Becoming a Disciplined Person – Part One

Too many people see life as a waiting room. People sit and wait for their names to be called. But progress in life – moving forward to maturity and effectiveness in what we do and achieve – does not come looking for us. We won’t achieve great things accidentally. Never forget, as one of my mentors taught me, “Everything worthwhile is uphill.” Achieving what you want in life takes time, effort, consistency, energy, and commitment. A word for all of this is “self-discipline.”

Self-discipline is what allows us to grow up, mature, develop, learn new skills, hone our present abilities and talents, accomplish, succeed, impact and influence those around us. If you are my age self-discipline is still needed as you work towards leaving a legacy behind when it is time to head home and meet the Master, Jesus. Self-discipline is what makes those things possible and puts success within reach – whatever your goals are and however you determine success. 

Here’s the good news. Self-discipline is something you can develop. You don’t need to be born with it. In fact, few are. It is a choice you make and then keep on making. So, let spend a few minutes looking at how to develop self-discipline…


If you are having an issue with self-disciple it may be that you have not thought through what matters the most to you. You have not taken the time to sort through what is really important to you as a person. Once you have a burning “yes” inside you about what’s truly important to you, it’s very easy to say no to the unimportant. Thus you can stay focused and self-disciplined.

Most people (statistics say as many as 97% of adults) are trying to live their lives without clear, specific, written goals. This is like setting off across an unknown country without a road map. It you want to get somewhere worthwhile, we need to identify where you are going. This means knowing what is important right now in your life and then choosing to stay focused on what will help you to accomplish it. 

Do you know what’;s important to you? If you have not thought it through and written it out, it’s very likely that any lack of self-discipline you’re experiencing is coming from that. The single greatest way to increase your discipline capacity is to know what’s important at this stage of your life and then aim for it with your whole heart. 


If discipline is the highway that takes us where we want to go in life, then excuses are exits off that highway. And there are lots of exits. I have taken many of them personally over the last five decades of ministry. Take a look at this partial list of excuses and see if you have ever found yourself saying any of them:

      • I’ll start after the new year
      • I don’t want to do it alone
      • My spouse won’t do it with me
      • I’ll do it when I finish school
      • I’ll do it after the kids get out of school
      • I’ll do it after the kids go back to school
      • I’ll do it when I have more energy
      • I’ll start it when the weather gets better!
      • I’ll do it when I’m not as busy
      • I’ll do it after my birthday
      • I’ll do it tomorrow
      • I’ll do it when I retire
      • I’m too heavy – I’ll do it after I lose some weight
      • I’m too old (Are you planning to get younger?)
      • I’m too inexperienced
      • I’m too afraid
      • I’m too tired
      • I don’t know how to start

How do you know something is an excuse? Ask yourself, “Would it stop me from doing something I love to do?” If it wouldn’t, it’s an excuse. Get rid of it.

More next time…