Encore Episode: How to Develop More Discipline [Podcast]

I am on sabbatical for the next few weeks. While I am gone, I am running a series of “Encore Episodes.” These are my most popular podcasts ever, as measured by number of downloads. Enjoy!

The topic of discipline is always relevant, since most of us struggle to achieve our goals and avoid the distractions of modern life. In this podcast, I share five specific steps to develop more of it.


Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/fotosipsak

If you’re like me, you struggle with discipline. You have great intentions, but just as you get a little momentum, something derails you.

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My friend Andy Andrews asks this question, “Can you make yourself do something you don’t want to do in order to get a result you really want?”

Over the years, I have found that I can become disciplined in any area of my life by taking five specific steps. Whether it is trying to get in shape, maintain a blog, or develop a great marriage, the psychology is the same.

  1. Determine your goal. Your goals need to be S.M.A.R.T. (I have written in-depth about that here.) This is an acronym that provides a checklist for making sure that what you have is indeed a goal and not merely an aspiration. It stands for:
    • Specific
    • Measurable
    • Actionable
    • Realistic
    • Time-bound
  2. List your reasons
  3. Identify likely obstacles.
  4. Develop new behaviors.
  5. Stay focused.

Listener Questions

  1. Rebecca Livemore asked, “How do you differentiate between a lack of discipline and a legitimate need for rest?”
  2. Brad Blackman asked, “Would you recommend adding only one discipline at a time or is it okay to try and add multiple disciplines?”
  3. Aslam Najeebdeen asked, “I find I often abandon my new habits after four or five days. What are some tips for keeping the new habit going?”
  4. Derek Duncan asked, “As a Christian, how do we allow for grace in the practice of discipline?”
  5.  Julie Welles asked “I’m struggling with my blog. How do you discipline yourself to write so prolifically?”
  6.  Tessa Hartiman asked, “How important is developing discipline for novice writers?”
  7.  Paul Lundberg asked, “I love scheduling and planning. I’m pretty good at planning. But I am not good at all when it comes to executing the day or week I’ve planned. How can I stay more focused on what I have planned to do?”
  8. Todd Liles asked, “How do you discipline yourself when you are absolutely dog-tired?”
  9. Victor Manzanilla asked, “What is a ‘keystone habit’ (a la The Power of Habit) for your spiritual life?”

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Episode Resources

In this episode I mentioned several resources, including:

Show Transcript

You can download a complete, word-for-word transcript of this episode here, courtesy of Ginger Schell, a professional transcriptionist, who handles all my transcription needs.

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