Red Pill TheoryGet Your Ass Out of The Weeds. Now, let's get down to how to develop discipline (self.TheRedPill)

submitted by [deleted]

This post piggy backs my post from yesterday. Whilst reading this, understand that mindfulness and meditation are huge components of truly developing life long discipline. We will see how important the idea of mind control is, and the preparation of such leading up to the moments that we need self discipline most, are.


According to a 2013 study by Wilhelm Hoffman, works linked here, people with high self control are happier than those without. The study discovered this is true because the self disciplined subjects were more capable of dealing with goal conflicts. These people spent less time debating whether to indulge in behaviors detrimental to their health, and were able to make positive decisions more easily. The self disciplined did not allow their choices to be dictated by impulses or feelings. Instead, they made informed, rational decisions on a daily basis without feeling overly stressed or upset.

Good news, discipline is a learned behavior, it has jack shit to do with genetics. You parents are the ones that should have set this in place and spoke about the importance of keeping a healthy mind and body. If they didn't, pff most of the world doesn't, so don't point the finger at them today, the past is gone and irreversible and it's your responsibility now, especially after reading this easy to implement guide.

Why am I posting this? I don't worry if the world knows "the secrets" I know, that's for sure, because they're not secrets and I highly doubt 70% of the people who read this are actually going to have that moment of clarity and snap out of it. I'd bet that even less of the people who do, won't put it into effect. I'd being willing to bet my money on the people who are already self disciplined, and need that extra kick in the ass and some understanding.

Let's get started... Part I.

I have done plenty of research and found a great, thorough explanation of what is occurring chemically and biologically when we run into a scenario that requires self control as well as the best method that I've not only read about (it's the same premise, just worded differently.) on TRP, but have applied to my life entirely.

We have 2 minds

By Al Uvorof, a "Quora" user who posted an explanation of self control.

Our self-control is a result of evolution. Because social cooperation ensures survival, humans evolved to get along with each other. We learned how to suppress our impulses. Impulse control became a primary function of self-control.

As a result of this evolutionary development, we have two minds. One strives for immediate gratification. The other controls our impulses and is capable of long-term planning.

We alternate between the two minds. Whenever there's a conflict, one mind needs to overwrite the other. This is when we use (or don't use.) the willpower. It's almost as if you've lost self control when you binge ate. When you just stuck it in without a condom on, or when you promised yourself 3 drinks, but had 9. One mind just shuts off, and the other takes over. So what if we reverse this process... what if we halt that other mind from taking over?

The pause-and-plan response

What happens in our bodies when we exercise self-control? The brain launches a sequence of events called pause-and-plan response. It starts with a detection of conflict (and possible future regret) in our brain. The prefrontal cortex gets activated to help us to make a right choice. Since the brain needs energy, the body redirects energy to the brain. And exercising willpower depletes us of glucose.

The plan-and-pause response is the direct opposite of fight-or-flight reaction. Instead of speeding up, our body slows down. Breathing gets slower, and the body relaxes. The goal is to put the body in a calm mode, so that we will have equanimity and mental clarity for a thoughtful action.

The heart rate goes down, and the heart variability goes up. Interestingly, the heart rate variability is a very good indicator of self-control. Which is why we are going to examine it further.

The heart rate variability

When we breathe, our heart rate changes depending on inhale/exhale. It speeds up when we inhale and slows down when we exhale. Under stress, our sympathetic nervous system takes over. That's why our heart rate goes up, and its variability goes down. With an elevated heart rate, we feel anxious and angry. This is also why you typically cannot pass a polygraph test when lying unless you are a pathological liar or psychopath. This test relies on emotion. Under stress, our sympathetic nervous system takes over.

When the prefrontal cortex launches the plan-and-pause response, the parasympathetic nervous system steps in to calm us down. The heart rate goes down but the variability goes up.

In fact, heart rate variability is so good at predicting future choices, we can use it to predict human behavior. For example, if a recovering alcoholic's heart variability goes up when he sees an alcoholic drink, he is more likely to stay sober. In general, people with higher heart rate variability are better at concentrating, persisting at difficult tasks, delaying gratification, and dealing with stress.

Because the heart rate variability (HRV) is so paramount to willpower, there is an entire industry of books and gadgets aimed at increasing/changing heart rate variability.

Various factors impact HRV, from food, to stress, to breathing, to sleep. Processed food and stress deplete the willpower, while meditation and sleep restores it. Anything that reduces stress or improves health increases HRV (i.e. exercise, sleep, time with friends and family, etc)

This bring us back to the first question:

How can I improve my self-control?

