Happy first day of Spring!
Spring is a time of year we tend to focus on fresh starts, so I want to encourage you to think about the importance of getting rid of the old routines and habits that hold you back and living your life on purpose with discipline and wisdom.
All of us have probably heard an older friend or relative make the comment, “If I had known I would live this long, I would have taken better care of myself!” Since hindsight is twenty-twenty, what would you do differently if you had it to do over again?
Some people might save more money for retirement, others may exercise and eat a healthy diet and many would desire to have better relationships. It is important to know what our priorities in life are, but just knowing what to do doesn’t get the job done. We must exercise self-discipline and wisdom in order to consistently carry out these priorities. You can’t go back and do life over again, but you can go forward, starting today.
Too often we miss out on the things in life we desire like good health, strong relationships, fulfilling careers, spiritual growth and prosperity because we lack self-discipline. It’s just easier to keep doing what we have always done because it’s not easy to break those old, self-defeating habits.
One great way to begin is simply to put what you want in writing. Make a list of the things you would like to achieve in your life, then for each item on the list, note what you are willing to do to make it happen. The third step is to review the list and prioritize each item. Set realistic target dates and then share your plans with someone who will encourage you to stay committed to your new habits.
As you create your list and set your dates, try to avoid being too soft or too hard on yourself. Make your goals challenging, but clearly manageable and achievable.
It is not easy to stay committed to the behaviors that bring good things to our lives, but it is certainly well worth making a consistent effort. You have probably heard that it takes about 30 days of deliberate practice for a new behavior to become a habit. Whether this exact time frame does the job for you or not, keep in mind that the more you exercise self-discipline the easier it is to maintain because self-discipline creates new positive habits and we all know that habits can be hard to break, which in this case is a very good thing.
Since none of us knows what tomorrow will bring, it’s important to live today to the fullest. But it’s also important to make wise, disciplined choices today that will lay a good foundation for the future you desire.
Live, Work and Relate Well!
Dr. Linaman is a psychologist and executive coach providing counseling and professional development services to individuals, couples, work teams and organizations.