We tend to have a love-hate relationship with discipline. For left-brained people, who thrive on spontaneity and the freedom to create “as-you-go,” it can be extremely challenging to be disciplined. For right-brained people, who tend to cope better with structure and order, being disciplined may not be as challenging.
The late Jim Rohn said, “There are two types of pain you will go through in life, the pain of discipline and the pain of regret. Discipline weighs ounces while regret weighs tonnes.”
The best definition of discipline I’ve come across is, it is giving yourself a command and sticking to it. As someone who likes to have a certain level of structure and order, I believe becoming more disciplined can benefit us in many ways.
Before I started building a platform online, I had dabbled with the idea of blogging in the mid to late 2000s. At that time, blogging was still relatively new and I thought it would be good to have a website with content related to what I do.
But there was one problem!
Growing a blog required me to create new content consistently. In order for that to happen, I had to have a content creation plan and become more disciplined with generating new content. At that time, the thought of sitting down to write something regularly was extremely challenging. What usually happened was I’d post something on my blog, sometimes it was content I created and sometimes I shared other people’s content, then I’d get distracted with other things I was doing online and not update my blog for two or three weeks.
This pattern continued for a couple of years and the time between updates progressively grew wider and wider. It blew out to a month, then two months, then eventually I stopped updating my blog. All the effort I had initially put in to get my blog going was lost. I didn’t get back into blogging for almost five years because I was really disappointed with myself for abandoning it. When I restarted blogging, I made a commitment to becoming more disciplined and that has not only helped me create more content than I’ve ever done before, it has only helped me form the foundation of building a stronger platform online.
Making a commitment to becoming more disciplined does require a certain level of confidence, courage and clarity. Here are five things that will happen when we commit to becoming more disciplined, which will compound over time, and bring us even better results.
- You will build more trust with yourself and others. All too often, we want to make a positive change in our lives and start off well but lose momentum once the initial excitement has gone away. Just think of New Year’s resolutions! Once we start following through on what we say we will do, it increases our level of trust in ourselves, which in turn, will increase the level of trust others have with us.
- You will stand out and get noticed by those who matter. When I look at people who are making a big impact in the world, one thing they all have in common is they are consistent in the value or service they provide. Consistency requires a high level of discipline which results in them standing out from those who provide similar services. If you look at anyone who is doing really well with podcasting or with video marketing or with blogging, they all have stood out from the pack and have attracted a large following by being consistent.
- You will challenge yourself to go beyond what you think you’re capable of. If I reflect back on my blogging effort for the last couple of years, sometimes I find it hard to believe that I’ve stayed on track and created so much content. Every week, I challenge myself to create new content and over time, it has helped me go beyond what I know and where I am at present with my awareness, skills and knowledge.
- You will develop more resolve and resiliency. When we challenge ourselves, we will face setbacks and obstacles. There will be many times when we will feel like giving up or taking an easy way out. On such occasions, we will be required to dig deep within ourselves and find the will to continue doing what we committed to. As the saying goes, “Tough times tests what we are made of.” Each time we fall down and make ourselves get up and continue on, we will become more resilient.
- You will become more focused and productive. Let’s face it — we all want to be better at what we do and be more efficient and effective. In order to do so, we will be required to form new habits or disciplines. It is no surprise that people who are more disciplined or focused are the ones who get the best job done.
How to develop discipline?
Here are five ways to develop a higher level of discipline.
- Define what you want to achieve. Everything starts with the end result or outcome we want. The better we’re able to describe it, the easier everything else becomes.
- Clarify why it is important to achieve it. Knowing why we want to achieve a result is what will keep us going when things get tough or we feel like we are not making progress.
- Identify any potential risks. Knowing beforehand our patterns and behaviours, and also things that could derail us is extremely valuable. Once we know what these things are, we can implement strategies and techniques to overcome them once they do show up.
- Schedule time in your calendar. Until something is scheduled, it is not real yet. If someone wants to write more consistently, then blocks of time must be scheduled for writing, otherwise other things will take more priority. One thing we must realise is that our time is already allocated, whether we do something productive with it or whether we waste time. Therefore, it makes sense to take control of our calendar and schedule those things that matter most to us.
- Add accountability or consequence for not following through. When we are accountable to ourselves only, it can be easy to slacken off because no one else is involved. When we are accountable to someone else, we have skin in the game and are more likely to stick to our commitments.
Becoming more disciplined can reap huge benefits over time. If we don’t commit to becoming more disciplined, chances are we will continue to experience the same type of results we have up until now. Better discipline often means better results.
Action Step: Identify one area you think you could be more disciplined. For example, if it’s health related, it could be reducing the amount of process sugar you have daily or implementing a healthy meal plan. Whatever that one thing is, go through the ideas shared above on how you can develop more discipline and add some form of consequence or accountability as well.
Question: What is another benefit of becoming more disciplined?
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