Is personal discipline one of the most important factors in any kind of personal development?
You could be looking to progress in your career, make a change in your personal life, build a successful business, learn a language, lose weight or run a marathon.
One thing you need to be able to achieve anything is discipline.
Think about it? Motivation wanes.
We’ve all done it at some point. You decided to lose weight at New Year and maybe you gave up. You went to a conference all motivated to implement all those new things you learnt and you never followed through.
Perhaps you started a course that you never quite finished.
Among my unfinished/ill disciplined things are:
1) Italian course
2) Launching my online business
3) A mastermind I created with two conference buddies
4) A ton of websites
5) A 100 day project that included 100 press ups per day
6) A decision to call friends each week instead of texting infrequently
7) Wearing sun cream every day (because I am at higher risk of skin cancer)
8) Drinking enough water each day (I try but don’t always do it)
9) Going to bed at a sensible time each night
10) Watching less TV
11) Reading more books
12) Listening to more podcasts
13) Managing my diary better
14) Setting time aside for admin
15) Going for a walk before work each morning
16) Eating more fruit daily
17) Writing a blog
18) Publish my podcast more frequently
19) Do something each day to help my audience
20) Do something each day to build my business
21) See more of my precious family
22) Finish three courses I started to help with aspects of business
23) Call/email clients “just because” each week
24) Get a Virtual Assistant
25) Not starting some very important books
26) Not finishing some very important books
27) Not posting on my business social media every day
28) Not emailing my subscribers each week
29) Being late
30) Biting my nails (well nibbling 😊 )
I could go on, but I list these to hope that some resonate with you.
I am certain some will. Some you may even find uncomfortable to read because either you do them and you think arghh that’s me. Or you think how could he possibly not do that!
Now here’s the thing.
I think it’s hardly surprising that discipline is so hard for many to maintain, or at least to have a value based around being disciplined in certain areas. I know my being late over the years has really annoyed certain friends who value you that attribute highly.
I know it has to change.
But that’s the thing.
We associate discipline negatively.
When trying to instil it in others we say:
“Give him a kick up the arse”
We even use is as a word meaning to punish someone. We discipline kids at home or subordinates at work.
When it comes to self-discipline we punish ourselves with negative self-talk.
Until today, I used an analogy for change. I would say it’s like a record player stuck. You need to give the record player a whack and it will jump the needle to start playing again. A rather aggressive notion don’t you think?
WHACK – and it solves the problem
What’s wrong with gently picking up the needle and moving it to the next groove?
Same result, different perspective and a sentiment that feels positive to reinforce it for the next time.
Even the dictionary talks of rules, code of behaviour, training and other things that feel a bit too combative.
For me, this is where cultivating personal discipline lies. Not in punishment, but in encouragement.
And reward for the acts of discipline you display when you followed through.
Go for that run at 6am and buy yourself a coffee on the way home.
Finish that course and have some time off
Get an early night and go grab a well earned breakfast feeling great
You know what I mean. Instead of seeing acts of discipline as something you fought through, even though you knew you should do it, and then feel as though you failed because it didn’t come easy. See it as a victory. That you moved closer to a goal, sorted some admin that was lingering or just mowed the lawn!
Feel good about it and it will reinforce discipline that serves you, rather than hinders you.