How to Build Discipline by Taking Bite-Sized Steps

Did you set yourself up for failure?

You're wanting to reach all these new goals you've made, but did you make one of the biggest mistakes some people make? One of the ways that people struggle with developing self-discipline, is trying to make too many changes at once. Not just by doing more than one goal at a time, but by making those goals way too large. Either of these approaches can tend to lead to failure.

Too much too fast…

An example of too many goals at once might be someone choosing to quit smoking, go on a diet, exercise regularly, build a successful business, and get out of debt. All of these are good goals that can be done. If you try to do them all at once, though, you will probably find it overwhelming and quit before getting the results you're wanting. This is one of the reasons why resolutions rarely work out. Instead, focus on one or two of these for at least 1 to 2 months and make them consistently a new habit first, before tackling new goals.

Take it one step at a time.

For example, take quitting smoking, you might start with that one since it has the most negative impact both on health and finances. So you might start with just quitting smoking. You could spend a couple of months getting rid of the cigarettes and using aids like the nicotine patch to help. Then once you have completely quit smoking and no longer need the patch, you can move on to the next goal or goals on your list.

Cut them down into bite-sized, baby steps.

You may find changing your diet and exercising more to be really overwhelming goals because they are such large goals. Another tactic to help you with discipline is to break them down into smaller goals. Instead of just quitting overeating, maybe you break it down into this week you cut your soda intake in half, then for week two, you cut it out completely. If you do this week by week, making one SMALL change, you may find it easier to stay in control.

Watch the speed limit.

Another way you can break it down is by intensity. You want to exercise more, but you haven't exercised in years. If you start with something like a full-length workout, you may give up or get injured and then be unable to exercise at all. Instead of going full tilt, you can start by doing mini-workouts at a lower intensity for a few days, and over time add more minutes to your workout until you reach at least 20 to 30 minutes of activity. You can also over time increase the intensity of your workout as you get stronger and in better shape.

One baby step at a time.

By breaking down the goals into bite-sized steps, you can make it easier to develop the discipline you need to accomplish them. You will also improve the chances of success in changing your habits.

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