3 Habits that Build Relentless Discipline

arnold_you-lack-disciplineThe New Year is over a month old now, and most New Years resolutions have been forgotten or tossed aside. There’s a simple reason for this: most resolutions focus too much on the RESULT and not enough on the PROCESS.

This mindset has been HUGE for me in athletics, coaching, school, relationships, you name it. I was extremely fortunate to have Brian Cain as my high school athletic director and mentor. Cain helped mold me from a flustered headcase into a calm, focused athlete. I never would have made a college baseball roster without Cain’s mental game advice.

You’ll never get results unless you make a plan, stay disciplined and trust the process. That said, resolutions that focus on the process instead of the result are bound to be more successful. For example:

Result-Oriented Goal Process-Oriented Goal
Lose 10 pounds Eat more veggies and fewer starches at each meal
Get better grades Study 10 minutes each day before breakfast
Make more friends Say “Hi” to at least one stranger every day
Get stronger Buy a program or hire a coach

You can see that the ‘result’ column is way too abstract and doesn’t include a plan of action to reach the goal. On the other hand, the ‘process’ column includes a daily action or habit to get you closer to your goal on day at a time.

Daily action toward a goal requires discipline. Like any skill, you have to make discipline a habit. It has to become automatic – something you do without thinking about it. We’re talking raw behavior modification, which doesn’t happen overnight.

Here are three habits that can help you build discipline, focus on the process and reach your goals.


I think I made my bed the first day of college and didn’t make it again for four years. But once I graduated, I learned that daily excellence starts the moment you wake up.

Cain talks about the importance of morning routines. When Philadelphia Eagles head coach Chip Kelly was the football coach at the University of Oregon, he would have his players make their beds every morning. This started the day with attention to detail and forced the players to act differently than they feel.

That last point is important. Even if you’re tired, hung over or would rather just stay under the covers, getting up and making the bed starts the morning on a positive note and sets the tone for the rest of the day.


I wish I could remember where I read it, but a trainer once wrote that before he ever designed a diet plan or gave nutritional advice to a client, he told them to start flossing every night. He said if they couldn’t make the simple commitment to floss, they weren’t ready to revamp their eating habits.

It makes perfect sense. Flossing is one of the simplest things you can do to enhance your health. And it’s way easier than counting calories or cycling carbs. It’s a good first step towards taking control of your eating habits and improving your nutrition.


Another Brian Cain gem: every time you see a penny on the ground, pick it up.

This is not a get-rich-quick (or get-rich-ever) scheme. It’s about doing just a little bit extra to be successful.

Here’s my personal example. I know that I have a lot of work to do if I want to make strength and conditioning my full-time career. So I get up early and do work. I don’t always feel like it, but it has to be done.

There have been days I’ve slept in instead of getting up early, and every single time I’ve felt like a jackass for staying in bed. But not once have I gotten up early and regretted it, even if I didn’t want to at the time.

Getting up early is how I pick up my pennies. How do you pick up yours?

Here’s an excerpt from Cain’s Daily Dominator book:


My grandfather and I were walking to Space Mountain at Disney World when he stopped and asked if I had seen the penny on the ground that I just stepped over.

I had seen it but was fired up to attack Space Mountain and did not want to waste the time to pick up the penny. He stopped me dead in my tracks, asked for 30 seconds of totally undivided attention and told me that picking up pennies would make me rich.

I told him that I could spend my whole life picking up pennies and never become rich like a millionaire.

Then, what he said changed my life – the eureka moment that helped paved my path to success.

He said that picking up the monetary value of the penny was not what would make me rich; rather, it was the habit of picking up the penny, the habit of doing what others don’t have the time to do, are too busy to do, just don’t want to do or don’t think is important enough to do.

Next time you see a penny on the ground, discipline yourself to pick it up.

Be reminded that success is about doing what others are not willing to do and is a result of the daily commitment to doing the little things, to picking up the pennies.

What is an example of picking up pennies for you right now? What is the thing that you must do that others are not willing to do?

So you can see it’s not about the money. It’s about doing the little extra things that most people won’t.

Be disciplined, go the extra step and pick up pennies – literally or figuratively.


Discipline doesn’t have to be scary or complicated. A few small changes can add up in the long run.

Make a habit of these three simple actions and you’ll be a more successful person.

Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Posted in Lists, Tips and Tricks
3 comments on “3 Habits that Build Relentless Discipline
  1. […] You’ll never regret waking up too early. […]

  2. […] of the most important habits I’ve built is calling the Success Hotline every single day. Dr. Rob Gilbert, a sports […]

  3. […] Discipline starts the second you wake up, so make your bed. […]

Comments are closed.


Sign up for the Bonvec Strength newsletter and get your copy of Top 10 Bench Press Mistakes

The Supplement Goals Reference Guide

The cheat sheet to better health, a better body and a better life.

%d bloggers like this: