Monday, January 11, 2010

Self-Discipline


People have always said that I am a great planner. While I appreciate the recognition I recently began to think how ineffective planning can be if it is not followed by grit, real action and the ability to just execute! Over the past 10 years I have written many personal plans and many that have not produced the desired outcome. Where was I falling short and why could I not reach even the simplest of objectives at times? If you have ever felt this way, the answer to reaching your goals this year lies not in talent or having an elaborate plan but in your ability to follow through by having self-discipline.

“The difference between a successful person and others is not a lack of strength, not a lack of knowledge, but rather a lack of will.”
-Vince Lombardi

Training yourself to be self-disciplined can be thought of as a way to motivate yourself to do what you should do versus what you want to. The should do’s are what will take you to your goals while what you want to do is usually the easier more comfortable way that does not get your closer to your goals. Self-discipline is the assertion of willpower over your desires to do what is right when you have to. Sleeping in is an example many can relate too. If you do not have to be at work until 10am it is very easy to sleep until 9am but imagine how much more productive you could be if you woke up at 6am to start the day? If your goal this year is to loose weight and get in shape you have to exercise willpower to not drink excessive alcohol, fat and sugar. It is not easy but essential for you to be successful in 2010. Willpower is your ability to set a course of action and say, “Engage!”

Developing self-discipline.
Self-discipline is like a muscle. The more you train it the stronger it gets and the less you train it the weaker it gets. Just as most people have very weak muscles compared to how strong they could be with training, most people are very weak in their levels of self-discipline. To strengthen your muscles you would not enter a gym and try to lift 300lbs rather you must start small and work your way up. The same goes with self-discipline - If you wish to wake up earlier than your usual 9am time, waking up at 6am would not be realistic. You would begin by waking up at 845am then 830am and so on. By raising the bar just a little each week, you stay within your capabilities and grow stronger over time. Practice improving your levels of self-discipline. You will be amazed at how much more you will end up accomplishing and how much faster you reach your goals.

Take action.
Your life is what you make of it. Everything in your life is a result of action or inaction. If you do nothing, then expect nothing to happen. Reaching goals and becoming successful does not just happen from writing a plan and it certainly does not just happen overnight. It takes a lot of hard work and persistence through self-discipline. Most people will only do what’s comfortable by avoiding hard work and that’s precisely why you should do the opposite. The superficial opportunities of life will be attacked by hordes of people seeking the easy road. The much tougher challenges will usually see less competition and result in a lot more opportunity. The world is filled with talented people who are unsuccessful because of their lack of discipline to simply take action. Next time you feel like skipping the gym to drink wine with friends or to sleep longer consider how this will help you in reaching your goals to become more fit and healthy. Maintain action regardless of how you are feeling. There will be times where you are unmotivated or feel like quitting but being persistent will allow you to keep taking action. Action brings results and results are a very motivating force to keep you moving towards your goals.

“The big secret in life is that there is no big secret. Whatever your goal, you can get there if you’re willing to work.”
-Oprah Winfrey

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