I relate a lot to the book The One Thing, by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan. In it, they remind us to focus on the one thing that matters most. The first section of the book confronts various lies we accept as truth, which serve to distract us from our one thing. One of those lies is that success requires self-discipline. It turns out this is a myth.
I consider myself fairly disciplined so this chapter got my attention. The truth is we don’t need to live a marathon life of self-discipline. We only need enough discipline to form a habit. I never thought of it this way, but it does make a lot of sense. A long time ago I developed a habit to write every day. Now I don’t need the self-discipline to do it.
Each morning I do not have to dig into some inner reserve to conjure up enough motivation to spend time writing. I wake up; I get up; I write. I don’t even think about it. I just do it. It’s a habit.
Though I did need the self-discipline to do this for a time, I no longer need it. I have formed a habit. I get up and start writing without thinking about it. It requires little willpower because I have made writing a habit. I have formed a “success habit”—no self-discipline required.
Having now formed the habit of writing every morning, I can shift my limited reserve of self-discipline towards developing another habit. It might relate to writing or it might not. The point is we only have so much self-discipline. If we use it wisely, we form habits that no longer require it.
Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD, is an author, blogger, and publisher with over 30 years of writing and publishing experience. Check out his book The Successful Author for insider tips and insights.