New series: Self-discipline

I have had this idea for a new series rolling through my mind for a while now. I hesitated to post about it, because I am not the most disciplined of persons. However, the objective of this blog is for us to learn together. Therefore I am starting this new series with the hope that I can become more disciplined as I research for the posts. Here we go!

There are many areas of our lives where we need self-discipline. This is especially true if you are a single person, mainly if we don’t do it, it doesn’t get done! These areas include, time management, emotions, spiritual life, our tongues, etc. In this post, I identify some steps to help us know where we need self-discipline. In the following posts, I will work through some tools that have helped me become more disciplined.

What is self-discipline?

Many people confuse the word discipline with punishment. Part of discipline may imply punishment, but in the main it is different.

Discipline according to Webster’s 1828 dictionary is:

  • Education; instruction;
  • Instruction and government, comprehending the communication of knowledge and the regulation of practice;
  • Rule of government; method of regulating principles and practice;
  • Subjection to laws, rules, order, precepts or regulations;
  • Correction; chastisement;

So self-discipline is doing all of the preceding to one’s self. Not any easy thing to do.

Identify strengths and weaknesses

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Before we can strengthen our weaknesses or depend on our strengths, we need to know what they are. Most of us like to look at our strengths, but not at our weaknesses. God made us with both. If we were only strong, we would never need God, and if we were only weak, we could never help others.

There are several tools available to identify our weak and strong points. We will take a look at some of them in a later post.

Recognize the need for outside help

Discipline ourselves is not easy and we will need outside help in order to accomplish our goal of being self-disciplined. Accountability is a word we often do not want to hear, but is very beneficial in establishing self-discipline. It may not be easy to ask for this help, but we will need it.

Choose someone who will be a help and encouragement. This person may be in your face and business a lot. Think about who in your life could and would be willing to handle this responsibility. This may even be someone else who is trying to be more self-disciplined. Even the wisest man who lived recognized this fact.

Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour. For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up. Again, if two lie together, then they have heat: but how can one be warm alone? And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken. 

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

Set yourself up for success

This is an area in which many of us fail, myself included. In your struggle for self-discipline, don’t shoot yourself in the foot putting yourself in a situation where you will fail.

Example: If you are trying to eat with more discipline, and you know that you will eat the chocolate, but not the fruit, don’t keep chocolate in the house.

If you know that certain situations will make you fail, remove them from your life, if possible.

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Set small goals

There was a song by Patch the Pirate we sang as teens. The chorus goes like this: ‘Little by little, step by step, by the yard it’s hard, by the inch what a cinch.’ By setting small goals or by breaking a large goal into small steps, it makes the job manageable and achievable. I am a list maker and listing each step is great because I am motivated to finish by marking of another item on my list. Before I know it I am finished with the big job.

There are more steps that will help you on the road to self-discipline, but these are the ones of which I thought. Next blog post will be about one of my worst areas of self-discipline, time-management! I will share some tips I have been using to good effect in managing my time. Until then may God bless you as you serve single.