GoalsOnTrack Blog

A systematic approach to achieving goals and getting results.

How to Use Your Time Wisely by Prioritizing Your Goals

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In his bookExtreme Productivity: Boost Your Results, Reduce Your Hours, author Robert Pozen reveals his secrets and strategies for productivity and high performance, focusing on results produced rather than simply hours worked. In this edited excerpt, Pozen lays out six steps to analyze whether your efforts are supporting your most critical business goals and objectives.

Many executives race from meeting to meeting or crisis to crisis without giving much thought to the rationale for their hectic schedules. They spend too little time on activities that support their highest goals and often report a serious mismatch between priorities and time allocations.

Think carefully about why you are engaging in any activity and what you expect to get out of it. Establish your highest-ranking goals and determine whether your schedule is consistent with this ranking. This process has six steps: Read more

How To Be More Persistent To Achieve Your Goals

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As a general rule, there is a strong correlation between the prevailing economic sentiment and the national rate of consumer spending. This was in evidence this week, as Barclaycard reported a 0.4% drop in spending during January amid rising unemployment and a growing sense of economic uncertainty in the UK.

Conversely, periods of economic growth tend to trigger more robust spending and a more positive consumer outlook, through which individuals are often able to visualize their goals more clearly. In addition to this, you may well find it easier to achieve these goals on the back of soaring economic sentiment and the sense of security that it brings.

While economic and personal circumstances can impact on our ability to achieve individual goals, however, we must ultimately take responsibility for own success or failure. This means clearly visualizing your goals and setting realistic time frames for their completion, before taking practical steps towards achieving them. This will often require a tremendous amount of persistence, however, so consider the following points as you attempt to bring distant dreams into reality.

1. Have a clear understanding of your goal.

The successful visualization of your goal is critically important, as it enables you to understand both its origins and ultimate purpose. Whether the goal is career orientated or associated with your personal life, the ability to comprehend its meaning will help you to determine its level of importance and whether or not it should be a leading priority. Most importantly, by clearly understanding your goal, you can comprehend the value that its accomplishment will add to your life.

2. Plot a clear path toward success.

While having a clear end goal is critically important, it means little unless you are able to plot a clear and achievable path towards success. Planning your course and establishing time frames can also help you to understand whether or not it is realistically achievable, or if a compromise may be needed to make it viable. If you are to translate a dream into something tangible, this is a crucial and insightful process.

3. Create a series of simple and practical steps.

On a similar note, achieving any goal can also be made easier by breaking it down into a series of simple, practical and chronological steps. This not only makes it seem more manageable, but it also provides a constant reference to your progress and the steps that are still required if you are to be successful. If you are easily overwhelmed, this is a technique that will ensure you remain focused at all times.

4. Do not let your goal dictate the course of your life.

The main purpose of these steps is to help make your goal more attainable, so that you can accomplish it in a way that suits your lifestyle and existing schedule. It is crucial that your goal does not dictate the course of your life, as this will disturb your work-life balance and have a detrimental impact on those closest to you. This must be avoided at all costs, so take care to adopt a responsible approach towards fulfilling your dreams.

5. Be prepared to fail and remain mentally strong.

Even with a sense of focus and a clear path towards success, outside factors can derail the most carefully laid plans. You must therefore remain driven and mentally strong while looking to achieve your goals, as you adopt a pragmatic outlook and prepare for any eventuality that may ultimately underline your ambition. While some may consider this to be a negative mindset, preparing to fail can ensure that you remain on course when things do go wrong.

6. Adjust and change your course as required.

On the occasions that you do encounter difficulty, there may be a need to adjust your course and tailor your plans accordingly. This flexible and proactive approach enables you to react positively to even the most significant challenges, while it may also help you to constantly review your goals and the methods used to accomplish them. Even if you are not faced with an immediate problem, you may still wish to adapt if you identify a better way of realizing your goals.

7. Do not let success reduce your drive or level of motivation.

For most individuals, life represents a series of challenges and changeable goals that require accomplishment. Once you have begun to achieve your individual goals, however, it is important to maintain your existing level of drive and innate hunger to succeed. Even short-term or relatively moderate success can create a sense of complacency and de-motivation, so you must retain focus if you are to accomplish multiple goals in your lifetime.

