In Search of Discipline – A Personal Journey

This blog post is a little different today, because I’m not here to give you solutions or strategies. I’m not here to share the latest scientific or psychological techniques to help you with discipline. This is a subject about which I can’t give you the answers, because I don’t know them.

Discipline has been on my mind a lot lately. Lack of discipline is something I’ve struggled with for many years. It’s not that I don’t have any because in some areas of my life, I do – like checking my email and Facebook updates. I’m also very disciplined at mindlessly surfing the Internet for so much time that I sometimes don’t have enough time to get important stuff done. I could go on, but you get the point. I have a feeling that I’m not alone, here, and that maybe you struggle with this too.

For me, personally, I’ve chipped away at my own discipline-related issues and have definitely improved over time, but it’s because I continue to struggle with being organized and disciplined that I’ve made it a priority to study discipline this year. So I’m actually sharing my search for greater discipline with you at the start, rather than at the finish. Instead of sharing what I’ve learned after-the-fact, I’m going to share my frustrations and insights along the way as I attempt to carefully dissect the subject of discipline and how to have more of it.

My Goal and A Theory

In my last post, Sometimes You Don’t Need Motivation, I included a picture of my messy desk. It’s where I’m typing this right now. I have begun thinning out the chaos on my desk and in my office, but without a solid plan, it’ll come back. So my goal is to learn the following:

  • How to finally get organized.
  • How to stay organized.
  • How to manage my time effectively.
  • Understand the basic components of discipline.
  • What inhibits or derails discipline.
  • How to be very disciplined without being too rigid.
  • How to maintain short- and long-term discipline.
  • How to track multiple projects effectively and make steady progress on them.
  • How to stay disciplined even when my life gets chaotic.

Today, on the Facebook page, I mentioned my theory about discipline. “The more organized you are, the more disciplined you’ll be. The more disciplined you are, the better spouse, friend, and citizen you will be.” I don’t know if this is true, but I’m pretty sure it is. I’ll let you know later, after I’ve become more disciplined.

I’m going to be updating you periodically as I learn about discipline, apply what I learn, and see what works for me. I’m going to do my best  to finally decode discipline, but would love to hear what you think.

Are you disciplined or do you struggle with it? What works for you? What doesn’t? Where do you struggle? Where are you successful?

Let’s talk. Leave your thoughts below.

How disciplined are you?

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  1. I love the plan. This way I wont have to wait until you have learnt to benefit. I can learn along with you. What’s great as well is the fact that I will be spared all the mistakes that you make…you make them and I avoid them. Go ahead, I’m right there with you….thought slightly behind….(lol!)

    • Well, Althea, it’s definitely going to be an interesting ride. I’m actually kind of excited. If I succeed, it will mean a whole new level of productivity in my life. But it’s not just about getting more things done. It’s also about having more time and achieving more life goals. It’s about bringing my vision for my life in harmony with my actions. How cool is that? If I accomplish this, I’ll feel like a whole new person. So, yeah, I’m really looking forward to this.

      But I’m not going to let you off easy. You can ride my wave, but how about checking in for some accountability? We can do this together. As I share what I’m doing, reading, or trying, you can do the same, even if you’re a little behind me. We’re all in this together. 🙂

  2. Hi Scott! You need to take the Chalene Johnson 30 Day Challenge To Master Organization and Achieve Your Goals! Google it! I took it in January and February! Amazing what I have accomplished already! Proud of myself! And still a work in progress! Check it out!


    • Jenny,

      Funny you should mention it. I’ve actually had a tab open to Chalene’s site for a week now. And I am planning to check it out. It sounds as though it has been really good for you. What else can you share about it?


      • She is a smart woman and know’s how to prioritize and make todo lists! And she highly recommends that you make these lists on your phone!
        It takes 21 days to break or make a habit! It just makes sense and ANYONE can do it! And stick to it! If for some reason you can’t access the site, I’ll let you use my name and password to check it out! Let me know!


        • Jenny,

          Sounds like she’s got some good insight. I’m interested in learning why she suggests you make a “To Do” list specifically on your phone. I assume because most people have their phone with them constantly and can access the list wherever they are. I’ve tried ‘To Do” lists before and they typically don’t work for me and I now know why. But it would be interesting to know if she has a method that works in my specific circumstances.

          Though it’s popularly stated that it takes 21 days to make a habit, personally, I disagree with that. I haven’t read the reports, but I’ve heard that some studies were done that came up with that 3-week time frame. But even if that’s true, I still don’t agree with it. Also, I believe it only takes one second to break a habit, even one that you established over 10 weeks or more…maybe even over a year. In just one brief moment, all of what you accomplished and established regarding a new habit can completely unravel. Not only have I experienced this, I’ve seen it happen to so many people. So if 3 weeks works for you, you’re one of the lucky ones. I’m not trying to be negative, I’m just being honest in sharing my truth and opinion about it. I have no scientific data to put behind my opinion, just my observations.

          Anyway, my first impression of the 30-Day Challenge is good and I’m intrigued. I’ll flag you down on Facebook or via email to explore this a little further. Thank you for your recommendation. 🙂


  3. I usually have no problem with discipline… at first but, I tend to stumble when I need to do the same thing repeatedly for an extended period of time – say months. I have a tendency to lose interest and start on say Project B when Project A is only half-way done.

    Good luck remaining disciplined though. I think getting into a habit of keeping organized definitely helps.

    Keep up the great posts.

    • Yeah, that’s how I am too. For me, some of the difficulty comes from not making consistent progress on my goal. I’m good and driving hard at the start and my discipline is strong, but when progress slows down, I get distracted. I know that for me, the solution (at least partially) is to get organized. Being disorganized is often why meaningful progress toward my goal slows down. I feel like if I can stay focused and organized, I’ll keep moving forward without getting distracted. Only time will tell.

      Thanks for stopping by and thank you for the encouragement.

  4. OK Scott! I am ready to do this with you. I want to be more productive and I need more discipline.

    Can’t wait to read everything you learn and will be doing whatever actions you undertake to become more disciplined too. Thanks for sharing this journey.

    • There is an update in the works, Kim. I’ll be sharing some of the tools I’ll be using to get more organized. Hopefully they’ll help you too.


  5. james harley says:

    Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishment
    Jim Rohn


  1. […] Motivation blog. So that’s the best place to follow my progress. Look for my current post, In Search of Discipline–A Personal Journey. Stop by, read the post, and tell me in the comments section that you’re working on your […]

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