By Lori Ann King
I recently had the opportunity to spend time with 15 successful people. I observed them closely, knowing that they beat the odds and achieved success where others did not. I learned that success requires four things:
- Courage to start.
- Discipline to keep going.
- Daily consistent action.
- Commitment to finish, regardless what comes your way.
My husband Jim and I recently returned from Las Vegas and our company’s annual Celebration event, where Jim was awarded Runner-Up in this year’s IsaBody Challenge. This 16-week transformation Challenge requires you submit before and after photos and a short essay. There are three challenges per year, and each one results in five IsaBody Finalists.
This year, 109,000 people started the Challenge while only 35,000 finished. Out of those 35,000, Jim was one of fifteen Finalists. Jim not only defines healthy aging and transformed his body, he won $13,000 and two all expense paid trips for two to Las Vegas and Costa Rica. I call that success.
Each finalist had the courage and motivation to start their challenge. And each time they finish a Challenge they immediately start again. They start, complete, and repeat, which leads them to success.
Whether you are starting a diet, exercise program, writing your first book, pursuing a dream or passion, improving your finances, or even starting a new relationship, courage is the step that gets you started. Let’s face it, we all struggle with procrastination from time to time. It’s easy to say I’ll start tomorrow, or Monday, or when I’m less busy or less stressed. Sometimes we even put things off because we simply don’t feel like doing them. The reality is, if we wait until we feel like it, we may never get anything done.
I love the 5 Second Rule by Mel Robbins. As soon as an idea comes to mind, you count backward from 5 and when you get to 1, you launch yourself into action. 5…4…3…2…1 GO! It is a tool that takes practice and can begin with something as simple as getting up in the morning. As soon as the alarm goes off, count backward from 5 and then launch yourself out of bed. This small step builds your muscle of courage to get started.
Maybe starting isn’t the hard part for you. You can start, and start, and start again, however it’s the continuation and the sticking with something until completion that you struggle with. This is where discipline comes in. Each of the fifteen Finalists had the discipline to keep going, regardless of what came their way. And inevitably, challenges, obstacles and distractions came their way. None of them live in a bubble. They all have families, careers, duties and responsibilities outside of completing their Challenge. Their discipline kept them going.
Discipline cannot come from something external. It absolutely has to come from within. You have to know WHY you are doing something. Why is it important for you to be healthy? Why do you want to write a book? Who is depending on you to grow your savings or increase your income? Knowing why you are doing something will motivate you to make better decisions, create more consistent daily habits, and practice the discipline to keep going.
Daily Consistent Action
Once you know your reason for wanting to accomplish something, set a timeframe with deadlines and dates. Keep the finish in mind right from the start. If you are writing a book, the finish may be when you submit the first draft to your editor, when you have the first printed copy in your hands, or when you have sold your first 100 copies. If your goal is about health or fitness, it may be when you release a certain amount of pounds, fit into a certain size, or run your first 5k.
Each of the Finalists knew the Challenge required 16 weeks. They broke that down into weekly goals and daily habits. They put their dates in writing and set challenging yet reasonable goals. They set small tasks that they can get done and feel good about and worked with daily consistent action.
Commit to Finish
“Much of the stress that people feel doesn’t come from having too much to do. It comes from not finishing what they’ve started.“
Each of the Finalists committed to finish. They started with this intention to complete the Challenge, no matter what obstacles or distractions came their way.
The one guarantee on the path to success is that you will have obstacles. Every single one of the fifteen Finalists experienced bumps along their journey. Some were good bumps such as the birth of a child while others were heartbreaking, such as the death of a loved one. The common factor amongst every single finalist was that they kept going. They continued to take daily consistent action and committed to finish what they started.
This past year I began writing my first book. It took courage to start. I was writing about a very challenging time in my life and seeing the words on paper made me feel vulnerable and exposed.
It took discipline to complete the first draft but I committed to finishing it by a certain date. I took daily consistent action toward my goal, regardless of any distractions that came my way.
One of my distractions has been my husband becoming an IsaBody Finalist and Runner Up. This is a wonderful event in our life, but even good things can slow us down from reaching our goals. We have taken time off from work and away from home. This is a wonderful aspect of success, however it can slow down my writing if I let it. I have two choices: give up on my goal and dream, or keep making progress with daily consistent action. I choose to finish my goal and enjoy and learn from each and every distraction along the way.
As we head into the fourth quarter of 2017 it is time to check in with any priorities, goals and dreams you have set for yourself this year. Are you on track and headed toward success or has a setback threatened to turn your New Year’s Resolutions into Next Year’s Resolutions? Regardless of where you are at, you still have time to improve, make progress, and finish strong.
Whatever the goal you have for yourself, I encourage you to find the courage to start and the discipline to keep going. Take daily consistent action and commit to finishing, regardless of any setbacks that come your way. The practice of these skills is what will bring you success.