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Moving Vs. Meandering
Be Persistent And Work Hard
Are you self-deisciplined, or simply in a rut? Self-discipline usually is tied to a goal. It's also tied to a regimen. The problem? You can get so sidetracked by the regimen that the long-term goal slips away.
Example: You take a job to learn skills so you can leap into the fast track elsewhere. Day after day, you arrive early and stay late. You acquire every skill imaginable to get from A to B. Gradually, the job becomes your focus and the goal of moving on slides to the backburner. Months turn into years. Suddenly you wonder where the time went.
Lacking long-term focus is the most common response people start out disciplined but lose their way, says educator and behavioral coach Marta Monahan.
The goal-setter loses sight of the big picture. Objectives are sidelined by events. Before he knows it, he's offtrack.
To see if this is happening to you, Monahan suggests an exercise. On a sheet of paper, list key aspects of your life such as these: your career, finances, health, family and undeveloped talents.
Then ask yourself: "What do I want my life to be like five or 10 years from now?" Beside each entry, answer the question in detail. Then list the actions you're taking to reach those goals.
Will the steps get you where you want to go, or lead to quicksand?
Monahan offers these tips to move forward.
Ensure improvement has a payoff. To drive the point home, Monahan recalls her friendship with two teen-age sisters. The elder was a natural athelete who by age 12 had become an accomplished gymnast. Her sister had difficulty with the simplest gymnastic exercises.
Their mother enrolled the girls in a YMCA gym class. Three months later, the older girl dropped out, convinced there was nothing new she could learn. She maintained a daily exercise regimen on her own.
Her younger sister stayed with the class. Gradually her skills improved. After a few months, she began mastering intricate routines, each more difficult than the last. Within a year, she was asked to join a gymnastic troupe that toured the U.S. and Australia.
Within two years, she'd surpassed her elder sister in skills and repertoire. Though the elder girl stuck to a daily regimen and pursued goals as a gymnast, she reached a plateau that became a comfort zone. The younger girl took her skills to the limit and launched a promising career, Monahan wrote in "Strength of Character and Grace: Develop the Courage to Be Brilliant."
Never stand still. Regardless of circumstance, take steps toward your goal. Don't let daily images crowd out the big picture.
Always self-correct. A regimen is of little use if you're not open to new methods and options.
If an approach isn't working, ask yourself why. What are the chances the tack will eventually pay off. Test other methods.
Troubleshoot. List possible setbacks and their solutions.
Read up on leaders in your field. Avoid their mistakes and try the methods that worked.
Escape the rut. Don't limit yourself to small steps. If a bold move is needed, why wait?
Investor's Business Daily
Thank you for the outstanding presentation entitled, How to Make Brilliant New Year's Resolutions for 2003 - And How to Keep Them All, which you gave on Tuesday, January 14th, for our faculty and staff at the UCSD Learn-At-Lunch program.
Fifty-five people attended the presentation and indicated by their evaluations that the information you shared motivated them to work to eliminate mediocrity and complacency from their lives, while encouraging them to shine brilliantly through exemplary behavior.
The participants uniformly rated you in the excellent category for your creative presentation of ideas, and the usefulness of the information presented. Some of the comments from the evaluations were:
"I was motivated by Marta Monahan to redefine my priorities and to find the courage to be the best me I can be. Today I learned that I must polish myself until I shine."
"I really benefited from Marta Monahan's talk. She inspired me to strive for brilliance all day, every day, even when I am alone with myself."
"The speaker was very likeable and funny. I'm going to buy her book. Thank you for this delightful and helpful seminar. It opened my eyes to my current situation."
I greatly appreciate your willingness to travel from Los Angeles to San Diego to do your presentation.
You approached a monumentally complex topic with humor, insight and sensitivity.
It was indeed a pleasure to plan this event with you.
© 2013 Marta Monahan