Success Requires Discipline
“If you want to live a happy life, tie it to a goal, not to people or things.” ― Albert Einstein
The difficult task people often face is remaining steadfast in the pursuit of their goals.
Life is demanding to say the least.
The capacity to manage ones finances, health, relationships, career and a host of other things makes it arduous at the best of times. It’s any wonder we often neglect those things which are important to us.
You might find your relationships fall apart when least expected, your health deteriorates or your finances take a beating. At this point you’re perplexed how this all came to pass without seeing the writing on the wall.
Rest assured managing life requires vigilance, dedication and commitment. Afterall, you’re only human and from time to time things will slip past you.
The following quote serves as a reminder of the importance of the bigger picture: “Don’t sweat the small stuff, because in the end its only small stuff.”
The following paragraphs are ways to encourage you to stay committed to your path. Life will continuously test your resolve to see how much you desire your goal.
I often hear the reasons people recount why they gave up. It typically follows this course of dialogue: “It wasn’t meant to be,” “It wasn’t fun anymore,” or “Life is all about having fun.” The point worth mentioning is our minds have the ability to create any mental state we impose upon it.
Through belief, you create the circumstances for giving up and thus validate it by looking for evidence to substantiate it.
Think about this for a moment.
How many stories or biographies about successful people have you read where the narrative involved smooth sailing or an easy path toward success? Very few I would imagine.
Success requires discipline, hard work, perseverance, tenacity, will, courage and faith. With that in mind, here are some guidelines for persevering with your goals — no matter what life throws at you.
1. Create Successful Habits
“Whenever you want to achieve something, keep your eyes open, concentrate and make sure you know exactly what it is you want. No one can hit their target with their eyes closed.” ― Paulo Coelho
I’ve mentioned in previous articles about the importance of establishing sound habits for long term success. You’re already in an advantageous position to drawn on your habit making skills.
Many of your current day to day tasks are habitual in nature. You may have started them months or even years ago. Some of them have remained with you since childhood. The key element is to create daily habits that will draw you closer to your goal.
If you’re aware of negative habits, replace them with affirmative ones. To illustrate, when I sit down to write or research I find myself wasting time surfing the internet on occasions. I know I’m buying time from the real task at hand — writing an article.
In recent times, I stopped this habit by disabling my internet connection so I could focus on the task at hand. I continued this process for twelve straight days before the NEW habit became ingrained; thus disabling the old negative habit.
I now work unaffected writing with the internet connection active, since I know I won’t aimlessly waste time surfing the web. I have solidified the new habit by persisting with it.
Continue your new habit until it becomes second nature — until you have a firm grip on it. Phase out the old habit by replacing it with the NEW, empowering habit.
2. Be Accountable To Someone
“Focus on your goals, not your fear. Focus like a laser beam on your goals.” ― Roy T. Bennett, The Light in the Heart
I’ve always been an advocate of being accountable to someone, irrespective of how disciplined I am. Some time ago I used a number of mentors to help me stay focussed.
I gained valuable insight into my work as I had the luxury of having someone else critique me as well as make creative suggestions on areas for improvement.
Being accountable may also entail making declarations of your commitment to those close to you. You might verbally or in writing, declare your intention to achieve a certain goal by a specific date. We’re likely to stay focussed on the task at hand since we don’t want to disappoint others.
Being accountable allows an impartial observer to assess your work. It is advisable to work with people who have walked your path or who have similar experience. Alternatively someone who is completely unrelated to your interest may also serve as a watchful eye as they offer an unbiased perspective.
3. Focus On Smaller Victories
“A goal is not always meant to be reached, it often serves simply as something to aim at.” ― Bruce Lee
Depending on the size of the goal, it’s advisable to focus on smaller victories that draw you closer to your goal. For example, if your goal is to run a marathon (42km), you might allow a specified period in which to realise the goal.
It might be a ten month project or more in which you undertake smaller goals along the way. Completing your first 10km run and gradually building up to competing in a longer distance event would be a logical progression.
Focussing on smaller victories along the way gives you the self confidence you need to forge ahead. It is self empowering and testament you’re on the right path. You might stumble upon setbacks along the way during the pursuit of smaller goals.
These are valuable lessons since they allow you to iron-out the creases before pursuing the larger goal. The opportunity to get it right in the build-up phase is advantageous than getting it wrong when it matters.
4. Develop An Insatiable Hunger
“Reach high, for stars lie hidden in you. Dream deep, for every dream precedes the goal.” ― Rabindranath Tagore
Undoubtedly this remains the most challenging aspect of successful goal attainment. What makes some people pursue their goal with vehement desire while others give up when the going gets tough?
This has been my interest for the last few years — studying human behaviour as it relates to success. I’ve noticed on a personal level and having modelled a number of successful people that there’s an insatiable hunger to succeed that is common to both.
Successful people are unrelenting toward the pursuit of their goal. Sure they experience setbacks and failures like everyone else. What sets them apart is the ability to get back on track and learn from their mistakes immediately. It’s the ability to do this time and time again until they gain the prize that sets them apart.
You see, successful people believe in themselves. They’ve developed an inner resolve — an inner dialogue that continually feeds them with successful images, thoughts and beliefs. These inner dialogues have the power to cancel out any external misgivings that arise in the pursuit of their goal.
I invite you to find your inner conviction. Discover the reason for pursuing your goal. Why do you want it? Who will you become once you’ve attained it? What will life look like when you’ve reached your goal?
Model the people who’ve attained a similar goal and pursue it with passion. Successful people are adaptable. They know what they want. They’re open and receptive to allowing life to show them the HOWS.
When you develop an undying commitment to achieve a goal, roadblocks and failures are merely speed humps instead of stop signs.
Your goal needs to be so great that it feeds and ignites your soul with purpose and meaning. You embody the goal in every cell of your being so that you become inspired to attain it as opposed to motivated.