Fickleness vs. Discipline
by Cyan Sarden
Every January, huge numbers of people set themselves goals for the new year. I have to lose weight. I have to work out more. I have to spend more time with the kids. I have to spend less time on the cell phone. I have to eat more healthily. Interestingly, it’s a common misconception that these goals are never met or given up quickly. According to a survey conducted by a German statistics company back in 2013, 56% of all people actually still maintained their goals by year’s end. Which, of course, means that 44% didn’t. So what differientiates those people who manage to establish and maintain discipline from those who don’t?
I’ve done some cursory research on this and here’s what I found what’s often believed to be necessary for being able to keep up discipline in life:
- goals that are followed through are well planned. There’s no point in aiming on going to the gym 4 times a week when your schedule is completely full.
- a goal should be attainable. Many people welcome a challenge, but it should be one where success can actually be achieved
- you actually need to want what you plan for. This may sound like a no-brainer, but setting aims that don’t really improve anything in your life is a recipe for failure.
So far, this has all had to do with successful goal setting. But how about the mindset that’s necessary to keep oneself from falling back into fickleness? Here things seem to be less clear cut - the problem being that it’s actually not that easy to predict who’ll be successful in an endeavour and who won’t. Even the least motivated person sometimes manages to successfully complete personal goals while high motivation is no guarantee for success. Of the many factors I’ve read about when looking for clues to use in this sermon, the one that stuck out to me is this: a disciplined person looks after him- / herself.
Self-care or having a genuine interest in one’s own well-being, is essential in developing discipline. People who genuinely care about themselves tend to live healthier, display better stress management and overall have techniques in place to manage their resources. All of these are necessary to follow things through:
- know your resources and plan accordingly
- manage stress to avoid being thrown off course by being overwhelmed or drowned in outside factors
- know what makes you feel better about yourself. Feeling good about yourself lets you focus better
- self-assessment techniques allow you to gain a realistic picture of where you’re at at any moment and let you make necessary changes to maintain discipline and achieve your goals
To us Jedi, these points are highly relevant. Jediism is an individualistic path - at the core of it we find ourselves, our own personal lives, our own personal goals, our genuine wish for self improvement.
The good thing is, we’re all here because these things are dear to us. The need to develop in areas we have defined for ourselves and that we deem necessary and useful is a central element of our faith. So if we’ve been struggling to achieve those goals and to maintain discipline, maybe it’s time to look at what’s been going wrong, to take inventory of where we’re at, of where we want to be and of the (realistic) steps that are necessary to get there. Once we’re on the way, regular self-assessment and perhaps also some self-pampering are good ways of maintaining motivation.
Please take a few moments and consider the following quote by evangelist Dawson Trotman:
"Discipline imposed from the outside eventually defeats when it is not matched by desire from within.“
To conclude the sermon, I’d like to encourage every person who reads this to stop for a moment and take inventory - where are you at? Where do you want to be? What does it realistically take to get you there? What do you really desire?
May the Force be with all of you.