Discipline. The word doesn’t have the usual sense of motivation you might expect for a Monday, right? It has been a word I have been toying with for the better part of a month, examining it from all angles in my mind.
My first thought when somebody mentions “discipline” is my Daddy with his belt, giving me a little whooping for misbehaving as a child. Or getting grounded (uh, multiple times) when I was in high school. Not really the best memories.
But discipline is more than GETTING disciplined. It is also about BEING disciplined what we do.
As we find ourselves into the new year, this third week of January is where most resolutions start to taper off and give way to our old habits / practices / stories. But what if we had just enough self-discipline to continue with what we set out to do. And keep doing it?
It doesn’t matter what “it” is. Maybe it is preplanning and preparing your meals for the week. Or getting out of bed to workout in the morning before going into the office. Or maybe it is planning your sales calls a week in advance. Or practicing kinder self-talk. Or intentionally seeing the best in people. Or giving up smoking or drinking or swearing…. “It” is whatever you need it to be.
Discipline is all about small and measurable efforts being made consistently and over time. At least that is MY definition of it after tumbling the word around in my mind and heart for 30+ days. It is small steps made daily towards your goal. That isn’t so difficult when you break it down that way, is it? Anybody can do something once. One workout. One week of meals or sales calls planned in advance. One time replacing a cigarette with a nicotine patch and some gum. After all, it is for our own good, right? And once you’ve done it for the day, you’re done. Until the next day. But hey, you conquered “it” last time, so you can do it again easily.
“Discipline” should not be a scary or negative word (even when it relates to the belt or being grounded), because it is for our good. Instead of working out being a chore you must do every day in order to lose 30 pounds, think of it as a luxury you have in order to achieve optimum health and energy to live each day. The 30 pounds will come off with the discipline of getting to the gym regularly (and also having the discipline to not eat the donuts your co-worker brought into the office this morning).
Discipline has taken on a new meaning for me after examining it as it applies in my own life. For so long, I was focused on the overwhelming-ness of the outcome that I lost sight of how small the necessary daily steps actually were. I am blessed to be pretty successful in all areas of my life, but I was often taking the path of least resistance because it was “good enough”. But what if, with just a little bit if discipline, I could move the mark from “good enough” to OUTSTANDING? In my health? In my wealth? In my relationship with God? My relationship with my husband? My friends & family? Seriously. The possibilities are endless with just a little bit of discipline applied. The leverage is so enormous that it blew my mind.
Small Effort + Repeated Regularly = Huge Results.
So examine the areas of your life and identify one where you can make a small change. And repeat it. And repeat it again. And see what happens. Don’t give up. Be patient. One week of regular exercise and clean eating won’t transform your body (or whatever your “it” is). But another day will turn into another week that will turn into another month, and THEN you’ll start to see some results. But here is a cool side effect – you will FEEL accomplished immediately. Hold onto that feeling. And then do it again. And again. And enjoy the feeling of accomplishment being repeated. It’s a beautiful cycle.
Finally, I will leave you with this little nugget. I don’t recall where I heard or saw it, but it resonated with me: THE PATH OF LEAST RESISTANCE WILL NEVER MAKE YOU PROUD.
Happy Monday, y’all! Hope you’ve got a little motivation and are looking at “discipline” just a little differently now.