Sometimes, Even Small Disciplines Need More. They Need a Mantra

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.

Tao Te Ching

In my theory of transformation through small disciplines, I posit that:

  • only a select few have the self-discipline to implement large changes
  • almost anyone can implement small changes
  • small changes require small disciplines
  • small changes over time add up to large, life transforming changes


Anyone can create life transforming change through small disciplines.

Just as anyone can walk a thousand miles by taking one step at a time, anyone can change his life by making one small change, repeating it, and building on it.

I’ve been doing that this year, having successfully implemented three changes. I write daily, I post videos daily, and I get up an hour and a half earlier than any time before in my life, also daily.

I wish to develop these changes, to push further. I have successfully habituated my daily publishing, and created 6:30 as my latest rising time, but I want more early daytime for me, for my projects.

This requires getting up at 6 am or earlier, and here I am meeting resistance. I find that my “get up five minutes earlier daily for a week” is getting harder and harder. I need something more, so I’ve added a mantra. Not for meditation, for motivation.

A minute or two before I’m to rise, I say to myself, “Small disciplines, small disciplines, small disciplines…” until I bore myself out of bed.

I chose this mantra because it reminds me that

  • I’m not asking much of myself (five minutes)
  • it’s part of a transformational process (through small disciplines)

This morning was hard, it was a tough, tiring weekend.

But it worked.