Many people express the desire to acquire more self-discipline in their lives. They want to eat better, go to the gym more often, write a book, earn more money, and so on. Unfortunately, many find themselves drifting through life without a clear plan or direction. Down the road, they realize the years have ticked by without much to show for it. If only, they wish, they had been more disciplined, accomplished more, prepared better.
Mark Tyrrell says, "Self-discipline, like a muscle, can be developed. If we were raised in a disciplined environment, we may find it easier to be self-disciplined, but we can all develop more." It's not too late to get started. President Jimmy Carter in an interview with Oprah says that when writing a book, he get up every morning at 5:00 and writes for two hours before having breakfast with his wife. President Carter is a great example of setting a goal and having the self-discipline needed to achieve that goal. He created the criteria (each morning) to write his book and then made sure he followed through with it.
The question for you to ask yourself is...
"If I were a more self-disciplined person, I would _________________." (fill in the blank)
Ponder this for a moment and then put pen to paper and as ideas come into your mind, write them down. Don't worry about your answers, just write down the things you'd like to accomplish. Here are some ideas to get you started:
*Learn a new language
*Read 10 literature classics
*Go back to school for a degree or certificate
*Learn to play the piano
Now that you've created your list, what do you notice? Circle the item(s) that are most important to you. If you could accomplish just one item on your list, which one would you choose? What would it take for you to complete this task? Use the SMART format to help you be clear on your goal.
S: Be SPECIFIC about your goal. What exactly do you want to accomplish? Ex. I want to lose weight.
M: Make it MEASURABLE. How can you quantify this goal? Ex. "I want to lose 15 pounds."
A: Is it ATTAINABLE? Is it reasonably possible? Ex. "Yes, I know I can do it."
R: How RELEVANT is this goal to you? Why is this important to you? Ex. "I want to look good for my class reunion."
T: Make it TIME-SPECIFIC. When will you start? What's your deadline? Ex. "I will prepare on Sunday and start on Monday. My goal is to lose 1-2 lbs. per week and have the 15 lbs. off by my class reunion in 3 months."
Lastly, how can you be self-disciplined enough to achieve your goal? What could work for you to maintain that discipline? Here are a few things to keep in mind....
*Get an accountability partner...someone to check-in with on your progress.
*Write your goal down where you can see it every day.
*Watch out for excuses, distractions, and negative self-talk that can derail your goals.
*Use positive self-talk to push through your fears of self-doubt.
Know that you are worthy and deserving of accomplishing those things you truly want.
"Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible." -Tony Robbins