in 21 Days to a More Disciplined Life, Blogging Through Books

21 Days to a More Disciplined Life: Day 12 (Discipline Demands Focus)

Yesterday’s exercise was to find an accountability partner, then create a specific plan for how the two of you would hold each other accountable to your goals. I’m not going to lie; my plan was basically to ask Will to make sure I stay on track with walking puppers. No big specific plan there. I like the idea of an accountability partner, and I know that I can find plenty of people to help me with it, but I still feel like this book isn’t quite what I thought it was. I need discipline to do little things, not just huge life goals. Do I need an accountability partner for all of my goals? Do I need to have someone call me and make sure I’m doing laundry, unloading the dishwasher, and packing my lunch at night instead of two minutes before I have to leave? I’m looking for ways to improve my discipline so I can get all of those little things done, as well as the big goals that are on my “eventually” list.

With that said, let’s move on to Day 12. The title of the chapter- Discipline Demands Focus- intrigued me. I really have trouble with focusing on the task at hand and getting things finished in a reasonable amount of time. In fact, even as I’ve been trying to write this, I’ve gotten distracted by a couple of different tasks and websites and have to keep reminding myself to finish this so I can go to bed!

Paine has two keys for maintaining focus. First, remove distractions. Are you getting sidetracked by the Internet instead of taking the puppy for a walk (uh, not that I’m talking to anyone in particular here)? Then remove the distraction of the Internet until the task is done. Use an extension to limit the time you can spend on the Internet or the times when you can be online. If your goal is to lose 5 pounds but you can’t stop eating the brownies in your kitchen, then get rid of the brownies and don’t make anymore! Okay, that seems easy enough. Her second key is to focus on a small piece of your goal at a time. She reiterates the Day 9 lesson of breaking goals down into baby steps so you have small, manageable tasks to complete instead of being overwhelmed by a huge goal. It took me a couple of readings to understand how this one related to maintaining focus, but I finally figured out that it allows you to microfocus on each portion of your goal so you can have small victories, instead of being discouraged and losing sight of the prize at the end of the discipline tunnel. This one is a little more difficult for me to use on my goal for this series, but I’ll definitely use it for future goals!

Today’s exercise is consider what is distracting you from staying focused on your goals and figuring out how to remove those distractions. Also, she says that if you haven’t yet broken your goal down into smaller pieces, now is the time to do so. This exercise also involves setting specific time frames for each of these smaller pieces. I think that I need to look at a goal besides walking the puppy for this portion. I don’t know if that is the best goal to long term plan, break into smaller pieces, etc. Sigh. I am¬†learning things from this book, but it’s just not what I expected!

How about you guys? Anyone learning anything to help them develop discipline?

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