Half-Hearted Self Discipline Fails to Deliver


Self discipline pays dividends. In my life I have seen self discipline become the difference between getting an A or a C in school, between doing ok at work or getting promoted quickly,  between a mediocre business and a thriving one, between thinking about running a marathon and actually finishing one. Discipline is often the difference between success or failure. But if we are not careful, we can be disciplined and yet not see results.

self discipline

I don’t know about you, but I tend to play mind games with the things that require my full attention to get to the next level. I’m usually willing to be disciplined in the areas that come natural to me, like exercise, but I often have a tough time committing to pay the price and do what’s not an easy task for me, like having a consistent clean diet. In this case, however, the diet is the more important of the two. Proper nutrition will fuel performance and accelerate the hard work during exercise. Without it, exercise lose its effectiveness and we face diminishing returns for our efforts.

How many hours have I wasted at the gym because my diet worked against me? What kind of gains could I have seen had I been as disciplined with my eating as I was with my workouts?

The price of success, whether be at the gym, at work, or in ministry, is more often a combination of self discipline in several different areas of our lives, and not just the areas that we are most comfortable with. Working late might come easy for you, but you might not be willing to push yourself to engage people and have the conversations that will help your job performance and career way more than all the spreadsheets and reports you can generate.

Stop for a second and take inventory. If you’re like me, there’s an area in your life that you need to commit to be fully in. It might be spiritual, physical, professional or relational. While you’re putting in the effort somewhere, you know that ultimately is not going to be enough to get you to the next level.

What area(s) of your life needs more self-discipline? What would it take for you to do it?

  • Mark H Jeffress

    This is very timely. I’ve had some career goals that I know I cannot accomplish without having the conversations you wrote about. Thanks for writing this. 

  • I am right there with you on the exercise vs diet thing. For me I don’t have the time or energy to focus on eating healthier. I know that sounds like a lame excuse, but I am in the last week of a two year MBA program. I can’t handle one more thing to stress about.

    Starting next week it’s on like donkey kong.

    •  Congratulations on finishing your MBA! Take pictures this week and start your transformation next week. I find that pictures help me with motivation and keeping motivated.

      • Thank you! It’s been a long journey, but I’m excited to get my life back
        this summer and discover what is next.

  • Jackie

    I like your post. I have heard so much about self discipline, and obviously the Bible addresses the need for self-control (a fruit of the spirit) head-on. The problem is often, “how.” I am great with people, but terrible at staying focused on tasks to timely completion. Every time a deadline passes I think, “I want to change this about myself, I need to change. But how?” Any thoughts?

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