Your friend just uploaded her incredible before and after photos to Instagram. Your co-worker is celebrating finally paying off his mortgage. And you’re just sitting there wondering not only how they did it, but how everyone else always seems to make it look so easy!
Nobody ever said it would be easy.
Go ahead, ask that friend how they dropped 4 sizes and gained all that energy. Ask your co-worker how they managed to pay down their huge loan when the rest of us are living paycheck to paycheck.
My guess is they would use words like goals, discipline, vision, or sacrifice. I’d also venture to say that they thought it was anything BUT easy. Whether in finances, health, or relationships, we’ve all had goals we have tried to reach or bad habits we’ve tried to break. And while we are all striving toward those “after photos”, they don’t materialize by magic, and they certainly don’t happen overnight. It takes doing the little things. It takes time. And it takes discipline.
The ant may be small in nature, but never underestimate its discipline, speed or strength, especially when supported by the community from which it came. ~Unknown
So why are habits so hard to break, anyway?
In part, it’s hard to break old habits because the pain (or inconvenience) of getting there is perceived as greater than the pain of remaining the same. In other words, it’s a question of “what do I want NOW” versus “what do I want MOST”, and how hard will it be to really get there?
Take, for example, the following questions. Which would you choose, a or b?
a) Do I really want those new shoes for the party next weekend? OR
b) Do I want to be debt free with no more house payment?
a) Do I really want to drink that soda? OR
b) Do I care about my waistline and the high sugar levels in my body?
a) Does lashing out at my kids/my spouse help me release my stress? OR
b) Do I want to be a loving, even-tempered parent/wife/husband?
a) Should I spend that last ½ hour before bed checking my Instagram and watching Netflix? OR
b) Do I go to bed earlier so I can go for those early morning runs I keep talking about?
The real question is, which “yes” is MOST important to you:
(a), the easier, more comfortable option, or
(b), the one that takes more discipline?
All of them are possible. It all depends on how bad you want it.
Discipline and Peace
Hebrews 12:11 says that “no discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.” I can totally relate to this one. I mean, it’s obvious that no discipline seems pleasant at the time. Of course not. That’s why reaching a big hairy goal is HARD. But that’s also why there is peace for those who “have been trained by it”.
How awesome are the rewards for those who plow through and make it to all the way to the finish, to those after photos, and to that paid off house (or whatever else you are striving for)!
For most of us, we know the “right” answers. We know we shouldn’t eat three Big Macs a week, spend money we don’t have, or abuse our relationships. But we also know the comforts of doing things the way we’ve always done them.
Do You Want it So Bad You Can You Taste It?
Here are 3 steps to get you closer to those goals:
Step One is to want it.
I mean really want it. We have to see it, touch it, believe it and want it so bad we can taste it. The clearer your vision, the clearer your reason for wanting it, the clearer your path will be to get there. If you can taste it, you know you’re ready.
Step Two is to start small.
Give yourself the one thing that you can say, “If I do (or give up) this one thing, it will bring me closer to my goal”. Do your one thing every day. It’s the little things we do daily that add up to the big things at the end. No excuses now. And if you get side-tracked, refer back to Step One.
Step Three is to find some support.
Get beyond your good intentions and put your money where your mouth is. Put your dreams into action! Go “public” with a friend and ask them to hold you to what you say you want to accomplish. Lean on others for their support and they can help you. You don’t have to go it alone.
Everybody wants the results, but few will put in the work.
When you are ready, ACT on your good intentions. Discipline creates the environment needed to shape your pathways to reach your goals. In discipline there is healing. In discipline there is change. In discipline there can be hope. I wish for you all of these things, and more!
To your success and beyond,