Bridge of Discipline

Discipline is the Bridge“Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishment”

- Jim Rohn

Setting specific goals, writing them down, and re-reading them on a regular basis are all important steps toward accomplishment.  But between goal-setting and accomplishment is a massive chasm of the unknown which we need to cross.  One tip for getting past the unknown, as discussed yesterday, is to know our purpose.  Today’s tip is to develop discipline.

“Great,” you may be thinking, “but I just don’t have any self-discipline.  I’ve always been bad at that.”  No worries.  Just like most other traits involving our bodies and minds, self-discipline can be developed and conditioned.

Here is a list of brief tips to help get you started.  For the sake of this list, we’ll assume the example of somebody  wanting to become a published author.  Obviously, the specifics will need to be adjusted to suit your own goals.

  1. Find short term and long term motivation:  Your purpose would be your long term motivation; the one thing that drives you.  Short term motivation might be the pleasure of having one of your articles posted on a well-known blog or self-publishing a short story.
  2. Find inspiration in others:  Find somebody whose life accomplishments inspire you.  Keep a picture of them nearby.  Post their quotes on your bathroom mirror. Use their success to motivate your own!
  3. Develop habit and routine: Break down your goal into daily steps or tasks then schedule them into your calendar. These are not optional “appointments” – these are hard blocks of time that cannot be moved.  Not enough time?  Then make time.  Begin a process of developing an earlier waking time in the morning.  Eliminate daily habits that don’t further your goals – freeing time for new habits that DO.
  4. Use old habits to launch new ones:  Do you like to relax with a cup of coffee to start your day?  Piggy-back on that habit and use the time to jot down ideas or schedule your writing for the day.  Soon your old routine of “coffee time” will develop into  new routine of “creative time”.
  5. Drive yourself incrementally: Just like building muscle, push discipline a little harder every day or every week. If you get stuck or want to quit, force yourself to keep it up for another 5 minutes.  Next time, aim for an additional 5 minutes, and so on.  Use this strategy to build up to the routine you desire.
  6. Keep a log:  Be accountable to yourself!  You have written goals, now write down what you are doing to accomplish them. Visibly seeing your progress (or lack of progress) will provide you with the motivation to keep moving – or inspire you to dig deep and push harder.
  7. Recovery:  Pushing yourself to do nothing but write 7 hours a day for 7 days a week, besides a full time job, is a good way to induce burnout. Proper development requires periods of both stress AND recovery. Make sure your discipline allows for both!
  8. Identify obstacles in advance:  Identify obstacles in advance and plan how you will deal with them. Are you trying to discipline yourself into writing for 1 hour each evening? What will you do when your friends invite you for an evening out? The temptation is easier to resist if you rehearse in your mental theater BEFOREHAND. Practice declining such invitations in your head, offering to reschedule instead for one of your off days (see Tip #7, Recovery).
  9. Keep the following in mind:

Purpose is the drive that will spur you to accomplishment -
Discipline is the bridge that will get you there!


These are just a few tips to help you develop and grow your self-discipline.  Give them a try.  Have tips of your own?  Leave them in the comments below!

About Jim Rohn:  An entrepreneur and speaker, Jim Rohn established a legacy which still plays a large role in the personal development industry, even after his passing in 2009.  His organization, Jim Rohn International, continues to provide seminars and materials for success in both business and personal life.

Image Credit:  Flickr user d’n'c

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