A quick way to increase self-control is to increase HRV. Breathing rate can be used to increase HRV. Studies have shown HRV starts increasing as the breathing rate drops below 12 breaths per minute. For best results, you have to slow down breathing to 4 to 6 breaths per minute. That's 10 to 15 seconds per breath. (for more details read "Willpower Instinct," pg 42-45)

Meditation techniques should be used to slow down breathing. It does relax you, and I suspect it makes meditation easier to endure. Sitting to meditate is an exercise in self-control after all. This probably sets off an entire loop: meditation -> to increase self-control, more self-control -> easier to meditate.

Part II. Self-control and "The Deprivation Training Method."

by Nicolas Cole, a "Quora" user who posted this method in regards to self control.

Choose anything that matters to you.

Now take it away.

How badly do you want it back? Is the 'want' like an itch? Do you think about it all the time? How far would you go to have it?

By depriving yourself of things you 1) Do often, 2) Very much enjoy 3) Have every day 4) etc., you learn how to say No to yourself.

But more importantly, you begin to tap into your awareness.

The key to self-control is awareness. It is the understanding that in this moment you want something. In this moment you have the option of going and getting it, or doing something else. In this moment, you have the CHOICE.

By tapping in and becoming more aware, you eventually begin to realize that everything you do in life is because of a choice that YOU make. Where you go, what you eat, how you spend your time—none of it is determined for you. You are the one doing the determining. And once you realize that, self-control no longer seems to be this elusive "skillset" out there in the endless void of life. Self-control is nothing more than the awareness that you yourself are all power, that you are your own creator, and that you can either choose to do this or that.

Start small and then work your way up. It takes practice, and you're going to fail. Believe me. You're going to hear that voice in your head say, "I really shouldn't have another milkshake. I really should turn off the TV and work instead. I really should etc. etc. etc." And you'll know deep down what the right decision is. But you won't make it—not at first. Because the ego is very convincing. And when the ego wants something, it knows just what to say to make sure that you give up the goods.

Over time though, if you are persistent and honest with yourself, and take a moment to reflect after you've given in to your ego and vow to try harder next time, eventually, when headed in that direction, you will start to make different decisions for yourself. And over time, you will begin to practice the skillset that is self-control. And once you find a rhythm and see how it works in action, you'll become empowered. And once empowered, you will be able to make different decisions for yourself.


Whatever method you choose, if you do choose, understand that this is a process. That understanding discipline and it's use in your life are the most important components. Do too much at once, you'll most likely fail and want to kick your own ass. Do too little... there is no such thing, a start is a start. If you're able to build upon this each day, week, month you're already moving in the right direction. Develop self worth and respect like your life depended on it.

EDIT: I'd like to add, the biggest take away from this post is, "I have a choice." You are in control of your actions, it's pain that scares you into these wrongful or self harming actions that you do not actually want to involve yourself with. Instead, embrace the pain, and develop self-discipline to cultivate a better quality of life.

[–]joeyjojosharknado 128 points129 points  (1 child)

We need more of this kind of stuff in TRP and less bitching about feminists. Don't get me wrong, I think feminists are nauseatingly hypocritical and entitled, and a reminder how how the odds are being stacked against men is useful. But we need a better action:complaining ratio here. Acknowledge the issues, but don't wallow in them. Focus on improvement, not anger.

[–]JvSOUL 2 points3 points  (0 children)

I Think the Anger reply helps us all to relate and understand. The anger and pain is the catalyst for Change and improvement.

[–]Battle-Scars 34 points35 points  (5 children)

So many times walking through the door after work I have that argument in my head, sit down and relax or go to the gym. It seems my most rewarding workout is after I've had that struggle in my head, overcame it, and went to the gym.

[–]stawek 7 points8 points  (2 children)

Just this saturday i was flying out for holidays in the afternoon. In the morning I was like "oh, I can skip gym this one time, no time for it". Then I just got my gym pants, picked my water bottle and went there. I barely noticed what I was doing - after so many months of discipline it was my subconscious behaviour actually working on behalf of the gym. I kinda noticed what happened driving towards the gym and had a laugh.

Got pr on squats, too :)

[–]Stythe 5 points6 points  (1 child)

It's funny, I exercise regularly and occasionally when I start to get lazy I may try and talk myself out of a workout but as soon as I lift a dumbell I get hit by a wave of excitement.

