Do you need to join the army to have discipline?

This is an answer I wrote for Quora. There is discipline in the military. How do we translate that to everyday life?

There are a couple of ways you can go with this. Think of the army where there is plenty of discipline. You can go there mentally, or you can take a softer approach with yourself.

DISCIPLINE

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You can too if you decide this is for you.

Or you could go somewhere in between.

You could also set certain hours each day for the sergeant major to (mentally) yell at you, and you could be gentle on yourself for the rest of the day. During those hours, you will get stuff done.

There is nothing wrong with gentle discipline on yourself, if it works, and gets things done. Just make sure it does.

GOALS

In the army, they provide your goals along with your uniform and your food. In Civvie Street, you have to do this for yourself. It’s not so easy.

So you need to sit down and work out where you should be directing your energies. This could be the missing link between your disciplined military life and your more organic life.

It’s hard to throw your energies into ‘something’ when you don’t know what that something is. Spend some time working out what you want to get done and then set your inner disciplinarian onto this task.

The best way is to:

  • set big long-term goals
  • break them down

If that’s too hard at first, just work out a useful way to spend several hours of your day and set to work on that.

DECISION

In civilian life, productivity is a decision. We either make that decision:

  • once, remember the decision, and stick with it.
  • keep having to make the decision over and over, and run the risk of deciding to procrastinate.
  • Did you notice procrastination is also a decision.
  • Decide to be productive and effective and stick to that decision. It’s easier and works better. This is a lot easier to do when you have worked out what to be productive ON – in other words, you have goals or a program mapped out to work on.

COMMITMENT

  • Too many decisions can lead to decision fatigue, so it’s best to turn the decision into commitment and then get on with the doing of it.

FEELING

Discipline can feel good. Achievement certainly feels good.

The trick when balancing the demands of the procrastinator within with the achiever within is:

DO YOU MAKE YOURSELF HAPPY NOW AND FRUSTRATED WITH YOURSELF AT THE END OF THE DAY?

or

DO YOU WORK FOR THE YOU THAT WILL FEEL SATISFIED AND HAPPY WITH YOURSELF AT THE END OF THE DAY/WEEK/MONTH/YEAR?

I hope that gives some clarity. There is another way to approach the topic in this article How to Vanquish Procrastination