Attempting to break away from complacent avoidance habits and imposing self discipline can feel like such an overwhelming lost cause . Especially when you have been set in your ways for years. After all , a leopard can’t change his spots and you cant teach and old dog new tricks right?

However, an old dog can learn new tricks if he practices them and a leopard’s spots have no bearing on its behavior, so his mindset should shift away from its external cosmetic appearance and focus on necessary actions for survival.
When it comes to shifting mindsets. It is always best to start with incremental change and small wins. Self discipline is a figurative “muscle” that needs to be challenged lightly at first and gradually increased as its strength increases. So where to start?

May I suggest making your bed if you are not already doing it every day. Consider all the benefits and ask yourself if it resonates with your personal values. Its easy. Its tidy. Its orderly. It can be successfully completed each day of your life. It only takes a few minutes each morning. It may give you a small sense of competency and accomplishment. If any of these ideas appeals to you read on! If not. don’t bother making your bed. Your choice. Do something different that matters to you more.

Lets further examine the benefits of making the bed as it applies to the volcano model of change. The structural framework of the task is towards order which is an opposing force to entropy. It is less cluttered and it provides a clean space in the room. It is scheduled to occur at the beginning of each morning before you perform any other task.

The action routine is simple and easy to execute. With daily practice, the action step becomes more proficient with less time demand to complete. A simple positive habit loop is easy to set up. The reminder being the first action step of the day completed before you leave the room The reward is the positive feeling of tidiness and cleanliness.

This reinforces the positive mindset. The energy boost of a completed task starts the day with a small victory and fuels the minds incentive to move on to bigger challenges. It also frees up the minds attention units. A completed cycle of action is mind efficient. It takes mental energy to keep your attention on many thoughts and tasks to complete throughout a day. Once a task is completed, you mentally check it off your list and can forget about it. This opens up more mental space to attend to another matter. Finally, once successfully executed over and over again, there is the positive boost in confidence and competency that a successful habit can become automatic and replicated in other tasks. Perhaps you can move on to developing a habit of routinely cleaning a kitchen or washing dishes before they accumulate.

Notice how each component is in sync and reinforces the other. The positive mindset attitude and feeling of the completed task drives the process to repeat the action the next morning. The positive structure of setting up an uncluttered environment and scheduling the task to occur at the beginning of each day facilitates the habit loop to continue. The net effect is that energy levels rise as a new habit eventually becomes automatic and a small sense of self discipline is realized.

And at the very least, you get to come home to a made bed every night. Want to try another more challenging example? Lets explore self control and resisting temptation in our next blog.

What other simple task can you apply to your daily life to give you an easy win in self discipline? Please share