Congrats to my friend Heather who just completed, this very morning, 30 consecutive days of walking Tumamoc Hill at 5:30AM. She says, “Other than the physical byproduct of having stronger legs and lungs, I feel a sense of accomplishment and it’s been a good reminder that I truly can do anything I set my mind to doing. I wasn’t in the mood most days, but it was always a great feeling when I got to the top.”

 

Heather also just finished “No-Buy July.” She reports “I only brought my lunch from home, didn’t buy any clothes, didn’t go out for drinks/food with friends. I did, however, still have social times. I had friends come over or I went there and I used a Loft gift card that had been in my wallet for nearly a year to go to a movie. It was an exercise in spending money on needs (groceries/gas), not wants (drink/restaurant food/entertainment). I will do it again, perhaps quarterly, because I positively had much more of my paycheck left at the end of the month. It truly is astounding how quickly it adds up when I spend $60 at Marshall’s, $90 at Target and $60 on drinks/dinner, etc. It’s a pretty significant number over a month’s time of not very conscious spending.”

 

Next challenge on her lineup? To meditate for 15 minutes a day. And after that? She says, “I’m sure I’ll come up with something else to help keep me focused, disciplined and an all-around better version of myself.”

 

I also think of my friend Mary who took a photo every day for a year. What a great practice to make yourself observe something photo-worthy in every day that passes.

 

The more I live, the more I see the positive power of discipline whether it’s a commitment to get up and walk Tumamoc Hill even though you’d rather skip a morning or to find something to snap a photo of even on your not so stellar days.

 

I’ve previously blogged about U.S. Navy Adm. William H. McCraven’s commencement address at the University of Texas in which he offered this advice, “If you make your bed every morning, you will have accomplished the first task of the day. It will give you a small sense of pride, and it will encourage you to do another task, and another, and another. And by the end of the day that one task completed will have turned into many tasks completed.”

 

We know that the Marshmallow Study showed that just one-third of the students observed had the self-discipline to wait until the teacher came back into the room so they could have two treats instead of one. Which means that two-thirds of us may be a little lacking in self-discipline!

 

So, start small. Make the bed. Commit so a new behavior for 30 days. It’s not so much about the behavior as it is a sense of accomplishment and control which then seeps into other areas of your life in a good way.