Self-discipline appears to be the root problem, and it obviously entails a sort of “vicious circle”: one wishes to be more disciplined, more strict with oneself, but in order for this to happen the wish must itself be transformed into effective action, which requires an a priori willingness! How to get started?

I always tell people not to bite off more than they can chew. In other words it’s best to begin small, and then when the volitional muscles have been strengthened a bit and you have begun to taste the benefits of a given regimen, you can expand or increase incrementally.

This is important: your goal is not to become more disciplined! That’s just a means. Your goal should be the full fruit of the discipline: lucidity, peace, the perfect happiness that comes from participation in God (2 Pet. 1:4). Any genuine path is going to embody this goal every step of the way, which means that it will give you at least glimpses, hints, of what you’re aiming toward.

Don’t get so caught up in the doing of the discipline that you miss these joyful anticipations. The circle should be a virtuous—and victorious—one.