How to Build Self Discipline with the Avalanche Method

habits leadership mindset personal development


I don’t believe in quick fixes or secrets that come in the form of silver bullets.  There is no substitute for the repetition of making daily disciplined choices as it relates to reaching a goal.

After a lifetime of false starts, fails and broken links in my chain of discipline, I have discovered some secrets to implementing and executing those new habits you envision yourself completing.

Discipline has a pattern and there are actions you can take to engineer success. I will show you today how to set the pattern. There is a system behind making bold decisions that bypass the breakdown in discipline.


I call it the Avalanche of Decisions


An avalanche likely brings a picture of snow suddenly sliding and falling forward as it comes rushing down the mountainside. Cement this image in your mind.  

The key ingredient to an avalanche is momentum. There is a compounding effect that the avalanche creates, as the snow falls forward it picks up speed and picks up more snow which creates more force in turn creating more momentum.  

Jim Collins in his book ‘Good to Great” describes the concept of momentum with the flywheel effect. 

“No matter how dramatic the end result, good-to-great transformations never happen in one fell swoop. In building a great company or social sector enterprise, there is no single defining action, no grand program, no one killer innovation, no solitary lucky break, no miracle moment. Rather, the process resembles relentlessly pushing a giant, heavy flywheel, turn upon turn, building momentum until a point of breakthrough, and beyond.”


Here I am standing in front of the 'Bethlehem Flywheel' used at the Bethlehem Steel plant.  

In a conversation with IFBB pro Bodybuilder Ben Pakulski while visiting his world famous MI40 gym, I was explaining where I was in the process of creating a program, and that it felt like it was taking forever. He replied it’s the principle of inertia, and encouraged me to keep going in the same direction and the breakthrough will come.

Ben knows a lot about this principle from the techniques he teaches and the personal path he followed to become an elite level bodybuilder. Every Athlete knows that deliberate practice will compound everyday producing a superior skillset because of the small choices they have made.

Every author knows the cumulative efforts of writing everyday will create inertia and in time they will have the completed book.

Similar analogies can be applied to a wide range of industries and goals. The concept of inertia is a law that cannot be changed. Now let’s set the pattern.


The Protocol

The pattern is to start early in the day. Most people realize that small incremental change works but I have found that you must start early in the day. Making small changes and strong decisions early in the day set you up for success. Give yourself a small win early and you will gain momentum.

This can look like waking up early, never hitting ‘snooze’, drinking water and completing breath work in place of mindlessly going through your current morning routine.

Pick the actions and small wins that will get you closer to your individual goals. These small wins set you up for success and I have discovered that one good decision is followed by the next and the cycle repeats. The chain of discipline is built one link at a time and the momentum created in the morning can carry you through the day.


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