5 Actions for Becoming More Disciplined

Discipline. Now that’s a word that can send a streak of freak down our spine! Why is that? I think it’s because discipline is a self-accountability trait. It’s very difficult to hold another person in discipline. Discipline is a commitment and effort that must come from within.

For example:

  • No one can diet for me. I must be disciplined to not over eat.
  • No one can exercise for me. I must be disciplined to work out myself.
  • No one can react appropriately for me. I must be disciplined to remain calm.

I’m inspired to write about discipline because recently I’ve had the opportunity to work alongside some great sales people whose results didn’t match up with their potential due to their lack of discipline. Why were they just meeting instead of exceeding their goals? They were okay with just getting by. Being okay with just getting by hurts our performance and the performance of our team. It’s what separates the good from the great from the best.

The issues at hand with this talented team were their lack of discipline in making the calls and documenting their activities. I actually heard the words, “but I don’t want to.” In an effort to grant some grace, as a sales-minded person, I’ve got plenty of compassion about the boring and tedious documentation process. I don’t like it either. However, just because we don’t like doing something doesn’t mean we have the permission to not do it.

How do we become more disciplined? Here are five tips:

  1. Create a goal. Then create actions that will get you to that goal. Then, create a list of where you must be disciplined. Knowing the temptations to cut corners will help you be proactive in not doing that. You realize that it’s your choice to be lackadaisical instead of just being naïve of the temptations.
  2. Form a routine and stick with it. The enemy of poor discipline is habit. Your routine will become a habit, and you’ll be on your way. Use your calendar to block time for what you need to be disciplined to do.
  3. Get a discipline partner. This should not be your leader. While your leader should hold you accountable, asking them to help you stay disciplined just creates more work for them.
  4. Have your leader help you create your goal (see tip No. 1).
  5. Reward or punish yourself. If you stick with your discipline, then give yourself a reward to reinforce your good actions. If you’re careless and fail to be disciplined, then don’t treat yourself until you do your work, even if it’s over the weekend.

Our willingness to discipline ourselves is directly linked to how much we desire to achieve our goals. Do you care or want it bad enough to have to work hard, stretch, or sacrifice? Or are we okay with good enough? Your answer lies in your discipline.

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  • Karolyn Hampton says:

    Hi Linda,
    I am totally in love with your leadership blog here. I have been reading lots of your archived posts and using them in a “weekly sales email” I send to a great group of outside sales reps. This one here on discipline really hits home and reminds me of my old outside sales day. Great tips!