A Simple Discipline Hack
One of the major factors in stopping an individual getting closer to their potential, as I wrote about in an earlier blog, is discipline. They say business success is a result of doing the right things in sufficient quantities over a long enough period of time. But most of us are notoriously poor at being able to access the necessary discipline consistently enough to allow this to happen.
As a coach I have a myriad of things I can do to help clients find their discipline or improve their discipline. In fact, the way I coach is disciplined and rhythmic in the knowledge that very often the client will realise how much it helps them and will then emulate the same patterns in their businesses.
But there is one ever so simple hack that any of us can employ straight away that can almost make the need for discipline redundant. It has been used very effectively for thousands of years and can still be seen in use today. It is so simple and so obvious that you probably have never even recognised its strength.
We have a saying that ‘Routine will set you free’. Creating a routine can free you from the need for so much discipline. You probably cleaned your teeth and washed your face before you left home this morning, (you did, didn’t you?). I will suggest that wasn’t an act of discipline although it is a disciplined act. It probably happened because you have established a habit of tending to your personal hygiene on a morning. You will have created a routine of washing and brushing your teeth on a morning. You do it so habitually that it doesn’t take discipline any longer. You have probably even created a routine within the routine and you will probably have a set order in which you do things.
We find it difficult to find and apply the discipline and yet well-crafted routines allow us to develop good habits easily and effortlessly making discipline less necessary. For thousands of years various religions have created habits among their followers. Some religions have gatherings every week, others call their followers to prayer every day, every morning, every evening. It has worked for thousands of years.
How can you make this universal truth of human nature work for you? What could you make routine that would remove the need for quite so much self-discipline? You have already done it with personal hygiene.
If you arranged to go to the gym every Monday, Wednesday and Friday morning at 8. 00 a.m. I suggest you will find it easier than ‘trying’ to go to the gym three times a week. You are creating a routine and obviating the need for quite so much self-discipline.
If you are a small business and doing everything yourself, would being the ‘Finance Director’ on a Thursday afternoon mean that you got all of that paperwork stuff done on a regular basis rather than constantly putting things off until it gets so urgent that it is critical? If you are bad at keeping in touch with people why not set aside 30 minutes every Monday to catch up with people. If your team only get together in a crisis why not create a routine of a weekly meeting to prevent crises occurring?
Discipline is in notoriously short supply. No matter how much or how little we think we have it takes energy and effort. Routine is a pattern of behaviour and as human beings we easily adopt patterns of behaviour. Simply adopt some useful patterns of behaviour so you don’t have to apply so much discipline and see how much closer to your potential you can reach.