Our lives are full of rushing from here to there and full schedules of activities or work. Our brains are on fast forward most of the time, and sometimes we forget to slow down and take the time to be intentional in our everyday tasks, responsibilities, or even fun.
Daily disciplines are great and necessary as we work toward our goals. I’m a huge proponent of creating daily rhythms. Working out, praying or meditating, reading, journaling, and listening to success audios are all great and can drive you forward in life. However, how we choose to do these things will really be the largest factor in momentum and growth.
No one cares if you have daily disciplines and stick to them 100 percent of the time.
It’s not a bragging right. These disciplines, if done right, are meant to push us, move us, and grow us, but if done wrong, they can become a crutch in our lives. They can become excuses as to why things aren’t working in our favor because we assume we are doing everything right and that just by doing these disciplines and checking them off, success will come. That’s not the case. We need to work on the intention behind each discipline just as much as work on the habit to create it. The quality matters more than the quantity, and the quality is what will change us.
A while back I shared an acronym called W.R.A.P.S. to easily remind you of the core daily disciplines that will aid you in your personal growth. These are proven techniques or activities that most successful people utilize. The W stands for workout, the R is for reading, the A is for affirmations, the P is for prayer or meditation, and the S is for success audios.
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All of these practices are beneficial to growing yourself on a daily basis, but we can get caught in a rut, consistently doing these habits without results, if we forget to apply them to our lives and be intentional with our time.
Let’s dive a little deeper into each:
W — Workout
Quality time working out — not checklist time
It seems interesting to say quality time working out. Why does that matter? But it does! I’ll use running for example, since that’s what I’m known for. But we can go about our workouts running 5 miles a day at the same pace, and our body can actually become so used to that pace and duration that it doesn’t produce the results we are looking for. It’s important to track what we are doing and to change it up now and again.
If you’re a runner, you’ll want to consider changing up the pace or mileage during your weekly runs. Change up the workouts by adding in a hill or speed day. Do some runs with a walk/run mentality. Add in some speed intervals into your long run. There are so many things you can do to ensure your running is quality time and not just something you feel like you have to do.
This works for any sport or workout. You can’t continue to lift the same amount of weight week after week and expect outlandish results. If it doesn’t seem like you’re progressing, change it up! Maybe add in a cross training day where you get on the bike or head to a fitness class.
Just working out itself will make your day better, it will get your heart rate up, get that blood flowing and the muscles warm, but don’t you also want it to produce the results you’re looking for?
R — Reading
Quality time reading — not checklist time
Reading is a key to change. Reading can expose us to our weaknesses or strengths and help us build our character, skills, and disciplines. However, if we are just reading to check it off our list, then we really aren’t going to grow through it. Choose to read in a personal development book until you actually get something out of it. It could take you 10 minutes, a full chapter, or maybe even longer, but read until you make a click. Read until you change, and apply what you’re reading to your life.
It’s almost pointless to take the time to read if there are no intentions behind it. Yes, it will make you feel good, or yes, it can help you subconsciously, but you won’t see lasting change until you read intentionally and apply what you are learning to your life. Let the reading work on you! Let it grow you and create change in your life. Don’t just do it to check it off. Do it to change.
A — Affirmations
Quality time visualizing/dreaming — not checklist time
This seems like a silly step, I know. If you’re going to miss something in your daily routine, this may seem like the obvious one to NOT do. However, I would make the argument that it’s one of the most important disciplines on the list! It’s crazy how what we say to and about ourselves actually can make a difference in our lives, but it CAN.
If you don’t believe me, I dare you to try it. Take 30 days to test it out and see what happens. Every day for 30 days. See how you feel about yourself. Do you believe in yourself a little more, or are you feeling extra confident? Are ideas or solutions popping into your head about the barriers that have been getting in your way?
But it’s not only important to speak your affirmations out loud! It’s also just as crucial to believe them. Take the time seeing yourself with or as the affirmation says. Visualize what it will be like when you become that quality or have that thing or hit that goal. That’s what I mean by intentional. Speaking them is great, and it will help a little even if you aren’t taking the time to picture it or even if you don’t believe it yourself. But the true transformation comes with the visualization. Dreaming about what it is you want or who it is you want to become, making a list of positive things to say about yourself, saying them, and then actually seeing yourself as that person! Intention is EVERYTHING!
