There are many things which can make discipline difficult:
Competing important priorities. Sometimes finding time to be disciplined in an area of our lives is difficult because we have equally important goals vying for our time. This is why exercising is difficult for me. Finding time between work, spending time with my family, writing for my blog, volunteering and having a spiritual life is challenging. Having clearly defined priorities and scheduling the highest priorities first can ensure we are filling our lives only with those activities which allow us to achieve our goals.
Lack of knowing how to be disciplined in the area. Have you ever wanted to increase discipline in an area of your life, but you simply don’t know what steps to take? Perhaps you want a spiritual walk but have no idea what that is supposed to look like. Maybe you want to lose weight but lack the knowledge regarding exercising effectively and healthy eating. If we have a gap in understanding how to reach our goals, it’s very hard to stay motivated.
Not strong enough reward or consequence. If the vision of succeeding doesn’t motivate you enough, or the consequences don’t scare you enough, the likelihood of you implementing discipline in that area isn’t likely. A powerful “why” is needed to rise above the desires of our flesh.
Old habits. Recent studies have shown that if a person wants to become wealthy, it’s more than paying off debt and saving money; wealthy people have successful financial habits. Often when we try to implement discipline in an area, old habits overtake us. We sabotage our success.
Trying to do too much. Focus is important when trying to be disciplined. If we are pursuing too many goals in our lives at once, it becomes a challenge to leave sufficient time to build the necessary habits to create the discipline in our lives. Additionally, we become overwhelmed at our growing to-do list, and our productivity decreases.
If you are struggling with discipline, first examine your priorities and ensure you have the correct amount and that they are prioritized in the order of importance to you. Also, visualize what success (or failure) looks like to ensure you have a strong enough “why”. If you are still struggling consider trying one of these suggestions to add accountability into your life:
Find a coach, mentor, or guide. The term mentor originated from Homer’s, The Odyssey. Mentor was a character who remained within the kingdom to teach Telemachus when King Odysseus left Ithaca to fight in the Trojan War. Coaches, mentors or guides have made the journey before and are willing to show others the way. Finding someone successful in the area you wish to be successful in can help you find the accountability needed to be to achieve discipline and therefore your goals.
Accountability partner. If the way is clear, but you are struggling with the execution, find someone in a similar situation to whom you can be accountable. This person is most likely on a similar journey as you. This relationship allows for mutual encouragement and an invitation to challenge each other when not being accountable. To paraphrase a friend, it’s easier to finish when you are not the runner and the referee. It’s too easy to change the rules to fit the situation if you play both roles.
Commitments to customers. Creating external commitments help in accountability. I created this blog to be accountable to the change I wanted to see in my leadership. By writing my beliefs, I try harder to be accountable to living them. If you create commitments so people are forced to rely on your results, you will more likely deliver because you don’t want to let them down.
“The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Often we want to do something or not doing something, and we have the resolve in our heads, but we fail at the execution. Instead of being too harsh on yourself, review your priorities to ensure you are being realistic, and then build accountability in your life to increase discipline.
Jana Axline is president and leadership coach at Axline Solutions. Through her leadership musings she hopes to inspire audiences to grow as leaders and ultimately achieve who they were created to be. For more information visit Axline Solutions.