With these thoughts in mind, you should be able to successfully accomplish individual goals throughout the course of your life. More importantly, you will also be able to maintain your sense of drive and remain successful over a prolonged period of time.

The Importance of Systems in Achieving Goals

By Joe Downie, Certified Physical Fitness Instructor

Setting and achieving goals can be very overwhelming if systems aren’t put in place. A system can take many different forms. It can be a simple post-it reminder or it can be a routine that you follow on a regular basis.

Once you start setting goals, it’s tough not to want to set them in all areas of your life – school, work, exercise, your dreams, hobbies, the way you want to act, etc. If systems aren’t put in place, it’s very hard to keep everything organized and consistent. To achieve a goal, consistency is very important. We have all set out to do something, only to get off track. We’ll remember a couple weeks later and try starting it up again, but it never works that way. A year later you think about what could have been.

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Positive Affirmations and Long-Term Goals Change Your Luck

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America contains millions of men and women who have come from difficult backgrounds, with every conceivable type of handicap and liability, but have gone on to build wonderful lives for themselves through self-improvement, positive affirmations and setting long-term goals.  Often, people around them ascribe their good fortunes to luck. But if you talk to these people and you trace their stories from where they began to where they are now, you will find that luck had little to do with their success, but more with their long-term goals and positive affirmations. And, it has little to do with yours.

Your Long-Term Goals impact Cause and Effect

The Law of Cause and Effect cuts in both directions.  It also says that if there is an effect in your life, such as lack of money, overweight, problems in your relationships, an unsatisfying job or career, or any other difficulty, you can trace that effect back to the things that you did to cause it, and by removing the causes by setting long-term goals, you can begin to remove the effects and begin to follow a path through positive affirmations and self-improvement.

Practice The Proven Principles of Success Through Positive Affirmations and Self-Improvement

In its simplest terms, successful, happy, healthy, prosperous people are those who have discovered the principles of self-improvement through long-term goals, goal setting and positive affirmations. They have designed their lives so that they live in harmony with those principles.  As a result, they experience far more joy and satisfaction in life. They accomplish far more in a few years than the average person does in a lifetime.

You’ve heard it said, in Poker, “The winners laugh and tell jokes while the losers say, “shut up and deal!”  In the world around you, the winners are busy and actively working toward achieving their long-term goals through positive affirmations while average people are putting in as little work and contribution as they can and hoping for a lucky break. Winners always ascribe their success to hard work, goal setting and self-improvement.  Mediocre people always ascribe their failures to bad luck.

Consequences Of Goal Setting

Another version of the Law of Cause and Effect is the Law of Action and Reaction.  First propounded and explained by Sir Isaac Newton.  This law states that, “For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.”  Put another way, actions have consequences.

This is important.  At the beginning, you can decide upon the action.  You can control what you do throughpositive affirmations and goal setting.  But once you have launched a particular action, the consequences are often out of your hands.  Once you have done or said a particular thing, the consequences take on a power and a force of their own.  This is why successful people are more thoughtful about the potential consequences of what they say and do than the average person. Unsuccessful people, on the other hand, tend to be thoughtless, even careless, about their statements or behaviors, avoid positive affirmations, self-improvement, goal setting and do not have long-term goals.

The key to enjoying more of what people call luck is for you to engage in more of the actions that are more likely to bring about the consequences that you desire through your long-term goals and self-improvement.  At the same time, you must consciously decide through positive affirmations to avoid those actions that will not bring about the consequences you desire, or even worse, will bring about consequences that you don’t want.

Create Your Own Luck Through Positive Affirmations

If you are in sales, the daily actions of achieving your long-term-goals through prospecting, presenting, following up and working continuously to cultivate leads and referrals will ultimately bring about the consequences of sales success, higher income, personal pride and greater satisfaction from your career.  The more of these actions you engage in, the more pleasurable consequences you will enjoy.  Your success will be largely under your control through goal setting and self-improvement. It will not be a matter of luck at all.

By having long-term goals you will create your own luck through positive affirmations, goal setting, and self-improvement.

SMART Goal Setting: A Surefire Way To Achieve Your Goals

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I encourage you to pick up a pen and a piece of paper and jot down the goals you want to reach. Look at each goal and evaluate it. Make any changes necessary to ensure it meets the criteria for a SMART goals:

  • S = Specific
  • M = Measurable
  • A = Attainable
  • R = Realistic
  • T = Timely

Specific

Goals should be straightforward and emphasize what you want to happen. Specifics help us to focus our efforts and clearly define what we are going to do.

