As we talked about earlier, discipline is a choice. But you can’t just say “I’m going to be more disciplined” and then sit back and see your life change.
No, it will take work, effort, and much perseverance. There will be days when you do not want to follow through with your commitment. There will be many temptations to veer off course or throw up your hands in defeat.
Here are three suggestions to help you stay on track:
1) Anticipate Obstacles
I love how Michael Hyatt talks about the importance of preparing for obstacles before you encounter them in his recent post on discipline. He says:
As soon as you start swimming against the current, you will start feeling resistance. It’s as if the universe conspires to keep you from succeeding. That’s why you have to anticipate these obstacles and build strategies to overcome them.
::If you’re trying to lose five pounds this month, plan what you’re going to eat ahead of time before you go to the holiday party so that your hard work doesn’t go out the window.
::If you’re trying to go to bed earlier every night, set your alarm on your watch or phone to remind you to leave the evening gathering early in order to get home and go to bed.
::If you’re making an effort to get places on time, plan to leave 30 minutes earlier than you need to so that an unexpected phone call or diaper blowout doesn’t derail you from being on time.
2) Be Realistic
Don’t set yourself up for guaranteed failure by aiming for unrealistic goals. As I mentioned yesterday, I’m focusing on re-developing the habit of getting up early. I know that on the weekends, it’s impossible to go to bed before 9:30 p.m. with the usual activities we have going on. So I intentionally decided ahead of time that for the next 21 days I would get up before 5 a.m. Monday through Thursday only. Friday, Saturday, and Sunday I’m aiming to be up by 7 a.m.
Sure, I’d like to get up by 4:30 a.m. every single morning. But, I just can’t realistically commit to that and follow-through with it. Otherwise, I’d be getting less than six hours of sleep some nights. I can function on less than six hours of sleep once every few weeks, but realistically I need to get seven to eight hours of sleep on a regular basis to feel energetic and function effectively.
3) Resist Negative Thought Patterns
Remove the words, “I can’t” from your vocabulary. Stop dwelling on the fact that you’ll probably fail at this challenge since you never seem to follow through with anything. Surround yourself with people who inspire and motivate you.
And remember that falling down is not failing–unless you don’t get back up again. Keep going, even when it feels like it’s an uphill battle that’s going nowhere, and your persistence will eventually pay off.
1. Read Michael Hyatt’s article on 5 Steps to Developing Discipline.
2. Consider what obstacles lie in your path as you seek to implement your chosen habit over the next 18 days. Create strategies to help you be prepared for them.
3. Step back and make sure you’re being realistic about your discipline goals. Do you need to tweak anything to help set you up for better success?
4. What negative thought patterns do you need to squelch? When they arise, how will you replace them with positive, inspirational thoughts?
Yesterday’s project update: Did you make a list of habits you want to develop over the next few years? I have an ongoing list for myself and my children. I doubt I’ll ever make it through the whole list (wait, what was that I just said about negative thinking in point number 3?!?), but at least I’m never going to run out of areas in my life to work on and improve in!
Note: I’m taking the weekend off from posting this daily series, but will be back with the next installment on Monday. Enjoy a little breather–but keep on with your discipline goals and projects.