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Lesson 10: Discipline is Hard Work...

I have some really good ideas. I mean really good ones. Now follow through?! Sometimes I would. Most times I wouldn’t. I know this sounds terrible, but it’s the truth. Procrastination was definitely my “friend” and starting well and falling off was our game!

What I realized is that I was not setting myself up for success. I was trying to address too many areas for growth at once and ultimately not growing in any of those areas. After seeing too many unused planners, unused membership fees, and unused groceries, among other things, I knew I needed a different plan.

I realized that trying to reach personal goals in my life would take discipline. This word sounds harsh to the ear, but I knew it’s what I was missing. I had to set and honor some meaningful boundaries in my own life that would ultimately help me to become a better person. I realized that if I actually wanted to grow as a person and see some of my goals come to fruition, I needed to be more intentional. It’s more than just saying that I want to be more efficient with my time, work out more, and eat healthier. It was going to take me making a plan and sticking to the plan. It was going to take me making hard decisions that honor the goals I was setting for myself. I needed to choose my potential growth over what seemed easier/better in the moment.

Choosing discipline is hard! There will always be another option that does not honor your goal. For me it was choosing to wash the dishes tomorrow instead of taking the 10 minutes before bed to do so. Not choosing discipline here is actually choosing stress for me. Because the next day when I am ready to cook, the dishes won’t be washed and now everything is pushed back. It was also going home because I was tired and not going to the gym, and now another month of fees is wasted. This also brought on more stress because I could have saved that money! Lastly, it looked like throwing away yet another bag of spinach because I ate out again! More money wasted! In the end, not being disciplined brought more stress into my life even though in the moment I experienced a brief satisfaction.

Since the beginning of the year, I have made huge strides in many of my goals. Granted, I have had more time on my hands due to social distancing and being off for the summer, but I have also learned how to better implement discipline in my life. Below are three tips that have helped me become more disciplined:

1. Know yourself: I realized that honesty with myself was going to produce better results than living in a fantasy world. I knew I wanted to work out more this year, but I also knew that I was adding ‘working out consistently’ to an already busy schedule. I would love to get up early in the morning and work out, but my gym does not open until 6am, and I have to be to work by 7:15am. I also know that I stay after school often, and on Tuesdays I have a standing Bible Study commitment. For this reason, I committed to two days of working out each week. This was definitely attainable. Also, each week when I met my goal, I felt so accomplished. After two months of meeting my goal, I definitely felt like I could keep it up for the rest of the year. I was also ready to up my commitment to three days each week. The shutdown happened shortly after this, so I had way more time on my hands. I actually started working out 6 times a week and I have kept that up.

2. Know your why: Starting anything without having a reason is difficult for me. I always want to know why. I explicitly wrote down the benefits of working out and I remind myself of those benefits any time I want to quit. For me, working out is important because I want to be able to live a long, healthy life. I know I don’t have complete control over this, but I do have influence and responsibility. I don’t want my personal health decisions to ever be a reason why I cannot do something. This motivation gives me the little kick I need to keep going!

3. Give yourself grace, praise, and truth: For me there is a gentle balance that I need when starting something new. A part of me wants to meet new goals with “perfection” so I have to give myself grace knowing that perfection is not attainable or healthy. I celebrate each and every win personally, and I have a select few people who also know my goals and I will reach out to them for encouragement as well. Lastly, I meet myself with truth about my progress and where I am falling short or not pushing myself hard enough. There are times when I try to take the easy route during an exercise or a run. I have to tell myself that I am slacking and that this won’t get me the results I am looking for. This can be difficult, but that’s what makes discipline work! If you don’t stick with it, or put your all into it, you are wasting your time.

What helps you to be more disciplined in your life? What is one area you would like to be more disciplined? Share with me in the comments!

Love y’all!


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