Specific is the What, Why, and How of the SMART model.

  • WHAT are you going to do? Use action words such as direct, organize, coordinate, lead, develop, plan, build etc.
  • WHY is this important to do at this time? What do you want to ultimately accomplish?
  • HOW are you going to do it? (By…)

Ensure the goals you set is very specific, clear and easy. Instead of setting a goal to lose weight or be healthier, set a specific goal to lose 2cm off your waistline or to walk 5 miles at an aerobically challenging pace.

Measurable

If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it. In the broadest sense, the whole goal statement is a measure for the project; if the goal is accomplished, the is a success. However, there are usually several short-term or small measurements that can be built into the goal.

Choose a goal with measurable progress, so you can see the change occur. How will you see when you reach your goal? Be specific! “I want to read 3 chapter books of 100 pages on my own before my birthday” shows the specific target to be measure. “I want to be a good reader” is not as measurable.

Establish concrete criteria for measuring progress toward the attainment of each goal you set. When you measure your progress, you stay on track, reach your target dates, and experience the exhilaration of achievement that spurs you on to continued effort required to reach your goals.

Attainable

When you identify goals that are most important to you, you begin to figure out ways you can make them come true. You develop that attitudes, abilities, skills, and financial capacity to reach them. Your begin seeing previously overlooked opportunities to bring yourself closer to the achievement of your goals.

Goals you set which are too far out of your reach, you probably won’t commit to doing. Although you may start with the best of intentions, the knowledge that it’s too much for you means your subconscious will keep reminding you of this fact and will stop you from even giving it your best.

A goal needs to stretch you slightly so you feel you can do it and it will need a real commitment from you. For instance, if you aim to lose 20lbs in one week, we all know that isn’t achievable. But setting a goal to loose 1lb and when you’ve achieved that, aiming to lose a further 1lb, will keep it achievable for you.

The feeling of success which this brings helps you to remain motivated.

Realistic

This is not a synonym for “easy.” Realistic, in this case, means “do-able.”It means that the learning curve is not a vertical slope; that the skills needed to do the work are available; that the project fits with the overall strategy and goals of the organization. A realistic project may push the skills and knowledge of the people working on it but it shouldn’t break them.

Devise a plan or a way of getting there which makes the goal realistic. The goal needs to be realistic for you and where you are at the moment. A goal of never again eating sweets, cakes, crisps and chocolate may not be realistic for someone who really enjoys these foods.

For instance, it may be more realistic to set a goal of eating a piece of fruit each day instead of one sweet item. You can then choose to work towards reducing the amount of sweet products gradually as and when this feels realistic for you.

Be sure to set goals that you can attain with some effort! Too difficult and you set the stage for failure, but too low sends the message that you aren’t very capable. Set the bar high enough for a satisfying achievement!

Timely

Set a timeframe for the goal: for next week, in three months, by fifth grade. Putting an end point on your goal gives you a clear target to work towards.

If you don’t set a time, the commitment is too vague. It tends not to happen because you feel you can start at any time. Without a time limit, there’s no urgency to start taking action now.

Time must be measurable, attainable and realistic.

Everyone will benefit from goals and objectives if they are SMART. SMART, is the instrument to apply in setting your goals and objectives.

Why Write? Journaling to Achieve Your Goals

By Amber Lea Starfire

In addition to many other reasons for journaling, your journal can function as a kind of personal coach — essentially, someone who helps you identify and achieve goals. Modeled after sports coaching, a personal coach holds you accountable, pushes you a little harder than you might push yourself, and cheers you on. You can think of a personal coach as someone who facilitates the identification of desires, skills, and abilities you have, and the development of major and minor goals to help you achieve more in your life. In some cases, helping you to find your passion and/or new directions.

Certainly, there are things a person can do for you that a journal cannot — bringing in outside resources or pushing you harder than you would work on your own, for instance. But a journal can be used to help you identify core issues, things you really want to have or be in your life, and the steps you’ll need to take to reach those goals. And if you decide you want to work with a professional personal coach at some point, your journal writing work will have laid a strong foundation.

