A friend of mine is working on his doctorate. Okay, a lot of friends of mine are working on their doctorate. But this story is about a particular friend of mine. His wife told us that he takes one day a week – one full day – usually Thursday, and spends the entire day on his school work. He doesn’t go into the office, he doesn’t take a meeting in the middle of the day. It’s just sun up, sun down, read and write – get that doctorate done.
I admire that. First of all because he took a dream, turned it into a goal, then scheduled it and did it. But also because that sort of commitment takes discipline. And discipline is something I often lack.
But one trick I’ve been learning to be more disciplined is this: discipline leads to discipline. If you want to be disciplined in one area of your life, get disciplined in another area of your life.
Here’s how that works. With a tight budget, our family is often scraping by at the end of the month. That’s led us to make use of some fancy tools to keep our budget straight: a pen and paper. We write down every dollar we spend every day. That way we can keep better track of our spending and we won’t go over our budget…at least that’s the hope.
But being disciplined in that area of our life has made us more disciplined in other areas. We find ourselves more willing to wake up early and work out. We have more time to read more, to spend with the kids more. We’re more disciplined about our spiritual lives. Discipline leads to discipline.
When you’re disciplined in one area of life, you’ll develop disciplines in other areas of life.
Sometimes I’ll be working on a project and I’ve just hit a wall – I’m frazzled, I’m frizzled, I’m…just making up words now, aren’t I? You get the idea, I’m out of energy. So I get up and start working on something else – like straightening the books on my bookshelf or clearing out the clutter from my workshop.
I used to think those sorts of things were just distractions. Nope, Twitter is a distraction. Twitter is bad. But those other things are actually helpful. I’ll be working on another project and all of a sudden I’m filled with writing energy again! Here I go!!! That other act of discipline helped me better disciplined about another act I need to do.
Discipline is tough. But, discipline is healthy. And it’s also contagious. If you’re wanting to get disciplined in one area of your life – say, eating healthier – then try working on another discipline that may come easier – like limiting your time watching TV. Discipline leads to discipline.
What disciplines do you need to work on in your life? What areas of your life are easier to discipline than others?