Discipline: A Key to Achieving Your Goals
Rosemarie Rossetti, Ph.D.
Rosemarie is an internationally respected speaker, trainer, consultant and author who uses her experiences with adversity to educate global business leaders. She is also the president of Rossetti Enterprises, Inc. and Fortuna Press, LLC. You can contact Rosemarie at Rosemarie@ RosemarieSpeaks.com. For more information,
call +1.614.471.6100 or visit
Have you been thinking lately about what you want to accomplish this year? We all have periods in our lives when we decide to buckle down and work on our goals. We write them down 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 even make “to do” lists. But, over time, nothing seems to happen. We have great ideas and good intentions, but somehow we never quite achieve our desirable progress.
What will it take for us to take action in our lives and fulfill our personal and professional goals? For starters, we need to prioritize our goals and recognize that there are two levels of priorities. One level are goals that will have profound effects on our lives. The second level reflects goals that require our immediate attention. For example, a goal that will have a profound effect on your life might be to get a new job. A goal that requires our immediate attention could be paying a long overdue bill. When we focus on the positive outcome of each goal, we can see how important it is to take care of both levels of goals.
In my experience, I’ve realized that regardless of the level of a goal, a common missing link to progress is lack of discipline. We simply have not been diligent in sitting down at a pre-selected time to complete our tasks. We let less-important tasks take our time away from our higher priorities. Without realizing it, we’ve wasted time, and lost 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 devote days to accomplishing less- important tasks, only to realize days later that I put off moving in the direction I needed to follow. This is a delaying tactic that many of us use without realizing it. Unfortunately, this mode of procrastination can become habitual. It may take months for us to realize how we have sabotaged our efforts to reach our goals due to our lack of discipline.
In order to move ahead, we must change our patterns of operation. As we identify our goals and their benefits, we must keep them in plain view. As an added incentive, we need to write down the consequences, missed opportunities, pain and misfortunes that we will experience if we do not pursue our 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 who 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 do work!
Also, get yourself mentally and physically ready for the task ahead. Realize that you’ll be expending energy, and that your mind and body need to be at their peak. It is wise to get adequate rest and nutrition prior to starting any sizable project. In order to discipline yourself, select the time that you will start and stop the task. Consider this an unbreakable appointment, and allow no interruptions to sidetrack 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.
Here’s another tip to remember: Start working on the biggest, hardest, most imposing task first. Get your highest level of energy behind you and work toward 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. Often, the momentum it took to get started is a great source of energy that fuels your efforts to make continued progress. You may even find that the task can be completed in a shorter 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 the adjustments necessary to enhance your life.