The 365 Commitment

Becoming Disciplined

You cannot. Discipline is a complete myth. No one can meet the standard of discipline. People use the word discipline to make themselves feel better. They say things like, I need to be more disciplined one day. Or, wow, that person is so disciplined I wish I could be like that. They provide positive feedback to others about how disciplined they are, but they are always concerned that they themselves are not disciplined at all.

The fact is that we can all try to be disciplined and we may start out well, but eventually we will falter. We will miss a day, forget something, get stressed and our well intentions will become pools of disappointment. You just cannot be a disciplined person. You will always fail, it is just inevitable. That is what being human is all about.

However, this is important. You can become disciplined if you really understand what discipline actually means. The text book definition of discipline is not at all the way people use it in daily life. You can learn a discipline, which might be a branch of knowledge or a field of study. You can teach discipline, which is a way to get people to conform to a system of rules on their behaviour. This almost always comes as a result of rewards and punishments. Most people are referring to the concept of being disciplined, which would be a quality that a person can behave in a controlled way by following a particular standard or set of rules. This is always an impression people give, it is never a thing actually people can become.

The real definition of discipline is really rather simple. A disciplined person is a person that actually has only accumulated a few habits. That is it. I am not sure how many habits, but lets proffer that it is 3. If you were to create 3 good habits in a particular area, people would start to view you as a very disciplined person. You will get noticed. People will say, you are the most disciplined person that I know. You will chuckle inwardly when they say this, because you will not have that view of yourself. You will simply realize that all you have done is kept a couple of habits up consistently.

This has happened to me. I have kept a series of habits for a very extended period of time. 851 days in a row to be exact. Writing this daily blog is one of those habits. I have about 6 of them that I maintain everyday, consistently without fail. What I actually am is a completely undisciplined, chaotic person with very little self control and a difficult time staying on top of anything consistently. However, I have learned how to keep and maintain a habit. Now that I have accumulated 6 of them, I am perceived by people that see what I am doing as a disciplined person. I think that is funny, because I realize now that discipline is a complete fabrication, it is only habits that get you there.

What we are really saying when we say we want to be disciplined, is I really want to have a habit that I follow consistently. This changes the discussion. You see once you have established a habit, the daily maintenance of that habit is not difficult anymore. Habits just happen. This blog, for example, just happens automatically. I start thinking of ideas early in the AM, the bounce around in my head for awhile. I hear and see things during the day, and the ideas will start to formulate. Before you know it, I am writing the idea down. Sometimes I write a lot, other times not so much but the concept of writing a daily blog may sound daunting, but in reality it is really easy for me know.

That is the point. Maintaining my level of discipline has become an easy process. Discipline is easy when you build consistent habits. So, the answer to becoming disciplined is to build a few habits!

Guy Reams

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