I’m all for self-love, being kind to oneself, and doing what we need to do… But sometimes we also need to just get sh*t done: from admin, to sitting down to do the work we love but have somehow fallen out of rhythm with.
We can be very critical of ourselves when we don’t feel like we’re doing enough, but especially for those of us who run a business, some facts must be acknowledged:
It can be difficult to motivate yourself to do hard (or dull!) things;
When you work from home, distractions are all around (although I found that to be the case in offices too, to be honest);
And, there will be times when you just are not in the mood.
This is why, alongside listening to and being kind to ourselves, it ca help to add a little discipline into our days. Because if we’re honest, a part of us would always rather work from the sofa, scroll through Instagram, and/or binge watch Netflix all day long! That ‘devil on our shoulder’ is combatted through a touch of routine, and the determination to just push through on occasion.
Remember though that discipline can be loose, and can still encompass space for flexibility, and time to take a break. It’s just about having a bit of a routine, and a few non-negotiable items that help to ensure that you continue to move forward.
I was inspired to think more about this thanks to an instagram post from Lucy Sheridan, in which she quoted Augusta Kantra: “Discipline is choosing between what you want now versus what you want most”.
These words gently remind us that we’re playing the long game, and sometimes we have to put in the work now to get us to where we want to be.
By reminding ourselves of where we want to be, what and who we want to be, and what we have to do to get there, we can push through the occasional bout of lethargy. We can even do the more boring jobs, knowing that one day we will hopefully be able to outsource certain tasks.
In fact, this persistence in ‘just getting the job done’ links back to being stubborn in pursuit of what matters. By remembering what we want for our futures, we can feel more confident about our work (and life!) in the present moment, because we know where it is leading; we know its overall contribution and value.
Having some discipline also helps us to push through moments of overwhelm. Often when my to do list looms large, I just want to bury my head in the sand and pretend everything is fine. But by forcing myself to sit at my desk, by doing just a little, I start to feel better. And completing just one tiny task leads me on to do just one more thing, then another, until I feel back in control.
Similarly, and as Lucy mentions, discipline helps me to feel on top of things most days, and allows me to build my business sustainably. I avoid burn out by doing a little almost every day (including weekends because that suits me, my lifestyle and my health).
Looking at this from a different perspective, Bella Mackie’s new book “Jog On” also demonstrates the power of discipline and commitment. Because it is not just about applying discipline to our work, but to the things that are good for us in general. This can include early nights, getting your five portions of fruit and veg everyday, and in Bella’s case - running.
Although it focuses on how running helps with mental health (something I can no longer do because of Muscular Dystrophy), I still found Jog On to be hugely valuable. She demonstrates the power of doing something, even when you’re not in the mood, because you know it will benefit you: discipline is the thing that gets you through the door on such occasions.
So remember: passion can be fickle, but discipline ensures that we consistently and sustainably move the needle. It doesn’t have to mean filling every hour of every day, or waking up at 5am and diving into an extreme morning routine (unless that’s what you want!). It is persistently carving out time to do the most important things, and prioritising these.
Discipline is showing up. It is a way of really taking care of your needs. And it is the thing that allows you to get into bed each night feeling fulfilled, and proud of how your day has gone.