‘Discipline Starts Every Day When The First Alarm Clock Goes Off’

‘Discipline Starts Every Day When The First Alarm Clock Goes Off’

Developing discipline is all about doing the little things right. Small wins can set the tone of your day, including the very first moment when your alarm clock goes off.

Photo by Sean McGrath.

It’s tempting to hit your snooze button in the morning, especially when there’s nothing forcing you to wake up at that time. It’s a decisive moment that can determine the entire outcome of your day, so you might as well use as an opportunity to exercise your discipline. Jocko Willink, a retired US Navy SEAL and author of Extreme Ownership: How US Navy SEALs Lead and Win, explains:

Discipline starts every day when the first alarm clock goes off in the morning. I say ‘first alarm clock’ because I have three… That way, there is no excuse for not getting out of bed, especially with all that rests on that decisive moment… The moment the alarm goes off is the first test; it sets the tone for the rest of the day. The test is not a complex one: when the alarm goes off, do you get up out of bed, or do you lie there in comfort and fall back to sleep? If you have the discipline to get out of bed, you win — you pass the test. If you are mentally weak for that moment and you let that weakness keep you in bed, you fail. Though it seems small, that weakness translates to more significant decisions. But if you exercise discipline, that too translates to more substantial elements of your life.

It might seem inconsequential, but doing the little things right can lead to doing the big things right. Nothing is forcing you to get up, but yourself. Make a statement and attack the day head on.

Extreme Ownership: How US Navy SEALs Lead and Win [Amazon via Business Insider]


  • I never understand the whole “snooze” thing because when my alarm goes off, I have to get up that very second, or else I will not have enough time to do the things I need to do in order to arrive at work on time. Simple

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