What would it be like if you were consistently effective in everything you did? How would you feel? Brilliant, right?!
Whether it’s a great marriage or improved health and fitness, truth is, we can all experience greater measures of success in our lives if we develop the personal disciplines that compliment what we want to achieve.
Yet for many of us, what often happens is that we face the frustrations that arise from our waning self-discipline and are left wondering where we’ve got things wrong – again!
I know first hand the feeling of disappointment associated with failing to be consistent in the things that matter most. And as a parent, husband, and small business owner, on occasion, I’ve suffered the consequences that resulted from a lack of discipline.
But what I’ve also found in my experience is that alongside the power of setting specific goals, there are five steps, that when applied, make me more effective in every area of my life.
Have a read of these five steps that I think are key to developing a new discipline, and let me know what you would add.
1. Know the ‘why?’
This is by far the most important of the steps, because there’s no point in even approaching the issue of becoming more disciplined, without first acknowledging when change is necessary for the achievement of a desired outcome.
We need to first be be honest. Seeing that there’s a need and getting a grasp on why we need to make the change is the most important step towards developing a particular discipline.
Without this recognition, we remain blind to the reality of how our lack of discipline affects our lives. And worst still, when things get difficult, without the motivation that comes from knowing why we’re doing the stuff we’re doing, we’re more likely to give up.
2. Do one thing at a time
Leading on from recognising our need to be more disciplined, the next step is to take an approach that’ll set us up for success.
The reverse is true too. Unsuccessful people are those with unsuccessful habits. So deciding on one discipline at a time is important, as making too many changes at once will make success harder.
Being habitual by nature means that real and lasting change doesn’t happen overnight. The development of new habits requires time, commitment and patience.
The key to being more effective in developing a new discipline is to identify where to begin and then commit to one thing at a time.
3. Set goals
Once clear on the discipline we want to develop, we need something to aim for that makes what we’re doing more tangible and real. We need a goal.
In developing a new discipline, having a plan needn’t be a scary or complicated thing. We can make it as simple as we like.
For example, one of my disciplines is to read a portion of the Bible each day. Another is to give at least one affirmation to my wife and children each day. Another is to journal.
I’m clear on why I’m doing each of them, and none of them are too complicated.
4. Ask for the input of others
We’re all creatures of habit, and this applies to whether the habits are good, bad, or ugly.
Having the support of others can be more helpful in the development of new disciplines than we might think.
Why? Because firstly, others see our blind spots, and secondly, when we give them permission, they can hold us to account.
I know that for myself, when I’m tempted to give up on something, being held to account by another creates in me a renewed sense of commitment.
5. Make a start
When all is said and done, the development of any new discipline isn’t going to happen if all we do is think about it.
For any chance of success in achieving the goals we’ve set ourselves, we must make a decision to start the work required. We must take action.
In order to realise effectiveness in any area of our lives, we need to commit to the moment by moment practice of our newly developed discipline.
We all know that without discipline we can’t succeed. Equally, we know that being consistently disciplined can be our biggest challenge.
Self-discipline, believe it or not, is learned behaviour and is developed through repetition and daily practice. It requires effort.
So though we must allow for mistakes. learn to forgive ourselves and move on, we ought also to give our best in the pursuit of each new discipline.
Over to you
Which new discipline do you want to develop? What stage are you at in the 5 step process I’ve shared? What’s stopping you?