Happy New Year! So here we go... new goals, new dreams, new plans. A clean slate for the next 365 days. Sounds great, right? Sure. Unless you're lacking the one necessary ingredient for that fine recipe. People have all kinds of calculations, complicated diagrams, expensive programs and plans of how they are going to execute their goals for this beautiful year ahead, but if they are missing that one vital piece to the puzzle... it's all a waste. You can forget all of it. A joke. Waste of time. A fancy looking package with a bow on top of an empty box. A big ZERO.
So what is this one fundamental element that we all need if we are ever going to be successful at reaching our goals? DISCIPLINE. Plain and simple. Sorry if this disappoints you, but it is truth. Everyone wants the quick fix, the magic pill, or that amazing life hack that will eliminate the need for you to actually work for something. That does not exist. You actually have to do the work. You have to put in the time. You have to make it happen.
Many people try to rely on motivation to reach their goals. Don't get me wrong, motivation can be great sometimes, but it's not what gets you into the end zone. It's a great start, push forward or a kick in the pants when we need it, but it's not the end of the story. Motivation doesn't last. It is fleeting, fickle, and temporary. If this is all you are counting on to accomplish your goals, you will be let down. You cannot count on motivation, but you CAN count on discipline.
You may think of discipline as your worst enemy. You couldn't be more far from the truth. In all reality, discipline is your greatest friend. It is the core principle that overcomes your excuses, talks back to your laziness, and makes you actually do the things you need to do even when you don't feel like doing them. That's powerful. And that is what we ALL need. People come up with all kinds of ridiculous reasons for why they cannot accomplish their goals. Every single one of them can most likely be answered with discipline. Some people want a long fancy sounding solution for how they can stop eating junk food every night. I'll tell you the answer right now. STOP EATING JUNK FOOD EVERY NIGHT. That is done with discipline. How do you get yourself to exercise 3-4 days per week? EXERCISE 3-4 DAYS PER WEEK. Simple, isn't it? I didn't say easy, but it is simple. Discipline is hard. It takes work, and it can be frustrating at times... but NEVER regretted. Even when you're just not "feeling" it... do it anyway. Going through the motions even when you don't feel like it, is what discipline is all about. And when you continue this, you create habits. Habits are life changing. DO IT.
You may try to have discipline imposed on you by an outside force... a trainer, a teacher, a coach, etc. That's great and all, but it will only last as long as that person is in your face. SELF-discipline is where it's at. Until we understand that our life is OUR responsibility, then we will never get it. It's up to you. You get it when you decide you want to be better, faster, stronger, smarter, or whatever your end goal is. Don't fear discipline.... fear being stagnant. That's scary. No more just thinking, dreaming, wishing, contemplating, or debating. Just DO. Happy New Year... now get after it!!!
Terri Wentzell is a registered nurse with more than 20 years of experience. She is also a certified personal trainer, wellness coach, fitness nutrition coach, and sport yoga instructor.