We are now half way through the year. How have you gone in terms of achieving your key performance indicators? While I know that I should be halfway there an honest appraisal leaves me a long way short! My first response is to start making excuses, a fairly natural inclination but that does not make it right! Why am I not making the progress I agreed to, achieving the goals that I believed were reasonable? I lack self discipline!
It is much easier to talk to others about it than to do the hard work of applying it to my own life. Self discipline is one of my core values, but maybe I have got lazy… and I suspect that also applies to others. So what am I going to do to address my lack of discipline? The more I pondered this, the more I came to realise that it is not just about trying harder, but seeking to go back to basics. Self discipline is really about choices, starting with the need to:
1. VALUE YOURSELF! You are of great worth, and exercising self discipline is about adding value to yourself. I am not calling you to be selfish, but encouraging you to invest in yourself in positive constructive ways, recognising your physical, mental and spiritual needs. That might mean losing those extra couple of kgs that have accumulated, reading that book on the coffee table or even taking the family to worship this Sunday.
2. VALUE YOUR GOALS! Take some time to consider where you are going, and what you want to achieve. We all need to have both short term and long term goals which are written down with a specific completion date. They need to be challenging enough to stretch us, but not so far out of reach that we believe they are impossible! To value those goals they must be worth something, and big enough to demand your best.
3. VALUE DELAYED GRATIFICATION! We live in a world that demands everything immediately, yet the reality is that all the worthwhile things in life will take time. There are no short cuts to success, so if you are serious about valuing yourself and your goals you need to choose to put in the hard work without expecting an immediate reward. Get used to the fact that in life most of the time you have to eat the vegies before you get sweets! Don’t fight it embrace it!
4. VALUE THE PROCESS! The reward is not just at the end, choose to enjoy the journey. Be thankful for the companionship of friends you meet on the road. Pause to appreciate the grand views you see on the way, you may never come this way again. Rest in the rich green valleys, but realise that the journey requires you to scale the rugged mountain peaks if you want to see the destination. Look for the positives at each point in the road and go the extra mile to encourage those around you.
So, instead of bemoaning the fact that you have failed to achieve some of your goals, adjust your values and priorities. You might be surprised to find that your level of self discipline will have improved as well! Keep at it you can do it!
Chaplain Ian S Whitley