Many of my friends do marathons, a few others provide excellent care services to others, and a couple are social media gurus. There are times I want to do things like they do. but I want the ability to be gifted to me… I don’t want to work too hard for it…. I am lazy.
The question I often ask myself is: How did they get to be so good at what they do? The answer is usually discipline.
Discipline is a word many of us shy away from…. at least, I do. I hate feeling like I have to do something, I hate slow and steady wins the race, and I hate doing things that aren’t easy. But discipline is the quality of being able to achieve our goals; the difference between working toward a goal, or being distracted by the easy way out. Discipline is doing the hard things everyday. Actually, discipline is a necessary part of life; can you imagine living your life as a toddler?
About 30 years ago, I met a team that helped get me straightened out for a time; they were real drill sergeants…. no really… I was in boot camp and they provided the needed discipline. We would wake up at 0530 (Oh dark thirty for those who don’t speak military time) so we could get ready for our pre breakfast march. Each meal, appointment, and event was planned out for us, and we marched to each one. They would have random inspections to ensure our uniform, living area, and personal space was organized. The Drill Sergeants were the discipline for each one in the squad. In some respects, it was very nice to have the results… and to have someone to keep me on track.
As an adult, I realize I am the one responsible for my own motivation; though I have enjoyed a life of luxury. In other words… I have gotten soft; there are several areas in my life needing to be put in order…. I need discipline in my health, finances, and organization. If confession is good for the soul, then action to support that confession should be a little bit better. So I made a plan to follow and took some action.
Here are the steps I took for a better me:
Identify my values: What is truly important to me? I had to be honest with myself and list my values and not those that I think someone else thinks are important. Mine include location, family/friends, and stability.
Develop a dream: What do I want to be when I grow up? What do I want to do, be, or experience? I have dreams in several areas of my life (family, ministry, me, and work); a similar, but separate dream for each area.
List my qualities: What am I good at? what am I interested in? It is a fact we each are gifted at something. If I know my interests and skills, it helps set me in positive direction.
Set some goals: How do I get there from here? The recent buzz term is SMART steps (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely). These goals use my skills/qualities to get me closer to the things I listed as dreams and values. Some examples; in a year, I will…. every week I will do…. etc.
Evaluate progress: Did I accomplish some milestones? Did I get distracted? Do I need to change my plan, or my goal? If I chose to be a millionaire, what steps would I need to take to get there? How would my spending/saving plans change? What would I do to eliminate incidental spending? How would I determine the purchases that were distracting me from my goal?
One other thing I found to be helpful is to share your plans with some friends; the honest kind that tell you if it’s a pipe dream or a possibility.
How do you set personal goals? How do you keep your self motivated toward your goals? Do you have the freedom to change your plans? As always, I’d like to hear your thoughts.