Discipline and Control: How to achieve your goals

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Time is our constant enemy. So many people want to do this or do that but readily hold up the excuse of “I don’t have time.” I hate to tell you, cupcake, its true. To achieve your dreams involves sacrifice. Something has to give. Lent is the season of intentional living. Its fitting that the start of lent be the time to address the questions of what are you willing to give up, willing to change or willing to do to reach your goals? How do you get what you want?

For those not familiar with lent, go check out this video about lent from one of my favorite web series, Chuck Knows Church. Go ahead, I’ll wait…

Are we good? Great, let’s resume. The key takeaway from that video is this: lent is not just about sacrifice and self-denial, it is about discipline. Now, the Lenten season refers to spiritual discipline. The goal of the Lenten journey is to grow closer to God. However, this concept can be carried over to any aspect of your life.

I have come up with five key steps in the road-map to success. Through the disciplined execution of these steps nearly any goal or dream you may have is achievable.

Achieve goal process

Step One: Define the end

What is it that you want? Do you want that promotion? Do you want to finish that book you’ve been working on? Perhaps you want to score a major presentation or lose that last 20 pounds. Each of us has something they want. There is something in your life that you yearn for, yet seems just out of reach. For me, it is achieving success at blogging. What is yours? This is your goal. Spend some time really looking at your goal so that you have a clear picture of what it will look like when you get there.

Step Two: Define the Path

Next, you need to decide, what do you have to do to get there? By this I mean what specific actions do you need to add to the normal course of your day that will move you forward towards your goal. Do you want to write a book? How many words do you need to write a week or a day? How long should it take? Are you going to be a planner or a pantser? Do not discount the necessity of the planning process, whatever your end goal. As the saying goes, “Those who fail to plan, plan to fail.”

Step Three: What is it worth to you?

frederick douglasThird, you should decide what are you willing to give up in order to achieve your goal. As Fredrick Douglas said, “If there is no struggle, there is no progress.” Remember, if your goal was easy to attain, you would have done it already. One of my life tenets is that I will never find the time to do what I want, I have to make it. But to make the time I need I had to give up other things that were in that slot. What are your dreams worth to you?

Step Four: Stay the Course

Finally you have to stay the course. Starting on the path is only the first step to success. The real meat of the journey to your dreams is persevering. This involves not getting sidetracked or letting a little slip become a major fall. Hopefully by the time you reach this step you have a defined road-map to success, but if you stray off the map, often its doubly hard to get back on it.

Step Five: Celebrate the small stuff

Rewards, rewards, rewards. Allow yourself to be proud of the progress that you make. This serves two purposes. First, it keeps the energy high, especially if the road-map is a long one. For example, my dream of becoming a successful blogger is not something that will happen overnight. It will require months of writing and site maintenance and social media contact. This is an evolving process that really will never end. As long as my blogs exist I will have to continue to put love into them to grow them. Second, rewards help mark the movement from one phase into another. I gave myself a pat on the back when I had Exploring Expression built and the site went live. That was a major hurdle overcome. This reward moved me from site creation into site maintenance.

It is a wonderful thing to be able to set goals.  It is even better to achieve them.  By following these five steps, you too can be on your way to success.


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