This process is future-oriented. So, rather than writing or reflecting about events in your past, you’ll be writing — for the most part — about the future. How does it work? For the sake of this article, let’s take a simple approach to setting and achieving a single goal.

  1. Define your goal. A goal is a general statement about what you want to achieve. For example, I want to be more active in my community.
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  2. Figure out what you already know and/or have that relates to your goal. In my example, I need to understand what I know about my community and what kind of resources (skills, time, and money) I have to offer. I figure I can spend about two hours a week or so. I can make a list of skills I have to offer, preferably activities that I enjoy. And I’ll write down what I know, if anything, about different organizations in my community.
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  3. Brainstorm a list of objectives related to the goal. Objectives are steps or strategies to attain goals, but the trick to stating objectives is that they must be specific and measurable. One step to becoming more active in my community is making a list of community organizations. Another might be to identify those organizations that most attract me. A third might be to visit and/or interview people at these organizations to find out more about how they work and what volunteer opportunities are available. And so on. Once you’ve brainstormed a list of possible objectives, put them in order. Sometimes, you may need to do some research before you know what you need to do and/or in what order. That, then, becomes your first objective.
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  4. Next, give yourself completion dates for each objective. In my example, my first objective will be to make a list of ten community organizations, including contact numbers, by one week from today (date). Be as realistic as possible about the dates, while understanding that you can adjust them in the future, if you need to.
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  5. Write your dates on your calendar. If there are sub-steps you need to take for an objective, put these on your calendar as well. For example: 1) On (date), look up county agencies on county website; 2) on (date), go to library and find out how to access list of non-profit organizations in town.
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  6. Finally, use your journal and your calendar to hold yourself accountable. Hold weekly “sessions” with yourself to write about how you’re doing towards your goal. If you notice resistance to completing tasks you’ve set yourself, write about it, and devise some strategies to help. Maybe you’re trying to push yourself to do things you don’t really want to do but feel you “should” do. Explore this. Above all, be understanding, compassionate, nonjudgmental, yet firm with yourself. This is, after all, what a personal coach would do.

You might consider a special journal or notebook to hold your goals and self-coaching sessions. Or you might decide to keep it in the context of your regular journaling (mine are mixed together). Whatever feels most comfortable and works with your organizational style is fine.

15 High Performance Habits That Will Make You Successful

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According to recent statistics released by the Office for National Statistics, under-employment in the UK has now reached its highest level since 1992. An estimated 1.46 million of the nation’s part-time workers are actively seeking full-time employment, as the government struggles to create viable job opportunities for its citizens.

So while British Prime Minister David Cameron may have recently called for individuals from poorer backgrounds to “raise their aspirations,” he must first focus on creating opportunities that motivate this demographic. Even then, it must be recognized that motivation and aspiration are both complex psychological processes, which require a daily commitment and the cultivation of a positive lifestyle.

With this in mind, it is worth identifying the high performance traits and practices that will help you to achieve your goals. Consider the following habits to be successful.

1. Measure Success in Happiness Rather than Wealth

The modern generation of employees are increasingly motivated by factors other than wealth, with job satisfaction, benefits and empowerment all key considerations. This also represents a shift in the way that people measure their success, as defining it in pounds and pence or dollars and cents only leads you to consistently chase a higher amount with ever achieving true satisfaction. This can be counter-productive, so be sure to create a clearly defined vision of success and understand precisely what it means to you.

2. Challenge yourself and Do Hard Things

You cannot succeed in life without first achieving personal growth, which demands a willingness to accept and overcome difficult challenges. It is only though overcoming obstacles that we are able to learn and develop critical life skills, and it is these attributes that will equip us to obtain success. By challenging yourself and confronting difficult tasks, you can also change your mind-set with regards to the possibilities that life holds.

3. Listen to Constructive Criticism and the Opinion of Others

While positive feedback can improve your morale and motivate you to achieve success, it is your ability to respond to constructive criticism that will ultimately empower you to reach your goals. After all, this type of feedback highlights areas in which you need to improve, rather than simply reaffirming your strengths as an individual. Your weaknesses can then be targeted through training and development, which in turn will empower you as a stronger and more rounded individual.

