If you want to become more disciplined, start doing these 9 things every evening

Discipline is like a superpower.

The thing is, you can have all the big dreams and ambitions in the world, but if you don’t have discipline, you’re very unlikely to ever reach your goals.

That’s because, most of the time, success isn’t a result of one brilliant action. Instead, it comes from a million little steps you take along the way. And taking those little steps, especially when it’s difficult, requires a lot of discipline.

Sometimes, you need to make yourself do things you would really rather not do. It’s always easier to binge-watch another show or reach for a tub of ice cream than it is to work on a difficult project or head to the gym. It’s discipline that will help you make the best choices and keep you pursuing your goals, even when things get hard.

And often, discipline is a matter of the habits we build on a daily basis.

Start doing these things every evening, and you’ll be building a strong foundation of discipline. From there, you’ll be in a much better position to tackle your goals, however lofty they may be.

1) Plan for tomorrow

Success is a matter of discipline, but is often a matter of preparation, too. After all, good luck has a way of finding those who are ready to receive it and do something with it.

Preparing for the day ahead has several benefits when it comes to improving your discipline. For one thing, it gets you thinking about tomorrow and what the day might bring. This can help you envision any problems you may encounter during the day and already come up with solutions for them before they have even happened.

Additionally, getting ready for tomorrow can make your mornings much smoother. By laying out the clothes you’ll need, making yourself a healthy lunch, or making sure your car is in good condition, you can prevent yourself from starting the next day off by being rushed and stressed out. This enables you to focus more clearly and perform at your best.

It doesn’t have to be anything big. Something as simple as taking a few minutes to think about what you have to do for tomorrow and what you can do to make that easier today is enough to get you into this disciplined mindset.

2) Reflect on the day

Just as important as thinking about tomorrow is reflecting on today.

Again, it doesn’t have to be anything big. Some people find it helpful to write down a few details of the day that just passed, but if you’re not comfortable with that, you can just think about them in your head instead.

Think about what went right, and why. Think also about what went wrong, and where you could have done better.

The goal is not to beat yourself up about your failures. Instead, the aim is to learn what you can from the day just passed, and focus on being better tomorrow.

3) Prepare your environment

Part of preparing yourself for tomorrow is preparing your environment. For someone like me who works from home, that’s especially important, since my home is my workplace.

But we all have household chores we need to keep up with, and spending a few minutes taking care of some of them in the evening can make your life easier in the long run.

Have you ever wondered why recruits in the Armed Forces are made to carefully make their beds every day? As US Navy Admiral William H McRaven points out, it’s not really about the bed itself.

Instead, it builds discipline. By giving people a manageable task that they can accomplish right away, it sets them up for an attitude of getting things done that lasts throughout the day.

The same is true at night. Set your house in order, whether that means tidying up, preparing an area for study, or doing a load of laundry, and you’ll be creating a habit of discipline and productivity.

4) Limit screen time

No generation on earth has been more surrounded by screens than we are now. Unfortunately, we only just now learning about the negative effects those screens can have on us, especially at night.

The blue light emitted by screens can interfere with our circadian rhythms, the natural patterns of our body that help us get to sleep more quickly and have a more restful sleep once we get there. That’s why pediatrician Michael Rich, among other doctors, advises eliminating screens before bed.

It makes sense when you think about it. You can have a productive day if you didn’t get good quality sleep the night before. So banish screens for at least an hour before you go to bed if you want the best possible night’s sleep.

5) Establish a sleep schedule

Sleep is so important to our bodies and brains, helping us to function at the highest possible level. And another trick you can use to help you sleep and build disciplined habits is to establish a sleep schedule.

After all, there’s a reason why your parents used to send you to bed at the same time every night. As the National Sleep Foundation points out, getting enough sleep helps you to cope with daily stress and keeps you more alert. It can even improve the health of your heart.

No particular time is the best bedtime for everyone. Instead, you need to think about how much sleep you need and when is the best time for you to do that. Then, stick to that schedule. Over time, that will train your body to get tired at the right time so you can have a restful night.

6) Practice self-care

When you’re trying to be more disciplined, it’s tempting to be hard on yourself. And sometimes, that can have powerful results.

Other times, it can backfire.

Ultimately, life is meant to be enjoyed. So carve out some time in your evening to practice self-care.

This looks different for everyone.

It might mean meditating. It might mean taking a warm bath. It might mean spending time with your family. But whatever it is that puts a smile on your face, try to do it as often as possible.

That will keep you motivated and happy as you build a better life.

7) Stay active

After a tiring day, often, the last thing we want to do is exercise. But I’m not talking about running a marathon. I’m just pointing out that staying active is something you should try to do throughout the day, and that includes in the evening.

If you want a good night’s sleep, it’s not a good idea to elevate your heart rate, so a long run or heavy gym session isn’t the best idea. Instead, exercise such as stretching or a gentle walk around the neighborhood can help to improve both your physical and mental health and make it easier to sleep.

8) Limit caffeine and heavy meals

Sleep quality is so important, and another way you can improve your sleep is by watching what you eat and drink.

Most of us know that caffeine before bed isn’t a good idea, since the stimulant works to make us more awake and can keep you from getting the sleep you need.

The same applies to heavy meals. A really big dinner can slow down your digestion and make it more difficult to get to sleep at night.

Allow yourself time between any large meal and going to bed, at least a couple of hours. This helps you digest your food and sleep better.

9) Read and learn

Finally, the evening can be a fantastic time to work on your self. And there are few better ways to do that than by reading and learning something new.

There’s plenty of scientific evidence that demonstrates that reading right before bed helps to improve the quality of your sleep. But the calm of the evening after a busy day can also be the perfect time to learn something new.

Feed your brain before bed, and your subconscious will have the whole night to work on what you’ve learned. It’s a powerful way to supercharge your intellectual abilities without sacrificing all-important rest time.

The power of evening habits

Discipline is a key part of success, and it starts with the habits you cultivate every day. Practice these evening habits, and you’ll find yourself sleeping better, having more energy throughout the day, staying in better physical shape, and learning more.

Add it altogether, and you have all the necessary ingredients to go out and achieve your goals.

Clifton Kopp

Welcome to my writings on Hack Spirit! I'm a bit of a "polymath" in that I like writing about many different things. Often I'm learning from the process of writing. I hope you enjoy, and please leave a comment on one of my articles.

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