OVERCOME SETBACKS, REACH YOUR GOALS, AND PROSPER WITH SELF-DISCIPLINE

Many of us dream of a fantasy world without problems. In reality, all of us will meet obstacles, have setbacks, or misfortunes. No matter how well we plan and prepare for the future, problems will sometimes wear us down, drain vitality and enthusiasm, and make our goals seem out of reach. Discouragement is like quicksand, we must pull ourselves out quickly or sink ever deeper.

Many losers have exceptional talents, good backgrounds, excellent educations, and every asset anyone could want, except the one characteristic that could make them winners: the ability to fight hard when hardest hit. The self-discipline to fight seemingly insurmountable odds doesn't come naturally. It is an acquired characteristic. The following suggestions can help you build the resilience you need to overcome obstacles and reach your goals.

STAY BUSY. Activity stimulates energy and restores vitality. Don't sit or lie down unless absolutely necessary. During work, work as hard as you can. During leisure time, do the most constructive things you can think of, exercise, work on the lawn, clean house, wash and wax the car, do anything, but work as hard at it as possible. A person creates upbeat feelings by energetic actions. Walk erect and at a fast pace. Walk as if you had someplace important to go or something urgent to do.

GET POSITIVE INPUT. Fill your mind with thoughts of toughness. Read stories or biographies of tough people who have overcome hardships. Watch movies with a theme of courage. Associate with courageous and disciplined people, and initiate conversations about the stories of courage and resilience you read. Talk with your friends about insurmountable odds they have overcome and setbacks they turned into opportunities. Your courageous friends will share some interesting stories. Don't associate with anyone who will pamper--or hamper--you; avoid depressed or negative people. Don't listen to negative conversations. Occasionally read humorous stories or watch humorous shows. Humor eases tension and anxiety. Tell your friends some jokes; you'll hear some in return. Keep in mind that your objective is resilience. Don't use humor to escape reality.

RECALL PAST SUCCESSES. Your actions today determine your future and are influenced by your attitude. To improve your attitude, get a notebook and write down every single time you've overcome a hardship in the past. Write down every successful incident you can remember from childhood to the present. Read this list as often as you can. Recall the feelings associated with your triumphs. Your memories will stimulate a positive attitude.

BE GRATEFUL. A despondent attitude cannot coexist with a grateful attitude, eventually one will destroy the other. Talk about everything likeable that you see, hear and read. Ignore what you don't like. Spend at least ten minutes before you go to sleep thinking of everything you have to be grateful for, both in the present and in the past. Recall how your past failures and setbacks have taught valuable lessons. Those who don't appreciate what they have tend to lose it.

CORRECT MISTAKES. To some degree, we are responsible for many of our problems. Carefully examine all facts contributing to your troubles. Accept personal responsibility for mistakes. Don't blame anyone else. Recognize your shortcomings and shore up your weaknesses. Don't feel ashamed --there are no mistake-proof people--we become wise because failure teaches us what we must learn to move forward.

MAINTAIN INTEGRITY. Temptations are more appealing when we're under stress. Adversity is a test of integrity. Learn to feel you deserve the best that life offers. Avoid at all costs the device from within to err you off the path of honesty. Read ethical, inspiring literature. Do what is right and you'll feel right about yourself.

Self-discipline requires that we push ourselves beyond what is comfortable. As we keep exercising self-discipline, stretching and strengthening our abilities, we develop the power to persist and keep on pushing on under the most difficult circumstances where most other people would throw in the towel. By trying hard enough, we can become tough enough to reach our goals and prosper.

Follow these suggestions and when those hard times come upon you, you will spit in the face of adversity with that never-say-die attitude!

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