Self-Discipline is a Super Power.
Plato supposedly said “The first and best victory is to conquer self.”
No doubt about it. We are our own best friend and/or we are our own worst enemy. If you look at most of the things in your life that you are not pleased with, you can probably trace the cause back to the person who stares back at you from the mirror.
Certainly, life is full of “life happens” events that we do not bring on ourselves that cause devastating and lasting effects. But we are still the one who ultimately decides how we deal with our lemons.
In general, we are the captain of the ship of our lives and our habits will tend to dictate the course we are on. Our habits will reflect our self-discipline or our lack of it, and our results will be the fruit of this.
I know this very well, having spent the early part of my life being completely undisciplined in every area of my life. I have documented and spoke about repeatedly, that roughly the first half of my life everything was a mess, and the second half has been a steady general movement forward in every area of my life that matters. The difference can be traced back to working on becoming self-disciplined, and then applying this super power into my priorities such that the habits of my life have led to a better place.
Here are some ways you can grow your self-discipline muscles so that you can purposefully grow forward in the things that matter most to you.
Get Real With Why This Matters
There are two directions you can take this. You can look at WHY in the context of what has a lack of discipline in your life been costing you…and I mean the deep intrinsic cost in addition to the surface cost, and you can look at the extrinsic and intrinsic desires of what it would mean to you to be more disciplined. The key here is to go deep. The stronger the “Why” the more unstoppable you will be.
Get Clear on What Your True Priorities Are
In the big picture, things that are not truly important to you will rarely be followed through on. In the everyday part of the same picture, as the rest of your life tries to crowd into what you want to be doing, you have to be proactive in living through your priorities. This assures that the things that get crowded out will be the ones that don’t matter so much anyway, regardless of how loud they are. For me, I disciplined the 3 Circles Living aspects and refused to let anything get in the way of those, and the rest took care of itself as the disciplines eventually turned into habits, and the habits eventually turned into fruit.
Decide What You Want Your Life to Look Like in These Priorities
Start with visualizing fully what things would be like for you and the people you love by doing the right things over a long period of time. Then take that beautiful picture and turn it into a goal. Use the SMART parameters and be sure to stretch the time frame out some, perhaps into a longer period than your instant gratification drive would like!
Decide the Small Consistent Steps That Create Progress
It’s all about the process of steps that lead to a result. Not really about the speed of the result. This is why I suggest stretching out the time frame a bit. This allows you to start with smaller steps, which when you are trying to cultivate discipline, makes it easier to take these daily bites that create the habit.
Commit to The Steps
Since you have clarified WHY, and you have looked at your priorities, you know that in the big picture, to have a better life, these steps are NOT OPTIONAL. When you make your daily plan, these small steps are always in them. They will/should come before anything else that is not within your priorities. At first, you might struggle with the temptation to do other things in your daily list, just to be able to check them off. That is a mistake. Focus on the things that matter most. Always.
Acknowledge the Daily Wins
Your focus is simply on accomplishing the steps daily. NOT the end result. There is a time to look at the progress pursuant to the end game, but daily is not the time. If you are trying to become healthy and fit, the last thing you should do daily is get on a scale. Just do the work. Your focus is on the process. By trusting the process, and doing it daily, your will build the disciplines into habits, and the results will come. Each day you complete the steps, take a second and pump your fist or say “YES” or something to acknowledge that you are winning a day at a time.
Reward the Benchmarks
Along the path of the big vision/goal, you do have to stop and do two things. You have to look at how far you’ve come, and you have to look forward from that context to recognize that you are now closer to where you are trying to go. This will reinforce that the disciplines that are becoming habits, are working, and helps you to renew your spirit of pursuit. The long term picture helps dictate how frequently you might benchmark. A 10 year vision, needs benchmarks farther apart than a one year. You get to decide everything here, so pick. Just be certain to celebrate the achievement of the benchmark.
So there you have it. Seven steps that will absolutely help you accomplish anything while at the same time building your self-discipline muscles so that you will have a better life, and the confidence to tackle things that you previously might not have believed you could.
In this video I share a few other nuggets on the topic. Please share this article and video with others if you found value in it.
If you need some Coaching, or Training for your organization, reach out to me.
Many Blessings, Todd
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