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Abraham Lincoln said: Discipline is choosing between what you want now, and what you want most.” It could be confused for the same thing, yet it is vastly different.

What we want now, is often linked to instant gratification – to experience fulfilment or pleasure without delay.  The problem with what we want now, is that it is often misaligned to what we want most.

The beginning of a new year is known for new year’s resolutions. It is a time where we often make lists of what we’d like to achieve this year, whether it is in the workplace (like a promotion/new job) or more personal (like losing weight, changing our lifestyle, saving more, reading more or quit smoking).

This is where it gets tricky – life happens. Promotions are linked to hard work, taking on additional projects and adding responsibility to already jam-packed schedules. Our weeks are long and weekends seem to fly by in a flash – and maybe our weight isn’t such a big deal, and the smoking really helps with the stress… right? If we want to find excuses, we often don’t have to look too hard – justification comes easy.

I prefer to work with goals instead of resolutions. A loose translation from various sources comes down to a goal being a desired result that a person wishes to achieve. It involves intention setting and planning. I find it helpful to have a graphic view or vision board if you like. John Kehoe refers to it as visualisation of our goals, so that we are constantly reminded of what we are working towards.

It is not too late to revisit or realign your goals for 2019. Make sure that:

  • Your goals are clear and you have an execution plan. A clever way to look at this, is to say goals must be SMART: Specific, Measurable, Achievable/Applicable, Realistic and Timely;
  • Create new habits by starting with small and simple tasks/behaviours;
  • You know your weaknesses. Name and recognise that feeling when an instant decision can derail you from what you want most;
  • Temptations are removed – remember one bit/sip at a time;
  • Have grace with yourself – it is easy to fall back into old habits, but it is about how you reset yourself to get back on track;
  • You talk to the people in your life about your goals – so that you have support and praise as you continue on your journey.

There are very interesting articles around The Positive Change Cycle you can read here.


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