Can’t Stay On Track? The Art Of Discipline In Your Early 20s

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art of discipline

I have been struggling with self-discipline ever since I joined my university. And the more time passed, the less disciplined and messier my university life became. This came as a surprise to me because back in secondary school, we were taught how to be disciplined… and I had no problems with it. I would work for my O- and A-levels while writing three blog posts a week! Now, the moment something happens and gets me busier, I can barely follow my own blogging schedule.

I think it’s the lack of a stable structure at my university that weakened my self-discipline. Have you looked at your timetable? Classes and tutorials are all over the place and some of them change according to the week. Back in secondary school, I had to wake up at 6 a.m. every day because school started at 8 a.m. every day. At university, sometimes my day will start at 8 a.m. but at other times it’ll start at 2 p.m.!

I constantly have to adapt my study hours to the ever-changing timetable, which leads to last-minute assignments and a lack of sleep. As university students, we all go through this, don’t we?

And there comes a point where we lose control of our pre-planned schedules; we let ourselves miss a few classes for the sake of sleep or overdue assignments; we can’t stay on track anymore. So how do we discipline ourselves again? 

the art of discipline

I have a few friends, those rare pearls, that actually have a strict schedule for themselves which they follow without straying away at all. I’ve learnt a few valuable things from them and this is what will follow in this post. So read on if you are serious about getting back on track.

First of all, there’s no magic formula for it.

There are no shortcuts to managing your time properly and being disciplined at your university. It all starts with you being self-motivated to do it. Your parents are not here to force you to get out of bed anymore. Your friends won’t replace them. So you have to be your own mom.

You have to make your own daily schedule and STICK TO IT. FOR REAL. 

If you have to scold yourself, do it. If you’ve decided to wake up at 8 a.m. every Monday because you have a 9 a.m. class, stick to it, even if you slept at 4 a.m. the night before. The lack of sleep and its repercussions acts as your ‘punishment’ in a way. But feel free to reward yourself with a nice cup of coffee (for example) if you are able to do it.

It feels daunting, doesn’t it? But it’s not impossible.

Decide on a fixed schedule.

It’s not all about reward and punishment. Life will be easier if you come up with a FIXED WEEKLY schedule for yourself. Of course, you can leave some flexibility for unexpected emergencies/hangouts. But set up some non-negotiables, such as what time you have to go to sleep.

One of my very disciplined friends goes to bed and wakes up at the same time every single day. Even on weekends. Even if we’re hanging out, he’ll leave when he has to. It’s a rule he made up for himself. No one forced him into it. But it makes his life more organised, predictable, and thus less of a pain. This is real dedication!

I have another friend who structures his week like a 9-5 job. He works non-stop until 6 p.m. as if he ‘clocked out’. He can chill for the rest of the day. And if he is not too overwhelmed with assignments, he’d even dare to ‘take the weekends off’. But within the weekdays before 6 p.m., he’d work like a madman.

In the end, it’s worth it.

art of discipline

Finally, learn how to save yourself.

I can write as many advice posts as I can on this blog and you can google as much as you can to add more discipline into your life, but eventually, all of it is useless if you don’t take the first step of action.

As much as I got advice from my very disciplined friends, I still failed at being disciplined. Sometimes it’s because I didn’t try hard enough, but at other times, it’s also because I hadn’t found the right method for me yet. And what works for me might not work for you.

So the best advice, in that case, is to DO. 

You want to be more disciplined and get your life back in order, right? Then, do something about it. I dare you. Close that window and do what you have to do.

D. K. Waye.

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