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Just 5 More Minutes…

September 21, 2010

Benjamin Franklin said “Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today.”  A mantra I repeat to myself daily in the hopes of finding the energy to get up before sunrise to workout before the household wakes up.  It sounds simple, why is it so hard to follow?

What we are really talking about here is discipline.  In a world of everything moving at the speed of light and business working on a 24 hour clock it is hard to imagine this is a problem.  However, ask almost anyone and it is a constant battle.  Certainly a struggle for most of our clients.  But if discipline, the act of doing what you should be doing when you should be doing it (as Brian Tracy says in The Power of Discipline), is to be acquired as a skill then how do I start?  If I need discipline in order to do what I should be doing but I need to do what I should be doing to become disciplined then which comes first?  A problem that presents itself much like the famous causality dilemma of the chicken and the egg.

Instead of philosophizing, we thought we’d share with you some of the things we found work to get started.

1. Pick one thing, no matter how small, and make sure you do it every day.  Like making your bed in the morning.

2. Once you are doing this consistently, expand the number of things you do each day to include more items at a pace you can handle to avoid frustration.  What’s the right pace?  We suggest one thing at a time.

3. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.  Find a coach to get you started on the things you really avoid.  Like exercise, eating healthy, making sales calls, creating a strategic plan, etc. Your selection of coach is important as they can’t do the work for you.  They are there to guide you on the right path, support you when you need it and motivate you when you fall off the horse, again and again and again… How do you know if you need a coach?  A few good indications are if you can’t think of what to do to get started, have tried the same thing more than three times without success or the act requires specialized knowledge you don’t have.

4. Take a structured approach to things then practice, practice, practice and practice following the approach.  There is a reason they are called best practices.

5.  Once you have a stable way of doing something, make modifications to suit your individual needs, if necessary.  Again, only changing one thing at a time.

6. Don’t set unrealistic goals.  Remember, anything you do today that you didn’t do yesterday or postpone for tomorrow is improvement.  Aim for progress not perfection!