Do you have a goal? If you are reading this post I bet you do, we all want to improve something about ourselves and/or our lives. While we are on this topic I wonder how many of you have written down your goals? I bet only a few, and even fewer that have shared their goals with another person. Deflecting a bit here from the topic, but you know that these two steps, writing down your goal and making it public will greatly increase your chances of meeting your goal, don’t you?
It takes discipline to reach a goal, we all know this. Discipline is defined by what you are doing daily (your actions), it is the routines that make up your life. Good routines lead to good outcomes, bad or lack of routine will lead to bad outcomes. (BTW, you are not born with discipline and unlike finger prints you can change your ability to be disciplined like you change your socks.) Many of us have great intentions to be disciplined but falter. As an example let’s say you have a goal to exercise at least ten minutes a day, you accomplish this task for a few days and then allow yourself to slack off a day for good behavior. You know how this sounds “I went to the gym four days this week, so today I can take the day off”. Right then your goal is slipping away. Does this sound familiar?
Wanting life to be easier I think we look for the short cuts leading us to the belief that some good behavior justifies straying from the actions that will lead us to our goal.
Today I thought I would share what has helped me counter this behavior. Using tracking systems that then become motivational tools help me stay on track to reach my goals. These systems are as simple as a daily activity log or a physical countdown calendar recording the set of activities that are leading me toward my goal.
As an example in my professional life I need to reach out to a set number of people each day. If I have a sheet in front of me with boxes representing each call I need to make that I tick off as I make those contacts it is much more likely that I will not slack off after getting half way. This check off list becomes my contact discipline tool.
In my personal life if I need to ride at least 20 miles a day for 30 days to build the endurance necessary to complete a century ride (100 miles), I create a 30 day calendar in which I can rip off one sheet each day. Watching the days disappear is great motivation to keep going.
Staying disciplined is hard work, be sure to find the strategies and tools that will help you stay the course!