A core premise of wealth accumulation is that you must save more than you make. And sure, that’s incredibly easy to say, but how many people actually do that?
The answer is very few! We live in a society where consumerism is heavily encouraged every moment of every day.
So what’s stopping you from taking a work break to buy a latte, going home and ordering take out, skipping your workout to binge on an expensive subscription media service you didn’t take the time to price compare, all the while internet shopping for a bunch of doodads you don’t need so that people whose opinion you don’t care about can think you make a “decent” salary? Your badass discipline is what! And if you think you don’t have a single disciplined bone in your body, I’m going to show you that you’re dead wrong and you can channel the discipline you do have and foster that little discipline seed until it’s a giant megawatt brilliant fullgrown discipline tree.
For example, do you ever and I mean absolutely ever in the entire history of your life:
- Eat vegetables?
- Go on a walk?
- Work out?
- Wake up on time for work or important meetings?
- Go to the doctor?
- Finish assignments on time?
- Resist purchasing something?
- Experience delayed gratification for anything?
- Study something you weren’t interested in because it would improve your life?
- Do chores you don’t want to do?
- Clean your house even when you don’t feel like it?
- Avoid spending some amount of money?
That, my friend, is evidence of your discipline muscle (yes, I’m switching up my metaphors! Thanks for noticing!) making itself known. If you have ever done any of these things at all, it is evidence that you have the ability to do them again!
If you have done something once, just once, it is the best evidence you could ever have that you are fully capable of doing it again.
You have what it takes, now you just need to capitalize on that. What would it take to do any of these things again today? And from there, what would it take to do them again tomorrow? And then, and only then, the day after that? Really, really think about this and acknowledge that you already have all of the evidence you could possibly need that you are absolutely 100% capable of this. The only thing that is stopping you from creating a habit, is you. Absolutely no one and nothing else. You alone are in charge of flexing your own discipline muscle (yes friend, and your discipline tree, flex that tree all day long) and if you are truly committed to this journey, not a single person is getting in your way.
The thing is, there is a huge connection between exerting discipline in one area of your life and exerting it in a different area. It’s the same muscle. You pump it every time you do something good for yourself that makes your life better. The more resistance you face in doing that task, the more your muscle is working and growing.
Really really really don’t want to wake up at 4am before work to catch the early morning work out before going to your job so you can spend your evening taking care of your child, meal prepping, side hustling, studying for your night classes, etc.? Find the baby steps necessary to work up to it if you have never done this before. Wake up 10 minutes earlier every day to get yourself used to it, with that extra time, start by just stretching a little in the morning, on day two or three start going on a short walk in the morning. By day six even when factoring in a shower you’re already walking half an hour in the morning every weekday which means, outside of muscle-strengthening activity, you’re meeting the minimum current physical activity guidelines of 30 mins/day of moderate physical activity.
By day 9 you are waking up 90 minutes earlier than you used to and you might finally think to yourself, damn, I actually absolutely have enough time to hit the gym this morning. And then, you’ve done it! And we know by now if you have done it once, there is nothing stopping you from doing it again.
Prove to yourself that you are strong enough to develop discipline in one area of your life. Then go find a mirror (yes, really) look at yourself, and say “You have the discipline to *wake up early* *run a marathon* *(whatever it is your discipline muscle has really been working hard at lately)* now you’re going to use that muscle to start saving a portion of your income. You have proven that you are mentally strong and now we’re going to transfer that mental strength to a different area of my life.” And Day One that new savings habit might look like saving $4 by packing your lunch or making coffee at home and putting it towards your student loans, credit card bills, mortgage, etc. Rome wasn’t built in a day and you are growing and rising to the challenge, friend! You just showed yourself you can save $4 a day! That’s $1,460 a year! If that money were going in the stock market and growing on average 7% annually you would have $20,650.06 after 10 years! Not bad results for a very small flex of your discipline muscle. Just think of what you can do if you keep watering that tree, keep training that muscle, keep developing those healthy habits. You’ll be trekking that proverbial fiscal mountain with ease if you keep it up.
Never forget, your habits are key, and the pursuit of excellence is mundane.
You are always a hell of a lot tougher than you think you are.
Take it one step at a time, forgive yourself when you make mistakes, and get back on that horse and show yourself what you can do because you have got this!