The Year of Discipline

By Sean Ogle •  Updated: 01/02/12 •  3 min read

While I was at World Domination Summit this past June, I dubbed 2011 “the year of confidence“.

What does that mean? Essentially I realized that for me to be successful accomplishing my goals, and helping others do the same thing, I was going to need to be fully confident in my ability to make those things happen.

Whether it’s being able to help someone quit their job, start a business, or start checking off their own bucket list goals, I had to be confident.

These days I’m feeling pretty good about my ability to do all of those things, so it’s on to the next piece of the puzzle:

The Year of Discipline

Confidence will only take you so far in your quest to build a business and live an interesting life – if you don’t have the discipline to build, create, and fail, then it becomes extremely easy to stay stagnant.

I’m the first to admit I’ve never been the most disciplined person in the world.  Far from it actually.

In the past, I’ve talked about my Golden Rule in which when given the opportunity, I’ll choose fun over work.  This doesn’t necessarily need to change in 2012, however it means that I’m going to have to be much more disciplined about getting work done when I am “working”. 

You all know how that goes.  You sit down at your computer for a nice work session, and 4 hours later you’re feeling pretty good about yourself – only to realize you spent 2 hours watching stupid You Tube videos, another hour sending emails that probably shouldn’t have been a top priority, half an hour of checking out Facebook, 20 minutes of tweeting, leaving you with approximately 10 minutes of real work.

That happens to me way too often.

Last week I and some of the other Location Rebel Academy members shared our top 5 goals for the year.  Mine included getting a six pack, helping 50 people quit their jobs and build a business, and to make a six figure income – among others.  At the rate I’m going now, none of that will happen because I haven’t had the discipline necessary to accomplish them.

A good question to ask yourself is, “what does discipline look like?”

Your response will be different than mine, but being aware of what it’s going to take to accomplish your goals in the new year is vital to your success.  Everyone makes goals, or resolutions, but few people have the discipline to follow through with it.

To me discipline looks like this:

This next year will involve more travel, more opportunity and more reasons to slack off.  This makes it that much more essential to spend “working time” actually working.

This morning I woke up at about 9am after a long New Years Eve and all I wanted to do was turn back over and fall back asleep.  That’s when I realized, if I don’t start making progress on my goals now, it’s only going to get harder in the future.  So I went downstairs in our mountain cabin, put on some coffee and wrote this post.

Let the year of discipline begin.

If you had to give a theme to this year, what would it be? I’d love to hear, so share with us in the comments!

Sean Ogle

Sean Ogle is the Founder of Location Rebel where he has spent the last 12+ years teaching people how to build online businesses that give them the freedom to do more of the things they like to do in life. When he's not in the coffee shops of Portland, or the beaches of Bali, he's probably sneaking into some other high-class establishment where he most certainly doesn't belong.
Learn How to Make Your First $1,000 Freelance Writing (in 30 Days or Less)

Join over 40,000 people who have taken our 6 part freelance writing course. Sign up below and let’s do this together.

By entering your email address you agree to receive emails from Location Rebel. We'll respect your privacy and you can unsubscribe at any time.

38 comments on "The Year of Discipline"

  1. Dave says:

    I can relate to this all too well. Last NYE, I confidently proclaimed to my parents while we were at dinner that my goal was to make $100k in 2011. I fell way short, and looking back, it wasn’t because I didn’t work hard. I just didn’t break my bigger goals down into smaller, short term ones that would keep me on track with regard to the bigger picture.

    I’ve already proven I can accomplish big goals when I put my mind to it, so for me 2012 is about being disciplined, as well as returning to a goal-oriented mindset.

    I think these two things are much more important when you work for yourself, especially with the kind of work we do (which is inherently fun and takes us to some very cool places).

    1. Sean says:

      This next year I’ve created much loftier goals for myself, and I know that if I don’t kick it up a notch, I’m going to struggle reaching them. Discipline is that much more important when you live a lifestyle such as yours (or mine) where you’re traveling all the time – way too easy to forget that work is a necessary component of it.

    2. Turner says:

      I agree Dave. The key is chunking, smaller, more actionable goals. I want to try to aim high, but I find that if I dont break down those steps deliberately, I often will fall so short, the goal becomes lot all together.

      Sean, speaking of discipline, I have been impressed with your posting discipline. It can be hard to stick to a schedule on a blog, but you seem to always remain on point. What’s the secret sauce?

      1. Sean says:

        Thanks man, I’m not quite as religious about it as some people, but I always try and shoot for Monday and Thursday and if I miss one, I almost will always get it up the next day. There may be some adjustments in the posting schedule soon, but they should definitely add a lot of value if/when they do change.

      2. Turner says:

        Sean. I thought Monday and Thursday would be good as well since it is the working week and people are in their cubes. But do you try for a general time? ie, I feel like early morning west coast usa, hits east coast during office hours and end of day in Europe.

