What keeps me self-disciplined?

Waste no more time arguing what a good man should be, be one.

Marcus Aurelius

Mostly everyone knows what they need to do to get what they want. If you want to lose weight: eat healthily and exercise. If you want wealth: save and invest. Both of these examples require sacrifice. Which many are capable of doing…. for the moment at least. Then comes in the procrastination littered with self-help books, diet trends, expensive trainers and wealth seminars which robs you from both time and money.

What many people lack is the ability to be consistent with the work to meet their goal and the self-discipline it requires. How does one remain focus in this busy world? We know we must overcome our desire for short term pleasure to meet our meaningful long term goal- but how does one accomplish this?

For starters, it is never motivation.

When I must meet a goal, I never used motivation to get me there because that is a feeling that comes and goes. Motivation isn’t there with me at 3 AM when I’m breastfeeding my daughter. I use discipline, which operates as a contract.

For I want to achieve in this, there are things I now need to do.

There is no such thing as a “small goal.” If it requires you to have self-discipline, it is a big deal. Part of this big deal of having discipline is structure and maintenance. It can get boring. So, how does an individual stay structured? Stay maintaining? Stay disciplined?


Here are 8 ways on how I stay disciplined:

  1. Know and understand your goal

Once you figure out what you want to achieve, learn the steps and tools you need in order to reach it. Don’t overload yourself with data because that can be discouraging. Instead, focus on what you need to do now. Work with what you have available to you now. And answer this: why are you going to commit to this exciting journey? This will help you stay disciplined.

2. Start slow- then doors will open up

When my teenage daughter began to show interest in playing basketball, she immediately wanted an (expensive) pair of basketball sneakers. “The sneakers will help me look more like a basketball player!” She explained. Well. She is correct. The sneakers will help her look like a basketball player. Not actually be a basketball player. Is this Halloween? Or are you serious in the sport? If you’re serious, only skills will make you be one. She will develop the skills through practice and discipline.

She showed me that it isn’t Halloween.

She is serious and used the resources that are currently available to her: an old pair of sneakers, daily access to a basketball court, a ball, commitment and time. Within 6 months of training, the sneakers she wanted (which she had forgotten about) came to her as well as many opportunities within the sport.

3. Have a (private) audience, you respect and love

Children are educated by what the grown-up is and not by his talk.

Carl Jung

When you’re committed to achieving success, it can be rather lonely. Or if you made no (small) announcement about your goal, you might get lazy. What is important is to avoid these natural human flaws. The best way is to not make your “inspiring” journey public but rather, let those in your inner circle know. They will support you, encourage you and you’re reminded that they are watching you.

For me, it is my children.

Once you have children, you quickly realize that they don’t listen. You can say whatever you like: in one ear out the other. How does a parent get through to these little humans? The answer is through your action. The children aren’t listening, but they are watching.

For instance, many parents want to know how to get their children to eat more healthy. I ask them: do you eat healthy yourself? If so, they will follow. If not, they will also follow. And I’m not talking about a freakish diet or one healthy meal. It’s a lifestyle. Commit to it, sincerely enjoy it and your children will want to join. It will also help keep you disciplined to the point of the lifestyle becoming natural, no longer difficult.

For this, it is best to work in silence and allow your work to speak. At the same time, share your goal with a love one- in person. No need for a social media annocement.

4. Remove the naysayers and learn from the wise

Any fool can criticize, condemn and complain- and most fools do.

Dale Carnegie

Here comes the very popular unsolicited advice. The ones who are threatened by you taking a risk. The ones who are in no position to tell you what you need to do. The negative. Holding you back, since they’ve missed out and have become regretful- even bitter.

They declare they’re “realistic” but have no insurance themselves. If they were realistic about life, wouldn’t they have done things differently? Or at the very least, encourage you not make their mistakes? It almost comes off as if they want you to repeat their mistakes!

They might have good intentions, but how many wars were started with good intentions? They might express they have “wisdom” and experience- but they lack both since they offer no hope or way out, only to stress and cause strife.

You must set boundaries with these types. If they are unrelated people, cut them off. If it is your grandmother or father- love from a distance. Listen to them politely and then discard. Most love ones want to see you do mediocre in life. Your goals and ambitions upset them for having none. It’s a quiet reminder that they could’ve gained anything they wanted in life, but was too ignorant or scared.

Remember: the person you accept their advice from is the life you are working towards living.

Instead, seek from those who have already mastered what you wish to master. You can even learn from historical figures or present influencers. However, don’t compare yourself to them. You want to gain knowledge on how this individual remained discipline and what methods they took to accomplished their goal. For your end result is unique because it is done by you.

5. Understand it takes 8-10 years to master a skill: patience

After you turned off the noise, it’s time to take steps in the direction of your goal.

