Daily Discipline

At the beginning of the year, I began a 3 month project to achieve 3 goals I had set for myself.  I laid out a plan to get myself there by the end of March.  I broke down the work into easily measurable steps.  Each step would be easy to achieve, if I did the work continuously and didn’t fall off.  Lately though, I have found myself in a pattern of beginning the work to achieve these goals but faultering and falling off the daily efforts to keep going.  After a couple more weeks of inattentiveness, the once achievable goal is now insurmountable within the time frame I had originally set for myself.  Might as well quit, right?

It seems discouraging, but when you think about it from a perspective of growth, even in this, I am learning something about myself.  Are the goals I am setting in line with my life?  To achieve these goals, what needs to change?  What needs to be brought into line?  What needs to be done away with?  The realization that I am not reaching my goals provides me with the opportunity to learn more about myself, the way I function, and how I can improve on achieving my goals.

Founding Father Benjamin Franklin once said, “Without continual growth & progress, such words as improvement, achievement, & success have no meaning.”

Despite the fact that my business is being a professional martial artist, it is often very easy to let other factors in my business such as marketing interfere with workout times.  If I miss today’s workout, I don’t get stronger, I get weaker.  Then, if I try to hit certain numbers in my weight training the next day, I have fallen behind.  If I did not get rounds in on kickboxing or jujutsu or Kali, I’m letting time slip away and not moving forward on developing myself and achieving the goals I have set for myself in Jeet Kune Do.

Did I take the time to pray this morning before I stumbled out of bed and down to the bathroom?  Did I practice sitting meditation after my morning workout?  Did I take the time to be grateful for the food I ate today?  Did I do my work mindfully today and view it as a vocation in which I can serve my community?  If I am not continually mindful of the moments of my life, the God I worship, and the people I serve, it is so easy to get lost in the distractions of daily life.  Then, when I look back, I see all the things I missed that I wasn’t grateful for, and all the opportunities I missed to love and serve someone.

If there is one aspect of my life I do not want to lose track of, it is my relationship with my wife.  Did I tell her this morning that I love her?  Did I thank her for spending time with me yesterday and the brownie pudding she made?  Did I give her honor as my helper, my partner, my mate?  Or did I take her for granted?

Any small business runs off of metrics, even a martial arts school.  What are my numbers?  How many leads did we get through Facebook and our website?  How many of those did we convert to prospects?  How many made it in the front door for trial lessons?  How many signed?  Are we teaching classes that are engaging, challenging, and fun?  Are we helping our clients achieve their goals and giving them a sense of community?  If I am not moving forward continually, then my business is not growing.  If my business is not growing, I am not providing for my family and I am unable to invest in my students.

So what have I learned about myself?

The goal I set is almost always less important than the daily discipline, effort, and work to achieve that goal.

In the next 48 hours, I am going to put myself to the test in each of my goals, to evaluate where I am in regards to achieving them.  Most importantly, I am going to do the work today and tomorrow, that needs to move me forward.  Whether or not I am at the marker I originally set for myself in January, any improvement today is growth and progress, and tomorrow I will take another step or two forward.

What are some goals you have set for yourself that you have failed to achieve?  What can you do over the next day or two to take steps toward achieving them?



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