Merry Christmas to our entire Digging Deeper Family!Â Chances are that you are either winding down your workweek or youâ€™ve already checked out and are fully entrenched in holiday activities this week.Â Those of you have been with me awhile know that this is my absolute favorite time of year, just as it is for many of you.Â Our house has been listening to Christmas music since the day after Thanksgiving, and my two-year-old son is now giving full-blown concerts to anyone who will listen!Â Our nation is filled with the festive holiday spirit, and itâ€™s only slightly dampened by the hustle and bustle of everyoneâ€™s week-before-Christmas preparations.
In light of the timing, it may seem a little odd that we choose this week to discuss one of the single most unpopular words in the English language.Â But remember, our objective in Digging Deeper together is to make sure that our perspective is clear, our priorities are in order, and our mindset is healthy in order to wage war on the mediocrity in life.Â So, my goal is that if you will stop for a few moments before this year draws to a close and really focus on this topic, you will be in a much stronger position to create the life of excellence you desire for your family in 2011.Â Letâ€™s dig in.
Discipline.Â What does it mean, and why do we inadvertently cringe every time we hear that word?Â Well, we most likely cringe because weâ€™re only associating the word with just one of its definitions: punishment.Â There are actually several different meanings of the word â€œdisciplineâ€, so Iâ€™m only going list the four most popular here: 1) Training to ensure behavior (such as military discipline or training a child); 2) punishment to correct inappropriate behavior; 3) activity, exercise or regimen that develops or improves a skill; 4) conscious control over lifestyle.
Today weâ€™re only going to focus on the last two definitions.Â In my personal opinion, this one trait is the secret weapon that separates champions from the rest of the world.Â It is the main difference between those who choose to maintain a life of mediocrity and those who choose to rise above it.Â But itâ€™s also one of those words that we hear so often that we become numb to it.Â When discipline is suggested as a solution to a situation, we shrug it off and think, â€œNahâ€¦Iâ€™ve tried that before, but I just couldnâ€™t seem to stay motivated, so I donâ€™t think that will work for meâ€¦I guess Iâ€™m just not a disciplined person.â€Â And thus, our status quo lifestyle continues.Â So, if youâ€™re willing, I invite you â€“ just for the next few moments â€“ to press the â€œdeleteâ€ button in your mind on all the preconceived notions and past baggage you have with the word discipline, and just allow yourself to explore this concept with a clean slate, fresh perspective, and willing attitude.
Letâ€™s take a closer look at those last two definitions: activity, exercise or regimen that develops or improves a skill and conscious control over lifestyle.Â For example, Michael Jordanâ€™s commitment of making 100 free throw shots after practice every day was a discipline that made him one of the best in the game.Â The discipline of eating healthy is a conscious choice over your lifestyle that can help you stay lean and/or extend your lifespan.
You know, people ask me quite frequently, â€œAllison, what would you say is the one thing you did to make the biggest difference in your results?Â What set you apart?â€Â And my response is always two words: consistent discipline.Â But why do I tack on the word â€œconsistentâ€?Â Because, intermittent discipline doesnâ€™t produce the same payoff.Â Think of it this way: eating well one day a week doesnâ€™t make you healthy, exercising one day a month doesnâ€™t make you fit, and making wise financial choices one time per year doesnâ€™t make you wealthy.Â Casual discipline will produce casual results.Â Adding consistency is the jet pack to the rocket of discipline.Â How was I able to turn my life around â€œso quicklyâ€?Â Very simply, I kept going after everyone else quit.Â They got tired, frustrated, emotional, disenchanted, lost focus, got distracted, something else came along and they threw in the towel.Â But I kept going.Â I never lost faith, never lost hope, never stopped believing, and never bought into the lies that other people were listening to.
