The word “discipline” sounds more meaningful than the word “habit.” Discipline involves doing hard things now to enjoy benefits later. But really we want to establish a routine that helps us get to where we want to go, not continue in a routine that keeps us stuck where we’re at. Some of the best things in life are those things we work toward gaining over time.
Rethink some of your daily disciplines and perhaps shift to doing some new things this year. Here are some suggestions:
- Review your goals each day. It’s not enough to write down your goals. It’s necessary to review them at least once each day. You can keep your goals next to your bed and review them when you first wake up or at bedtime. Never forget about your goals again by reviewing them daily.
- Exercise for 30 minutes. A brisk walk can be enough. Regular exercise enhances your physical and emotional health. You’ll also look and feel better. Find a type of exercise that you enjoy. Consider joining a sports league.
- Read. Everything you’ll ever need to know is written in a book somewhere. Drop 30 minutes of TV and add 30 minutes of reading. The amount of knowledge you can gain over the course of a lifetime is staggering.
- Meditate. Meditation is a wonderful way to relieve stress and learn how to focus. You’ll be a more capable version of yourself if you add a short meditation session to your daily routine.
- Create a to-do list. Before retiring each evening, make a list of the most important tasks you want to complete the following day. Then prioritize the tasks. You’ll spend your time on the most important tasks and know what needs to be done the moment you wake up.
- Review your day. Take notice of what you did right, and what you did that was not helpful. By reviewing your day, you can make note of your successes and failures. You can then make the necessary adjustments to ensure that you have more successes and fewer failures going forward.
- Eat a healthy breakfast. Your first meal of the day is the most important. It sets the stage for the rest of the day. An unhealthy breakfast often leads to an unhealthy lunch and dinner, since the healthiness of the day seems ruined after a breakfast consisting of doughnuts.
- Write in a journal. Write your thoughts down at the end of the day. You’ll begin to see patterns in your thought processes and behavior that have escaped your prior awareness. You’ll also live a more interesting life, if only so that you have something more interesting to record that evening!
- Rise early. A non-rushed start to the day is more relaxing than running around in a hurry each morning. You can enjoy the earliest part of your day and get a head start on the rest of the world.
What other things could you add? Think about your hobbies. You might want to play the violin or draw each day. Maybe the idea of setting aside time to pray appeals to you. Regardless of the daily disciplines that are attractive to you, only add one per week. If you will add them slowly, they will have a better chance of sticking.
Give your life the priority it deserves by dedicating time each day to the disciplines that matter the most. Take control of your time so it doesn’t control you.