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Can You Direct the Course of Your Life?

DISCIPLINE STRATEGY® Blog by Timothy L. Coomer, PhD

Lessons on applying scientific research to solve real-life challenges within a framework called DISCIPLINE: [Decide] [Investigate] [Sort] [Conceive] [Implement] [Loop] [Intensify] [Notice] [Enjoy]

Can You Direct the Course of Your Life?

I believe you can.

Someone sent me an email recently in response to one of my blogs. She said, “I had never thought about just how much I could influence my life until I started reading your blogs.”

This email meant a lot to me – because part of my mission is “to help people improve their lives.”

No matter the challenges you are facing, I promise you – you can significantly impact what happens from this day forward.

This blog is a condensed summary of what I teach. My book, DISCIPLINE STRATEGY®, is a full explanation of my research and process for life change.

Ready for change? Do this.

Set the tone and the environment

  1. Spend a few days getting some extra sleep.
  2. For several days, eat nutritious meals.
  3. Take a few days and get out of town. If this isn’t possible, take a three-day weekend off from work. Find a coffee shop or shared space that is new to you.
  4. By putting yourself into your best physical/mental state and a different environment, you will encourage new thoughts.
  5. A great resource that discusses optimism is the book Learned Optimism. Here is a link to a summary of the book: http://bit.ly/DSBLOG_LEARNED_OPTIMISM 


  1. Write down the issues or challenges you face that have prompted a desire for change.
  2. Write freely and unedited about the change you want to see in your life.
  3. Summarize the desired change into one or two well thought out sentences.

Return to normal routines

  1. Go back to work and life routines.
  2. Let your journaling and thoughts from your three-day weekend sink in. Let them positively ruminate in your mind.
  3. Discuss your ideas and thoughts with family and friends. Get lots of feedback from those you trust. If possible, reach out to potential mentors.
  4. If you think you need counseling – find a counselor and start this therapeutic process.


  1. Given your thoughts, feedback from others, and initial counseling make a decision.
  2. Write down this decision in clear words and post it in several places where you will see it throughout the day. 
  3. Commit to this decision as your goal and regularly visualize the future benefits of this decision.
  4. Cut off all other paths, thoughts, and worries. You have made a decision and are committed to moving in a new direction.
  5. An excellent resource for decision making is the book Decisive. Here is a summary: http://bit.ly/DSBLOG_DECISIVE

Do your homework

  1. Throw yourself into an intense period of studying everything related to your decision.
  2. Talk to experts, mentors, advisors, family, friends.
  3. Become your own “guru” and know how to reach your goal.

Get started and persevere

  1. Conceive a detailed plan and anticipate potential challenges.
  2. Plan for how you will overcome the challenges you identify.
  3. Rearrange your life to make plenty of room for your goal pursuit. This effort may require giving up nonproductive activities. You will have to fight the status quo bias and work hard to implement new habits and routines that support your goal pursuit.
  4. Implement your plan.
  5. Resource: The research that formed the basis of the book Grit is here: http://bit.ly/DSBLOG_GRIT_PERSEVERANCE

Work to improve

  1. As you gain experience, strive to improve the implementation of your plan.
  2. Get feedback and advice from others.
  3. Self-assess and strive to improve.

Intensify your efforts

  1. As you build experience and expertise with your new way of living and doing, intensify your effort.
  2. Reduce 80% of activities in your life that only create 20% of the benefit. See this blog: http://bit.ly/DSBLOG_80_20_RULE
  3. For a while, make more room in your life for your goal pursuit.


  1. Notice the person you are becoming because of your goal pursuit and personal growth.
  2. Celebrate the successes along the path to your goal.
  3. Prepare to set your next goal and take the lessons learned from your completed goal to realign your internal compass.


  1. Understand the positive psychology concept of PERMA (positive emotion, engagement, relationships, meaning, and accomplishment).
  2. Increase well-being and happiness by intentionally nurturing PERMA.
  3. A document I created to help you implement a plan to nurture PERMA is here: http://bit.ly/DSBLOG_PERMA_WORKSHEETS


It takes work, effort, focus, and intensity to change your life. However, if you take it one step at a time, become your own guru in the process, persevere with incredible passion, and nurture your well-being along the way YOU CAN DIRECT THE COURSE OF YOUR LIFE!

P.S. If you want to start now using the DISCIPLINE STRATEGY, check out this offer to gain instant access to the online DISCIPLINE STRATEGY video course and receive a signed copy of DISCIPLINE STRATEGY.