[–]glawkneintehn 4 points5 points  (0 children)

Yeah get to the gym, finish my first set, feel the head high and think to myself "how the fuck was I even trying to talk myself out of coming here this morning?"

[–][deleted] 4 points5 points  (0 children)


Riding home after work, it's hella late.

"I'm tired and sore, could probably use another day to let my muscles rebuild."

But once I step in the door of the gym, all that bullshit just disappears.

[–]natelegacy 50 points51 points  (3 children)

Thank you for writing this OP.

Recently I've been thinking a lot about self discipline... I quit smoking weed, started facing my fears, taking cold showers. My happiness levels have absolutely sky rocketed. I want so badly to be in control of my emotions, and to have mental stability in times of stress. It's going to take work, but this post just makes me all the more sure that I am making good changes to my life.

[–]Stythe 10 points11 points  (2 children)

I'm at this point as well. I slip up occasionally and smoke or drink and I tend to get lethargic when I do. I've realized I liked the clarity of being sober and I don't want drugs in my life unless I've hit a point I'm satisfied with. Maybe not eventirely then. What I do notice is that I'm sharper, more consistent, more sociable and all around better when I'm sober. I also notice I genuinely tend to enjoy my alone time sober as opposed to just feeling like I need to relax. My willpower also goes up, I assume because my mental clarity is stronger.

[–]AlerioX 2 points3 points  (1 child)

A year ago I thought willpower was like a battery so you can only accomplish a certain amount of work everyday. But actually willpower is completely different. If willpower was like a battery we would be most productive while smoking, drinking coca cola and eating big macs. We all know that this isn't true.

I also use 'Loop Habit Tracker' for android now to build new habits. It makes the process more motivating.
I can really recommend using such an app.
Just like with MyFitnessPal tracking in general makes the life simpler and better.

[–]Stythe 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Yea, willpower is a muscle. You get more by using it more. The more you see yourself succeed the more tlthay success becomes easier and you push yourself for more, continually improving.

Never heard of loop habit tracker before. I use my fitness pal now though. I never new how bad I ate before. Seriously upped the chicken and veggies once I started using it. It's damn hard to keep under my fat goal I'd I eat other things. And processed food? Holy fuck one meal is easily half to a full days worth of calories with little nutritional value. I knew it was bad, but I never quite understood why until I started watching that stuff.

[–]le_king_falcon 20 points21 points  (4 children)

This is sort of content is sorely needed on TRP. It's okay saying lift and earn money but it's not use if some people don't know how to stick it out.

For myself swallowing the red pill and it's ideas about sexual dynamics was the easy part~~.

Developing the discipline to actually make use of those ideas was and still is a long road.

I'd never applied myself to anything properly in my entire life. I coasted by on~~ pure good luck, natural intelligence and athletic gifts. Once I hit the boundaries of my innate ability I was bereft of ideas after a lifetime of just "getting" anything I tried.

Luckily TRP gave me the swift kick in the arse I needed to actually engage self motivation.

[–]PragmaticRedTruth 13 points13 points [recovered]

It's not "self motivation." It is self discipline. Do NOT confuse the two.

Self motivation is that hunger or desire to do something. This is all the fat fucks who join the gym just before New Year's Eve so they can get in "shape."

They're motivated for change. Motivated to look better.

On the other hand... self discipline is going to the gym year round because it's good for your quality of life. You will have days you're motivated, and have days you aren't. The days you aren't, you don't rely on yourself to deal in the bickering back and forth of your ego and higher self, arguing over whether you're going or not, or using the excuse that you're too tired.

Self discipline (not to be confused with motivation.) is going to the gym even at your worst hours, when you fear going or loath going the most. Self discipline is handling the pain that comes along with completing a task you don't necessarily want to, but decided you "have" to.

[–]le_king_falcon 0 points1 point  (0 children)

And you are right, discipline was the aim and is something I actually have now. The self motivation to elicit change in my life was the turning point for me. Before that point I couldn't have even come close to having any discipline. You are right, motivation is something that comes and goes, discipline is the way to kick the reliance on something as nebulous as motivation.

[–][deleted] 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Right on. Motivation comes and goes, but discipline will always be there.

[–]FuckOffDoxxers 13 points14 points  (6 children)

your ego knows exactly what to say to you

Yes, so know exactly what to say to it. I find that having little mantras for specific temptations helps.

For instance, when I want to cheat on my diet, I simply repeat: "Nothing tastes as good as being lean and healthy feels."

