Entrepreneur, author and motivational speaker Jim Rohn once said, “Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishment.” The character trait of discipline can be seen in the choices we make each day.
As we enter a new year, January is often a time individuals set New Year’s resolutions or goals that are important to them. Setting those is the easy part. Bringing them to fruition is where the difficulty begins. Any change we want to make, any self-improvement we want to see, or any goal we set requires work and discipline. Discipline is the foundation for becoming who we want to be and the realization of dreams we want to achieve.
A common New Year’s resolution may be to eat healthier, be more patient or read more. For each of these resolutions or any goal, a person can prepare and plan for success, read all the best tips, talk to those who set an example and develop a plan, all which are great first steps and need discipline to complete. But the discipline cannot stop there. It must also impact actions. If the goal is to eat healthier, it takes discipline to plan well-balanced meals. If you want to work on patience, it takes discipline to think before reacting. If you want to prioritize reading more, it takes discipline to avoid tempting distractions. Anything we want to intentionally do better, do more of or do less of, takes discipline.
I once read that discipline is like a muscle; the more you work it, the stronger it becomes. What I have also recognized is that the discipline it takes to make small, but purposeful, decisions is something to celebrate. I recently committed to go 10 days without eating any sweets or sugary snacks. For many, this may not be difficult, but sweets have always been a challenge for me, and to make it even more difficult, I decided to do this during the two weeks leading up to Christmas. What I found was that I was encouraged and motivated each time I was able to walk by a sugary temptation without indulging, and I found it became easier and easier. I found that exercising discipline in small, but frequent and easy steps, is the best way to conquer the big steps.
This simple example helps me see that we can encourage and develop the character trait of discipline in ourselves and others. Celebrating the discipline it takes to make progress comes the power to stick to commitments and goals.
You can learn more about Owasso’s Character Initiative at owassocharacter.org.