To Get To Your Goals, Your Biggest Disciplinarian Should Be You

Leadership Lesson: You need to be your own disciplinarian if you’re going to break what comes naturally – complacency and comfort — to build forward.

How do you keep yourself in shape? How do you keep everything tight, strong, and flexed, so you are prepared and ready to push through obstacles and achieve what you’re capable of?

No, I don’t mean physically.

I mean goals outside of your physicality. I’m talking about your professional goals, life goals, developmental goals – anything where you want to be better and achieve more.

Desiring more is human nature. People want more. Leaders want more. We all want more. 

But how bad do we want it?

Most people tend to use the words desire and commitment interchangeably. Unfortunately, they believe that wanting something is enough to demonstrate and ensure commitment to it. But desire (wanting something) is different than commitment (the promise to execute on and toward that something we want).

Many people don’t think about what they are capable of doing and don’t reconcile that with what it actually takes to get what they want. They have that desire, but either don’t want to commit or don’t understand how much they have to commit to achieve what they want.

Related Post: What Do You Mean When You Say
“It’s Too Much Work” To Reach What You Want?

So what about you? When it comes to something you want, how do you go about preparing to go after it? Action shouldn’t start at the moment we decide we want something. Action should begin only after an action plan has been prepared. And no action planning should take place without a deeper understanding of:

What’s Desired

When it comes to what we desire, it’s important to realize how it might fall into our grand plan. What’s desired dictates what the building blocks are to get there.

We need to make sure we have the right resources around us to work toward what we want. Do we have the right resources, tools, and people around us to reach that goal?

We need to consider, as part of our due diligence, how long it will take to reach our goal. We need to plan backward from the goal and consider what needs to happen along the way, at every stage – short-term, mid-term, and long-term, depending on the length of time to reach our goal – for us to reach that goal. In determining what needs to fall into place at every stage, we can then work in the right direction to focus our resources as best as possible and increase the likelihood that the cards will align in our favor.

What’s Gained

It’s important to realize not only what it is we want but also what it represents. Many people may want something because of the way it looks, its appearance and façade – the visual to others. They may feel that how other people view that achievement is the ultimate and most important factor. But, that’s looking at things all wrong.

The satisfaction and approval of others, as a long-term driver and motivator, will only lead someone down an unfulfilling path.

The desire we have for something has to drive us internally. It has to pull at our strength. It has to ignite our best effort.

Yes, others may benefit from what we want, but nothing is gained if we don’t feel a true, rich, and deep satisfaction within ourselves.

What’s Foregone

Consideration needs to also be given to what is lost if the goal is not achieved or, at a minimum, worked toward.

People tend to only see the obstacle(s) in front of them and don’t consider the long-term implications of not trying to go for what they want.

Each of us knows our own threshold for regret. An estimation of our level of regret should be part of that inner conversation in our preparation to work toward what we want.

This step helps us determine how bad we want something. The sting of something not working out today may be a short-term pain, but if we believe it’s something that will haunt us for a longer period of time, that may be an indication of how hard we should push forward and how bad we truly need it.

Related: Coach It Out’s In The Books Podcast – Episode 8: Do It Scared


Not everyone will see the importance of preparation to get what they want in the long run. We’re not really programmed that way at a young age. The bulk of our developmental years is spent preparing for the next, nearest hurdle – a quiz or a test.

But the need to achieve something for ourselves, for deep, long-lasting satisfaction, usually doesn’t take place until after we’re out of school. At that point, we’ve built our foundation in schooling, and we are then trying to build what will be our life and legacy off of that base. We’re not making the next grade or finishing the next assignment for someone else. Instead, we’re trying to achieve, for the long-term, what will make us truly happy.

Related Post: To The Future Leaders: Make Sure You
Recognize Your Drivers and Motivators

So again: What’s desired? What’s gained? What’s forgone? Outlining the answers to those questions helps us set our level of self-discipline – the accountability we hold ourselves to — assuring we’ll stick to what it is we say we’re going to do. As we struggle to work toward what we want, we should remember the answers to those foundational, beginning questions.

Most paths and journeys toward achievement begin with this form of self-realization – the final obstacle before beginning that journey. We have to know what we want and how bad we want it. We have to be honest with ourselves. We have to find the reasons to keep ourselves on-task and disciplined toward our greatest achievement.

Our achievements and goals, to be properly fueled, can’t be for anyone else or by anyone else. WE need to look OURSELVES in the mirror, before looking at anyone else, to determine how bad we want something. There needs to be that internal fire to move the self forward.



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