If you want to succeed at discipline, you have got to be focused. You’ll never hit the bull’s eye if you’re aiming at multiple targets.
Here are three keys for maintaining focus:
1) Remove Distractions
If you are struggling to follow through with your goal(s), step back and examine if there are things that are serving as major distractions:
::Are you on Facebook or reading blogs instead of cleaning up your kitchen at night like you’d committed to? Set up Leechblock on your computer for the hour after dinner so you can’t get on the computer.
::Are you giving in to the temptation to eat two brownies every night, even though you’re trying to lose five pounds? Get rid of the brownies and don’t make anymore! Seriously, it’s better to throw them in the trash if they are keeping you from sticking with your goals.
2) Break Your Goal(s) Into Bite-Sized Pieces
If you look at your goal(s) as a whole, you can quickly get overwhelmed. But when you break it down into small pieces, it becomes much more manageable. In addition, it’s much easier to stay focused if you are only looking at the next few steps ahead of you than the huge mountain you’re aiming to climb.
Trying to lose 50 pounds can be daunting unless you break it down and focus on losing a half pound at a time. Successful marathoners can’t get hung up worrying about how they are going to finish, they just have to pace themselves for this mile or half-mile that they are currently running.
If you have a home piled with clutter, you won’t be able to overhaul it in a day. If, however, you set the timer for 15 minutes every day and work faithfully on it for three months, you’ll see some real progress.
3) Set Yourself Up for Success
It’s easy to make excuses for a lack of discipline, but excuses don’t get you anywhere. Instead, invest the time and effort you’d usually take to make excuses to consider what you can do to set yourself up for success in achieving your goals.
For instance, if you’re trying to get up early but you find that you always fall back to sleep or hit the snooze button, don’t just give up and make the excuse that “I’m not a morning person”. Maybe you’re not, but until you’ve put forth significant effort to try getting up early on a regular basis, you can’t make that statement.
Start winding down for bed at least an hour before you plan to go to bed. Make a point to go to bed an hour or two earlier than you usually do. Buy an alarm without a snooze, set multiple alarms, or have a friend call you at 6 a.m. every morning. Make yourself get right out of bed and jump in the shower to wake yourself up. Or, put your shoes on and go out for a morning run. Even if you’re dog tired, you’ll probably feel wide awake by the time you get home!
1) Consider what is distracting you from staying focused on your goal(s). How can you remove these distractions?
2) If you didn’t do so earlier in this series, take the time to break your goal(s) down into small bite-sized pieces. If applicable, set a specific timeframe for accomplishing each of these small pieces.
3) What things are hindering your success in following through with your goal(s)? What steps can you take to set you up for better success?
How are you doing on your current habit? I got up at 5 a.m. again this morning. I practically had to drag myself out of bed, but I was glad that I did later. And after a brisk run, a shower, and a cup of coffee, I felt quite energetic. However, I’m going to bed an hour earlier tonight, because I’m beginning to feel low on sleep!