you know the typical crap. It tasted great but was not what I would call fuel for a Ferrari.

Instinctively I knew I had to eat something so I would need to pack my lunch daily. If I did not pack my lunch, I would eat junk. I knew if I had my lunch with me each day, I would not waste it for a poor alternative.

At the moment, people would think I would be disciplined because I would not want their fries or go and spend money. That is not discipline! When you can spot an obstacle and do something about it before it's in your face, you have conscious discipline. But it goes a step further.

  • Prepare Yourself To Make Good Decisions

Keep It Away With Conscious Discipline

The second thing I did was even more critical. I realized that I would have to eat my healthy lunch, surrounded by friends eating crap. The temptation would be too much. You can wave fresh fries in my face and not expect me to want one.

My Dad would make these epic 12- Grain sandwiches for me stacked with meat and veggies. The first time I brought this sandwich, people made fun of me because all they knew was white bread.

I flipped the script and made fun of all them. I trashed them for eating food with no nutrients and taught them about my lunch and why it was better. At first, nothing happened, but each day I just stood my ground and let them know I was getting faster.

Then my friend Andre who always had some crap to say decided that he was going to make his parents buy him the same bread. He did not want me to have any advantages. Then the two of us ripped on everyone who did not conform. Then before you know it, everyone at the table was eating healthy.

  • Simply Make The Conscious Decision Not To Make Poor Decisions  

What is Conscious Discipline?

People who have discipline prepare for obstacles in advance. They do this by making sure that their environment supports their habits what looks like someone making good choices about what to be around.

How Can You Have More Conscious Discipline?

  1. Prepare for obstacles in advance
  2. Control Your Environment
  3. Stack Your Habits

Conscious Discipline Means You Prepare in Advance

If you know you want to eat better sit down and write down a list of obstacles.

  • Every day at work they bring a doughnut
  • You have a lot of sugar in your house
  • You have a box of cookies in your car
  • There is McDonald's on the way home from work you stop at
  • Your roommate loves buying you treats after tough days

Right away, you have found landmines for a new habit you are trying to build. The objective is to blow each of these up before they blow you up. If you can see a land mind in advance you don’t walk on it; you find a different, safer route.

  • Search For Landmines, And Avoid Them

Conscious Discipline Means You Control Your Environment

It's up to you to decide what you will be around and what you will tolerate being around. I'm allergic to peanuts so I will not tolerate being around it, and I don’t care who you are because I'm not trying to die.

  • Eat breakfast, so you’re not hungry when you get to work and encourage people at work to bring some healthier treats
  •  Remove all sugar from your house
  • Remove the box of cookies from car
  • Find a new route home that does not go by Mcdonalds
  • Get your roommate on board or stop telling them about your bad days

All these things, I came up with off the top of my head.  It's so easy to control your environment when you can spot the issues you could have in advance. Disciplined people are masters of this. They make the things they want to do more comfortable to access, and they make the things they don’t want to do harder to get to.

  • Don't Allow Your Environment To Be Corrupted
  1. Stack – Habit Stacking is when you use habits as a cue to begin another habit.
  2. Start – You will start your habit stack right when you wake up to gain momentum. Waking up becomes your keystone habit.
  3. Schedule – You will block as much time as you can each morning to get as many habits done as possible.
  4. Show Up – Nothing matters if you don’t show up and get stuff done.

That is the formula for stacking habits.  Stacking Habits works because it puts you in the best position to get your habits done. When you start your day with Habit Stacking, you can get 3-10 habits done to start your day.

Here is my Morning Habit Stack

  • Wake up at 3:10 AM
  • Read Bible
  • Review notes from books
  • Read The Laws of Success
  • Podcast
  • Meditate
  • Workout
  • Work on my most important task for the day

I do all these habits back to back to back until they are done. I track other habits, but I make sure I get all these habits done right away. When you start your day like this, you have so much momentum that you are not going to ruin the rest of your day.

When you combine habit stacking with, preparation for obstacles, and you will succeed.

Ian Warner

About the author

I went from a broken leg to a 2012 Olympian. I have spent the last 15 years building positive habits as a track athlete and entrepreneur. I founded Habit Stacker and dedicated my life to helping people to develop winning habits. I have helped over 5,000 people...

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