When I was a teenager, I received a paperweight from my parents that reads, “If you don’t have discipline, you don’t have anything.” At the time, I was slightly annoyed (although not at all surprised) to receive such a gift from my Mom and Dad. When you are taught about goal-setting and leadership while you’re learning to walk and talk, you get used to gifts inscribed with words of motivation and at times “a swift kick in the pants.” I can assure you that the timing of receiving this paperweight was appropriate; this somewhat defiant teenager needed to be reminded of the importance of discipline.
The word discipline has so many negative connotations. Our past conditioning often causes us to equate discipline to being punished. We remember being sent to timeout and having toys taken away when we were kids and getting grounded and all sorts of other creative punishments during our teenage years. Because we tend to think of discipline as a bad word, it’s no wonder it’s something most of us lack.
I’ll be the first to admit that my discipline comes and goes. When I look at my own behavior patterns, I can clearly see that I am the most disciplined when I have clarity about what I want to accomplish. When the finish line is unclear or out of sight/out of mind, my discipline wanes.
Jim Rohn tells us that “Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishment.” If you feel stuck, first you have to figure out what your goals are. Do you have clearly defined short-term and long-term goals that you’re working toward? Do those goals include deadlines and detailed action plans? If not, I’d argue that your goal setting process isn’t as effective as it could be.
Once you have clarity about your goals and a plan to achieve them, then you need to be disciplined as you work toward your goal. Most of us get off track from time to time, even when we have clarity about our goals. It’s important to have a system of accountability in place to keep you on track. Think about how you will hold yourself accountable, including how you will keep track of your progress toward your goals. Next, consider who you can ask to hold you accountable. When lining up accountability partners for your various goals, be sure to be specific with each person about exactly how you want them to hold you accountable.
Is there a gap between what you say you want and what you do? That gap can be bridged by discipline! If you don’t have discipline, you won’t get what you want.
If you don’t know how to set goals or want to learn more about the goal-setting process, SOS Leadership can help. Contact us today!