How to Stick to Your Goals: Tips for Committing 100%

This article is an excerpt from the Shortform book guide to "The Power of Discipline" by Daniel Walter. Shortform has the world's best summaries and analyses of books you should be reading.

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Do you set worthy goals only to give up along the way? What can you do, practically, to make it all the way there?

It’s easy to set goals. It can be difficult to achieve them. To make reaching them easier, be careful with the way you set goals and then commit yourself completely. Daniel Walter discusses goals in the context of self-discipline and provides some valuable insights.

Read more to learn how to stick to your goals and to get some tips on setting SMART goals to boost your commitment.

How to Stick to Your Goals

Walter explains that, to effectively practice self-discipline, you must fully commit to your goals. When you make a commitment to “try” to do something, you’ll make only a half-hearted effort to achieve your goal, hindering your ability to self-discipline.

To actually achieve your goals and strengthen your self-discipline, you must put 100% of your effort into the necessary work and truly believe that you have the ability to succeed. Walter offers two pieces of advice on how to stick to your goals.

First, pace yourself and the amount of work you’re doing. Ensure that you’re spreading your work over a rational amount of time and not taking huge strides at the very beginning. When you take on too much too soon, you’re more likely to lose motivation and momentum down the road, weakening your self-discipline.

Second, make a goal-focused routine and stick with it even after you begin to succeed. Walter explains that achieving success requires consistency, and maintaining that success requires you to continue practicing the habits that got you there even after you’ve reached your goal. Having a set routine can help you do this.

For example, if you’re trying to gain supporters to donate to your new innovation, posting on social media twice a week at random times won’t be helpful. Instead, plan to post once in the morning and once in the evening every day. Once you’ve gained a wide base of supporters and achieved your goal, continue to post twice per day to maintain those supporters and strengthen that community.

Set SMART Goals to Increase Commitment

Another technique to help increase commitment to your goals is the SMART goal-setting method. Like Walter’s recommendations, SMART goals help you increase your commitment levels by making your goals more realistic and helping you identify specific actions that will help you succeed. While some of the SMART method steps align with Walter’s recommendations, the process also provides additional strategies that will arguably further increase your commitment:

Make your goals specific. Having specific goals makes it easier to identify the steps needed to achieve them.

Make your goals measurable. Identify a variable you can use to measure your progress and ensure that you’re being productive. You can use this step to check that you’re not moving too fast or too slow, as Walter recommends.

Make your goals achievable. Ensure that you’ve given yourself a realistic time frame to complete your goal and that you’ve identified the actions to take and obstacles to overcome to achieve it. This step will help you create a more realistic routine, as Walter suggests.

Make your goals relevant. Align your goals with your long-term objectives and values to provide you with intrinsic motivation to succeed.

Create a timeline. Based on the deadline, actions, and obstacles you identified in Step 3, create a timeline showing what you need to do and when to achieve your goal on time. This step aligns with Walter’s recommendation to create a routine.
How to Stick to Your Goals: Tips for Committing 100%

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Like what you just read? Read the rest of the world's best book summary and analysis of Daniel Walter's "The Power of Discipline" at Shortform.

Here's what you'll find in our full The Power of Discipline summary:

  • What self-discipline is and why we struggle with it
  • How to do what you should do even if it's not what you want to do
  • The six good habits that will override your bad habits

Elizabeth Whitworth

Elizabeth has a lifelong love of books. She devours nonfiction, especially in the areas of history, theology, and philosophy. A switch to audiobooks has kindled her enjoyment of well-narrated fiction, particularly Victorian and early 20th-century works. She appreciates idea-driven books—and a classic murder mystery now and then. Elizabeth has a blog and is writing a book about the beginning and the end of suffering.

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