Self-Discipline Isn’t Automatic

Miranda Lambert has a song out entitled, Automatic. You can watch the music video below.

The chorus of her song seems really appropriate for this next post on self-discipline. It goes like this:

Hey what ever happened to waiting your turnDoing it all by hand, ’cause when everything is handed to youIt’s only worth as much as the time put inIt all just seems so good the way we had itBack before everything became automatic

I’m a big fan of tools and technology that can actually carry some of the heavy lifting of my everyday tasks. That’s the beauty of those things…right?

Yet, there’s a growing sense of entitlement that often demands that things should be handed to us, given to us, or awarded to us – without much effort on our part. This idea is completely foreign to notion of self-discipline.

Self-Discipline Thought #3: Self-discipline doesn’t happen automatically. It happens intentionally.

I’m trying to come up with a list of things that happen automatically in our lives. Breathing happens whether we want it to or not (we typically want it to). Body odor seems to occur naturally (and we fight it…some more than others). And hair growth happens without us even thinking about it (once again, some more than others).

Unfortunately, we can’t add self-discipline to that list. Yet there’s often this temptation to overestimate how good we are at being self-disciplined. That it will just happen naturally. Then we’re surprised by how hard it is or how often we just-aren’t-all-that-disciplined.

We have to come to a place where we acknowledge that it takes work. Hard work. Not just one time work, but daily work.

The good news is that we can get better at self-discipline. It will take practice and a plan and a target to shoot for. It will mean that we put in the time and energy in a focused way on a regular basis. We can’t just wait and hope that self-discipline will happen. We have to make it happen. We have to get very intentional about it.

Then we’ll discover the prize and reward of self-discipline. We’ll accomplish something through hard, consistent work rather than having it handed it to us. And we’ll realize that Miss Lambert is correct: It’s only worth as much as the time put in.

What do you think? Leave a comment below.

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