When I don't want to go to my BJJ or kickboxing gym, because I caught a bad leg kick last night or deadlifts made my ass sore or I'm just plain tired: "If I'm resting, one of my opponents is training."

If I want to get lazy with a college course because I had a long work day and I "deserve" a chill night after sparring: "Do you want to chill out now and be broke later or work now and be successful later?"

You get the picture.

[–]MelodyMyst 9 points10 points  (1 child)

"If I am resting, one of my opponents is training"

Great Mantra.

[–][deleted] 4 points5 points  (1 child)

That's funny, I tell my ego: shut the fuck up and suffer. Suffer, mother fucker!

[–]Satou4 0 points1 point  (0 children)

that's what I do too and it works! but sometimes I have to say it like 20 times per hour...

[–]vorverk 4 points5 points  (0 children)

It goes both ways. Loving yourself makes you do stuff "for yourself". Since you love yourself. You love to do things for people you love. If you love yourself, you like doing things for you.

Now, having bad self image will throw you in to a spiral of self hate. You don't want do do things for people you hate. If you hate yourself, you don't want to do stuff for you.

[–]rayyaal 3 points4 points  (0 children)

I really like your posts PRT. Keep it up.

My personal method for sharpening my discipline is to make a clear schedule. The schedule has everything I have to do every day, including time off for relaxing and socializing and the like. It sounds really anal but the fact is so long as I'm following the schedule I have nothing to worry about/decide. It's not that I have to convince myself to do Muay Thai after work, it's that it's on my schedule and if I want to relax instead of doing MT I just have to wait till tomorrow when my schedule says I have two hours before bed to relax. So it's almost a process of postponing my desires to when my schedule allows for them. I also want to stress that you design the schedule to your own standard, and you set that standard when you follow it. You can scale down/up respectively as time moves on and you realize your capacity.

Also I am a proponent of morning gym. If you can get in the gym before work 3 times a week every week, it becomes really easy to make the lifestyle change. You basically depend on it to keep your mood up for the work day, and you begin to look forward to it every week.

Just my two cents.

Edit: Just wanted to add that when you do finally get to the scheduled relaxing time, it is so much more valuable than just taking time off when you aren't supposed to. There's no nagging guilt, there's no imposing deadline, and there's nothing else that would better serve your self-esteem than enjoying yourself for that allotted time. I love to play competitive video games, but they are so much more fun when you have literally nothing else on your mind because you know your shit is done and you have earned the right to fuck around with your friends.

[–][deleted] 3 points4 points  (0 children)

I recommend starting an excuse journal (next to your progress journal) where you write an excuse why you didn't do something and how the solution for the next time. This will increase your awareness tremendously and will make you hold yourself accountable - gave great results to me.

[–]alltrueism 4 points5 points  (0 children)

Me at 18: "Finally I can move out of my parent's house and do what the fuck I want."

Me at 30: "Fuck, where are my parents?"

[–][deleted] 2 points3 points  (0 children)

I saw a video recently about overcoming procrastination, or cultivating discipline, that also mentions meditation as a means to do so.

It's a short video but I'll try to summarize the role of meditation in cultivating discipline, according to psychologist Dr. Tim Pychyl. I'm quoting from the video below.


The first two bits are the narrator speaking.

There's one part of your brain that's purely instinctual, called the limbic system. It's responsible for your emotions, your fight or flight; all it cares about is keeping you alive. Then, over here there's this other part thats kind of wiser and more rational. It's responsible for your goals, your dreams and your plans for the future. That's your prefrontal cortex. So, what happens when you get that feeling of not wanting to do something? The theory is that your instinctual part springs into action right away. It doesn't think about the future, it just tells you to avoid the task. The other side—the rational side—is slower to act.

Neuroplasticity means that your brain can change. It's kind of like gooey plastic, and the more plastic your brain is the easier it is to train it to do what you want; to make and break habits. So you can develop your brain, and the best way to do it is actually thousands of years old.

Now this is the psychologist speaking.

What we want to do is down-regulate the limbic system. And what we want to do is strength the response of the prefrontal cortex. And mindfulness meditation is a root to that.

Back to the narrator.

The more you meditate, the better you become at making decisions, and the easier it is to keep on task when you know you have something important to do. That's because studies show that it actually shrinks the amygdala, the instinctual part of your brain. And it adds more gray matter to the part that helps you make decisions (prefrontal cortex). And that's what we know works.