  2. Sean,

    Nice post and a happy new year to you! For me in the past, the best strategy to stick to my goals has been to realize the “why” behind them and not the “what”. I’ve realized that once I convince myself why I want to accomplish a certain thing it becomes very natural to follow through with it. For example, in your case, why do you want a 6-pack abs?
    I wish you all the best this year and hope you reach all your goals and more.

    My theme for 2012: contentment through adventure.

    1. Sean says:

      Really good thing to bring up about the “why?” I almost went into more detail about this in the post, but for instance the why behind the 6 pack has nothing to do with the 6 pack itself. I’ve been really bad lately about not eating well or getting enough exercise, this needs to change in 2012, so the 6 pack abs is a more fun, measurable way to help me achieve me goal of healthier living.

      Adventure – love it.

  3. Matthew says:

    2012 is the year of Foundations for me. I’m going to pay off as much of the college debt as I can (payments don’t kick in until the middle of the year), start a business of my own on the side, and hit the gym at least 3 days a week.

    With financial, business, and personal foundations built I will be ready to move forward from there.

    1. Sean says:

      NICE. I think there are a lot of people who will have similar themes to that. I didn’t formally have a theme in 2009, but I think Foundations would be a really good way to describe it.

  4. Robert Haydock says:

    Great post!! I was just thinking about what 2012 is going to be about for me. My theme for this year is the year of “exponential progress” in both becoming a thought leader in my industry and achieving our revenue goals.

    I am looking forward to what 2012 has in store and think its going to be a year to remember!!

    1. Sean says:

      Not just progress, EXPONENTIAL progress. That’s what I like to hear – judging by what you’ve been up to, I definitely think this is the year it’s gonna happen 🙂

  5. Mine 2012 is Year of Action. I’ve never been more encouraged at the start of a new year, this is the year that finally instead of talking, I will be doing. I’m excited to get to my projects every day.

    1. Sean says:

      So many people get bogged down with everything they do – taking action is difficult, but once you can make a habit out of it, amazing things will happen.

  6. Can’t wait to see your income update post!

    2012 is the year for keeping low key for me. I want to do my best to keep Financial Samurai and the Yakezie Network under wraps so as to not draw attention so we can do things on our own.


    1. Sean says:

      Sounds like you’ve had a lot of success with business over the last few years, so low key isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Excited to see how Yakezie and FS continue to evolve!

  7. Trevor Mauch says:

    Great post man! It’s funny…2012 is about focus and discipline too. As entrepreneurs we see a ton of opportunity… and the last 18 months or so I said “yes” too much and really lost focus. So, gonna really simplify things, sell a business, really focus on my big “why” and only take on things that I can handle and that will get me closer to the “why”.

    I love it man!


    1. Sean says:

      Thats my problem, anytime someone has a good idea, I’m always on board to give it a shot. It leads to spreading myself really thin, and makes me unable to focus on the core things I need to do to build my business. Hopefully that’s another area where the discipline will kick in this year.

  8. Chris Fisher says:

    I love the idea of having a theme for a year instead of resolutions by themselves. It’s a great way to give your goals a supporting atmosphere, and it doesn’t sound so bad either.

    I believe everyone’s comments on breaking lofty goals down to small, actionable pieces are spot on, too. This is all the more important when you have multiple targets — trying to focus on them all at once without a clearly defined path will just make sure that nothing gets done.

    I like to use a bulleted to-do list with each item having five or six detailed steps. Some steps only take as long as 10 minutes to work on, but even finishing up something so small builds momentum and confidence going forward.

    1. Sean says:

      The first To-Do list that I’ve actually stuck with is the one I use in the program “things”. I’ve tried pen and paper and all sorts of other programs and systems but this is the one that works for me. I agree though having a detailed list makes it easier to move forward and make progress on the things you want to get done.

      I like your quote of “giving your goals supporting atmosphere” so much of it is breaking down the “why” of your goals, when you solidly know that, it’s easier to move forward.

  9. Jim Johnson says:

    Thanks for the idea of a theme for the year. I’m tempted to take on Discipline myself, but I think perhaps Priorities might be my take on it: What is my highest priority from moment to moment?

    The three big priorities of the year for me, in order, are Debt-Free, Swim-Suit Fit, and Excitement. (Though they may seem unclear to you, they’re very clear ideas for me.) These priorities entail doing a lot of other things, too, such as increasing my income, eating well (and cheap), and not letting that make me someone who sits home, bored. I’m always willing to shift my focus over the course of the year rather than be devoted to goals mindlessly, so this is my starting point.

    Thanks for the inspirational words! JJ

    1. Sean says:

      I get lost in my priorities A LOT. Anytime I see something new and shiny I tend to jump at it, even if it is something that detracts from my main priorities of building a business and creating memorable stories. That said, sometimes it’s that same personality trait that leads to both opportunity and stories, so it can work out, but regardless I need more discipline haha.

