When we set a new endeavor, most of us set new goals. You probably did just that in January when the calendar turned the corner to a new year 😉
Goal setting is important in running a successful business. Why do we struggle with this? We know the rule and many people make goals SMART: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely. We write those goals down, define them clearly with a realistic (yet challenging), quantifiable, achievable, time-bound action plan. We are excited! THIS time we will really to do it. We work diligently; however, the new slowly becomes old. Progress is taking longer than expected or we encounter a setback or two. Before we know it, we are back to our old familiar habits and our goals are forgotten once again.
So what is the key factor for achieving goals? What will move you from yet another unachieved goal to success? The SMART process is great…but it isn’t enough. There is something more. It is self discipline.
With self discipline, you can make your goals a reality! When you have mastered this skill, you can have a life filled with an abundance of personal achievements. Without it, there aren't any worthwhile achievements.
To develop self discipline, practice the following four steps:
1. Know what you want, and why.
Knowing what you want to achieve and why you want to achieve it will make your goals personal. They become more than just words on a page–they become a part of you. Knowing why you want what you want provides the underlying motivation needed to meet your goals. If this is motivation is absent, you will not do whatever it takes to achieve the goals. To have enough discipline to stay on course, personalize your goals by asking yourself the following questions:
• What specifically do I want to achieve?
• Why am I doing it?
• What will I gain by accomplishing this?
• How committed am I?
Answer these questions in writing and keep your goals where you can see them everyday. Lee Iacocca said,
The discipline of writing something down is the first step toward making it happen.
The key is to see your goals often and repeat them to yourself regularly. Your goals have to become a part of you. It is as simple as “You are what you think”.
2. Start by building on small successes
Success breeds success. Becoming self disciplined with small things will give you the confidence and motivation to take on bigger things. Start with tasks you can easily accomplish to move toward success. Some days your goals will seem too overwhelming, you will have other priorities, or you will be just plain tired. So whether it is big or small, do something where you focus on your goals every day.
Developing discipline is like working a muscle – the more you use it, the stronger you become.
3. Give yourself continuous encouragement
You feed your body with good food every day and you should you feed yourself with daily encouragement. You need to eat to live and you need encouragement to live big! I love what Zig Ziglar says:
People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing – that’s why we recommend it daily.
Believe you can accomplish your goals. Giving ourselves continuous encouragement (especially when obstacles appear) is a necessity. Spend some time and write an affirmation of success that you will refer to daily.
4. Decide to not give up
This is the essence of self discipline. The difference between those who succeed and those who don’t is “stick-to-it-iv-ness”. When you are on the brink of something great, the obstacles will seem larger than ever. It is especially during those times that you must stay on track. When you move past challenges successfully, it increases your confidence, makes you stronger, and moves you one step closer to your goals. When the going gets tough and you are tempted to give up, do these three things:
- Realize how you are feeling about your challenge.
- Redirect your energy back to the goal and your reasons for accomplishing it.
Recommit by asking yourself how willing you are to move through this challenge for the prize.
What if you fail? Get back on track right away! Most importantly, don’t beat yourself up. Creating change in life can be difficult. It takes time. If it were easy, we would all be healthy, wealthy and wise. Return your focus to the goal and what you will gain by accomplishing it. Don’t waste another moment getting back on track.
To be successful in achieving goals, you must have the missing key factor –the self discipline. There can be no significant achievements without it. Follow the steps above and you will have a life filled with an abundance of personal achievements.