Ex-lawyer turned relationship coach

The Trick Behind Discipline

To meet someone who’s a Navy SEAL, doctor, and astronaut is a real slap to the ego. “Not only are you brilliant, but you can also kill me in over 700 ways with your bare hands and put me back together to do it again?”

When we meet Jonny Kim—yes, he’s actually real—or someone else who’s covered from head to toe with accolades, insignias, and medallions, we reckon they’re wildly disciplined. Or perhaps that they’re possessed by a demon out of hell who revels in torment and suffering.

But neither are true. Probably.

If you’ve ever met a high achiever, you’ll know that these freaks actually enjoy the pain and discomfort. 

They’re not just pushing through mental barriers by ignoring their real emotions. They’re actually working hard because it gives them good emotions.

Said better: aggressively chasing their goals feels better than investing their time elsewhere, even if it’s bad for their health and well-being.

It’s a compulsion, not a choice.

That’s also why so many of us give up on our plans to get fit and healthy. Hitting the weights and eating well isn’t rewarding enough. It costs more than it gives.

And if you want to stick to any new routine, it has to make you feel good. Otherwise, you’ll eventually give in to your real desires. 

How can you make difficult but enriching new habits more enjoyable and easier to follow?

A simple fix is to raise the stakes of failure.

Give someone you trust a big wad of cash. And for every workout you skip, they can keep 100 bucks. So not a personal trainer, but a gym maintainer.

Or make yourself accountable and join a spinning or body pump class. The discomfort of getting up and leaving a session will likely feel worse than seeing it through until the end.

Once a habit gives more than it costs, it becomes easy to keep up.

Suddenly, you’ll find yourself enjoying porridge for breakfast because gorging down a box of jelly donuts makes you feel like a useless slob.

You’ll stop embellishing your stories because rejecting your actual life and experiences feels worse.

You’ll start waking up early, meditating before breakfast, going on hikes, reading self-help books, investing in crypto, and working tirelessly on your podcast and other side gigs just because sitting on your ass and watching Netflix feels wrong.

Welcome to the team of top dogs, go-getters, and high-fliers, you’ll never enjoy a moment of peace ever again.

By Jeroen Elsing
Ex-lawyer turned relationship coach