Discipline is like a muscle in our body that needs exercise; and just like regular exercise it’s safer to start off light and work our way up. For example if we aren’t already doing it, we could pursue putting our car keys, cell phone, and wallet in the same place each night and do it for 21 days (21 days is the magic number) straight. We could clean our bathroom sink and wipe down our mirror each night after we brush our teeth. We could grab a book and read just five pages (more if you’d like) each night before we go to sleep. We could say internally or out loud (five times) that tomorrow is going to be a great day. You don’t have to choose one of my ideas above just come up with something that works for you and stick to it for 21 days straight.
I realize that some of these things sound silly but it is extremely important that we come up with some small things that are completely doable. Keep in mind all of these things are done in the home and they take very little time to accomplish.
After taking on some smaller tasks we can slowly move towards more challenging things like only going out to eat once a week, cleaning out our car once a week, creating a daily diary for twenty one days where we only have to write one paragraph, stop watching our favorite television show for 21 days (not recording it either).
The reason these tasks are important is because we begin to feel pride in ourselves for sticking to them. Pride in our control over things is exactly what we need to build discipline.
We’ll forever be disappointed by our inability to accomplish goals if we don’t conquer our disciple problem. The military is a great example of this (especially the Marines). Most enlisted recruits don’t join the military with an innate ability to be disciplined. As a matter of fact, many of them suffer from an extreme lack of discipline and that’s why they ended up in the military in the first place (I definitely lacked it when I joined). The military strategically programs discipline from the very first day recruits arrive at boot camp and it builds throughout the enlisted men’s careers. This is really great news for us because we don’t have to be born with the ability of discipline; instead it’s inside each one of us and only needs to be exercised to come out.