GoalsOnTrack Blog

A systematic approach to achieving goals and getting results.

Building Your Success Muscles with Discipline

By Steven K. Cload

If you are like most people, one of the biggest reasons you haven’t yet achieved the success you desire is because you are not disciplined. In this age of instant gratification, we are accustomed to getting what we want right NOW. The thought of working diligently on a goal for weeks, months, or even years is a little depressing.

But without discipline, we are at the mercy of our circumstances and we will continue to be at their mercy. Once you get into a rut, you need tremendous discipline to pull yourself out of it.

One great example of this is being overweight and out of shape. If you’ve ever carried some extra pounds on your body, you know how exhausting and debilitating it can be. You feel sluggish, groggy, unmotivated – and the sofa seems like your best friend.

You know HOW to lose weight and get in shape: eat healthful food and exercise every day. But you don’t do it. You make excuses about why you are overweight and sink further into lethargy because it seems too challenging to turn it around.
Then one day you decide you just can’t stand feeling so rotten anymore, so you begin a diet and exercise plan. It’s grueling hard work at the beginning. You need to give yourself constant pep talks to put on your workout clothes and get moving, and you need to ignore that little sweets monster that makes cookies seem so alluring.

The ONLY thing that determines your success in a scenario like this is your level of discipline. Will you keep doing what you know you need to do to lose weight? Will you push yourself to exercise? Will you continue to eat a balanced diet, or give in to your cravings for junk food?

This all sounds so unappealing, doesn’t it? Being disciplined is hard work. Ah, but then something miraculous happens! If you keep at it for long enough, you begin to feel an inner shift. Suddenly you begin to realize that you are enjoying your workouts. You are beginning to look forward to your fruit smoothie each morning. Your clothes are getting baggy and your energy level is rising more each day. You are sleeping soundly at night and feeling better when you wake in the morning.

Amazingly, you don’t need such a large amount of discipline to keep up with your health plan because it doesn’t seem so difficult anymore. Your muscles are developing, your fat is melting away, and you are feeding your body a better quality of fuel, all of which make you feel so good that you want more. Cookies don’t seem so powerful anymore. Even more importantly, you have become accustomed to your new habits! As long as you don’t start backsliding, the rest of the journey to health and fitness is a rewarding joy ride.

This process is NO DIFFERENT for your goals, whatever they may be. It takes tremendous discipline at the beginning of the journey because you are not used to taking action on your goals. You will need to push yourself to do the things that need to be done.

Many of us give up at this stage because it seems too hard, and we believe it will ALWAYS be this hard. We forget that we humans are incredibly adaptive creatures. We can get used to almost anything. Remember, we simply GOT USED to not trying. We settled into a state of acceptance about living a mediocre life, about abandoning our dreams, about believing the people who told us we’d never be successful.

If we can get used to THAT, we can get used to challenging ourselves, stretching our comfort zones, and believing in our own capabilities. It’s just a matter of having the discipline and patience to see it through.

Make a solemn vow to yourself right now. Promise that you will keep taking action, keep working on improving yourself as a person, and keep striving for more happiness and success in whatever you do. Promise yourself that you will do what needs to be done on a daily basis – even if you don’t feel like it.

If you can keep those promises, you will be astounded by the changes that take place in your life. (Remember, it’s not an instant shift, so keep reminding yourself that it won’t always be so difficult!)

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