I have spent the better part of 2 decades in the field of self-improvement. I have been an author of self-improvement books for over ten. I have been doing this blog for over 10 years as well. I have been a life coach, keynote speaker, podcast guest and host on the subject of improving your life. I have been on several television shows and appeared in a few publications as well. I tell you this not to impress you, but to tell you that I would have to be a complete idiot at this point not to realize the patterns and tools that work to positively impact your life. There are certain skills that if developed, have major impacts on your life. Skills such as becoming a life-long learner, developing a personal health plan, reducing your stress or developing your skills in dealing with others. There is one skill that stands above all of the rest. With this skill, you can accomplish anything. Without this skill, life will be hard and you are unlikely to get very far in it.
That skill is discipline. More to the point, self-discipline. You can have the greatest fitness knowledge. You can even come in and knock out a great 2 hour workout. If you don’t come back several times that week, you are unlikely to see the results. You can know all there is to know about nutrition. You can know about macros and micros. If you eat a healthy plant-based meal on Monday, but down a burger or two the other 6 days of the week, you are not going to have a healthy physique. Doing the right things once in a while does not give us an amazing life. The secret to an amazing life is self-discipline. It is consistently doing the right thing, even when the mood to do so is not present. This is easy to say, but very difficult to accomplish.
If self-discipline is so“ difficult, why should we bother working on it? That depends, what kind of life do you want to have? If you do not have the self-discipline to get up on time, and get to work on time, you will never be able to keep a job. If you don’t have the discipline to control your emotions and constructively convey your feelings, you will find it very hard to maintain friendships or relationships. As we mentioned with diet and exercise, if you want to live a life full of health and vitality, you need self-discipline. You want to own your own business but can’t get up without hitting the snooze button 5 times? Good luck. Here is one thing people confuse about having self-discipline. They think they can be undisciplined is some areas of life, and still be disciplined in others. It seldom, if ever, works that way. To steal an analogy from our last post, these are ‘gazelle people’. Their motivation is driven by outside factors. “If they pay me enough and my boss is nice to me I will show up.” “If there is nothing good on television, then I will go to the gym.” These people live a life of excuses and not one of results.
You may have begun to understand how important self-discipline is, but how do you get it if you do not have it now? That is a great question. There are many books and suggestions on how to develop self-discipline. One of my favorites is Discipline Equals Freedom by Jocko Willink. There are also a host of videos on YouTube. One of my favorite speakers that propels me to be the most disciplined and best version of myself is Inky Johnson. I highly recommend you check out his story. There are also instructional videos with a host of ideas. Look up several and see what works for you. Developing your self-discipline is one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself.
To get you started, I am going to recommend some of the same things we mentioned in the last post, along with one more. First, get a strong why. Know why becoming a self-disciplined person is so important. Think of everything you can gain by being so. Trust me when I tell you that everything you want is on the other side of self-discipline. I mean everything. You want to be a good parent? That takes self-discipline. You want to be the best lover and partner for your spouse? Yep. Self-discipline. I am a fan of using the carrot and the stick as they say. Use the power of both pleasure and pain. Think of what you will lose if you are not self-disciplined. In the long run, that is everything. You want to keep your job or have your business continue to succeed? You must be disciplined to consistently show up on time, work hard and bring good results or they will begin to look for someone who will. You want to keep your partner head over heals in love with you? You must be disciplined in your approach to that relationship. You want to keep people’s respect? You must be disciplined to show up on time and do what you say you will, even when you don’t feel like it.
Yes, self-discipline is hard. It is also the golden key to accomplish anything you want in life. Nothing can withstand disciplined consistent action. It is like the water that slowly wears away the rock. If it flowed for a day and said, “This is not having any effect.” nothing would happen. By flowing over that rock, day after day, after some time, it will completely wear the rock away. I suggest starting with something small. Prove to yourself that you can be disciplined. One of the best is to start waking up early. If you can beat the snooze temptation, you already start your day with a win. What do you really lose anyway? 5 or 10 minutes of low quality sleep…if you are lucky. What happens if you decide to wake up without hitting snooze and you fail? The pillow or the sexy person, or warm dog next to you is too tempting? This shouldn’t be too shocking of an answer. You stay disciplined. You go after again the next day. What if you fail again? You guessed it. You stay disciplined. You commit to doing it again the next day. Once you implement discipline into your life, you will wonder how you got anything done without it.