Your core daily disciplines are the things that give you control, flexibility and freedom to live a great life. They are the things that are important to you. It could be your fitness, your self-development or your family values. If health and fitness are important to you, you will exercise regularly and eat healthily.
Your discipline ensures you go out for the run in cold wet weather or despite there being a plate of cookies on the meeting room table you refrain from eating any. If self-development is important, you allocate time every day to learn and develop the skills you want to learn. These are your core disciplines and they are based on the things that are important to you.
Choosing the easy option is the reason you don’t achieve your goals.
The reason so many people fail to achieve the things they want to achieve is that they allow other people to distract them from the things that are important to them. Your friends call you on a Thursday afternoon and invite you out for a few beers. You had planned to go to the gym, but you’ve had a hard day at work so you agree to go for a few beers. It hard to motivate yourself to go to the gym and it’s hard to say no to your friends. So you take the easy option and go for the beer.
On its own, that one night out for a few beers instead of going to the gym is going to do little harm. But the problem is not the one time, the problem is you likely regularly make those kinds of decisions. You regularly take the easy option instead of staying focused on your core values.
Being a disciplined person gains you respect from your peers.
Many years ago I worked with a guy who made it a priority to go to the gym Monday to Friday after work. He was in incredible shape and he ate clean and I mean clean — clean sources of protein and a lot of fruit, veg and nuts. On a weekend, he allowed himself the freedom to eat and drink and do whatever he liked. Interestingly, once you got to know Andy, you knew not to invite him out during the week because he would always say no. Andy got a lot of respect from the people around him. We all wished we could be like him (and look like him!).
The truth is we can all be like Andy. We can gain the respect and admiration of others and we can set an example for those people around us by not giving in to the easy decisions. By staying true to our core values and disciplines.
Don’t give other people the power to determine the course of your life.
When you allow other people to prevent you from doing what is important to you, you are giving other people control of your life.
- If exercise and maintaining your health is important to you, you will find time every day to exercise and to each healthily. If you allow the agendas of others take your exercise time or to push you to eat unhealthily or drink too much alcohol, then you give those others control over your life.
- If studying new skills and improving your education is important to you, yet you allow other people to change your schedule so you cannot attend your class or practice your skill, then you are giving other people control over your life.
- If spending quality time with your family every day is important to you yet you allow your boss to keep you late at the office doing additional work, you are giving up control of your life to your boss.
- If you are responding to work messages and calls on a weekend instead of playing with your children you are giving up control of your life to your boss, colleagues and customers.
Take responsibility and control of your life.
To take control and to take full responsibility for your life and your time You need to establish boundaries that cannot be broken by the agendas of others except in extreme circumstances. If you don’t do your daily core disciplines because you are not in the mood or you feel lazy, you are giving in to your weaker self. Stop yourself. These are your core disciplines, these are the habits and actions that will transform you from where you are today to where you want to be in the future. It’s our negative, undisciplined self trying to maintain an easy life and we must ignore that voice and pursue the goals and dreams we have for the future. You need to develop the strength and discipline to do those daily activities that will move you a step closer each day towards where you want to go.
Once you establish these boundaries, and you do not allow the wishes and agendas of others to cross those boundaries, you will start to receive respect from the people around you. People will look to you as an example to follow, people will want to be like you and people will start asking you how do you do it? Just like we all saw Andy as a shining example of how to live life. You will also start making progress towards achieving all those things you want to achieve in life.
It’s not all discipline and rigidity.
I am not suggesting you say no to everything that comes your way. It is important to have some flexibility in your life. But when pursuing the important things in your life you need to become uncompromising. Sure, if you want to keep Friday nights free so you can hang out with your friends, great, schedule that time. If you want to go out clubbing and drinking on a weekend, wonderful do it. But when Monday comes round, you get back to your focused, disciplined life and become uncompromising again. You go to the gym, you do the class, you spend time with your family and you allow nothing to get in the way of pursuing developing yourself into a better person.
That’s how you go from where you are today to where you want to be in the future.
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