In today’s world, we have been wildly spoiled by the instant. We want instant results because we have instant messager. But know this truth: things that take longer to develop are more valuable. Things that come to quickly and easy are taken for granted and often less appreciated.

Think of how you spend the money you earned versus if you had won. Think of the time and energy spent at the gym rather than having a bypass surgery for instant fat loss. Or in love? Think of how quickly the fire of passion died out by your third date. People tend to celebrate weddings rather marriage itself, creating false expectations of pure joy all the time.

If you expect to accomplish your goal and master the field- you have to put in the time. As mentioned in the previous point, the person you seek for wisdom in your field had at least this amount of years dedicated in the industry. You will only want to hear from this accomplished person, not one in the making or someone with potential. We all have the potential.

But not all are disciplined, driven and have succeeded. This is especially important to learn because you will need tons of discipline and focus for many years to come.

6. Be consistent and know when it’s time to change your method

Understanding there are no short cuts to success, patience is virtual. There is a way to soften this however. Seek out the smaller task and don’t obsess with the bigger picture: read a fat book. (Long term goal) Never mind it has 30 chapters. Start with chapter 1. (Small steps) Continue each day, no matter how much or little you read. (Consistency) You will be amazed that you gone through that entire book when you’re done. (Goal met)

If you notice after some time, your goal isn’t being met- how do you know if you need to try harder or try something completely different?

Money is always a great indicator.

If you have been wildly passionate in a subject for over the years but gain no wealth– you don’t have anything but a hobby. It’s time for you to invest your energy elsewhere. Your work will be noticed if the market wants it. It is difficult to pass on something that is too good. If you’re an excellent artist, your work will sell, not your passion. Often people are blinded by love with their work. When in reality, they’ll thrieve and are needed in another industry if they only make the move.

If you’re in the right field but keep getting stuck- use the trial and error method. You know it’s possible to lose the stubborn last 10 pounds. Reevaluate your routine. Perhaps diet soda is hindering your goal. You tried everything else. Now eliminate the diet soda and replace it with a protein shake. The results should show within 3 weeks.

Many people will stop here due to “I tried.” But no one makes history from the effort put in. You must succeed.

7. Never play the victim or speak about yourself

You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.

Dale Carnegie

If you give up, or won’t even start your goal- you’ll live to regret it. Everyone has a billion reasons on why they “can’t” do something. All you need is one reason why you can: because you should.

Those who complain why they couldn’t or why they currently can’t- are always a drag to have around. They seem to be attracting bad luck to them- and perhaps secretly enjoy it. Stay away from these individuals, their misery is infectiousness. Avoid becoming this type yourself by freeing your insecure thoughts through service.

Speaking about yourself (especially when no one asked) is a sign of a troublesome person. No- your childhood is not inspiring. Goals met in the face of struggle is inspiring. Most people aren’t interested in your past troubles. But what is interesting is when it is commonly known you had a struggle and overcame it against the odds. Let others speak of it, you work towards bettering yourself from yesterday.

Many people had a difficult past themselves. We have so much in common! The world is filled with sorrow, misery, and pain. We as humans are uncomfortable to be reminded about this. So spare us the dysfunctional upbringing. Instead, speak of life. Speak of hope- through your discipline work.

8. Want to help distant others? Start by helping yourself first and those closest to you

When people begin their journey to achieve their goal, it might’ve started out to be for themsleves. Now the results are kicking in. You might say to yourself: “Hey. I want my work to branch out. I want to reach as many people, influence and help people with their struggle I once had!”

Slow down pal.

A noble idea but a silly one.

How can you save the entire world? That task is too large and reserved for God Himself. But you can still help– those who are interested in your newfound wisdom will come, which will penetrate throughout society.

Whatever you have learned through your journey, say cooking in hopes to open your own food truck. You should feed your family first- free of charge. Let them experience your delicious recipes. Let them offer a review. Teach anyone in your home if they show interest. The food will be soon tested by their co-workers. Gym goers. Church people. Payment is proof your food and service is good.

A woman may have good intentions by marching for women rights- but how is her relationship at home with her mother? With her daughter? Part of staying focus and discipline is to remember your overall goal. There is still much to learn in life. Many get arrogant and this derails their trip to success.

A wise man knows that he doesn’t know. You can always learn and grow more.

You may not be the savior of the world, but to one person, you are their world.

Even if that one person is you.

Take care of yourself.

Green-eyed monster? Here are 4 truths on why you shouldn’t be!

Look at them.

They look so gorgeous. In love. And wealthy. As for you, you’re… well, you’re you. How could you not be slightly envious? Or more difficult, how can you be happy for someone else success when you secretly aren’t because it’s a reminder that you yourself is a failure?

