I’m the type of person who will write out a schedule, accounting for every second of my life. Every moment I’m awake, I’m accomplishing something . . . or so the plan says. But, once the schedule is typed out and beautifully in place in my planner, I immediately find ways to sabotage it. Yes, I know it says that I need to get up at 5am and exercise, but I stayed up late writing and I’d rather sleep in a little long. I can exercise later in the day. I’ll just switch things around. It’ll be okay. The next day, more of the same. If I’m supposed to write from 10am to noon, I’ll find that I actually need to walk the dog, paint my walls, take the kids to get haircuts, or clean out the down stairs closet during that time. I just can’t stick to the schedule!
To make myself feel better, I tell myself that I’m too creative to be tied to a schedule. Or that I wasn’t realistic when I planed out how my week should progress. Or that life is just too unpredictable and schedules just don’t work.
But the truth is, for some reason, I don’t want the schedule to work. I’m sure there are some deep issues that I could invest millions of dollars and countless hours with a therapist to find out what my problem is. Why can’t I do what I’m supposed to do? But I decided that instead I was going to figure out how to stick to a schedule and just do it. I read a few books. Books hold all the answers after all. But, I’m sad to report that this is what I’ve learned.
In order to stick to my schedule, I have to:
1) Keep my plan in sight.
2) Read it everyday (thrilling)
3) Eliminate my limiting beliefs (I guess these are the issues that keep me from following through)
4) Remind myself daily that this schedule will help me reach the goals that matter most to me.
That’s it! I have to say that I was pretty disappointed with my findings. But after giving this some extended thought, I’ve come to understand what the experts are saying. Sticking to anything (whether a schedule, a diet, a relationship) takes only two things: discipline and focus. Focusing on the end result and the discipline to do it. There’s no magic.
So as we begin a new year, I will again draw up a schedule and discipline myself to stick to it. Short of buying myself one of those dog collars that zap you with an electric jolt when you are naughty (in my case, straying from the schedule), all I can do is try again. Unless, of course, one of you have some sticking-to-it success tips you’d like to share?