As I've grown older, I've come to understand that much of what we want in life, be it a more slender, healthier body, lovelier skin, a nicer home, a more reliable or more comfortable car, a bank account with more incomings than outgoings...basically comes down to one single solitary skill.
Now don't run away.
Yes it's a difficult skill to master. I am nearly 57 years old, and only now, in the last very little while, am I learning this skill. It's similar to one I've been slowly mastering in the last few years, called Restraint.
In part, it's the skill of having very few possessions, but ensuring that those possessions are of the very best quality you can afford. And that doesn't mean that you go into debt to have 'the best quality you can afford', because if you have to go into debt AKA use the credit card, then you can't AFFORD it. Just take a moment to digest that. If you have to use credit to make a purchase of quality, then you cannot afford it.
And that's okay too.
There is a reason and a season for all things. As a young single Mum, I could not afford the 'best quality'. I settled for what was within my budget that would suit the purpose. That went for cars, toasters, handbags, and clothing. I did my very best within the financial constraints of a single income, and the raising of three sons.
When I remarried at the age of 37, to my current lovely husband, we were both of a mind to establish a comfortable home, and to plan for our children and our future retirement. 22 years later this month, our children are all but grown, and we are gearing ourselves to liquidate the investment portfolio we've built up over 20 years together, to afford ourselves a comfortable retirement. Now that required enormous discipline. We drove older cars, we lived on a strict budget, we shopped at thrift stores (and continue to do so I might add), and we didn't listen when others laughed, either to our faces, or behind our backs. We had a grander plan, than winning the approval of others. And this year, our plan will come to fruition, and it will be us laughing, while everyone else scratches their heads and wonders how we did it.
Because the silly thing is, that discipline, which the dictionary tells us also means self-mastery, self-restraint, self-control, self-command (see how many 'selfs' there are?), is about doing what is right for SELF. Not what impresses others, or makes you look good or wins friends and influences people. It's about what is right for you, not just now, but in the longer term.
Discipline is a skill that can not only increase our net worth, but can help us have the life, the health, the figure, the marriage, the relationships, the friendships, even the wardrobe (I had to throw that one in!), that we deserve.
Discipline can help prevent us from saying the wrong thing, or perhaps assist us in saying what really needs saying in a diplomatic fashion.
Discipline can help us make wise financial choices, food choices, exercise choices, relationship and friendship choices.
Discipline can show us how to avail ourselves of the vast ocean of knowledge in todays world, without relying on Social media to do it for us. And, discipline can help us remove ourselves from Social Media and the online community in general, in order to focus on the things we need to, to have the life we desire.
Discipline can help us keep our homes tidy and comfortable, save us from living in clutter, and see us taking pride in our appearance not just for 'best days' but every day.
You can listen to every financial guru, relationship guru, health and wellbeing expert, fashion advisor, and diet wunderkind in the world. You can buy their books, listen to their podcasts, like their Facebook page, and follow their Instagram, but without discipline, in one year, you'll still be exactly where you are now. If that's okay with you, then fine. If not, then start exercising that Discipline muscle. Because like every muscle, the more you use it, the stronger it gets.
Discipline sees my husband and I retiring at a relatively early age.
But on a smaller scale, it sees me whittling my wardrobe down to one third of what it was in December just gone, a few short weeks ago. It's helping me declutter on a major scale to prepare for a simpler life. In the last decade, discipline has helped me halve our food budget, yet sees us eating more healthfully than ever before. Discipline helps me shop, unpack and prepare our meals for the whole week, in one 2-3 hour marathon. I've done this for years, and that alone has saved us many tens of thousands of dollars.
Exercising my self-discipline helps me make healthier food choices, opting for a little fruit and cheese platter for my lunch, as seen above, over a burger or some pasta.
Discipline sees me now purchasing one single pair of shoes to suit any occasion, rather than ten different pairs, just in case.
It helps me spend the extra half hour, to make and proof and bake the dough for some gluten free treats, when I am dead beat, because I know how crucial to our health and our budget it is, to have home made goodies on hand.
Forget the diets, the gurus, the podcasts, and the TV wannabes.
All you need is Discipline.
Try it and let me know if exercising some Self-Mastery, some Self-Discipline, some Self-Government, Self-Restraint, Self-Control, doesn't change your life.