I started my list of 2014 resolutions/goals as I imagine many people do–by writing a long, exhaustive list of what I wanted to change or accomplish in the new year.
As my list grew longer and longer, I was overwhelmed with a huge sense of defeat. The new year hadn’t even started, yet I was already feeling the weight of trying to do too much.
For one, trying to undo so many bad habits I’d held onto for years in just one year was way too ambitious. Also unrealistic was trying to take on so much given my existing family, home, church, work and other obligations.
I backtracked and decided to limit my focus to one thing. That one thing…
For me, discipline is key because lack of it can cause disorder, as well as minor and major failures in so many other areas of our lives. For instance,
- Relying too much on feeling like going to the gym has led to my clothes getting tighter and tighter.
- Not checking my calendar and to do list has caused missed appointments and deadlines.
- Being too quick to speak instead of slow to listen has triggered unnecessary disagreements and miscommunication.
“In reading the lives of great men, I found that the first victory they won was over themselves… self-discipline with all of them came first.” -Harry S. Truman
Once I decided on discipline, I then asked myself, what would discipline look like in my life?
Instead of a long list of resolutions and goals, working towards discipline in just a few areas throughout the year seemed more manageable. As Crystal Paine writes in her book, 21 Days to a More Disciplined Life, “Making small changes over time cements new habits in a way that quick, drastic changes cannot…drastic changes are hardly ever sustainable.” So with that, here are a few ways a more disciplined life looks for me:
- In terms of being a person of my word, I would review and work from my calendar and to do list daily.
- In terms of my spiritual life, I would pray daily even if it’s just a few words.
- In terms of my health, I would exercise three to four times a week.
- In terms of my marriage, I would continuously look for ways to recognize my husband for something positive.
- In terms of our finances, I would be actively involved in knowing how our money is coming in and going out.
- In terms of being engaged with my kids, I would have more gadget-free time with them.
My plan is to work on one of these areas consistently for a month or two (or at least until I feel like I’ve reversed some bad habits), then add another item. Even when I’m not working on one of these, I will continue to be mindful of the question, “What would discipline look like in my life?,” and constantly evaluate the daily choices I’m making to determine if they’re leading me towards a more disciplined life or away from it.
Your turn…I’d love to hear what you will be working on in 2014? Are you a list maker or do you go for a one-word type resolution? More importantly, what helps you actually accomplish your goals?