“In reading the lives of great men, I found that the first victory they won was over themselves… self-discipline with all of them came first.”
– Harry S. Truman
Self-discipline determines success. It is the magic bullet to unlocking your potential and finally moving forward with your life. Self-discipline is your rebound.
Guys, the reason you still haven’t finished that project but have spent hours surfing the internet every day is a lack of discipline. The reason you’re still just as fat as last time you ate that cake before bed is a lack of discipline. The reason you haven’t made any progress on starting that side business and you feel like your life is slipping away – no discipline!
Self-discipline is essentially the ability to put off what you want in the moment for what you want in the long run. It is a habit of self-regulation for the sake of improvement. Some have said it’s the ability to do the things you really don’t want to do.
Are you familiar with the marshmallow experiment? Four year old children were each given one marshmallow. They could either eat the marshmallow immediately or, if they waited 15 minutes could receive another marshmallow. The kids who were able to wait generally went on to become successful and well-adjusted adults, while the kids who quickly ate the first marshmallow had more trouble dealing with stress, frustration, and impulse control.
Everyone wants a short cut on how to be more disciplined. But there isn’t one. It is simply a matter of training. It’s saying “No!” to the things that waste your life and your time and saying “Yes!” to habits that draw you closer to success. This is especially true during your rebound.
Your rebound is your comeback. Comebacks take discipline. Whatever habit or action got you to a place of failure must change for you to achieve a successful rebound. Self-discipline is necessary to drop the fifty pounds that laziness gained. A crumbling marriage or shaky relationship with the kids because you work too much will only be healed when you decide on a disciplined schedule for work.
When it’s time for a rebound, it’s crucial to replace your old habits and lifestyle with new ones. There are consequences to your actions. If you want new results and positive consequences, change your actions. But there’s a critical step before you change your habits.
Get your core values right, first. Your core values are your foundation upon which every decision and action is based. If you want a successful rebound build on your core values.
Your self-discipline is energized by your core values. If one of your core values is to be physically fit you’ll have more discipline and not finish the whole pizza by yourself. Do you want a healthier relationship with your wife? That core value will discipline you to leave work on time and go on a date with her.
Once you’ve settled your core values you’re positioned to achieve victory and win the war over self.
Stir Up Urgency
Urgency forces discipline on you. It doesn’t always exist on its own. Get a sense that time is running out.
- If I don’t lose weight now, I won’t be around for my grandkids
- If I don’t get serious about this marriage, she’ll leave
- If I don’t get my debt under control, I’ll never be able to retire
Sometimes you must manufacture urgency. If you need something done, set a deadline. And always include a consequence if you miss the deadline.
Find an accountability partner. Set deadlines for each other and hold one another accountable.
You will live with regret for the rest of your life unless you make decisions from a place of urgency. You’ll keep saying, “I should, I should…” until you look back and realize you haven’t made any changes you’ve just “should” all over yourself!
Design a Routine
The minute you decide to begin, everything will compete for your time. All of a sudden, your favorite show is on, the newest version of Call of Duty drops, all of your friends are planning to go out. Temptation leaves you defenseless unless you design a routine. Find a way to structure your day so that you’re moving to the goals of your rebound. This can be as simple as writing down what you intend to accomplish and a time frame in which to complete them. Set guard rails that will keep you on track. Be ruthless is sticking to the routine.
Say “No” a lot
You will only achieve victory in your rebound when learn to say “no” to the old habits. The more you practice, the easier it becomes. Be consistent to what you’re walking away from and you will see change. You’ll feel a lot better about yourself.
Self-discipline has been practiced by all great men. Master yourself, first.