The internet is filled with lists. Lists seem to draw readers in. Make a list, gain followers.
What happens once you’ve exhausted your list? Maybe your book gets a little long in the tooth. Well you make a new one, or add to your old one. The 8th Habit: From Effectiveness to Greatness. After publishing 7 Habits in 1989, it only took fifteen years for Dr. Covey to discover there are actually 8 habits! Is this like discovering a new element? Or more simply a desire by an author and a publisher to capitalize on a successful franchise? I don’t blame them, I commend their success in marketing to the masses. It is what we all try to do. I’m not a Tony Robbins fan, but his success is undeniable. No one will mistake Sean Combs for a great rapper, but once again his prowess in parlaying his Bad Boy Entertainment label’s success into a clothing line, restaurants, a vodka brand, a major stake in both Revolt TV and an athletic beverage company show is commendable.
If (or when) I write my book it would be short, yet applicable across the landscape of many industries and interests. It would work to solve issues broadly. The concept so simple, I would make no money. I would save on production costs, however. It would be titled:
a rule or system of rules governing conduct or activity
A simple term that overlays so well over so much of what we all try to do. If you can master it, you will succeed. Even the definition is powerful.
“Control gained by enforcing…”
“Training that corrects…perfects the mental faculties or moral character”
But the one that stands out, punishment! I imagine the proper interpretation, in this context, is a type of punishment one might associate a parent conveying to a child who has done something wrong. But what if we applied it differently, what if we considered it a result of a failure to be disciplined? Translate your goals into your disciplines and if you fail to show self-control, obedience and perfecting of your moral character while trying to achieve then how do you punish yourself? Sounds a little harsh taken out of context, but the point is to set a discipline for what you are trying to accomplish and if you fail, have a repercussion that resets you, but at a cost.
We can read through the various lists that stream across our eyes everyday. That is the easy part. So is creating your own lists. Creating a list of chores you need to accomplish. A list of long-term goals you’d like to complete. A list of places you want to travel to. See, even this list could go on and on. Lists are easy. So are setting goals.
We all have many goals we would like to accomplish. But how many of us actually take the time to write them down, and more importantly hold ourselves accountable to those goals. Goals will eventually become lists if not executed. Goals need to be defined and objectives set. When it comes to life goals, it may be hard to list “Get Married” if you haven’t met that special someone, so defining an objective and timeline may be difficult. Separate out goals that can’t be expressed with accuracy (e.g. marriage, children, etc.). Instead focus on definable goals: retirement, house, car, student loans. These goals can be expressed with a deadline and a numerical value. If you are 25 years old and you expect to retire at 65 years old, you know for a fact that you will work for 40 years. You can try to calculate how much you may need for retirement and then begin to try and accomplish it. This is an example of a definable, yet very difficult goal to accomplish.
So take a step back and slow down. We will get to retirement, but right now so much of your life is still in front of you, you’re young and have a lot you want to see and accomplish. Let’s start there. List your near term goals and tackle a few of those. You want to buy a car, you want to pay down your student loans, you want to get your own apartment. These are three definable goals that you know what each costs and a timeline to define success. Establishing these goals with their corresponding objectives is the foundation for success. However, this is not enough. Take these three simple examples, each requires a commitment on your part and if you are also the judge and jury on whether you are successful, a lot of room exists for discrepancies and failure. It’s unlikely you have every shared even these three types of goals with anyone. You try and tackle them alone. This is a mistake.
Your chance for success increases tremendously if you allow others to have a window into your desires.
Take the car example, if you wanted to save $5,000 to put a down payment on the car of your choice and you knew you could save $500 per month, then it would take 10 months to get there. That’s a long time to remain disciplined. So many opportunities to sway off track, a concert here, a sporting event there, maybe some new clothes, etc. When you set the goal, you believed it was achievable, but 5 months into it, you are beginning to show fatigue. Other interests pop up in the short attention span world we live in today. Don’t try to tackle this goal alone. Share it with a group that would most appreciate and encourage you to be successful. Maybe it is one close friend, maybe it’s a number of family and friends. If you invite a few people into a particular goal and expose yourself and your vulnerabilities, you will be more prone to succeed in accomplishing it. No one likes to fail, but if you go at it alone, no one knows if you do, so it is easy. If you bring some others to the party, their mere presence will give you a much better chance to succeed.
Being disciplined is easy to talk about, but difficult to execute. Very few can simply jump on a bike and ride hours upon hours per day. Even if you can ride for days, the most disciplined athletes still all have coaches to push them to reach peak performance. Consider your network, your friends, your family to be your coaches. Allow them to see a window into what you want to accomplish and let them guide, encourage, and push you to succeed.