4. Learn from Failure

While failure is considered to be a teacher of valuable life lessons, drawing from painful and disappointing experiences is far easier said than done. In fact, it requires an ability to decipher the exact lessons that we can learn from each individual failure, so that we can apply these in the quest for future success. By confronting the issue head on and identifying exactly where things went wrong, you can take actionable steps towards ensuring that the same mistakes are not made again.

5. Develop an Early and Consistent Wake-up Routine

While recent studies have suggested that enjoying eight hours sleep each day may actually be counter-productive to your levels of mental agility, it is still important that you develop a consistent cycle of sleep. This enables you to become an early riser who wakes up at exactly the same time each day, which makes it far easier for you to optimize your time and develop a productive schedule. So while the rest of the world is still snoozing in bed, you can be taking decisive action towards empowering your body and mind for the day ahead.

6. Choose a Positive Attitude

While there are some who consider the fear of failure to be a key motivator, it is more likely to create inhibitions that prevent you from achieving success. Instead, it is far better to be proactive and adopt a positive attitude in everything that you do. Given the variables that can influence your chances of achieving success, it is crucial that you take control of your own outlook and use positivity as a way of identifying opportunities.

7. Make a Commitment to Achieve Every Single Day

Although waking up one morning with a proactive and positive outlook is to be encouraged, it means little if you are unable to commit to this every single day. Recommitting to your routine and the pursuit of your goals is crucial to achieving success; otherwise, the pressures of everyday life can divert your focus. While this requires tremendous drive and strength of character, it will ultimately empower you to be successful over a prolonged period of time.

8. Work harder than your Competition and Those Around you

While you can only control your own efforts in the pursuit of your goals, it is important to remember that each individual’s success is also determined by those around them. When competing with others for a specific goal or prize, for example, you must do everything within your power and leave no stone un-turned if you attain success. At the heart of this is your level of dedication to the cause, as making a commitment to work harder than those around will ultimately afford you a critical edge.

9. Make Complacency your enemy

One of the biggest obstacles to long-term success is complacency, which can easily set-in after positive feedback or the attainment of short-term goals. You must strive to use these achievements as a spring-board, however, and rededicate yourself to the cause with renewed vigor. Take the example of footballer Cristiano Ronaldo, who despite emerging as one of the best players in the world continues to commit himself to a punishing daily fitness regime that encourages self-improvement.

10. Fear No Single Individual

Pursuing success in your chosen profession is extremely difficult, primarily because you will undoubtedly come across intimidating and purposeful individuals who are striving to achieve similar goals. You cannot allow these individuals to undermine or overpower you, however, as this will put you at a disadvantage and force you to feel inferior to the competition. While you must always respect competing individuals around you, it is important that you remain fearless and back your talent to ultimately succeed.

11. Commit Your Goals to Paper

Believe it or not, the power of the to-do list lies in subtle psychology. Often applied to short-term goals or daily tasks that require completion, this type of list provides an actionable schedule for individuals which enables them to mark their progress as they proceed. This can provide reassurance that you are achieving your goals and being productive within a given time frame, and committing your long-term goals to paper may help you to remain focused and motivated during more difficult times.

12. Surround yourself with Positive and Successful Individuals

Having a diverse and mixed group of friends is all well and good, but it is imperative that individuals within your social circles share a similar outlook to work and professional success. If you have friends who have a tendency to draw focus and distract you from your work, for example, you may ultimately need to make a choice between pursuing success and settling for your existing lifestyle. If the idea of eliminating people from your life makes you feel uncomfortable, ask yourself if a true friend would risk your long-term happiness by actively preventing you from achieving your goals.

13. Maintain a Fit and Healthy Body

According to the Athletes Way philosophy, there are a number of daily lifestyle choices that can help to create the perfect balance between physical fitness and mental agility. There are numerous studies that have proven a link between the two, and it is increasingly clear that regular exercise is a key driver of enhanced mental performance. So if you wish to develop the necessary stamina to achieve personal and professional success, a physically fit body is pivotal.

14. Invest Only in the Pursuit of your Goals

While wealth may not be the most suitable measure of success, it can certainly be used to fund personal and professional development. With this in mind, it is important to spend money on the development of your career or business, rather than simply investing in material possessions that do little more than create a superficial image. Making these spending decisions is a key part of chasing success, as it forces you to consider your goals and how much you value their accomplishment.

