New Year's is always an interesting time. "Out with the old, in with the New," many proclaim. It's the time where we take stock of where we have been, assess where we'd like to be, and make plans to change.
How many of you actually make New Year's Resolutions? How many of you are able to keep them, if only for a week, two weeks, a month? Are your New Year's Resolutions a springboard to permanent change?
While most of us truly believe we will keep those changes we promise ourselves -- and others -- we will implement, the reality is most of us are not that good at making change. And, why is that, do you suppose? Well, we frequently lack a critical element required for change: self-discipline.
I recently had the luck of finding a copy of New York Times Best-Selling Author and management guru, Brian Tracy's book, "No Excuses." Several years ago, I had the amazing fortune and honor of not only meeting Brian at a seminar, but I also shared the same speaking stage with him. I had just written my book, "It's Not Who You Know, It's How You Treat Them," and was sharing my presentation on the topic with the audience. Brian speaks very eloquently about how successful people become truly successful and one of the big "secrets" he talks about is self-discipline. Brian defines this vital trait very simply: "the ability to do what you should do, when you should do it, whether you feel like it or not."
While no one is likely going to argue with the importance of self-discipline, the reality is, many of us struggle with its actual practice. Brian's book takes a realistic, practical approach to implementing greater self-discipline in every aspect of your life, personal or professional.
What particularly intrigued me about the book, and where it dovetails with my own work is in Chapter 2 where he launches into a discussion of "Self-Discipline and Character." Self-discipline is truly one of the great "virtues" and it's one that we cover in our SocialSmarts curriculum extensively. Brian explains how the self-discipline principal is vital to one's success as a person when he writes...
The person you are today, your innermost character, is the sum total of all your choices and decisions in life up to this date. Each time you have acted rightly and chosen consistently with the very best that you know, you have strengthened your character and become a better person. The reverse is also true: Each time you have compromised, taken the easy way, or behaved in a manner inconsistent with what you knew to be right, you have weakened your character and softened your personality.
Again, I don't think anyone would argue with this. But, once again, it's easily said, and not so easily done. Tracy continues in the chapter with talking about the importance of training ourselves (more…)