03 Sep Set your goal, make a plan, use some discipline
So let’s keep going with the example from above – let’s pretend that you are scared of dogs. So far, you’ve used your tools wisely – courage and honesty. That process led you to some insight that your fears are rooted in your past. But NOW, now you have chosen to not be afraid of dogs anymore. You will need to set a goal, make a plan and use some discipline to rid yourself of this needless fear!
Let’s get to work.
Your goal: This might be pretty straight forward but you’ll need to literally have a goal, in order to reach it. But if you don’t set a timeline then a goal can turn into a dream that never gets accomplished. That’s why you need a plan. So make sure your goal contains a timeline, something like this, I won’t be afraid of dogs and I have 6 months to make this happen.
IMPORTANT: When you set your goal, do not use the term “want” as in, “I want to be happy.” Or, “I want to like dogs.” Your mind is very attentive. It will listen to your plea. If you want something you are literally not achieving it – you are wanting it. Be specific. Be strong. “I will like dogs in 6 months.” or “I will be happier within a month.”
Your plan: A plan is like the map you need to follow to reach your end goal. Part of that plan is a timeline. In this example, your plan may look like this: I will pet my friend’s dog on Monday and see how that goes. All the while I will be telling myself that it’s ok, dogs are my friend. This will be my mantra that I repeat 8 times a day. I will also look at pictures of dogs every day, even put one on my screen saver. I will go to the pet store to meet other dogs in two weeks because I plan to be feeling more comfortable by then. After that, I might meet other dogs by going to a dog park. If this plan isn’t working by the end of the month, I’ll ask my parents for support. Notice that each example is specific and includes a time frame and samples of how to do things. As you make your plan, keep these tips in mind.
Your discipline: Being disciplined means following your plan despite a desire to turn your attention to activities that are more fun. You are on a mission and you will stick to it! Monitor your thoughts, feelings and behaviors and stay focused on your end goal. The more you think about enjoying dogs, and the more you expose yourself to the idea of being with dogs, and the more you encourage yourself, the more disciplined you will be.
IMPORTANT: Some events are more difficult to rework as they can be very entrenched (meaning deeply rooted) in your personality and might not be as straightforward as a fear of dogs. You’ll be reading an example of this in the next post. If you need help with this process, please talk to a trusted adult. There is no need to drag old baggage around with you when you have the ability to connect the dots and live a happier life!
End result: If you stick with your plan and stay disciplined over time, you are likely to reach your goal, in this case, you will likely be much less fearful of dogs.
The next post shares a more emotionally tough story so you can see how someone has applied these steps of connecting the dots and setting a goal in order to learn something about who she is and to ultimately help her feel better about who she is.
Name a time recently when you were disciplined about something. How did it make you feel to be disciplined?