Do you have discipline in your life? For many of us, discipline brings very negative thoughts and memories to our minds. We might even become tense and nervous at the very mention of the word. Or, maybe we become angry but we can’t really put our finger on why we are so angry—what’s really bothering us. Today, I want to encourage you to re-think the word discipline. Begin to train yourself to think differently.

According to the dictionary, the word discipline means, “training that corrects, molds or perfects that mental faculties or mental character.”  Discipline doesn’t have to create negative connotations…instead, let’s think about discipline as an adjective that describes our lives. Many of us have never taken the time (or the energy) to develop habits of discipline in our lives.

Habits of discipline enable us to make progress in our lives and in the work of our ministries. Think about it…it is very hard to accomplish anything without discipline. It is those small decisions that we make each day that create progress. And while there are things that we need to do each and every day to ensure our nonprofit or ministry grows and is effective, the things that we do personally are just as, if not more, important.

Some habits to think about….

  • Have you gotten out of the habit of exercising? Find some time each and every day to engage in some form of exercise. If you make it fun, you are more likely to “find the time” to do it. Our creator made our bodies to move and every body system becomes stronger and more effective when we exercise on a daily basis.
  • Are you eating right? Eating healthy means listening to your body both before and after you eat. How does what you are eating make you feel? If you find that you don’t feel your best after eating certain foods, it may be time to take them out of your diet.
  • Do you spend time reading your Bible each day? The Bible is God’s instruction book to us and one of the best ways that we can get to know God’s heart. Our work will be more productive and meaningful if we align our hearts with God’s.
  • Are you spending time in communication with God? Cultivate a habit of communicating with God throughout the day to ensure that every decision, every action is aligned with the heart of God.
  • Do you invest in yourself? Many people stop learning the day they graduate from school, but a discipline of learning enables us to remain relevant and see the possibilities in our work. Learning may come in the form of continuing education, mentoring or coaching.

It is easy to spend our time focusing on the work of our nonprofits and ministries…they fuel us and motivate us. But, it is important to remember that to be really effective, we must cultivate the habits of discipline in our lives.

Each of these areas is critical – they all function together. Have you ever noticed how much easier it is to do the next “right” thing when you have already done one? Habits of discipline build momentum. And habits of discipline honor God. Today, take just one step toward living a more disciplined life.