Building self-discipline requires a plan of action.
Over the past few days I’ve shared about how self-discipline can enhance every area of our lives. A lot of people don’t realize there are nine areas of our lives that need self-discipline. Building self-discipline is one of our greatest God-given opportunities to enhance the world around us. I used to sleep in till 8:00 or 8:15 each morning during the work week because I didn’t have to be to work until 9:00. When I launched as an entrepreneur, I started waking up earlier to focus my mind before the day. I moved my exercise routine to the morning and now I get up between 5:30 and 6:30 to exercise, read, blog, pray, and read the Bible before beginning my work day. It didn’t happen overnight and it didn’t happen without an action plan. Lacking direction is one of the leading excuses people give for not having self-discipline. “I want to be better in [this area of life], but I don’t know where to start!” This is why you need an action plan to build self-discipline. As the saying goes, a failure to plan is a plan for failure. It’s time to start building your action plan.
Five steps for creating self-discipline
Building self-discipline starts with super practical steps: what can I do today to start building for tomorrow? There are five basic steps to take when building self-discipline.
- Know why you need to change – What will happen if you change? What will happen if you don’t change? Put emotions and future realities into the explanation; this needs to feel deep and personal. For example, I choose to exercise five days a week so I can enjoy life as a fit grandpa in thirty years. I also believe my body is a gift from God and I want to be the best manager of this body for my entire life. Both of those reasons have deep, emotional connections to them.
- Set a goal – Fitness, diet, time management, whatever the area may be, set a goal. Remember: your goals need to be S.M.A.R.T. – specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely.
- Create a strategic plan – This is your roadmap for meeting your goals. What are you going to do, when are you going to do it, and how are you going to get there?
- Recruit accountability – Who can help you stay on track to meet your goals? Recruit their help with regular (daily, weekly, bi-weekly) check-in times.
- Track your progress – Change that is measured can be best improved. You need a system for measuring your progress towards self-discipline. Wearing a FitBit is a great example of tracking your fitness progress. Doing a schedule audit is a great way to track your time management. Whatever you choose to use, keep track of your progress and make corrections as needed.