“Happiness is dependent on self-discipline. We are the biggest obstacles to our own happiness. It is much easier to do battle with society and with others than to fight our own nature.” Dennis Prager
As I walked my dogs the other day, I berated myself for how undisciplined I’ve been “my whole life.” None of us are all or nothing, but in that moment, I felt that guilty and when I feel that guilty, “my whole life,” is all that I see.
Isn’t this typical thinking for those of us with addictions of any kind? We were a prey to the extremes, and that’s where we lived, either the worst of the worst, or the best there ever was.
As I examined my own discipline, I saw how misguided my thinking has been. Expectations told me self-discipline should look and feel rewarding. All of us take for granted that we are already disciplined in so many areas of our life, though we tend not to see the forest through the trees. It never looked like we thought it should. We expected monumental, over-the-top-boot-camp discipline in everything we did, but discipline was never a conscious priority.
So having inspected the truth about how undisciplined we thought we were, it becomes easier to see how expectations of what we thought it should look like, impeded our truth. Preconceived notions cloud our reality, and stinking-thinking maneuvers us around the issue so we fail when we want to succeed.
The only thing we have to change are the messages we tell ourselves.
How disciplined do you want to be?
What is Four Exercises You can Do to change Undisciplined to Disciplined?
- How Disciplined Are You?
On a piece of paper, take a few moments and look over all the areas of your life where you are disciplined. Begin with morning rituals from brushing teeth to getting out the door on time. Everything you do requires a measure of discipline from cutting the grass, preparing meals, picking up after ourselves, and so much more.
- What Areas of Your Life Need More Discipline?
By making a list of areas that need improvement, make another column prioritizing them with a number from one to ten. It won’t take long to see what is important to tackle sooner than later and come up with an action plan. Might as well list everything. It will give us more to choose from in number three that follows.
- What is Your Action Plan?
Using your second list above that needs improvement, isolate the first three most important areas you want to work on. Maybe you’d like, as an example, to become more organized, more attentive to paperwork, bills and areas you need to come back to? What will it take to get there?
a. Begin with time. Make another column on this second list of three items with the header, “Time,” and for each item, set aside a certain amount of time you can commit to with ease, each day, every other day, or once a week. Be realistic and considering how important it is, we understand it must become a priority. So we make it reachable, and we keep it small at first.
b. What else will it take to get there? Do you need to purchase material, clothing, or other supports to achieve your goal whether it’s riding a bicycle, walking/running an agreed-upon number of miles, doing volunteer work and so on.
c. Keep It Simple: What does this mean? It means that by committing ourselves, beginning with this plan of action, we forgive ourselves for “not having thought of this sooner,” for having “wasted so much time on other things,” and for all of the other negativity that wants to pull us right back into our malaise of indifference.
- Make Your Emotional, Spiritual, and Physical Self a Priority: With your feet up sitting or laying in a relaxed position with your list, begin an honest assessment of where you are in these three areas of your life:
- Are you eating enough or too much of the right things?
- Where do you need to make adjustments to feel better?
- How will making adjustments improve your new commitment to more discipline?
- Give yourself a mantra that speaks to the essence of what you’re trying to do. Make it personal, strong, positive and uplifting. And then make it a committed prayer every day.
- Change your perspective. We become what we tell ourselves we are. If we communicate messages that downplay our abilities and fortitude to carry something out, we’re already defeated. Be conscious and kind with the words you choose to tell yourself. After all, you are listening and we take ourselves to heart, as if it is true to begin with! Change your self-talk, to go out of your way to see yourself as a success instead of a failure and that IS, with discipline, what you will become. Someone able to do anything they set out to do.
Jesse Owen said, “We all have dreams. But in order to make dreams come into reality, it takes an awful lot of determination, dedication, self-discipline, and effort.”
The Inspiration Corner relates that [self] “ …discipline is the foundation of happiness and the uttermost requirement for success.”
What are other areas of your life you would like to be more disciplined? When we begin small, by taking small risks that change what discipline is for us and what is truly enough, we see we’ve been disciplined our whole life. Make at least three things at a time a priority. By keeping the focus of our success where it belongs, on us, we become that person of discipline, tenacity, will-power and personal courage. It just takes practice.
If you like what you’ve read, why not share it with a friend? I’d love to know what you think too! Signing up for my newsletter is a great way to know you’d like me to continue. Thanks.