Self-discipline is the training of oneself (normally) for improvement or achievement of a certain task. To me though, it means the ability to make myself do thing when I may or may not want to do them… all for the betterment of my goals, my health, my life, my career, etc.
I’m a big list maker. Every day I make a to-do list and feel accomplished when I check off each task. When I’m training for a race, I make a training schedule and follow it pretty much to a T. When I am working with a client, I clearly map out a plan for their success which we collectively follow. And, at the start of each year, I make a list of things I want to manifest (aka goals).
All of these lists are fine and dandy, but they mean nothing if you don’t have the self-discipline to follow through. While browsing a local health magazine, I pulled out an article on “The Practice of Discipline.” Since the guy who wrote it is no more an expert than myself (okay, maybe he does own his own training company and has published a few books, but one day that could be me too!), I decided to take a little bit of what he said, and a little bit of what I think, and make a formula to help the average person achieve more in their life – whether professionally or personally.
Here we go….
Step One: Decide what you want. I like to do this when 99.9% of the rest of the population does at the start of the new year. I take a good deal of time to evaluate my life and decide what I want to accomplish both personally and professionally for the next year.
To help you decide what you want in your life, I suggest you make a balance sheet (which you can then refer to weekly). This balance sheet will have the list of things you need in your life to feel whole and balanced. For example, my balance sheet looks like this, and by referring to it often, I can easily pin point areas of my life that need some attention or others that are dominating and should be take a back seat to help me accomplish other things. Therefore, this list is not in order of importance.
– my husband, family and dog
– exercise & nutrition
– dreams & goals
– home organization
– exploration & adventures
Step Two: Write it down. I love lists. I love evolving lists. It is important you get your list of goals written down so you can refer to them often. I like to keep a digital form in google docs so I can access it anywhere and tweak my manifestations (as I like to call them) as needed. I also print out a copy that I keep on my desk. (yes, I do cross off things as I accomplish them, and I do look at the list about once a week to make sure I’m on track!)
Step Three: Make a Plan Stan. Map out an action plan for each item you wish to accomplish. This plan needs to be realistic and detailed. For example, you might have a couple plans. One could be broad while others are more detailed on a specific goal. Since, I’m training for a some races in the next few months, I spent time coming up with a 12 week training plan to help me be prepared for a sprint tri and half marathon.
Step Four: Set a deadline. Give yourself concrete dates to accomplish each goal. For example, since I wish to further myself professionally, I made a deadline to join a professional organization in my field and attend attend one seminar on training and development by the end of the year.
Step Five: Take action. What are you waiting for? Start taking action on your plan. You need to realize you can’t do it all, so with the importance of deadlines you can prioritize your tasks so you take action on the goals that need immediate attention. For example, I might not be attending a professional seminar this month, but I’m training for a half marathon and a triathlon while still giving energy to the rest of my goals.
Step Six : Revisit your list and revise your plan. Revisit your list at the change of season. Your might just have to change up your plan. For example, I originally wanted to join a social organization to meet new friends in my new town, but after joining a Master’s swim team and making friends at the YMCA, I no longer need do this. It is then important to revisit your plan to adjust it and your time lines so you can then put energy in the items that still need to be accomplished.
Step Seven: Reward yourself. A weekend trip with your friends. A massage. A music festival. Do something for you! Be sure to include this in your plan so when you accomplish something big or small, you reward yourself for the self-discipline that got you there.
What is your personal plan to succeed? How do you accomplish your goals? Please share your tips and tricks to living the life you love and loving the life you live.