So far we’ve talked through the first three steps of fostering more self-discipline:
- Know your goals and where you are headed
- Don’t pay any attention to enablers
- Set yourself up for success
This week we look at arguably one of the most important steps – making a commitment.
Step Four – Make a Commitment
Once you have your goals and know what you want to work towards, make a huge commitment to them. When I was developing my self-discipline muscles, I wrote down my daily to do (which involved working on my goals) in my diary. The process of writing them down was one of making a commitment to myself as to how I was going to spend my time and it had a huge impact upon my productivity and the progress I made towards my goals.
Recently I realised that I wanted to foster even more self-discipline in my life. For example, I wanted to solidify my morning and evening routines as I often forgot to write in my happiness journal and record my voice diary before bed.
I’m excited to say that I now have my very own ‘Accountability Buddy’, one of my best friends who knows all of the habits and goals I want to keep to each day, and I hers. Think of having an ‘Accountability Buddy’ as being a public commitment you make and, like any public commitment, it drastically increases your motivation to keep to your goals because your ‘Accountability Buddy’ knows about it. Similarly, if an ‘Accountability Buddy’ doesn’t appeal to you, try making your commitments public by telling your friends and family.
My ‘Accountability Buddy’ and I write every daily goal in our diaries and ensure we record our successes by placing a tick or cross against them. We Skype each week so we can compare notes on whether we’ve stuck to our daily goals, and if not, we brainstorm better ways of sticking to our goals in future and encourage one another’s success. Finally we measure our progress by charting it on a spreadsheet so we can visually see how we’ve improved.
As you might guess, we both like organisation, A LOT. But don’t let the way we do things scare you off the idea of having an ‘Accountability Buddy’ – you can choose how far you’d like to go with the it! At a basic level, it might be that you just exchange your goals and call one another weekly to go through what you did and didn’t manage to do, brainstorming how you can improve in the coming weeks.
Step Five – Breaks and Rewards
One of the things I always do when writing and other goal related pursuits is to take regular breaks. Every hour I take a five minute coffee break and stretch my legs and every couple of hours I take fifteen to twenty minutes rest.
Also key to increasing self-discipline is having a reward system that works for you. For example, I’m working on waking up at 5am every day, and, if I manage to, I treat myself to two low calorie hot chocolates that day. Whatever you decide to reward yourself with make sure it genuinely makes you feel like you’re treating yourself and naturally, the bigger the goal, the bigger the reward should be.
Stay tuned, next Monday we’ll discover the final step to fostering more self-discipline – measuring progress!
Have you already made a commitment to your goals and daily tasks? How did you make the commitment? Does having an Accountability Buddy appeal to you? What would be the best rewards for you if you finished a task? Do you take breaks often? What are your top tips for sticking to your daily goals and tasks? Please comment below, I’d love to hear from you!
- Write your daily goals and tasks in your diary, including any new habits you want to adopt and either tick them off if done or place a cross next to them (remember aim for at least 80% of your tasks to be completed)
- Ask a friend to be your accountability buddy or, if you prefer, simply tell friends and family your goals and let that be your public commitment
‘No Excuses: The Power of Self-Discipline’ By Brian Tracy