It\u2019s a new year, a time for both gazing into the future and reflecting on the past. As you look back on the last year, how do you feel about the way it went? Do you have the sinking feeling that you are in the same place mentally/professionally/romantically/spiritually that you were 12 months ago? That the only thing that\u2019s changed is the date on the calendar?
The reason you still haven\u2019t finished that book you started last January but have spent several hours surfing
the internet every day? A lack of discipline. The reason that you want to propose to your girlfriend or have
kids but keep holding back? You\u2019re afraid you don\u2019t have the discipline to be successful at those endeavors.
The reason you\u2019re still just as fat as last time you ate that cream puff before making a new resolution? A lack
of discipline. The reason you haven\u2019t made any progress on starting that side business, and your house is a
dump, and you feel like your life is slipping away? No discipline!
Mischel. Four year old children were each given one marshmallow. They could either eat the marshmallow
immediately, or, if they waited 15 minutes for the lab assistant to return, receive another marshmallow, thus
doubling their prize. The kids who were able to wait generally went on to become successful and well adjusted
adults, while the kids who gobbled the first marshmallow had more trouble dealing with stress, frustration,
and impulse control.
We all probably imagine ourselves as the kid who would have waited for the second marshmallow. And maybe
you would have. But even the most disciplined among us have areas in our lives where we\u2019re failing. Areas
where we\u2019re just middling by and it\u2019s absolutely eating at us, knowing how much potential we have and how
we\u2019re not utilizing it.
Everyone wants a secret or hack on how to be more disciplined. But there isn\u2019t one. It is simply a matter of training your mind to do what you want it to do. Of saying a resounding \u201cNo!\u201d to the things that waste your life and your time. You decide what you really want out of life and you go for it. That\u2019s it.
We\u2019re the jolly fat guy who makes self-deprecating jokes and amazes people with how many slices of pizza he
can wolf down. We\u2019re the funny drunk who always gets totally plastered and cracks everyone up with our
antics. We\u2019re a night owl, dammit! That\u2019s how we roll, burning the midnight oil! We\u2019re the player, not because
we can\u2019t keep a girlfriend but just because we crush a lot!
We do so much rationalizing that it can be downright painful to change; we feel like we\u2019re losing a part of
ourselves. Maybe our habits aren\u2019t making us happy, but at least they give us the stability of an identity, the
comfort of routine. What happens when the fat guy slims down and the drunk gets sober? Who are we then?
This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?