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Start Smart: Direction, Discipline and Desire

By Philip Humbert

I think it was Goethe who noted that, "Well begun is half done." As we begin a New Year, I want to encourage you to make it better, richer, more fun and more fulfilling than ever before—your Best Year Ever! But I also want you to be smart and effective about it. Remember, the poet suggest "Well BEGUN is half-done." Let's Start Smart!

Too often we begin a new project, or a New Year, with lots of enthusiasm but with little thought or organization. There are actually two unfortunate patterns I see fairly often. The first are the folks who launch with passion and excitement but with little or no actual preparation. They are full of energy and excitement (but little planning), and they really believe their passion will create the results they hope for. There's a kind of Pollyanna naivety that can be fun to watch. But it rarely lasts and seldom generates the hoped-for results.

The other strategy are the "wise old owls" who no longer expect the New Year will really make much difference. They know that life goes on and the future pretty much, most of the time, sort of looks like the past. "Nothing really changes." That's not uncommon, but it is incredibly pessimistic. (And wrong!)

Life does change! We change! We learn and grow. We get smarter. In large and small ways, we are new every day! In the New Year, think of what you can achieve! You could move or change jobs, get married, or divorced. You could learn a language, travel the world, volunteer, or hike the Appalachian Trail! The possibilities are endless. And yet some folks say, "things never change." For things to change, only one thing is necessary: YOU MUST CHANGE!

You must change your DIRECTION. This can be a "big deal" or the smallest of mid-course corrections. But it is entirely up to you and only you can do it. You can set a new DIRECTION to start a business, learn a skill, improve your health or any of the other "big" things in life. Or you could read a little more, spend less time online, or do any of the thousands of "little" things that ultimately change our lives. In the end, we usually "get where we are going" in life. Choose your DIRECTION carefully and wisely, and stay on course.

The second necessity to change our lives is to change our level of SELF-DISCIPLINE. Most folks tend to enjoy comfort and ease. We enjoy good food, convenience and familiarity. We are, in short, rather lazy! But that is not the path to transforming our lives and achieving our goals. SELF-DISCIPLINE is about doing the right thing, in the right way, at the right time, whether we feel like it or not. For some, that means getting up earlier or going to bed at a more structured time. For some it means eating less (or differently), or staying later at work, making one more call or volunteering for the difficult assignment.

Confident SELF-DIRECTION, combined with tons of SELF- DISCIPLINE, will change everything in the year to come! Add one just more ingredient and miracles happen. When human beings are clear about what they DESIRE, they become unstoppable! Ask the teenager who wants a driver's license, the one who has decided she "must" make the team or get the part in a school play. Kids go nuts with DESIRE! (If you doubt this, ask their parents.) Ask the mother who's child needs medical attention or the father who "absolutely MUST" solve a problem for his family.

When we are clear about what we passionately DESIRE, things change! Intelligent Self-Direction. Consistent Self-Discipline Powerful Desire These are the things that will transform your life in the next 52 weeks. How you harness and utilize them is, of course, entirely up to you. You may set goals that amaze the entire world, or goals that other people may view as small or even silly. But if they are your goals and if they reflect your personal Self-Direction, your daily Self-Discipline and your heart-felt Desire, your life will change.

"Well begun is half done." Clarify your goals. Make sure they are your own, not someone else's, and commit to doing the things that need to be done. "Inch by inch, anything's a cinch." In 365 days, you can climb any Mt Everest you set for yourself. Go for it!

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