15. Be Prepared to Make Sacrifices

On a similar note, you may well be forced to make sacrifices in your quest for success, as any goals that are worth achieving are unlikely to be easily obtainable. The so-called ‘law of sacrifice’ states simply that you cannot obtain something that you want without being willing to give something up in return, so you must therefore be prepared to sacrifice a life of excess and material possessions in order to be successful in your career.

The Bottom Line

The definition of success is a diverse concept, and one that remains unique to each individual. Determining what it means to you and developing long-term goals are therefore important steps towards achieving happiness, while you must also be willing to make lifestyle changes and re-evaluate your entire outlook in life.

Thirty Seconds to Successful Visualization

By Alison Greiner

Visualization is a technique used by everyone whether they are conscious of it or not. As a child, dressing up as a nurse, a school teacher or a doctor was a physical way of visualizing your future. The brain doesn’t know the difference between reality and fantasy; what you imagine yourself to be is what you will become. When you visualize something, your brain goes to work full time to achieve what it has seen.

It worked for them, it will work for you!

Many athletes such as Michael Jordan, Jack Nicklaus and Wayne Gretzky use visualization to achieve success in their sports. Einstein, Napoleon and Andrew Carnegie as well as many brain surgeons and successful business people have used visualization to reach their goals.

The language of the right brain and the subconscious mind is imagery. By imagining, or visualizing your goals, you speak directly to your subconscious mind. Daily Success Habit number seven is visualization. With the techniques below be sure to visualize daily and record it on theSPTS Daily Life Improvement Checklist as you see your goals become reality!

Visualization Techniques

Using different visualization techniques each day keeps you from getting bored as each goal is supported by a different technique using different areas of your brain.

Choose a goal and apply the following six techniques, from Lee Pulos’ audio program,The Power of Visualization, for only 30 seconds each. If you want to further embed your goal, repeat the exercises for another 30 seconds. Perform these exercises with enthusiasm and believe that you have already achieved your goal.

Create the ideal brain state for visualization by synergistically combining the emotional energy from your midbrain, the focus from your left brain and the playfulness from your right brain.

1. Collage Imagery: Picture a collage of different images where your goal is being achieved. If your goal is to graduate from school, picture your graduation night, your teachers shaking your hand and congratulating you and your family giving you big hugs of joy. Hold your degree in your hand and visualize your name on it. You may want to picture each snapshot for a few seconds before proceeding to the next.

2. Strobe/Flash Visualizing: See the end goal in your mind and mentally turn it on and off. See it flashing slowly and then quickly, alternating fast and slow until the image ignites in your mind.

3. Computer-Generated Imagery: Picture a blank computer screen with a small dot in the middle of the screen. Stare at the small dot and thousands of other dots will appear on the screen to create the colorful imagery and pattern of your end goal.

4. Multi Focus: Let a beam of light shoot from your forehead to six feet in front of you, illuminating your goal. Bright beams of light also shoot from your heart and your solar plexus. Allow the beams of light to blend over each other to create a 3D holograph of your goal before your eyes.

5. Whoosh!: Picture the current state of your goal and then whoosh the image of your end goal into your mind. The accomplishment of your goal is bright and you are enthusiastic and full of life. For example, picture your current car and then whoosh the image of your shiny new dream car into your mind. Whoosh back and forth between the two images six to eight times in the 30-second period.

6. In/Out: Picture yourself inside your body, looking outward at the goal. Go on to picture yourself outside of your body, watching yourself achieve the goal. Switch back and forth from being inside your body to being an observer outside of your body. This will allow your subconscious mind to determine different perspectives to begin programming.

Visualize yourself receiving your degree. Feel the thin textured paper of your desired commission check in your hand. Smell the scent of fresh spring flowers as you relax on the patio of your new vacation home. Hear the laughter of your happy and healthy children. Whatever you want to be, do, or have you can achieve through the power of visualization.

Self-Discipline: The Foundation For Success

By Zorka Hereford

No personal success, achievement, or goal, can be realized without self-discipline.  It is singularly the most important attribute needed to achieve any type of personal excellence, athletic excellence, virtuosity in the arts, or otherwise outstanding performance.

What is self-discipline?

It is the ability to control one’s impulses, emotions, desires and behavior. It is being able to turn down immediate pleasure and instant gratification in favor of gaining the long-term satisfaction and fulfillment from achieving higher and more meaningful goals.

