Discipline - the Essential Quality for Goal Achievement
One of the characteristics of successful people is they are goal driven. They write out and plan their goals following one method or another. But is that it? Write it down, say daily affirmations, and the goals will magically happen? We all wish it was that easy. The reality is, the achievement of goals requires more than just plan, think and dream. One of the essential qualities of goal achievement is to develop discipline.
Almost everyone has experienced the first few days of chasing a new goal. Weight loss is the classic example – we set a goal, we exercise and eat right for a period of time – but then we fall right back into our old habits. The struggle was with the self-discipline and focus.
Look at Olympic athletes. One trait these athletes all share is self-discipline. They train long and hard and virtually never stray from their routines.
The definition of self-discipline is “the ability to make yourself do things that should be done”. Sounds simple enough! But the reality is that it is not that simple, and yet it is probably the single most important habit to develop to achieve your goals.
Start with Why
It’s not enough to just have a goal – even if you’ve followed all the steps to make it SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, time-bounded). To develop the discipline to achieve the goal, you must know why the goal is important. Questions you need to ask yourself are:
- Why do you want to achieve the goal?
- What do you need to commit to?
- What are the rewards if I achieve the goal?
The deeper you can dig into your mind to answer those questions, the more meaningful your “why”, the more strength you will find to develop the self-discipline needed to commit to the actions required to achieve the goal.
Define the Commitment
Great - you have written down your goal. The next most important step is to write out what is required to achieve it. Define what exactly it is you need to commit to, and when. Ask yourself these questions:
- What is holding you back from achieving the goal?
- What changes do I need to make to achieve the goal?
- What habits do I need to develop?
- What behaviours need to change?
- How does my mindset need to change?
Sometimes we need help to establish the accountability, to develop discipline. This is why most successful people in their field have a coach – whether it be in sports or business. Having someone motivate, encourage and challenge you can push you further towards achieving your goal than you would push yourself. Ask yourself these questions:
- What are the milestones along the way to achieving the goal?
- How will I hold myself accountable to my commitment?
- Who can help me achieve this goal?
Develop Discipline – 3 Keys:
Visualize. Start by conditioning your mind to be disciplined. Visualize your desired outcomes every day – whether you close your eyes and dream, or create a vision board. Most importantly, “think on paper” and write down your goals daily – developing and maintaining clarity and helping you to emotionally engage with the goal.
Prioritize. Plan your day so that your most important tasks are the ones which bring you closer to your goals. Block time off in your calendar where that time is dedicated to the activities required to achieve your goal.
Measure Progress and Reward Yourself! Measure your results - it’s no secret that “what gets measured gets done”. Don’t forget to reward yourself for achieving small milestones. Celebrating your small wins will excite and motivate you. Make developing discipline fun!
It’s not enough to want a goal. It takes action to achieve a goal. And it takes discipline to execute the action.