Desire vs. Discipline: How To Overcome Routine Burnout

One of the toughest things about discipline in life is that tomorrows keep coming. Imagine starting a workout routine where you only had to perform today and you get all the results you need. Everyone would sign up for that plan. As we all know, in order to achieve success at the gym you have to commit to a plan and stick with that plan.

Everything in life comes down to discipline and not just desire. I can desire a lot of things, but without the work ethic that fuels the engine I won’t go very far. We all know people in our lives who talk about what they are going to do. They have excellent visions and grand designs. These folks never follow through on their plans though. Most of them are discontent and burned out.

If you begin with great desire for something you would like to do and then strap on evaluated discipline you can achieve your success. This is true in time management, wealth acquisition, fitness, Bible reading, prayer, learning a new trade and much more. Proverbs says that to amass your wealth day-by-day is the way to build and keep wealth (Proverbs 13:11). When Solomon speaks of money he can get our attention. I believe this is true in every arena of discipline.

If you want to accomplish something of significance, turn your desire into discipline by making a plan. If you want to lose 30 pounds then agree to work on losing 1-2lbs per week over the next 15-20 weeks. Then implement the strategies needed to work on those 1-2lbs, rather than thinking about the overall 30 you want to shed. Similarly, if you want to develop your Spiritual life, make a goal to read 1-2 chapters in your Bible everyday without skipping a day. This is a much better way to read 30 chapters over 15 days then trying to cram in 10 chapters a day over three days. The outcome is also more fruitful in that you have the new morning each day as a lens with which to see the inspired material. That freshness offers perspective that cannot be gained by powering through the Bible.

Pulling daily streaks together of not missing a day in your disciplined routine is how I accomplish what I want to get done. I use an app on iPhone/iPad called Streaks and for me it is helpful. You get to set six goals that you want to accomplish each day and you check them off as you do them. They could be as simple as brushing your teeth or as hard as walking 20,000 steps everyday. You get to choose. My six are: Reading the Bible; Reading 15 minutes each day in a book (other than the Bible); Doing the dishes; Making our bed; Walking 10,000 steps and Writing something in my latest book each day. I sincerely recommend you look into this app. While it is $3.99, the investment may be crucial to your success. If you dole out some cash it may remind you to use the app.

Regardless of how you catalog your discipline, do your best to make a plan that you can grow incrementally. Please do not overload days one, two and three only to abandon your plan on day four. Think longer term and more strategically with anything you want to accomplish. Try using an app like Streaks to keep yourself accountable. We all can do this. Turning desire into discipline is very possible. It just takes daily action.

-Micah Brooks