  10. Angie says:

    Struggling with discipline is exactly what is in store for me too. No more room for procrastinating, I too am at the point where I must cut the chat and get stuck in. It is now up to me to make the most of this opportunity but I know my greatest weakness only too well. So you can imagine how pleased I was to read this post, which popped its way into my mail box at the most opportune moment. I have set myself daily time-lines to follow but I look forward to sharing ideas about how to stick with them…

    Best of luck to everyone in 2012

    1. Sean says:

      I’d love to hear more about any ideas or things that are working to help you become more disciplined this year, as I know I’ll be facing a lot of struggles and growing pains in the process!

  11. Sean you nailed this, it has to be about discipline. The thing is I know if I worked my butt off for 4-5 hours I could get done most of what I need to get done in my day for my bread winner job and it would allow me a lot more time to work on my future location independent ambitions. But here it is 11:42 am and I have maybe an hour in and I have been in front of the computer about 3 hours already today. My to-do list is still very long and I have not made a dent. So how do we dig in more and work on that discipline is the question?

    1. Sean says:

      Personally I think it’s all about forming habits, or daily rituals. It’s tough to start, but once you can get yourself into solid routines that become almost automatic, certain portions of your days become much easier. That said, getting to that point is really hard. I think having an accountability partner or community is one of the best ways to get over the hump.

  12. All of the hard work in building our creative outsourcing service is paying off. But even so the last quarter of 2011 caught me by surprise. I wasn’t expecting the incredible interest we’d receive. Clients are coming out of the woodwork! Its exciting and frightening at the same time. 2012 is going to require lots of focus for me. Learning new skills (CRM) and networking with likeminded individuals.

    Thanks for clearing the trail Sean!
    Wishing you Health, Success & Happiness in 2012.

    Rick Fernandez

    1. Sean says:

      That’s the hardest part about the whole thing, the more success you have, the more disciplined you need to be. I’m the same way, for the last few years I’ve been able to kind of skate by under the radar. I could get by without being that disciplined. Now things are shifting and the business has become more serious and more important, both for me and those that I’m trying to help.

      Good luck with all of the new clients!

  13. I can relate to how you said “Your response will be different than mine, but being aware of what it’s going to take to accomplish your goals in the new year is vital to your success.”.
    I hope more people discover your blog because you really know what you’re talking about. Can’t wait to read more from you!

  14. Alejandro Clark says:

    I opened this article in a tab and then watched thirty minutes of house music videos, talked to a friend about his Star Wars video game injury on Facebook and then eventually came and read the article. Ugh.

    1. Sean says:

      haha then you know EXACTLY how I feel. Although now you just have me curious as to what a Star Wars video game injury is exactly… 🙂

  15. katrina (Hurricane) says:

    I felt like you wrote this post for me! Every point you mentioned I have identified myself. I am one of your people who lost their job last November and it was the greatest thing to ever happen. So now as a social media strategy girl, single mom with 2 kids, who I want to take around the world with me and my divorce is still pending….I need all the discipline I can get. I look forward to chronicling my journey with you on My year of Discipline.

  16. Tea says:

    I’m going to join you, Sean. The year of discipline it is 🙂
    Sounds GREAT!

  17. I totally hear you Sean. I’ve finished setting my goals for 2012 so I know ‘what’ I’m going to do, but I’ve never thought about putting a theme around it. Two things come to mind:

    1) Teach: This is the year I learn to teach what I’ve been studying for so long. Time to help others!

    2) Efficiency: There’s so many awesome things I have to create and share, but without being efficient (aka disciplined, hah) I won’t get them done.

    Glad to have stumbled upon your blog Steve. I’m on a quest to build my own location independent biz myself! Looking forward to reading!

  18. It’s all about getting those 2 or 3 most important goal pieces done very early in the day before anything else. Easier said than done.

    Using tools to track your time and most visited websites really helps you to see the big picture and where you are losing time as well. Asking yourself the question during “business hours”, “Is what I’m doing right now contributing to my goal” really helps.

  19. Heather says:

    “Theme” feels so much more inviting than resolution or even goal to me.

    That said, and having quit my job and feeling quite naked and vulnerable, my theme is resilience. No matter what happens, I will be fine if I am resilient and learn what I can from every situation life throws at me.

    This doesn’t mean “goals” are out the window; rather, they, too, might need to be resilient and even plastic.

    Have fun in my old stomping grounds. Let me know if you want to meet some great people in the Vail/ Beaver Creek area. And make sure you pack your rock skis/ board 🙂


  20. Sergio Felix says:

    Hey Sean,

    My theme for this year would be: “The Leap”.

    I spent all 2011 busy on “trying to be productive” and obviously achieved nada.

    Being focused is something I could never do and I spent a LOT of time consuming rather than producing, looking forward to change that.

    Hope the best for you on this 2012 and looking forward for your next updates, all the best my friend!


  21. Hey Sean!

    Great post. I think discipline is the result of setting up the proper environment yourself . Good environment = good routines = discipline.

    Happy 2012.



Comments are closed.