You’re only a failure because you think and speak it. When a person is envious it just means they settled in life. They compromised. They didn’t keep on working (for whatever excuse one might have). In the end, they gave up and regret it.

No need to spend your life in this manner.

I’ve read many books of people restarting their life and successfully moving on to accomplishment. One story I will never forget is about a 52-year-old military history writer. He loved warfare: the strategies, uniforms, discipline, rules of engagement, and weapons. Such a brilliant and passionate man, but he had one problem:

No one actually listened to him because he never served in the military. On top of that, he found himself growing intensely envious of the glory the war leaders received from the troops. The power. The action. The respect. The love from his army. ARGH!

This writer did something incredible to put in an end to this negative emotion, at the age of 55 years old he enlisted into the army. He rose through the ranks rapidly. He became a celebrated hero in his country. Futhermore, he became ruler of his country. Action, not paper- with this he finally gains his life dream and respect which he earned.

“Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t–you’re right.”

― Henry Ford

There is always a hunger for great talent and skills in the marketplace. Especially in a forgiving home as America or within a religion like Christianity. While there are truths that both the Bible and our personal experience can confirm, some life decisions we made a while ago have very long consequences. Some may range for a few weeks. Others can be a punishment that can last years or even cost us our own life. (This is why one must be both book and street smart.)

Nevertheless, we will work with what is unfairly dealt to us in life or what foolish decisions we brought to ourselves. We are here to live. To fulfill, even what might seem like a minor goal such as obtaining your driver’s license. It’s your life. The desire is still lurking because the envy, the longing is there. It’s not over unless you say it is.


Here are 4 truths on why there is no need to envy:

4. True fulfillment and joy in life doesn’t need an explanation

I see this mistake in so many people I speak with. You’ve probably heard (or have said) similar things such as:

“I’m glad I didn’t enlist in the army! Heck, I’m not fighting a bankers war! I’m no sucker! I’m completely happy they didn’t get me!” But if you further the conservation with this type, as I do, they will quickly expose their regret. I say, “But you’re a patriot bro! My goodness, the honor. The respect. The skills they teach. Travel and guns! Plus you get paid? That sounds like a sweet deal, not a scam.”

The look of guilt flushes their face, then the sad confession kicks in: “But I missed my opportunity…”

Another infamous one I hear is from childless people. “Kids? Ha! I’m extremely happy without brats! They’re expensive. They are an inconvenience! They’re annoying. I’m completely living it up.”

Then, like the dodger, I get this people as well.

“I can’t believe that. You would’ve made an excellent father! Oh man, not to mention how gorgeous your children would’ve been. Sad you’re keeping your seed to yourself, the world is missing out! Plus, they come in handy for retirement buddy! Well, I know you’re a great uncle, so I cannot accept your discontent in children. Come over for Thanksgiving to my house.”

The look on their face is priceless. Truth for this is, mostly this person hasn’t “found” a committed person to marry and trust. Or they are completely focused with their career (this is for women), missing out an opportunity to become a parent.

If an indvidual is truly content with their choices in life, there is no need to randomly explain yourself. Certainly no need to put down the other people who decided to enlist in the army or have a family.

From what I hear, it gets cold when you’re older. You need your memories (like the army stories or whatever you passed up) and grandchildren to warm you.

Reconfirming to others that you didn’t need these investments, doesn’t confirm it and you’re only speaking to yourself. In fact, this unneeded explanation has the opposite effect: it shows you want it and regretting you didn’t commit to it.

People like this aren’t as thrilled with their life as they say. No need to envy the explainer AKA the complainer.

3. Fake news is also attention seeking news: grass isn’t always greener on the other side

Long before social media envy of strangers, there was a more face to face envy. Hence the saying “the grass isn’t always greener on the other side.” (Showing human nature hasn’t changed.) It is still common to be envious over a family member you see often, a neighbor or a co-worker. THIS short article shows that money doesn’t buy happiness. It must come from within.

When people broadcast their happy life, understand two things first:

  • They are only showing the happiest moments in their life. Even if it seems to be everyday ‘happiness’, people are public performers. Read their shallow captions for further detail.
  • True happiness doesn’t have time to document it live. Therefore, they aren’t enjoying the moment. Do photographers have a blast at a wedding? They are too busy working. Selfie takers are also working and ignoring what could be a fun time. Their mind is on a perfect pic, edit, upload and sit back to see the likes.

Don’t get me wrong. I will snap a photo of the Grand Canyon while I’m on a visit. Will be hesitant to share my glory on social media. But for sure, I won’t make a documentary on my trip to the Grand Canyon unless I’m working for the History Channel. I want to enjoy the time, let the memory sit while respecting my company.

