I recently started a new way of eating in hopes of gaining some much-needed energy (because I’m literally tired ALL of the time!) and to hopefully drop a few pounds (because, hey, who doesn’t want to look a little better in a bathing suit??).
I’ve attempted new eating and exercise programs before and have found that my success, or lack of success, has almost always depended on my discipline – being able to actually stick with my plan vs. caving and eating that pint of Ben & Jerry’s.
I’m practically brilliant during the planning and kick-off phase of a new health plan, but sticking to it for any great length of time is not my greatest strength. I have learned that my best results have always been when I was truly committed and motivated. While it may seem like a bit of a stretch, some of the same concepts that have helped me be successful in enjoying better health can also help you gain financial fitness.
Discipline is the key to success
Regardless of what you are trying to achieve (financial freedom, improved health or even business success) you must have the discipline to stay on track in order to successfully reach your goals. Having discipline keeps you from being distracted or making impulsive decisions which will quickly derail us from achieving our goal.
The biggest obstacle to overcome when trying to practice discipline is the desire for instant gratification. The “I gotta have it now” syndrome. Unfortunately, in today’s culture, we are brainwashed into believing that not only should I have whatever it is I want RIGHT NOW, but that I also DESERVE it. This popular mentality is what has gotten so many individuals and families into series debt and sometimes that debt has ended in bankruptcy and sadly even divorce.
So how do we learn discipline? How do we get ourselves out of the instant gratification mindset in order to achieve strong and healthy financial fitness? I believe following the key principles below will set you up for greater success and help you flex your discipline muscles.
Three Steps to creating stronger discipline
Step #1 – Have a financial plan (and a budget)
You cannot achieve any goal without knowing where you are going. Having a good, workable budget will help you get to where you are trying to end up. It doesn’t matter if you are trying to get out of debt or build wealth; in order to achieve either of these financial goals, it is imperative to have a plan.
Having a budget in place will aid you in all of your spending decisions. With a budget, you know how much you can or cannot spend in any given category. If you do not have any money left in your dining out category, well then you know you will be eating at home. If however, you have money left in that category and a bunch of your friends are headed out to dinner or happy hour then you can say yes with the knowledge that eating out will not derail your goals.
Having a plan in place will help keep you from making poor impulsive decisions that will either slow down your wealth building or hinder your ability to get out of debt. Not sure where to begin on creating a budget? Check out an earlier blog post on budgeting here.
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