How can I be more disciplined in business? (And life)
I asked myself that question for YEARS as a new entrepreneur. I’ve always been a hard worker and a go getter. But discipline didn’t quite feel like the same thing. The go getter in me loved coming up with new ideas and projects. The hard worker in me would get everything started with gusto. But then… I would get to that last 10% and my passion and excitement seemed to disappear.
But I still struggled in other areas. I could rock in business, but my office was a disaster. (Okay if we are being fully honest, it’s still slightly disastrous.) I was disciplined with my time management, but I was gaining weight rapidly. I was great at achieving goals in my business, but I struggled to wake up on time for my morning devotional. My ability to be disciplined was very limited. I could manage one area of my life at a time.
Changing my story with discipline.
I’ve always loved new year’s resolutions. It’s a fresh start and everything feels possible. I would start of January 1 with so much determination. And I would be PERFECT for about 3 weeks. Before we even entered February, I was tired and discouraged. I felt like I lacked the discipline to really see my goals through. I knew I needed to change that story.
This has been a big year of change for me. I’ve released 39 lbs. I’ve gotten consistent with personal and family scripture study. I’ve re-allocated time to be more available with my kids and husband. I restructured my company. We’ve gotten our personal and business finances much more organized. At times it’s felt like a whirlwind, BUT IT’S WORKING! Every year as long as I can remember I set pretty much the same types of goals at the beginning of the year. They always revolve around these core areas. Spirituality, relationships, finances, and my weight. This is the first year that I will end the year having significant progress in every single area.
I feel like I need to give a disclaimer before I give you my tips on discipline. I still don’t have it all figured out. I still eat cookies when I know I should be eating brocolli. I still have to remind myself not to think about a client project when I am sitting on the sidelines of a less than exciting 6 year old soccer game. I’m a work in progress and so are you!
Three things you need to adjust to increase your discipline.
- Discipline works when you focus on the destination. This year when I set my goals, instead of aiming my discipline area at the next few weeks in front of me, I focused on the end results. I wanted to feel great. I wanted to be at peace knowing we were being good financial stewards. I wanted to create more time and space for my family. But in the past, I would have then applied discipline to a very narrow amount of time. How can I be more disciplined today, this week, this month. This year, I looked at a longer distance. How can I be more disciplined for the year with my weight? How can I be more disciplined with my schedule for the year? It allowed me to create a pace that I could maintain over the longer haul.
- Discipline is great for progress, but not for perfection. I have been very imperfect this year! I’ve made a good amount of mistakes. But I started off the year with a lot of forgiveness towards myself. I decided that I was going to be really kind to myself this year. A surprising result was that my discipline increased. I was probably less disciplined in my business, but my discipline in all the other areas of my life increased. I found myself able to think about things I didn’t feel I could focus on before. I felt my capacity for growth increase as I released the reins on my desire for perfection.
- Discipline and control are not the same thing. I realized recently that part of my definition of discipline was control. And it was a big reason I struggled to maintain discipline in multiple areas of my life. I was trying to control. And there is only so much you can control, before it just feels like you are holding on for dear life. Let go of control. It’s a false reality anyway. Instead, allow movement, progress, and growth to happen without force. That’s where I’ve really found discipline benefits me the most.
So what is my discipline story now?
Discipline is the commitment to move towards my goals at a maintainable pace, and with faith that it will all come together if I just keep my focus.
We’ve got 10 weeks left in 2017. I’d love to hear what goals are most important to you? Where would you like to see an increase in discipline?