TLDR: Mindfulness meditation helps you become disciplined.

[–]thomasbkin 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Started following your posts a few weeks ago, always enjoyable. Thanks for creating such great content!!

[–]Lefeudufou 2 points3 points  (0 children)

To read this post was the best choice I made today

[–]faggotbrains 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Great post. The understanding of how the heart rate (and the autonomic nervous system) gets affected by inhaling/exhaling explains why meditation works. Controlling the breath is the first step in mindfulness.

In my understanding/theory, the guy with the lower heart rate (and using the prefrontal cortex) controls the frame of any interaction.

*Btw testosterone secretion happens with the parasympathetic nervous system working. Stress and Anxiousness can literally make you impotent.

[–]Lord_Cutler_Beckett 2 points3 points  (0 children)

"Through discipline comes freedom" -Aristotle

[–]RationalKing 1 point2 points  (1 child)

Great post. The thing that does the trick for me is having a daily list of things I'll have to do, at fist that list had 1-2 things on it you need to start small. For example your first goal is to wake up at 7am, cool write that down the night before and set an alarm clock, if you do this next time add one more. Day 2 example 1. wake up at 7am 2. brush teeth, and so on. Just keep stacking rituals, when you get the basics down then you can add the harder things.

[–]Satou4 1 point2 points  (0 children)

This works. If you can't do the first thing after a while, start with something easier. So if it's a big lifestyle change to wake up early, just say you'll do 1 pushup. The momentum is key.

[–][deleted] 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Thank you for this OP.

I too have noticed that the calmer and the more in control you are of your breathing,I work better because I am more in control of what I am doing.

The problem is at a certain point I enter a sort of autopilot stage (meditation also does this to me) and I have trouble focusing on what I am doing.

[–]Snufek 0 points1 point  (0 children)

That's why there is no question about lifting for me. There is no 'maybe'. Lifting is a thing I do and you can count I will be at the gym on tuesday, thursday and saturday, no exceptions. If I'm ill I'm going to show up anyway - maybe do just 30% of my normal routine, maybe just stretch...

I mean, life is hella easier when you don't have those mental battles in your head. You just have things you do, like it is your nature.

[–]YeetMeat 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Thank you for writing this out, it was really helpful. As someone who is taking ownership of his life for the first time, it means a lot to be able to read these kind of things.

[–]rp_newdawn 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Opened this on my phone right before my daily meditation session. Thank you very much for contributing to the community, I needed this today.

[–]microwave44 0 points1 point  (0 children)

The bot seems to be down so here's the archive

[–]Hussssy 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Bob Proctor - The X and Y factor is a good listen on spotify which expands on this and explains why its difficult to change habits and therefore explains how to approach it. Only 30 mins as well

[–][deleted] 0 points1 point  (1 child)

Im disciplined in most aspects of my life. I've dropped 40+ pounds in the last year. I workout 6 days a week. I do well in school. And yet, I can't seem to go through with nofap. I first tried it because my dick wasn't as hard as I'd like, but since I started doing more cardio, taking cold showers and doing kegels that issue has all but resolved itself. However, I still want to go through with it just for the point of the matter. Shit is insanely hard.

This post gave me motivation. Thanks.

[–]highenergysanders 0 points1 point  (0 children)

That's the hardest thing to drop so don't feel bad that you're hung up on it. It's an addiction an every sense of the word. It's so easily accessible, you're hard wired to want it bad, and the dopamine flood for indulgence is several magnitudes higher than any of the other vices you listed.

[–][deleted] 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I've never heard of HRV before. Thanks for mentioning it!

[–]mickey__ 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Do you guys feel deep relief when "bad" side of you take over control?

[–]BRINGMEDATASS 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Get to the point god damn. Valuable information being wasted with so much fluff.

[–]Pewdielockz 0 points1 point  (0 children)

While I was reading this text, I tried to breathe in and out way slower than usually, like when I meditate. It's fascinating how clear your text was for me because of that. Also when I'm doing sports, running on the treadmill or something, it's really hard to think while you are physically active. I tried to remember some math things, no chance I could concentrate.

I would like to know more about breathing techniques, do you got some interesting articles?

[–]TehJimmyy 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Fat the best post out there

[–]-uftw- 0 points1 point  (1 child)

I agree with your post in general but let's be clear on one thing: I stick it in without condom -on fucking purpose- not because I lack self discipline.

[–]madrealworld 0 points1 point  (0 children)

good for you for being smarter than us condom users