Discipline is a topic I refer back to again and again, both in my writing and in my talks, for a very simple reason. Without disciplining both your thoughts and actions, you are unlikely to achieve success, happiness or personal fulfillment.
Many people think that Mind Power is a magic wand, an easy way to manifest your goals; that you just “think” something a few times and soon it happens. I wish it were so, but it takes more than that. Mind Power is an effective and powerful tool in creating your reality, but it will only happen if you have the ability to do your exercises regularly and consistently, week in and week out, and follow up these exercises with action. And this will only occur if you have discipline. Discipline to persist with your mental exercises beyond the initial euphoria and novelty of working with your mind in this new way, and discipline to set and achieve weekly goals. As this website advises, “Mind Power is a practice, not a philosophy.”
Discipline is not a dirty word, and it is not something you should avoid or approach with trepidation. If you dislike the sound of discipline, change your attitude about it immediately and let discipline be your friend, your mentor, your teacher and your coach.
The professional sports team that neglects discipline in either their preparation or on the sports field will always, in the end, be soundly beaten by the team that possesses discipline. An undisciplined team will not have the conditioning, the strategy or the execution necessary to win it all. They may have moments of brilliance, even dominance, but those moments will eventually give way to disorganization and ineptitude. So too in our life. A disciplined life will always be more successful and enjoyable than an undisciplined life.
Now a couple of questions: Are you disciplined? Do you play to win in your life? What is your strategy for achieving your goals? How well are you executing that strategy? It’s amazing to me how many people want to be happy, successful and personally fulfilled in their lives, and yet they have no discipline or strategy to achieve it. They think it is going to happen if they just want it badly enough. Wanting something to happen in your life without having discipline or a strategy is like a sports team entering a game with no game plan, just hoping it will all work out. Don’t hope it will work out. Design a strategy and then execute it.
If you know what you want in life but fail to set and achieve weekly goals, you are missing one of the surest ways to success. I have worked and been successful in many different fields and have a lot to share on this subject, and I do so in my books and CDs. But if I were limited to sharing only one piece of advice on what is most important to success, it would be, “Master the discipline of setting and achieving weekly goals.” Why weekly? Because a week is a long enough time to accomplish a number of tasks, and a short enough time to notice where you are executing well, and–most importantly–where you are not. A weekly review lets you catch your procrastination, inertia, bad habits and all the distractions and details that sabotage your best intentions.
Now another secret revealed: Your best intentions do not count. The only thing that counts is your ability to set goals and achieve those goals. Everything else is illusory. Yes, you might have moments or weeks or even months of brilliance, but you are unlikely to achieve your life goals of success, happiness and personal fulfillment. To achieve these goals you need discipline. You need action in both the inner world of your thoughts, and the outer world of your activities.
So first the discipline of setting goals: Ask yourself these questions. What do I want to achieve for myself in this life? Then ask what do I want to achieve for myself this year? What can I begin to do immediately, this week, to achieve these goals? Set yourself a weekly goal that will move you in the direction of the yearly goal. Make the goal measurable. Do not push yourself too hard or you will rebel against the regime. Do not make it too easy or you will lack motivation to pursue it. Choose a middle ground between the two extremes and then begin the week with a set of Mind Power techniques you will practice, and a number of activities you will accomplish. After each week review what was done and what was not done.
When noticing what didn’t get done, be conscious of the reasons it didn’t get done. This is valuable information that you need for the next week. Plan your next week and work your plan. Review at the end of each week and then plan the next week’s activities. Following this weekly process you will soon discover your weak areas, where you avoid doing certain tasks or exercises. Knowing this is extremely valuable. We all have strengths and weaknesses. We all have our own particular idiosyncrasies that trip us up. Until you monitor yourself weekly you might not be aware of them.
You must become aware of them so you can design strategies that surmount these problem areas. Discipline yourself to see and know yourself at an intimate level, and to have the courage to make the changes that will cause you to be more effective at setting and achieving weekly goals.
When you don’t achieve your weekly goal, design a new strategy for the following week and be determined to succeed the following week. There is no need for remorse or recrimination. As the great boxer Mohammed Ali said, “ A heavyweight fight is fifteen rounds and you don’t have to win every round to win the fight.” Each week is a new week and a new opportunity to be successful.
When you accomplish your weekly goal, acknowledge yourself. This builds a success vibration. Nothing succeeds like success, and you build a success vibration week by week by simply accomplishing your weekly goals.
Gradually, as you master this system, you will notice that you are accomplishing an amazing amount. The goal of setting and achieving weekly goals is not to learn how to push yourself harder and do more work–actually if you practice this system you should be able to work less–but rather to get into the habit of being able to plan and execute your intentions. “Execute the basics; master the basics,” says my good friend Jim Murphy, a sports coach and mentor to many professional athletes. “When you master and execute the basics, the rest comes naturally.”
So too in our life; the same principle applies. Master and execute the basics. One of the basics, in having a happy and successful life, is simply mastering the ability to set and achieve weekly goals. Having a successful life is simply having the ability to know what you want, and then having the methods to accomplish it. When you can master setting and achieving weekly goals, you can master anything your mind can conceive of. This simple practice will revolutionize your life.
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