Remember, I believe a big part of becoming a champion is learning to motivate yourself.Â Champions have mastered the skill of managing their own passion levels.Â For those of you who may still be hung up on the element of motivation, I encourage you to click here and re-read an earlier edition of Digging Deeper on that very topic.Â Â But there will be days when we all struggle with a lack of motivation.Â As the saying goes, when motivation is missing, discipline is a great substitute.Â That one little quote has been the spark that kept me moving forward so many times when Iâ€™ve been tempted to throw in the towel or give into temptation during a moment of weakness.Â On that note, there are quotes on discipline that may help you to stay motivated during your own personal moments of weakness.Â Feel free to print these off and tape them to your desk, or fold them up and carry them in your wallet as physical tokens of strength.
Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishment. â€“ Jim Rohn
Discipline is the refining fire by which talent becomes ability. â€“ Roy L. Smith
It was character that got us out of bed, commitment that moved us into action, and discipline that enabled us to follow through. â€“ Zig Ziglar
Discipline is remembering what you want. â€“ David Campbell
If I want to be great I have to win the victory over myself…self-discipline. â€“ Harry S. Truman
Without discipline, there’s no life at all. â€“ Katharine Hepburn
So, as we wrap up our final edition ofÂ Digging Deeper for 2010, letâ€™s conclude with an evaluation of discipline broken down by several different categories our life.Â Iâ€™m going to ask you some questions and share some very simple suggestions on disciplines that could be the catalyst for creating a picture you are proud of in 2011.
1.Â Â Â Â Â Â Spiritual Life â€“ Are you spending consistent time learning and growing in this area?Â What would that look like for you on an ongoing basis in the New Year?Â How would your life change as a result?
2.Â Â Â Â Â Family Life â€“ What does quality family time look like to you?Â (This is different than just co-existing under the same roof.)Â Do you have strong, healthy boundaries between your family and work time?Â What would it take for your family to be amazed by your commitment and love for them in 2011?
3.Â Â Â Â Â Professional Life â€“ Are you in a career you absolutely love, or are you simply settling for a paycheck?Â How often do you do outcome-based planning in your different career objectives?Â Are you consistently exceeding your goals, or do you have a pattern of under-achieving?Â What are the few most powerful activities you should focus on to create your desired results, and what system can you develop that allows you to spend 80% of your time in those areas?
4.Â Â Â Â Â Personal Development â€“ How much time do you currently spend sharpening your mind, improving yourself, and learning the skills and tools you need to become a champion?Â Could you invest 30 â€“ 60 minutes per weekday to this commitment?Â Seven years ago, I made the commitment to read no less than one book per month that had the ability to change my life, and I can promise you: nothing has impacted my results more.
5.Â Â Â Â Â Physical Health â€“ Is a lack of health in any area preventing you from living life to the fullest?Â Are your current eating or exercise habits aiding to extend or shorten your life span?Â When was the last time you had a physical?Â What was the report?Â Do you need to lose weight/drink more water/exercise (cardio or resistance)?Â Are you getting proper nutrients?Â Too much fat/carbs/sugar/cholesterol/alcohol/nicotine/carbonated beverages?Â Remember, weâ€™re not striving for perfection, but excellence.Â Are you healthy?Â If you donâ€™t have good physical health, you will not physically be able to enjoy any of the other blessings life has waiting for you.
6.Â Â Â Â Â Financial Health â€“ Are you prepared for disaster?Â Do you currently have the ability to finance your dream life?Â Do you have a good idea of what your dream life would cost you, on an annual basis?Â Are you prepared to leave a legacy for your family?Â If the answer to any of these questions is no, feel free to check out the suggested reading list on my website to help you start creating your own wealth revolution!
You may not need focused effort in every arena we just discussed, but I encourage you to analyze the entire list and select the area of focus that you want to conquer firstâ€¦then get started!Â A habit of discipline starts one action, one day at a time.Â Donâ€™t wait for a New Yearâ€™s resolution thatâ€™s based on emotion.Â Remember, most people never achieve their dream, simply because they exchange what they want in the long run for what they feel like having today.Â But if you want to stop living like most people, youâ€™ve got to stop acting like most people.Â Decide right now that your quality of life tomorrow is worth the investment of discipline today.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, my friends!Â Digging Deeper will resume in 2011.
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