Discipline. You’d think after 13 years of primary and secondary school, 4 years of college, and nearly 9 years of parenting that I would be a master of self-discipline. I’m not. I like sleep. I like down time. I like alternating between the safe zones of laziness and distracted busyness.But I also have goals, many of which remain unattained. And recently, I had to admit that these unreached goals are largely a result of my own lack of discipline.
It boils down to this: if you really want something, you work for it. You don’t wait for lucky breaks or gushing affirmations. You don’t stay up for two hours streaming old Netflix shows. You don’t spend your lunch breaks scrolling through Instagram. You don’t sigh longingly at people living the dream. You don’t make endless plans without following through. You don’t give up because of what people might say. And you definitely don’t blame the people around you for stymying your dreams.
I knew all this intellectually, sure. But when it came to putting this knowledge into practice – let’s just say it took me a while. I needed more discipline.
In December, I decided to discipline myself – not in a self-abusing, self-loathing way, but in a way that would help lead me toward the person I want to be. I resolved to do two things: first, to meditate daily, and second, to practice yoga six days a week. I knew I’d have to wake up between 4:45 and 5:30 a.m. every morning to make that happen — more on that challenge in a future post — but I committed anyway, even though I am the polar opposite of a “morning person.” A yogi I follow on Instagram — Kerri Verna — once said that she makes her daily yoga practice as routine as brushing her teeth: neither routines are optional. This shift in perspective — from grudging obligation to routine — has really helped me muster the discipline to maintain my resolutions.
The resolutions have helped me maintain discipline in other areas as well: I use my time more effectively at work, I bring less work home, I read more for pleasure, and I even write a bit more. The time to do these things has always existed, and yet I’ve never had the discipline to organize my time in a way to make these goals happen. And what I’m finding is that giving myself more structure in certain areas allows me to better enjoy the leisure time I have without fretting about looming to-do lists.
I will not pretend to have this all figured out. I still spend an obscene amount of time on social media, watching silly videos, and worrying about upcoming tasks.
But, it’s all a journey, right? I’m just glad to finally be getting somewhere.