It is the beginning of a new year and yet again so many people have made a lot of New year’s resolutions: I will eat healthier this year, I will go to gym more often, I will spend more time with my loved ones, I will start reading more, etc. I have been a spinning instructor for many years and I know from experience that the gyms are filled to capacity for the first two weeks of January, but by the end of January everything is back to normal and most of the new members go back into their old lifestyle. In the end it wasn’t a resolution, it was just an acknowledgment that they need to do something about whatever it is they wanted to do.

The reason why so few people stick to their New Year’s Resolutions is that they lack the discipline to make it a reality. Most people have the desire to win, but the desire to win is not nearly as important as the desire to prepare to win. If you want to win in life you have to conquer yourself first. We all have these two voices inside us. The one motivates us to go for gold, to give your best, to work harder and become everything you possibly can be. The other voice tells us to relax, tomorrow is fine, you can start a diet tomorrow, you can start exercising tomorrow, you can start reading tomorrow, you can start making sales calls tomorrow, you can start building good relationships tomorrow, you can start saving money next month, you can make the necessary changes later. In his book: No Excuses, Brian Tracy says that we all know exactly what we need to do to become truly successful, but we all retrieve to a fantasy place called “Someday Isle”. Someday I’ll do this, Someday I’ll do that.

If you want to be the winner you were meant to be you have to take control of your inner voices, you have to tune in to the right voice, bring its volume up, and turn the volume down on the negative voice inside you. Remember it is your own life, you are in control of what station you listen to; don’t allow the negative voice to control you. Tune in to Success FM.

You have to develop your character and become the person you were intended to be. As Jim Rohn said: “Once you’ve conquered yourself, anything is possible”. That is what life is all about, developing your character. Many years ago Aristotle has said: “The ultimate aim of life is the development of character.” The single most important character trait of all to develop if you want to be successful in life is self-discipline, because without it you will not be able to accomplish anything worthwhile. Zig Ziglar always said that life is tough, but if you’re tough on yourself life becomes infinitely easier on you.

1. What is self-discipline?

Albert Hubbard defined it best when he said that self-discipline is the ability to do what you should do, when you should do it, whether you feel like doing it or not. It is something that must be developed inside you, a choice that you have to take to do certain things every day. It is easy to do it when you feel like it, but most of the time you will not feel like it. That negative voice will tell you that it will not be a tragedy if you skip just once, but you have to develop the ability to do it no matter what. Unfortunately if you do not develop the necessary self-discipline you will never be able to develop the seed of greatness that was planted inside you.

2. The benefits of self-discipline

The greatest value of self-discipline is self-esteem. There is a direct relation between self-discipline and self-worth. Every time you discipline yourself to do something that you know you should do your self-esteem rises. You feel proud of yourself. I remember reading what Penny Heyns, Olympic Gold Medallist in swimming said about her confidence. She said that when she was standing on the block at the beginning of a race she was confident of one thing and that is that not one of her rivals has worked harder than she did, she knew that she was better prepared than any of them, she deserved to be the best.

3. The price for a lack of discipline

Zig Ziglar always said you don’t pay the price for good health, you reap the benefits of good health, you don’t pay the price for a good marriage, you reap the benefits of a good marriage, you pay the price for a bad marriage and you pay the price for having bad health. The price for a lack of discipline is one that influences every part of your life. Once you sense a lack of discipline in yourself it starts breaking down your self-esteem and even your confidence.

No one said it better than Jim Rohn when he said: “We must all suffer from one of two pains: the pain of discipline or the pain of regret. The difference is discipline weighs ounces while regret weighs tons” The best example of this was my own daughter a few years ago when she made a decision not to prepare for the upcoming athletics season. She had always been first in her age group in school but now one of the other girls ran faster than she did. I remember her crying about it, she regretted her decision not to discipline herself for a long time after that.

No one knows where you could have been by now if you had more self-discipline. No one will ever know what you could have accomplished, how far you could have been. But the nice thing is that no one can start over and make a brand new start but we can all start now and make a brand new end. You can regain your self-respect by acting immediately and disciplining yourself. As George Elliot said it is never too late to be what you ought to be. Decide today what it is that you want to accomplish, determine exactly what is the price that you are going to have to pay to do it and get busy paying that price TNT, Today Not Tomorrow.

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