The world is full of people who have a desire to change. They set goals then sit down and write a step by step process of how they are going to accomplish these goals. They get pumped up and say they are ready to start the next day. They go to sleep that night and in the morning… there’s no change. It is easy to get yourself pumped for change when you say you’ll start tomorrow.
You can talk all you want about change, but what makes things happen is your self-discipline. You have to have the willpower to make the changes on your own. Being self-disciplined makes you a better person. You are able to accomplish more, improve yourself, and have more experiences.
Many people take the lazy road because it’s easier. They talk and talk about the kind of person they want to be. They even say what things they would do to change, but it never happens. Developing self-discipline is difficult. You can’t be lazy and have self-discipline, those two can’t go hand in hand. I have always valued self-discipline and I strive to push myself farther and farther; to extend my limits.
A few years ago I worked for an organization that helped people. It was at this time that I learned my greatest lesson about self-discipline. The president over my area was an amazing man and his wife was just as impressive. They have traveled the world together. He can speak over 12 languages, he is an entrepreneur and self-made millionaire. He ran 100-mile marathons through the mountains of China and hiked without guides through the jungles of Africa. Needless to say, he is one of the most amazing people I have ever met.
I had the opportunity to meet one on one with him several times. On one occasion I asked him how he and his wife had come to do so many things and travel to so many places. He told me what it comes down to is being disciplined. You have to know when to say yes and when to say no. You have to know your limits and have the determination to push yourself through them. I asked him how he became so disciplined. He told me that there are two things you need to do to accomplish this.
1. The first and most important step is to tell people you are self-disciplined.
Once you have a reputation to live up to, you push yourself harder than you would have before. Knowing that people expect something from you will help to keep you in check.
If you want to become organized, tell me people how organized you are. If you want to be healthy, tell people about the healthy foods you eat and exercises you do. Once people have an image of who you are in their minds, you will find yourself working to keep that image alive. That is when you find yourself changing.
2. The second piece of advice he gave me was to start small.
If, for example, you feel that part of becoming self-disciplined is waking up earlier, don’t just set your alarm an hour before your regular time. You have to train yourself to go to sleep earlier. Instead of focusing on the morning, focus on what you do at night so you can get to bed sooner. That way, waking up earlier won’t be as difficult.
By taking small steps, you can change gradually. This can be difficult sometimes because it’s hard to see the difference it’s making in your life. Grand gestures and extreme changes are easier to see and make it seem like you’re getting somewhere. The truth of the matter is that those grand gestures never last. They are short lived because you didn’t truly change the habit or fix the problem.
Not only should you start small, but most importantly, you need to recognize the little successes that are happening around you. Not everything will happen all at once. It comes one step at a time. Praise yourself for your accomplishments, no matter how trivial they may seem.
It sounds like a vicious cycle, but in order to develop self-discipline, you have to show discipline. As difficult as it may sound it is possible. Implement these steps into your life and you will find yourself changing and becoming a better person; the kind of person you want to be.