If you notice there is someone who is constantly seeking online attention with their ‘amazing’ life- then simply unfollow. What a great relief it brings. If this person doesn’t offer anything but an online diary that you cannot gain from, they serve no purpose.

Many people fool themselves into saying, “I’m inspiring the world! Come join my pointless journey of finding myself (which I never do) and be inspired!”

Inspiration comes from the struggling silent. No need to envy this empty goof.

[Bringing back my celebrity couple who appear to have it all: looks, money, and love. Traveling to Switzerland while I’m stuck at work, raising kids and letting the best years of my life fly by. Or am I? Don’t read too much into it. What I have noticed with these flashy people is something radical occurs in most of their lives: when they reach to their 40s, their looks are non-human. They are divorced. Broke. And having interviews about how unhappy they were in that marriage- conflicting their wonderful fun pictures of the past.

By the time I’m in my 40s, all my children are adults. In fact, one will graduate college and I will still be in my 30s! So prepare the Eastern European skies. When my time of child raising is over, I’ll be sexy in Switzerland drinking a cup of hot chocolate with my family!]

2. You can still achieve in life at anything you set your mind to

What a controversy statement to make nowadays!

It’s because it’s true. Lies seem to be accepted as “your truth” rather than the one and only truth.

While you don’t need to follow the clueless people who go through life with drama and no purpose- you can gain inspiration from the humble earner results. How can you find these types?

If you desire to have a family, go read about those who have long marriages and successful children. What’s their “secret?” Don’t follow a “family” like the Kardashians.

If you decide more wealth, follow the quiet self-made earner. Not only will you learn more about money, but you’ll learn about character. They are eager to teach those who want to learn and practice their ways.

Focus on yourself and get to work. After you found your humble mentor for encouragement and reminders: it can be done. They did it, so can you. They are not super-human. It is available to all. I don’t care about the ‘white privilege’ lie. Many whites struggle, suffer and die a failure. Just like anyone else who made bad choices. (Telling young white straight boys, in particular, is a psychological trick to actually create a sense of supreme from doing nothing which hinders their growth while telling other groups ‘you don’t have a chance.’ Bad all around.) The only advantage is being born rich and having married parents.

So, if you don’t have this real type of advantage, get busy. Lay out a plan and with deadlines. Get organized and find ways to achieve each point. It may seem far away- but that is why it’s called an investment. Short-time easy goals (like buying an expensive burger) excitement quickly comes to a halt when you realize you need bus fare. Don’t focus at how far the last chapter is yet. You already know there is 35, just start with the first. (They say it takes 7-10 years to master a skill. Get going!)

Pretty soon with your sacrifice, you will realize how fast time has gone by. Your goal will be achieved with your back against the wall fighting each step. It is earned slowly and less likely to die off quickly. Similar to earning your own money rather than being given money for no reason.

The great feeling of a smart sacrifice pays off at the end.

Life is about sacrifice.

Choose wisely.

Side note: A few years back, I created a vision poster board which I encourage you to do. On it I had cut and paste images from magazines onto this board. Images of things I wanted. Some were simple. Others were more difficult to obtain. And one needed a miracle. Here what was on the board:

A slow cooker. A ninja blender. A fancy washer and dryer- yes the ones that cost thousands of US dollars. A bodybuilder’s body. Travel around America on a road trip. A BMW. A house on the mountains like you see in a car commercial. A happy family with a husband and four children. Two girls and two boys.

The miracle (somewhat out of my control) is the family one. Would you believe I’m on track for that one? The Lord blesses me! At the time I was legally married with two daughters. My son came and I would like another son someday. The house in snowy North Dakota will be achieved if I want. All others have been fulfilled. I cried when I located this poster board recently.

  1. Your goals and aspirations are between you and God- through Him all things are possible 

As difficult as it may be, shut off the noise. Shut off the distractions. If it doesn’t aim towards your goal should you allow any of your energy to have it? Get rid of self-doubt. The negative scene, people or potatoe chips. Re-set your mindset.

Who will stop you if the Lord is with you? When David from the Bible kept on having incredible success on the battlefield, King Saul asked: “How?”

“The Lord is with me.” He answered.

The Lord will be with you too. If you allow Him. He hasn’t abandoned you. He desires greatness from you- and expects it. There is no need to stress or be envious with what you do not have. As long as you use honest methods. Start building, remain consistent, learn, grow and focused, you will get what your heart desires.

Advice: keep it to yourself. You’re only an inspiration after you achieve. Some might suggest to let the world know of your goals because you’re most likely to follow through. Well, how has that worked out for the online braggers? Instead, share with a few loved ones who are close to you. They will be watching. Even they are skeptical and still need to see results so you will have to follow through with that personal audience watching.

I depart with these two verses:

Psalm 37:4 4Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.
Psalm 20:4 4May he give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed.

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