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I remember awhile back, I was feeling undisciplined. It was a Monday, and I was working from home. I was lying on the couch, checking Facebook, Instagram, and ESPN on my iPhone. Before I realized it, an hour had gone by.

I couldn’t believe it. An hour had passed, and I hadn’t gotten any work done. I wasn’t even feeling very relaxed, or having that much fun. I was just wasting time.

Changing One Area

A short time after that, I started to make some changes in just one area of my life: health. I added another workout day in my weekly schedule, having to get up early to do it. I made some changes in my eating habits, eating more salads and protein, and cutting down on sugar and processed carbs. I was a little concerned about the increased time commitment, and I worried the diet changes would be difficult. But it worked out fine. Also, I noticed that I was more effective in other areas of my life, such as my work and relationships.

Discipline is Contagious

Looking back, I think what happened is that I was disciplined in one area (e.g., exercise), and it was contagious. I wasn’t just being more disciplined in exercise. I was also being more disciplined in my work, relaxation, use of social media, and relationships. Everything in my life was running more efficiently.

Unfortunately, I have found the opposite can also be true. If I start to lose discipline in one area of my life, the lack of discipline can be contagious. For example, not only do I become less disciplined in my health (e.g., exercise, sleep, etc.), but I also become less disciplined in the other areas of my life. I spend more time on social media. I watch more television. I am less proactive in planning my social engagements. And so on

The lesson here is that discipline (or lack thereof) is contagious. If you struggle to live a disciplined life, it might feel overwhelming to change everything. It might even seem impossible. I would encourage you to focus on just one area of your life where you could improve your discipline. Perhaps you could go to bed and wake up at the same time every day. Maybe you could commit to exercising three days per week. You might be able to limit dessert to once per week. Try one thing, and make sure it is something tangible. You just might find that your discipline is contagious, and spreads to other areas of your life without you having to apply a lot of extra effort.

Discussion

What is one area of your life which you could use more discipline? What is one tangible step you could take today toward improving discipline in this area of your life?