Discipline

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In a recent webinar, aspiring authors were polled and to our surprise 80% of the attendees responded that their greatest challenge in completing writing projects is discipline. We committed then that we would provide more resources to help our subscribers to become more disciplined and diligent. 

The more I thought about the challenge of becoming disciplined I was led back to my graduate school research. My research focus was on the process of discipleship. Then, I spent some time thinking about those words again. Both discipleship and discipline come from the word disciple. 

I've developed definitions for the words below:

Disciple /diˈsīpəl/ n. - One who follows.

Discipline /ˈdisəplin/  n. - Pursuing after something/someone of value.

(Discipleship then, is simply the process itself of the pursuit.) 

While considering the meanings of those words I realized that discipline connotes commitment. One who follows, does so because (s)he sees something valuable worth pursuing. Let me say that another way.

Discipline flows from commitment. Commitment flows from value, and value flows from perceived worth, or expected benefit. 

What are you committed to?  Your commitments will tell you what you value. 

In other words, I'm committed to going to work because I value getting paid. I'm committed to playing defense on the basketball court because I value winning. I'm committed to a low fat diet because I value health. I'm committed to not texting while driving because I value safety.  

If you value communicating important ideas, helping people grow, equipping people with tools and resources for thinking and living, and leaving a lasting mark of your ideas then you'll probably be committed to the process of writing.

So now, in order for one to recalibrate and strengthen their level of discipline their are three steps to take. 

  1. Reassess values.
  2. Readjust goals. 
  3. Realign resources. 

1. Reasses values - I won't say much about this as I have already dealt with value. Just remember, your values determine your commitments.  Identify your values and you will have identified your areas of focus and commitment.

2. Readjust goals - It is possible that the values and commitment are there, but the pursuit has not begun. That might be because your goals have not been adjusted to clarify your commitment. Goals identify exactly what I am committed to. Yes I want to win, but how often and by how much. Check out this video on SMART goals.

Maybe the values are assessed, your goals are adjusted, your commitment is clarified, and you're still sputtering. What's the problem?...

3. Realign resources -  You must realign your resources in order to meet the task. In the words of Dr. Frank Hale, "Commitment without cash is counterfeit." How are you leveraging your time, intellect, energy, money, etc. in order to achieve your goals?

It has often been said, "Put up or shut up." Oh, how about this one? "Put your money where your mouth is." Yes you want to write a book, but how much time have you invested? How much brain power have you invested? How much money have you spent on tools or resources needed to help you finish the project? If you can't track your investment, it probably isn't significant.

If you realize you need to invest more in building your writing skills click here to download  my online writing course. 

I believe in you! To close this, I want to let you know that I believe in your ability to achieve your writing goals as well as all your life goals. I believe with all my heart that when you assess your values, adjust your goals, and align your resources, you will find that people with begin to identify you as disciplined, productive, and fruitful. Please let me hear from you as you progress on the path of discipline. I believe in you. You can do this!