Why You Don’t Need To Be Disciplined This Year

Every once in a while I’ll get the itch to play the guitar again. I’ll start by learning an easy song, play it until my wife wants to punch me, then abandon it. It happens every time.

I knew each time was going to be different. Then it wasn’t. Months later the guitar is gathering dust, again.

Why is this?

calendarI listened to a podcast called 10X talk with Joe Polish and Dan Sullivan a while back and Dan said something that shocked me. He said discipline is a bunch of garbage.

To Mr. Sullivan, you can be disciplined but you don’t just get it at the store. It’s a description of someone that has formed desirable habits.

Whether you are a runner, writer, or worker, we all struggle from time to time. If you find yourself in the place of perpetual failure consider this. You don’t need to be disciplined. You need new habits.

Starting a new habit or kicking an old one can be extremely difficult. Here are three ways to help you make them stick.

  1. Journal daily progress. Make it simple. This doesn’t have to take you an hour.
  2. Ask a friend to be your kind drill sergeant and keep you accountable.
  3. Do it (whatever you want to form good habits for) with someone.

Kick discipline to the curb. Replace it with new habits.

Why I Am Doing The 30 Days Of Hustle With Jon Acuff

Over the last ten years I’ve written books and many short stories. I have gotten through beta readers and edits and have been told by writing professionals that they are ready to send to an agent. I sent a book to one, was rejected, then did nothing.

Why? Because I was scared to take the next steps.

We all get scared at the final push because this means the game we’ve been playing is for real. Now someone can look at all of our labor and tell us what you worked on is trash, it’s not good, we’ve wasted YEARS of our lives.

Today I am working towards unpacking that fear and working through it. Truly, there is only one thing we can do to destroy fear and that is to move.

Runners

Recently I signed up for an online course called 30 Days of Hustle with Jon Acuff. I paid $30 to join a Facebook group, get daily videos of encouragement, and a worksheet. Some may think that is a waste of money and time when you can do those things yourself.

The truth is I tried to do things on my own. It doesn’t work. I truly believe the key to doing anything extraordinary is to know why you are doing it and to be with people who are either doing what you want to do or going where you want to go.

Money is a decent motivator for me. Not that it’s all there is, but if I spend money on something, like an entry in a race, and then don’t invest in it, it kills me.

I wrote on Monday about being lazy and today I’m focusing on the mountain of fear we all have in our lives. As soon as we see it, we lose all motivation.

Knowing what we struggle with inwardly is a huge step toward overcoming the areas in our lives that we need to grow in.

Fear and laziness are some of mine.

What do you need to defeat this year? Are some of the same cycles in your life preventing you from your dreams? Plan a new attack to overcome them in 2016.

Why You Should Plan Your New Year’s Resolution Right Now

Imagine you hire a contractor to build you a house. They don’t return your calls and then suddenly show up on day  one with random bits of wood, insulation, a few screws, and a hard hat. Then they crack open a book titled, Building Your Own Home for Dummies. They’d be fired in like a second, right?

They obviously have no idea what they are doing, no plans, and no one to help them build it. The sad thing about this story is this is exactly how we treat our New Year’s resolutions.

We want to lose weight, write a book, start a business. But we show up on January one with an idea and a crazy commitment. Sadly, according to Forbes, only 8% of people who start New Years resolutions actually fulfill them.

So if you want to have the best year ever, fulfilling a life long dream or just rounding into shape starting January 1, how do you ensure you follow through on your commitment?

Fireworks

Recently I noticed I was lacking in my writing commitment. I want next year to be a cornerstone year for my books. So I wrote down some goals to create a plan and then contacted a friend to keep me accountable every week.

This is a two pronged attack. Preparation and accountability are two huge reasons people will follow through on their commitments. I have another friend who is a poet that sends signed checks to another writer. If they do not send each other finished work by a certain date, they get cashed, now that’s accountability!

So you plan, and have someone to keep you accountable, what else? You make the goal measurable and write it down.

Not like this – I want to lose weight!

Like this – I want to lose 20 pounds by September 30th.

If you need additional assistance with goal setting check out the SMART method posted here.

In the end, if you want to commit to something great there will be hard times. This is when you need accountability. There will also be moments of self doubt or when life gets in the way. Your plan will help see you through.

But start now. Start early.

The Real Story Behind Any Overnight Success

If you’ve turned on the television, even by accident, in the last ten years you’ve seen The Voice, (Insert Country)’s Got Talent, American Idol, etc.

There are many reason people watch these shows. One reason is the rags to riches tale that encompasses the life of the winner. They were John Doe and now they are Sebastian Cool with a record deal and a million bucks.

They cue the music, show a misty eyed youth, tell about how ____ happened to them or their family and now they have just scored a record deal.

It’s a great story but only half of it.

My Poetic Tragedy

We get to see the story unfold in a matter of months or a thirty second backstory clip. What we don’t get to see is the back stage.

The back stage often goes forgotten. To the audience it appears as if they got up off the couch, decided singing would be fun, then won a Grammy.

I get it. The backstage has no pizzazz. It’s unflavored yogurt, not Greek, key lime awesomeness.

But because of these quick overnight success stories, we forget about the toil. The hours, days, and years singing/writing/painting alone.

No one shows us the gig attended by seven fans, the book signing with one person who asks us for a pen. But, these too are the stories that happen.

Stephen King threw his book Carrie in the trash. It went on to become an international best seller.

Van Gogh created over 900 paintings and over 1100 sketches but sold ONE in his lifetime. He is one of the most recognized artists in the world today.

Be consistent. Go for resilience. Build rhythmic practice in the shadows so when the light shines you can look like a pro.

Because at that point, you are.

Just remember the back stage, where you came from.

Do You Laugh At Or Fret Over Your Mistakes?

On yesterdays’ post, I made a hilarious typo. I am in the middle of a self imposed challenge called 7000 words in 7 days (Yesterday was great, I finished at 1012 words) and instead of writing 7000 words in 7 days, I typed 7000 words in 7000 days. Three or four times.

chatter teeth 1

I got comment on my blog that said 7000 words in 7000 days? I also had the same correction on the link to my FaceBook page. I’m tired and I laughed it off.

This morning I woke up and thought, why did I do that? Five years ago I would have been mortified that I shared that with the entire internet. I’d worry about it, fret over it, try desperately to change it and make it look right.

Why are we so afraid of what others think? Of looking unprofessional, or more accurately, of looking normal?

Failure or errors or inconsistencies are all part of being human. We have this imperfect perfectness about us. But we all make mistakes and thankfully I am at a place where I can laugh at them now. It even inspired this blog post.

I hope this inspires you to laugh more. Also you can get working on a novel and just work at the slow pace of 7000 words in 7000 days.