Why the 3:33 Alarm Helps Build Self-Discipline

The 3:33 Alarm is a coaching tool to help you build self-discipline. It’s useful because self-discipline is one of those things that’s simple in theory but in practice, you need to go deep and learn to change your way of thinking. You need to remember these two things:

  • You can’t force or schedule self-discipline.
  • Self-discipline won’t automatically materialize if you have a great plan.

People often say “I need to find the self-discipline” but you can’t find self-discipline, it’s not hiding under the couch. Self-discipline is a habit. The fastest way to build self-discipline is to learn how to work through the inevitable resistance one step at a time.

Building self-discipline is like building muscle, it grows with consistent use and strain.

Self-discipline training is not about eliminating the resistance, it’s about learning to make decisions decisively despite it. A daily alarm at the same time each day to remind yourself to check in is a great starting point. The key is digging into your brain for real answers because we are good at lying to ourselves, especially if we want to get out of something.

MORE: Working with a self-discipline coach

How to Start the 3:33 Discipline Alarm

Before you set an alarm to check in with yourself, you need to know what you’re checking in for. Set intentions ahead of time based on what you want to accomplish and how you want to approach things.

Be careful not to set yourself up for failure by planning an impossible perfectionist all-or-nothing approach. Perfectionism is a form of self-sabotage.

NOTE: If you’re tempted to do this you have almost certainly tried this before, and you wouldn’t be here reading this if that worked.

Start small. Even if you feel like you’re behind and playing catch up, this. is the fastest way to build self-trust and the habit of self-discipline.

When the Alarm Goes Off

Ask yourself the following:

What am I doing right now?
Is it what I had planned to do? Is this in line with my priorities?

What am I thinking about right now/today?
Am I putting my thoughts where I should be? Am I thinking more about what I want than what I don’t want?

Do I have the right attitude?
Am I approaching the day with openness, possibility, curiosity, and tenacity?

What will I do next?
You get to decide to change course if you’re not acting in your own best self-interest.

Coaching and self-reflection work best with pen and paper, but you can do this quick check-in entirely in your head. If you feel like you’re at 8/10 or above, do a fist pump. If you don’t, take a moment to connect to how you could feel if you made some different decisions to get back on track. It doesn’t mean that you have to suddenly be perfect, but growing your awareness of the decisions you are making and how it feels in the moment is a critical part of intentional change.

This thought exploration alone often serves as motivation to get back on track. Building self-discipline is all about getting better and better at catching yourself and making a decision that aligns with your long-term goals.

The 3:33 alarm is like doing an extra plank every day for the self-discipline muscle.

Procrastination and Self-Discipline

The harsh truth is that some days you won’t be able to get yourself to follow through and your brain will convince you that you should procrastinate this whole building self-discipline thing.

Even if you ask yourself the questions and have insight into what you’re doing, you will dive back into bad habits. But even when this happens you are moving the dial forward by paying attention because patterns are revealing themselves.

If you’re not in alignment for a few days in a row there is something bigger you need to address. Even if you’re not able to wrangle yourself right then, the check-in gives you data that you can use in the future to improve your habits.

Judging yourself harshly will not help you build self-discipline any faster it will slow you down.  In our online coaching group for women, we work on collecting data, not judgements.


If You’re Serious About Building Self Discipline

You know there is no quick fix. The habits you have today around following through have been solidified based on your entire life up until this moment.

You can decide right now that you want to change these habits and commit to yourself. And this time it can be different.

What could your life look like with self-discipline?

What could your life look like six months from now if you had the self-discipline to follow through? What would the ripple effect be on the rest of your life?

Choosing this path today is about learning to choose yourself again and again, even when you’re not in the mood or life gets in the way. It’s about learning to take 100% responsibility for your results.

You’re going to learn to accept where you are starting from (even if you aren’t satisfied), accept that there might be some ups and downs along the way, and accept that change is never linear. You’re going to have to do different things if you want different results.

Self-discipline coaching can help you focus, stay on track and surface the invisible to get you there faster. The Kickstartology Alignment Coaching Program integrates the tools to get out of your own way so that you can find out what you’re actually capable of.

Book a call to find out about online group coaching for women or personal coaching.

P.S. Getting started and getting results can happen fast once you decide to commit to yourself.
Get out of your own way and get aligned with who you want to be and how you want to live with the support, guidance, and tools of Alignment Coaching.

Book a free coaching exploration call to find out how to work with me 1 on 1 or in my group coaching program for women.

Free: Get unstuck with our mini starter course:


Submit to receive an email with the download link. 

The First Step Workbook

* indicates required
Self Sabotage: Top 10 Ways Women Get In Their Own Way

Self Sabotage: Top 10 Ways Women Get In Their Own Way

By Stephanie J. Marshall, Toronto-based Master Alignment Coach How Women Self Sabotage: When I'm on a consult call with someone and I ask what their biggest obstacle is, often they say "I am". For so many women, self-sabotage sucks up a lot of time, mental energy, and...

How to Stop Being Lonely

How to Stop Being Lonely

The Loneliness Cycle Experiencing the feeling is loneliness is a part of life, but chronic loneliness sucks and has all sorts of negative impacts on health and wellbeing. Breaking free of chronic loneliness is made more difficult because the coping mechanisms, the...

The Cool Modern Midlife Woman ™

The Cool Modern Midlife Woman ™

Midlife Women are a Hot Topic I’m 50 and I’ve been noticing all of the hype about women getting older and owning it. And while I love the fact that midlife women aren’t invisible anymore and people are learning what perimenopause is, there’s something about the...