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Discipline: A Key to Achieving your Goals

Have you been thinking lately of what things you wanted to get done this year?

There are seasons in a person's life when a renewed sense of interest emerges to get things accomplished. We write our goals and resolve to get them done. We talk about them with our friends, employers, and family. We have big plans that will propel our lives and our careers. We make "to do" lists. But, over time, nothing happens. We have great ideas and good intentions, but somehow, we fall into our same routines and never quite achieve the progress that we imagined.

We need to be able to prioritize our goals and recognize which one will have the most impact on our lives, or is the most critical to achieve first. Focus on the positive outcomes in your life that will be realized, once you have achieved these higher priority goals.

I have come to realize that a common missing link to progress is discipline. We have not been diligent to sitting down at a pre-selected time to do what is necessary to complete the tasks. We let other lesser important tasks take our time away. Without realizing it, we have managed to spend time on lesser priority projects, waste time, and lose our energy and passion for our bigger plans.

I understand that I will never catch up. There are always things to do in my office and home. I could be productive and devote days to accomplishing less important tasks, and realize days later, that I put off moving in the direction that is needed. I realize that this is a tactic that many often use without realizing it. Oftentimes this mode of procrastination becomes habitual. It may be months later until we realize that we have suffered the consequences of our lack of discipline.

In order to move ahead, we must change our patterns of operation. As we identify our goals, and the benefits of achieving those goals, keep them in plain view. As an added incentive, write the consequences, missed opportunities, pain, and misfortunes that you will experience if you do not pursue your stated goals.

As you begin a project, select a date and time when you expect to have the project completed. Make a commitment to yourself, and if appropriate, make this commitment to others that are affected by the outcome of this project. You will be amazed at how your subconscious mind processes information that will be useful to you as you tackle the task at hand. Self imposed deadlines work.

Get yourself mentally and physically ready for the task. Realize that energy will be expended and your mind and body need to be at their peak. Get adequate rest and nutrition prior to starting any sizable project.

As you begin each day, start working on the biggest, hardest, most imposing task first. Get your highest level of energy behind you and work towards this accomplishment. Power yourself and stay with it until you have completed this task. As you accomplish these seemingly more difficult tasks, the other tasks will appear less daunting.

In order to discipline yourself, select the time that you will start and stop the task. Consider this an appointment. Allow no interruptions that would side track you. As you get involved with the project, and the time that you have set aside is ending, decide if it is best to extend the time, or stop working on the project.

Oftentimes the momentum it took to get started is a great source of energy that can give you lots of incentive to make continued progress. You may find that the task can be completed in a shorter period of time than you originally planned. Setting time limits for your tasks allows you to be a better judge of whether the time invested is worth the benefits you expect to receive.

The cornerstones of personal achievement are goal setting, focus, commitment, and discipline. Acknowledging these as your base of support, will allow you to recognize your limitations and make adjustments necessary to enhance your life.

Rosemarie Rossetti, Ph.D. would like to read your comments about her column and the impact it has made on your life. She also encourages your ideas for future columns. Contact her at:, or 1008 Eastchester Dr., Columbus, OH 43230-6230.

To book Rosemarie Rossetti, Ph.D. to speak at a conference, contact her at: (614) 471-6100; Rosemarie works with organizations and corporations that want to bring out the best in their people, and she demonstrates how to live life with conviction.

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