Habit Building Through Small Disciplines: Lessons Learned for Transforming My Life

2023 has become my year of transformation. I’ve been using the concept of small disciplines to build up the habits I need for a successful pivot out of my second act, and into my third, and over these last six months I think I’ve been increasingly successful.

I’ve been getting more done. Each month it seems that I add to my list of daily requirements, each day I’ve been pretty good at meeting them, and along the way, I’ve learned some important lessons.

First, self discipline is truly a muscle. Each day that I successfully use my small disciplines to get stuff done makes it easier to use them the next day.

Second, they are not additive, not linear, they are multiplicative, i.e. non-linear. Which is a bunch of big words to say that the changes are getting faster while they’re getting easier.

Third, one of the most powerful habits I implemented was my daily letter of affirmation. I write a one page letter, in cursive, to myself every morning and the simple act of putting it on paper programs my brain to do it.

Fourth, this letter has the added benefit of providing a black and white “to do” list. Each item checked off the list is a small victory, and each small victory is a little dopamine hit, a mood lifter.

Which leads me to, fifth, my struggles with depression seem to be a little easier. It’s still there, but it seems to be getting easier to fight it.

And, sixth, once you get past the two months to build a habit, the habit takes control of the action. Using this system/method to build the habits of success seems to be helping with my ADHD.

I can’t conclude anything definitively, yet, but I’m seeing genuine signs of progress.