What if someone handed you a list of actions that if done consistently, would give you a 95% chance of success to accomplish what you wanted? As far as I’m concerned, sign me up!
That’s what most of us have yearned for. “If someone would just show me what to do!” But the harsh reality is that even when we do know what to do, we don’t stick with it—we lack the discipline to finish what we start.
Doing What We Know To Do
I like to think of self-discipline as simply doing what you know to do, and not doing what you know not to do.
That’s why when 733 millionaires listed the factors they considered very important to economic success, being honest and being disciplined were virtually tied for first place.
Disciplined people are more than just starters—they are finishers. They know what to do and do it. Most know what should be done but lack the discipline to do it.
The question is not whether we need discipline—self-control—or not. We know we do. The real question we should ask is: “What will help me follow through?”
Run The Plays Consistently
I just taught a breakout session at the ARC Conference. I shared my top five weekly habits to build the family you want to young church planters who were also parents.
ARC church planters who implement their playbook for launching life-giving churches have a 95% success rate. I encouraged these young parents that if they would in the same way just run the plays of this playbook that Gail and I had used to build our family, they would enjoy similar benefits as we do today in our family relationships and culture.
Discipline in a sports context means training and exercising as an athlete. Train, exercise, run the drill over and over and over. The idea is to consistently do that which you know will bring good results. Determine what you need to do to fulfill your goal, then do it consistently.
Don’t waste your time looking for the new idea. Most good things come over the long haul by consistently carrying out time-proven actions. There’s nothing difficult about understanding that, yet few follow through.
Build Habits That Will Take You Where You Want To Go
Once you determine your target goal and identify the actions that will get you there, form habits of those actions.
Desire and decision are important. But the way to bring about life change as you need is best secured through habits. Habits help you to keep doing what you know you should do to get you where you want to go.
Little things done consistently over a long time produce big results.
- Saving $100 every month as a young adult in a good mutual fund will make you a millionaire.
Spending 15-30 minutes a day in undistracted meaningful conversation with your spouse will help keep you connected.
Eating a meal with good conversation together as a family each day will help develop close, tight-knit relationships.
We know these things. So make them into habits to automatically move us toward the results we really want in life.
Stick With The Basics
To be successful in just about anything depends largely on doing basic things consistently. That can be boring which is why we often either look for a shortcut or just stop doing what we know to do.
Most of life is day in, day out—not that exciting. That’s why we need to be well disciplined. We don’t need discipline for the exciting. We need discipline for the basics, the routine. To eat right, to exercise, to save regularly, go to work when don’t feel like it, to read your Bible, etc.
But it’s doing the little things you know to do consistently that will give you the greatest results over the long haul in every area of life. Stick with the playbook and run the plays.
Question: What is one habit that helps you consistently do what you know will bring a big payoff? Share your answer in the comments below.