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Achieving Your Goals with Discipline and SMART Planning

Updated: Aug 3, 2023

A client asked me recently: “How do I successfully carry out an action plan? I find it challenging to discipline myself and often end up doing something completely irrelevant instead.”

Achieving goals and maintaining discipline can be a daunting task, even for individuals who are already in the workforce. Many people struggle to stay focused and motivated throughout their journey. In this article, I will share some insights and practical tips to help you successfully carry out your action plans and overcome challenges on your path to success.

  1. Realistic Goal Setting: If you find yourself falling short of your goals, two common reasons may be setting unrealistic objectives or losing focus along the way. To address this, adopt the SMART approach - Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-bound. Assess your strengths and weaknesses and set goals that align with your capabilities. For instance, avoid trying to go vegetarian during a period with unavoidable temptations. Be kind to yourself and set achievable milestones.

  2. Begin with Small Steps: Divide your goals into manageable steps to avoid feeling overwhelmed. If your to-do list becomes too extensive and you struggle to complete most of it, consider cutting it short. I was often told not to have a bigger eye than what you can swallow based on the Chinese proverb "yan da du zi xiao" (眼大肚子小), so don't overestimate what you can handle. Focus on a few essential tasks each day. Achieving smaller milestones builds confidence and propels you toward more significant achievements.

  3. Prioritize for Success: Limit your daily goals to a reasonable number to maintain focus and increase your chances of success. Embrace the wisdom of "shui di shi chuan" (水滴石穿), recognizing the power of consistent effort over time. Create a solid action plan and adapt it as necessary. Regularly review your progress to stay on track and adjust your strategy accordingly.

  4. Make a Conscious Decision to Change: To overcome distractions and regain focus, remind yourself of your ultimate objectives. Commit to making a DECISION to change and remain dedicated to your goals. Effectively manage your time and consider exploring time management techniques for enhanced productivity.

  5. Reinforce Your Vision: Visualize your aspirations through a dream board. For instance, if becoming a successful soccer player is your dream, include images of your favorite player being awarded a medal, scoring a goal, or celebrating with a smile.

Place the dream board in a prominent location in your physical space for frequent reminders. Embrace your vision and the potential it holds to stay motivated and focused.

6. Stay Connected to the Purpose: Patience is essential, especially when significant achievements take time. Without immediate gratification, it's easy to become discouraged. Continuously remind yourself of the purpose behind your goals and the long-term rewards they offer. Each effort you invest now will contribute to your eventual success.

7. Embrace Adaptability: Remain open to adjusting your goals as circumstances change or new opportunities arise. Being adaptable is crucial for personal growth and progress. Discipline relies on your determination to achieve your goals. Take the first step and commit to your aspirations. Start now to set yourself on the path to success.

Achieving your goals requires discipline, smart planning, and a resilient mindset. By setting realistic, SMART goals, breaking them into smaller steps, and reinforcing your vision, you can overcome challenges and maintain focus. Stay committed to making decisions that align with your aspirations, and be open to adapt when necessary. Remember, success is within reach with determination and dedication. Start taking action toward your dreams today!

Best of luck for all the people working hard and in the process of making your dream a reality.

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