I have had many people tell me that I am one of the most disciplined people that they know. I am even asked from time to time, by the ones who really care to do the same for themselves, how I actually do it. How do I maintain discipline in certain areas of my life? Here is my simple answer that I have learned over the years.
I have studied discipline, habits, willpower, determination, perseverance, etc. at length. Through all of my studies of success and discipline, here is what I have found to be the most beneficial to creating and sustaining discipline and habits (good ones), in my life.
- You must commit first. Seems rather simple doesn’t it. It really is, but it is so hard to do. Most people never fully commit. They kind of commit. When you commit to something you go all in. Everything you do is directed towards whatever it is you want to accomplish. It could be finding a new career, it could be losing weight, saving money, quitting smoking, eating healthier, etc. You name it. Until you fully commit, you will never be as successful as you can be in whatever it is.
- Have the right people around you. This morning I was reminded of how important this is. We all know this is important, however, we all need reminders at times on how important this really is. I have had an ongoing commitment issue with a certain discipline that is important to me. I don’t need to share this with you. You can fill in the gaps. This morning once again I was going to not follow through on this discipline and see this commitment through. I just didn’t want to. I was looking for reasons not to, versus reasons to do. You know what that looks like, because you have been there before. So my wife, put a little pressure on me and reminded me of that commitment. She pushed me to see it through. She broke my procrastination. Without her, if I was alone, I would not have done what I needed to do. I wouldn’t die if I didn’t, but what I was attempting not to do is so good for me that I wouldn’t have benefitted from the discipline.
- 21 Days to form a habit is bullshit: There are lots of programs out there touting that it takes 21 days to form a habit. I love what these programs are all about. All of them have the right intent in mind. If you eat healthy for 21 days, you might love the benefits from it so much that you will continue on after the 21 days are over. If you do some activity for 21 days in a row, you may get so many results from it, that you will keep doing it after the 21 days are over. Like I said, they all have the right intent in mind.The only issue I have, is that 21 days could or could not be all you need to develop a habit or a discipline. Disciplines are hard. Habits are hard to create and extremely hard to break. I have found that 21 days doesn’t really do much for me. For example, I have been working out and exercising for twenty years. I would say I was committed to it and disciplined in it for about the first 10 years. Then I slacked off for about three of the next, and then I have been fully committed again for the last seven years or so. The only difference in all of those years was my commitment level and the people I was and am around that helped me and continue to help me stay committed.
All of this to say. I hope you can create a habit within 21 days. However the chances are it will take much longer than that. I have even heard 66 days before. Again, maybe that works as well.
Here is what I do know. I have exercised and worked out for twenty years now. I would say that the last five or maybe even the last three years, it has finally become an activity that without a doubt I must do every single day. It is so ingrained in me that if I don’t do it, I will not feel the same. It truly is a habit and discipline now.
So which of the above do you need to do to create some habits and disciplines in your life? Have you fully committed to this discipline? Have you surrounded yourself with the right people and are you in the right environment? And lastly, don’t expect it to happen overnight. It is going to take whatever amount of time it is going to take until you just perform the discipline or habit and you don’t even have to think about it.
To your success and your future.