How To Be More Disciplined, Instantly

Today, I want to share one simple yet effective technique on how to be more disciplined in your studies and life, that you can implement right away.

It all started a few years ago, when I spent a significant amount of time in San Francisco for work. For me at least, San Fran was a massive gold mine of good food at that time. Of course, this didn’t bode well for my waist line.

Upon returning to London, my doughy, pudgy, sorry self decided to properly get in shape, and go running every day. And along the way I discovered a powerful yet simple technique to motivate myself to get things done, whether it is studying, getting fitter or writing a book.

All you need for this technique is a paper and pen. Let’s do this!

How I went from full-time couch potato to crazy everyday runner, overnight.

a person running outdoors with a bottle of water in her hand

At the start of my running efforts, I had to contend with a powerful demotivator – I hated running. I am not one of those types that naturally love to run or exercise – I am probably the laziest slob on the face of the earth.

I detested running fervently, made worse with the less-than-stellar London weather. However it was the easiest and most convenient way to exercise, so I decided to stick with it and instead, see how I could motivate myself better.

My observations after a week or so of running were interesting: 

the majority of the barrier to overcome my demotivation to running is to simply make time, put on my running gear and get out of the door.

Once I forced myself out, I found that motivating myself to run became much easier. After all, I was already out, the time was already spent, so I might as well run and get some exercise out of it.

So from then on, I’d motivate myself this way – every day, I’d tell myself to just get on my running gear and get out. If I really didn’t feel like running after doing that, I would allow myself to just turn right back home, and take the day off. No hard feelings.

The result? For 3 months, I never took a single day off.

I eventually switched to a combination of gymming, running, and others, but for that 3 month period, this simple motivational tool worked wonders.

How to be more disciplined in your studies? Try this simple tool.

how to be more disciplined in studies and life

What is the ‘barrier’ that is most difficult to overcome in your exam studies?

For me it’s actually getting started – getting my books out, clearing a space, actually dragging my lazy ass to the table.

If you can just tell yourself to get started, and focus less on how much you have to get done, your success rate will grow by leaps and bounds.

I guarantee it.

Here is an additional tip to reinforce this: get an old-school calendar and print it out.

Keep it somewhere in your house where you will see it every day, such as your refrigerator, or next to your bed. Below is a cheery example:


Just get started.

For every day you do manage to ‘set yourself up’ and put some quality time into studying (even if it’s a little bit), mark your calendar with a big fat X.

Eventually, your calendar may look something like this:


This simple habit will help you enforce the habit and routine of studying almost every day.

Not only will this encourage you to hit the books more often (since the calendar tells no lies), it also allows you to be more honest with yourself about how often you’ve studied.

Small, simple tweaks like these are the key to changing your routine to becoming a more effective exam candidate.

Do you have any similar habits or tips to share on how to be more disciplined, especially when studying? Let us know in the comments below!

Meanwhile, you may find these related articles of interest:


12 thoughts on “How To Be More Disciplined, Instantly”

  1. What I do is I use an Android app and log each and every minute of my study time. I also share the same with one of my ” Accountability friend”. It motivates me a lot and helps a lot to keep disciplined and get better and better every day. Consistency is the achievement of this small hack.

    • Hi Shreyansh, that’s a good tip, thanks for sharing!

      My weakness is probably looking at the phone itself is distracting, so an old school paper and pen works better for me 😛

  2. The best thing I’ve done is make an spreadsheet on excel, whereby I log the hours I do on each date for each Reading in the syllabus. It is strangely addictive, if not satisfying to see the hours you’ve committed to study mounting up, towards the golden 300. Would definitely recommend doing this.

  3. Discipline and moderation are key in any area of your life. So glad you were able to share this experience with us, and translate it to school/exams/life in general!

  4. Without thinking it would work like you mentioned in the article, I started doing something similar but a little more in depth, and more rewarding. I had no idea how much time I needed to study each week and each subject, so I put up a table with all the subjects and the aprox time needed to study each of them. This came up: It’s very addicting to fill out the “Hours studied” and “Pages read” column. I love beating the time I thought it would take me to learn the subject, check the minutes per page, and try to beat the deadline so I can take some time off for games/gf without feeling bad. Some friends and study mates have found it helpful too, if you got any suggestions, they are very welcomed.

    • Hey Dan That’s a really awesome tool! This has got us thinking – perhaps we can expand this into a study log tool that our readers can use. Would you mind if we expanded on the principles outlined by you here?

      • Hey, please go ahead! I’m glad I can give something back after all the advice I have taken from you. Looking forward to use it too!

        • Hey, please go ahead! I’m glad I can give something back after all the advice I have taken from you. Looking forward to use it too!


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