There is a very simple truth which, I believe, we all intuitively and subliminally know:
- Discipline, habits and consistency are the rocket fuel we all need to reach our goals.
Business (and personal) growth is a journey built on discipline, habits, and consistency.
These three components are critical to achieving success in any area of life and in this post we are going to explore each of these and how they can help you achieve your business and personal goals.
So let’s start with a few definitions:
- Discipline is the ability to do hard AND ordinary things when you have no motivation.
- Habits are your default way of doing things.
- Consistency is the ability to do things repeatedly for an extraordinary amount of time.
Possibly the biggest point here is that discipline doesn’t just mean “only” doing the hard stuff, it also means doing the little and ordinary stuff too.
Discipline is the first foundation of personal growth. Without discipline, it is impossible to achieve anything worthwhile and discipline requires commitment, focus, and determination.
One way to develop discipline is to set a clear vision and goals for yourself. When you have clear vision and goals in mind, it is much easier to stay focused and motivated. The motivation is created by knowing WHY you are doing what you do. Why is about “Purpose” on which we have a number of other blogs.
Once you know you your WHY you can break down your ambitions, objectives and targets into smaller tasks and create a plan to achieve them. We’d recommend:
- A long-term strategy
- Annual business plans
- 90-day plans
The 90-day plan then becomes the core of what you do literally on a week-by-week, day-by-day basis.
It is this structure that provides the rhythm that helps you stay on track and progress towards your goals.
On a more day-to-day basis, another way to develop discipline is create routines. Routines help you establish good habits and makes it much easier to stay disciplined. Your morning routine might include exercise, meditation, reading, clearing out the emails or planning for the day. One guy we know, previously, by his own admission “very poor t planning” calls his first task of the day his “OJ planning time”. When he has his orange juice (OJ) at breakfast he does his planning for the day. Routines certainly don’t have to be elaborate or sophisticated!
A routine starts your day on the right foot and creates the disciplined platform for the reminder of the day. And as the one time richest guy in the world, Warren Buffett, has said
- “We don’t need to be smarter than the rest. We just need to be more disciplined than the rest”.
Habits are the building blocks of personal growth. They are the small actions that we do without thinking, we take for granted every day and that lead to big results over time. Habits can be both positive or negative, and they can either help us or hinder us in achieving our goals.
Both guys suggest that to develop good habits, it’s critical to start small. Start by identifying one habit that you want to develop and focus on that habit for a few weeks. Once you have established (or broken) that habit you move on to the next.
It’s also important to track your progress when developing new habits. You can use a habit tracker app or simply write down your progress in a journal or spreadsheet. Marshall Goldsmith, the renowned executive coach, has one of his people call him at exactly the same time every day and ask him how he has done on the habits he is tracking at that time. He suggests simply creating an excel spreadsheet and tracking daily how well you’ve done.
Tracking habit helps you stay motivated and recognise and take stock of how far you’ve come. And if you’re interested in motivation there’s a download that provide structure and that might help.
Consistency is about your ability to execute activities and tasks repeatedly and (increasingly) successfully over a period of time. The more we can repeatedly and successfully undertake an activity the quicker and better you are likely to be at it. So, consistency is a key driver of productivity.
Consistency is the key to making progress towards your goals. It’s not enough to be disciplined and have good habits if you’re not consistent in your efforts. Consistency means showing up every day and doing what you need to do, even when you don’t feel like it.
Consistency in all that we do is paramount if we want to improve and develop and in doing so chase personal and professional progress.
Consistency is also important because it helps create a predictable workplace. When you and your people can predict what will happen next they, (and you) are more likely to be able to maintain consistency in their own behaviour. This can help prevent problems from arising and help the workplace run smoothly. Consistency helps to create a trusting and high performance environment.
The benefits of discipline, habits and consistency
So, what are the benefits of discipline, habits and consistency?
- You are more likely to think longer term – your why becomes your touchstone
- You build and stack new skills
- You respond to new challenges better
- You become more self aware
- You build your confidence
- You develop a stronger growth mindset
- You develop your strengths
All in all you are much more likely to accomplish your aims, ambitions, targets and goals.
There is a symbiotic relationship between discipline, habits and consistency.
I love the line “I didn’t come this far, to only come this far.” Apparently, it was said by a guy called Jesse Itzler, an American entrepreneur and author (I had to look it up). It’s a fantastic quote about continuously trying to better yourself.
Discipline, habits, and consistency are the three key “secrets” to professional and personal growth. By developing discipline, creating good habits, and staying consistent in your efforts, you can achieve much more of what you set your mind to.
Professional and personal growth is a journey, it is not a destination. It takes time and effort, but the rewards are worth it. As Jim Rohn once said
“Success is doing ordinary things extraordinarily…”