It takes self-control in order to reach your goals. You increase it the same way you beef up your self-confidence, by mastering smaller steps one at a time, and building up trust in yourself.
Step One: Making the Commitment
You’ll find your goals are easier to reach once you can focus on them in your mind. What exactly do you want to do? What – exactly – are the steps needed to take you there?
It’s easy to say you want to live a healthier life, but you won’t accomplish anything by trying to cover everything at once. Look at your current abilities, and what you’re able to tackle right now. Using your strengths, how can reach your overall goal? Eating more Vegetables? Cutting down on smoking? Exercising with friends?
Pin down your goal and focus your efforts on taking manageable steps in that direction.
Step Two: Put it in Writing
Making a commitment is a lot like making a map. It’s easier to follow your decisions when you’ve laid them down on paper.
When you can see your plan, when you have a chance to check items off one by one, you feel powerful and in control of your situation. Writing things down strengthens you focus, and gives you a reminder of what you have to work on.
Step Three: Kick into Action
Start once you make your commitment. If you wait for the next day, or the next week, or after the holidays, etc you will keep coming up with reasons to avoid starting at all. Worse, you’ll find reasons to stop midstream.
If you find yourself tempted, it may be a sign that your baby steps aren’t small enough. “Never drinking soda pop ever again” may work for someone who drinks a very small amount, but for someone who lives on carbonation, it’s not realistic.
Remember, self-confident people honor their abilities and know their limitations. They don’t set themselves up for fairly. Be good to your spirit by setting goals that won’t drag you off-course.
Step Four: Let the Daydreams Begin
Motivation fuels your efforts. Daydreams fuel your motivation.
Take some time today to imagine your success. See yourself drinking bottled water, or chewing on gum instead of taking a drag. Envision your thinner thighs or sparkling white teeth. Most importantly, see yourself smiling.
While visualizing the life you want to lead is a powerful tool in building confidence, you can also use visualization techniques to fight off negative thinking.
The next time stresses come to call, close your eyes for a moment and breathe deeply. Imagine yourself walking into a blooming garden. Stop in front of a rose bush, littered with vibrant blooms and wilting ones. Put on your garden gloves, and pick up your shears, then stop to smell the roses. With every sniff of a vibrant bloom, here the whispering positive messages in your mind. “You can do this.” “You will reach your goals.” “You deserve your success.”
The wilted blooms have an acrid smell, and whisper negative comments. Snip them off the bush before they have their whole say, but them in your basket and once back in your office, throw them away.
Step Five: Celebrate Your Success
However little they may be, make a display when your plans reach fruition. It takes focus, commitment, and effort to make even the smallest baby step turn out. Take a moment to feel proud of yourself and realize that improving your life isn’t so tough.
You may even want to reward yourself when you reach certain milestones, but be careful. You want to make progress for yourself, not for the latest gadget or a new pair of shoes.
Sticking to your goals isn’t so much about willpower as it is making your choices realistic, and aligning your actions with your overall purpose. Be forgiving, hopefully, and celebrate your successes. Soon you’ll be living the life that you want, and you’ll have the trust that you need to meet future obstacles head on.