A Simple Guide to Relentless Self-Discipline

Painter Chuck Close claims he’s never had a “painter’s block” in his whole life. In an interview for Inside the Painter’s Studio1, he said:

Inspiration is for amateurs—the rest of us just show up and get to work. And the belief that things will grow out of the activity itself and that you will—through work—bump into other possibilities and kick open other doors that you would never have dreamt of if you were just sitting around looking for a great “art idea.” And the belief that process, in a sense, is liberating and that you don’t have to reinvent the wheel every day. Today, you know what you’ll do, you could be doing what you were doing yesterday, and tomorrow you are gonna do what you did today, and at least for a certain period of time you can just work. If you hang in there, you will get somewhere.

Forget About Motivation

Over the years, a lot of readers have asked me for advice on how to get more motivated. And that makes sense. No matter what you’re trying to get done, it’s a lot easier when you have that nice feeling of motivation fueling your efforts.

But please note that’s exactly what motivation is. It’s a feeling. And the thing about feelings is that they fluctuate. No one is motivated all the time. So, when you rely on that feeling to take action, you’re essentially leaving your most desired outcomes up to chance. Not a good plan.

So, what should you do instead?

Just Show Up and Get to Work

The “just show up and get to work” motto is a great creed to live by in all areas of life. No matter what you want to accomplish, you won’t get there by “getting motivated,” but by showing up and doing the work every single day.

I know that from my own experience, because when I was relying on motivation and inspiration to write, I’d publish articles very infrequently. But ever since I committed to writing a certain number of hours every day—no matter what—I’ve published hundreds of articles and several books. Very rarely do I feel inspired or motivated when I sit down to write. But that doesn’t matter because I’ve trained myself to do it anyway.

And no matter what you’re trying to achieve, you can train yourself to do it too. All you need to do is put habits and strategies in place that makes it second nature for you to show up and do the work.

Create Relentless Self-Discipline

The fundamental habits of self-discipline are sleep, nutrition, movement, and mindfulness. Once they are solidly in place, it’s time to start developing your self-discipline strategies.

Your strategies should make sure that you show up and get to work, every single day, whether you feel like it or not.

In the articles below, I’ll cover the most powerful self-discipline strategies I know. I suggest you read, implement, and tweak the ones you think will give you the greatest benefits.

If you want a more structured approach, get a copy of my book The Self-Discipline Blueprint. It lays out all the habits and strategies required for relentless self-discipline in a simple, systematic, step-by-step fashion.

Inspiration is for amateurs, so let’s just show up and get to work!


  1. Inside the Painter’s Studio by Joe Fig

Self-Discipline Articles