Many coaches and other professional gurus believe that self-discipline is necessary in achieving your goals. I agree, but what does it mean when you consistently fail to accomplish certain goals?
- Do you beat on yourself and give up?
- Do you decide to try harder?
Don’t do either! Don’t listen to that voice of discipline screaming loudly in your head. Your self-discipline is failing for three good reasons.
When Self-Discipline Doesn’t Work
I am usually a productive person who sets goals and aims to accomplish them within a set timeframe. Although not my greatest strength, self-discipline was a necessity as an environmental consultant and parent. Clients demand deadlines and families run best with a schedule…most of the time!
But, I experienced times when disciplining myself to achieve goals simply did not work. I entered an expensive business coaching program (coaches need coaches, too!) that required me to meet milestones and measure my success weekly. I confess. I failed to consistently achieve suggested goals. I simply couldn’t motivate myself although I had people encouraging me and providing suggestions on how to push through.
Why? I had entered the coaching program after a significant change in my life. I believed I could power through the change with discipline and action.
As the Apostle Paul shares in Romans 7:17-20 (The Message):
“I can will what is right but I obviously need help! I realize that I don’t have what it takes. I can will it, but I can’t do it. I decide to do good, but I don’t really do it; I decide not to do bad, but then I do it anyway. My decisions, such as they are, don’t result in actions. Something has gone wrong deep within me and gets the better of me every time.“
I couldn’t will myself through this situation. Something was awry deep inside (my heart) so I quit the coaching program after 6 months.
Is Your Heart Aligned with Your Will?
Here’s what I discovered in the midst of my apparent failure. Self-discipline only works when your will (what you want to accomplish) is in alignment with your heart. Your heart is all that is going on inside of you. What you THINK you want to accomplish may be in direct opposition to what is happening in your heart. Like mine, your heart could be pulling in a different direction. It’s like two tractors pulling the same cargo in opposite directions…neither one goes forward and nothing is accomplished.
Here are 3 reasons why your heart may interfere with self-discipline:
- You may have EMOTIONAL MEMORIES that are keeping you from achieving your goal. Your current situation may trigger something painful or unpleasant from your past. I had fears that were interfering with my success in the coaching program. These needed to be healed before I could accomplish any goals through self-discipline.
- You have created BELIEFS from your life experiences. For example, I believed that perhaps I shouldn’t be charging money to transform people’s lives through coaching. I had beliefs around my faith and money I needed to change before moving ahead in my business.
- You have unmet DESIRES. Our desires are basic needs..those things we want or need…that motivate us to action. Our desires are a primary motivator in accomplishing our goals. We usually can’t discipline ourselves to accomplish a goal unless it helps fulfill a desire. My true desires weren’t in alignment with the coaching program goals. I thought they were, but God knew better. He and I had much work to do together.
If you are failing at self-discipline and accomplishing your goals, pray about your current situation. Ask God to reveal if you have memories, beliefs, or desires that need to be addressed with him. God never intended you to POWER through life without him. I believe self-discipline is most productive when you have a healthy heart and are connected to him, your power source.