To possess it is to be able to make the decisions, take the actions, and execute your game plan regardless of the obstacles, discomfort, or difficulties, that may come your way.

Certainly, being disciplined does not mean living a limiting or a restrictive lifestyle. Nor, does not mean giving up everything you enjoy, or, to relinquish fun and relaxation. It does mean learning how to focus your mind and energies on your goals and persevere until they are accomplished. It also means cultivating a mindset whereby you are ruled by your deliberate choices rather than by your emotions, bad habits, or the sway of others. Self-discipline allows you to reach your goals in a reasonable time frame and to live a more orderly and satisfying life.

How To Develop Self-Discipline

Start with baby steps. No process takes place overnight. Just as it takes time to build muscle, so does it take time to develop self-discipline. The more you train and build it, the stronger you become. In exercise, if you try to do too much at once, you could injure yourself and have a setback. Likewise, take it one step at a time in building self-discipline. So, begin by making the decision to go forward and learning what it takes to get there.

Learn what motivates you and what your bad triggers are. You can begin by learning about yourself! Sometimes it is very difficult to fight off urges and cravings, so know the areas where your resistance is low and how to avoid those situations.  If you know you can’t resist cake, fries, or other temptations - stay away from them. Do not have them around to lure you in moments of weakness.disciplineIf you also know that putting pressure on yourself does not work for you, then set yourself up in an environment that encourages the building of self-discipline rather than one that sabotages it. Remove the temptations and surround yourself with soothing and encouraging items such as motivating slogansand pictures of what you want to achieve.

Learn also what energizes and motivates you. Your willpower can go up and down with your energy levels so play energetic music to perk you up, move around, laugh. Train yourself to enjoy what you are doing by being energized. This will make it easier to implement desirable and appropriate behaviors into your routine - which is really what self-discipline is all about.

Make certain behaviors a routine. Once you have decided what’s important to you and which goals to strive for, establish a daily routine that will help you achieve them. For example, if you want to eat healthily or lose weight; resolve to eat several servings of fruits and vegetables each day and exercise for at least half an hour. Make it part of your daily routine and part of your self-discipline building. Likewise, get rid of some of your bad, self-defeating habits, whatever they may be. They can put you in a negative frame of mind and hinder your self-discipline. A poor attitude can also be a bad habit.

Practice self-denial. Learn to say no to some of your feelings, impulses and urges. Train yourself to do what you know to be right, even if you don’t feel like doing it. Skip dessert some evenings. Limit your TV watching. Resist the urge to yell at someone who has irritated you. Stop and think before you act. Think about consequences. When you practice self-restraint it helps you develop the habit of keeping other things under control.

Engage in sports or activities. Sports are an excellent way to enhance self- discipline. They train you to set goals, focus your mental and eexercisemotional energies, become physically fit, and to get along well with others.  Participating in sports provides a situation where you learn to work hard and strive to do your best, which in turn, teaches you to integrate the same the thought processes and disciplines into your everyday life.

Learning to play a musical instrument can be another great way to practice self-discipline. The focus, repetition, and application required in learning to play an instrument is invaluable. Achieving self-discipline in any one area of your life reprograms your mind to choose what is right, rather than what is easy.

Get inspiration from those you admire. Michael Jordan has always maintained that his greatness as a basketball player came as much from his willingness to work hard at his craft, as it did his talent. It was his desire through discipline and focus that made him one of the best basketball players ever. If it worked for him, it could certainly work for the rest of us.

Visualize the rewards. There is nothing more gratifying than accomplishing your goals. Practice the technique that high achievers and top athletes do. Project yourself in the future. Visualize your desired outcome. Feel how rewarding it is and the countless benefits you will enjoy. Remind yourself what it takes to get there. 

The Benefits

  • It helps build self-confidence.

  • You accomplish more, and are therefore more productive.

  • You are able to maintain a higher tolerance for frustration, obstacles and negative emotions.

  • Allows you to obtain better health, better finances and a good work ethic.

  • You are able to reach your most difficult goals more efficiently.

  • The more disciplined you become, the easier life gets.

If we are to be masters of our own destiny, we must develop self-discipline and self-control. By focusing on long-term benefits instead of short-term discomfort, we can encourage ourselves to develop of self-discipline. Ultimately our health and happiness depend on it.