P — Prayer or Meditation
Quality time with God — not checklist time
Our quiet time is meant to be fellowship time with God. He wants to build a relationship with us and wants to do things through us, but he can’t if we aren’t willing to fellowship. It’s not about reading a quick devotional or a chapter in the Bible and checking off the list that we did it. Though those are great things to do, and I highly encourage it, fellowship is about taking the time to reflect on what it is we are reading, trying to listen and learn through it, and opening up to God to let him know our needs, wants, desires, disappointments, and gratitudes.
The more quality time we spend with him, the more real he will become in our lives. Consider using a journal and writing down your gratitudes, prayer requests, letters to God, what you are learning, and so on. This doesn’t have to be just a morning thing, but it’s a great way to start your day.
S — Success Audios
Quality time listening and learning — not checklist time
Another great discipline, and number S of WRAPS, is listening to success audios. This could come in all different forms. Maybe you’re listening to a personal development audiobook, or a podcast, or an online conference, or a live conference. Success audios are motivational in nature and help you to keep your mind in the game daily.
So how do you become intentional in this habit? Step one is actually doing it, but step two is listening for things that will help you where you are right now. Become intentional listening for tips or ideas to help you break past the barrier standing in your way right now. Listen for hints on how to simplify any processes you have so you can focus in on what is most important. Gain insight as you listen for struggle/victory stories of others who were in a similar situation and were able to overcome it. Listen for clues as to how they did it!
If you’re not being intentional as you listen to success audios, it just becomes noise or background distraction. Don’t let that happen. When you choose to listen, choose to be intentional about what you’re gaining through it.
Need a new audio to listen to? Check out my new audio book, Mind Over Marathon: Overcoming Mental Barriers in the Race of Life, all about taking a dream from inception to a flourishing finish! If you’re tired of quitting on yourself, this book will help you get unstuck!
I’m adding a bonus discipline because it’s the one I find vitally important if you’re a parent.
Quality time with your kids — not checklist time
Your kids don’t really care how much time you spend with them. What they want to know is that, when you are spending time with them, it’s QUALITY time not HAVE TO time. They want to know that they are important to you and that the things they are going through in their life matter to you. Sometimes they just want you there, sitting near them, and sometimes it means putting your work aside so you can do an activity together — distraction free. Again, we go back to the intentionality of things.
Quality time with your kids means you are present in the time that you have. Set aside your computer or phone, look them in the eyes when they are talking to you, intently listen when they share stories with you, and give them a sense of security and love as you make them feel like the most important person in the world in those moments. Life goes too fast not to take that time with them. It may only be 10 minutes a day, or maybe you get a little longer to spend, but ensure it happens. Don’t treat that time solely as a checklist, something you have to do. It should be precious time, and these are the moments you will never get back!
Choose to avoid checklist mentality.
Daily disciplines are important, but just having these disciplines isn’t enough. We can get stuck in a rut if we continuously go about our daily routine unintentionally just because we need to get it done. We need to check it off so we feel accomplished.
RELATED: Get Out of Your Rut
What is your motivation? What are you trying to prove with it? I would assume our intention is to grow and move toward the goals we have for our lives. But sometimes we can remain stuck where we are, even though it seems like we should be moving forward, because we aren’t applying what we are learning to our lives. It’s all great information, reading and listening to success audios is great, but unless we do something with it or take the time to reflect on it, it’s just more information going into our minds.
Checklists are great to get your habit started. They help get you into motion and to remember what disciplines you are trying to create. Use a checklist to get started, but then consider frequently evaluating the reason behind the actions and looking for ways to increase the intensity and focus of each one. A great way to do this is in a journal. You can write down your habit, why you are doing it, and what you’ve received out of it so far. Use it to evaluate if anything needs to change.
For example, you’ve created the habit of reading 15 minutes a day, and it’s become easy for you, and you are taking the principles you are learning and applying them to your life when applicable. Maybe you make the decision to increase that habit to 30 minutes a day to change it up. Do this consistently and with intention, and see what happens!
Dream huge, and, remember, you are a winner. Just run YOUR race!
I’d love to hear from you! Leave a comment below and let me know one discipline you want to change to be quality time, not checklist time! Which one do you want to work on most?
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