Sometimes I don't even feel excited about accomplishing baby steps though, since I know they are so artificially low. Or knowing I have so little to accomplish, I can lie in bed even longer, or generally allow myself to get distracted from what is my primary goal for the day/week.
Then even if I do get in a good cycle of getting things done, I struggle with the inertia - since at some point you are filling your day, so anything less than that feels like failure.
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Goal setting is possibly the most important thing to building quality self-discipline. Set daily, weekly, monthly and yearly goals.
As far as focus goes (which is often mistaken with discipline), I recommend the Pomodoro Technique. Start small and build up until you can focus for hours at a time. Reading is the easiest thing to do this with. If you want to build mental endurance/raw willpower, I find intense exercise and long cold showers to be good. Also keep in mind that without a healthy body, no amount of training will build you discipline. You need a healthy body.
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Because you don't believe that you can. Yes, it's a cliche. Yes it's unhelpful; it is still true. I used to feel exactly the same way as you did, as though my life was on rails and completely out of my control. I had vague ideas of things that I thought I might want, but never for a moment believed that they would be achievable or could actually happen.
It may not surprise you to hear that I was very depressed for some time; ironically, it was when it got unbearable that I set myself free, completely by accident. I bought some heroin and lots of valium off the darknet with the aim of downing a bottle of vodka and dieing (inb4 not the most effective method, yada yada yada).
And then it occurred to me. Just sitting in despair in my room living off handouts, I could get access to some of the most powerful drugs the world has ever known delivered straight to my door. Isn't that crazy? Imagine what I could do if I put my mind to it!
Look the point of all this is that you need to embrace the absurdity. Chase a whale. Push a boulder up a hill. Smoke some rocks. Just do <something>, for Christs sake. Not something you never thought you could do, because you'll mentally block yourself from doing it. Do something entirely new, that is entirely unlike you.
It could be as simple as getting dessert.
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I feel man. Every time I want to get into something new or study a subject, after some time I lose interest and drive to ever look at it again.
I've fallen so many times into this spiral of apathy and despair.