Self-Discipline Isn’t Multiple Choice

If I’m going to take a test, I like to take multiple choice tests. That way I know the correct answer is there…somewhere. Even if I don’t know which one is correct, I can still guess.


But self-discipline isn’t a multiple choice test. It’s a True / False test. I either have it or I don’t. I either do what I’m supposed to do or I don’t. It’s not about options. It’s about making a decision and then managing that decision on a daily basis. I either do or I don’t.

Let me back up a bit. Self-discipline is the ability to keep the promises we make; especially those promises we make to ourselves.

Personal fitness expert, Craig Harper says it this way:

“Self-Discipline means dealing with our fears.
It means overcoming laziness, apathy and our poor attitude.
It means doing the things we don’t feel like doing (but know we need to).
It means persevering when most won’t.
It means doing what’s required; not what’s popular, convenient or easy.
It means creating different standards for ourselves.
It means moving from procrastination to pro-activity.
It means controlling our emotions (not the other way around).”

Self-discipline isn’t really about choices at all. It’s about doing. It’s about finishing what you start.

At some point, you made a promise to yourself. It might have been a promise to lose weight or write more or stay organized or read your Bible. Whatever it was, you decided you needed to do something.

Self-discipline isn’t necessary to make a promise. It is necessary to keep your promise.

Our struggle with self-discipline occurs when we forget that when we say “yes” to something, it also means “no” to other options. It’s not multiple choice.

We love the idea and the feeling and hope of making a promise to get better. But we like to keep our options open. That’s because we like to be comfortable. And options allow us to choose the most comfortable instead of pushing through uncomfortable.

Self-discipline is not about quick, easy, fast, or comfortable. It’s simply following through on the promises you’ve made to yourself to get better. It’s realizing that you don’t need to rethink your options. You don’t need more advice. You don’t need more information. You simply need to do what you know you need to do.

In fact, if self-discipline were a test, it would look like this:

Will I do today what I’ve promised to do?
     A. I will
     B. I won’t

A Challenge

On Monday, I am going to launch a resource that will help you in the area of self-discipline. I’ve been building up to it all week with my posts on self-discipline. If you haven’t read them, here they are:

Self-Discipline Isn’t Convenient
Self-Discipline Isn’t Emotional
Self-Discipline Isn’t Automatic
Self-Discipline Isn’t Multiple Choice (that’s this post!)

I’m releasing an free ebook entitled, 90 Day Decision. It’s not for the feint of heart. In the ebook I describe five key components that are necessary to build self-discipline in your life. You can improve in this area.

I hope you’ll consider joining me and others in our community and participate in this challenge. The premise is simple (yet, oh so hard): decide to do one thing that will improve your life for 90 days in a row. The ebook gives you the framework (and printable worksheets) for you to use throughout this journey.

I can’t wait to release it to you.

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