Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity… (NIV) Ephesians 5:15-16
Last year I was introduced to the concept of choosing “one little word” as an alternative to New Year’s Resolutions. I really like this idea, and my word last year was “Discover.” I found myself returning to that word throughout the year; and many times, it helped me refocus when I felt out of balance. Although I will never be finished “discovering,” it is a new year and time for a new word.
This year the word I have chosen is DISCIPLINE. I know—it’s a scary word. I’m a pretty free spirit, and I am not fond of schedules and routine. I like to be spontaneous, go with the mood. Since I no longer work in an office and I am my own boss, one of the things I have enjoyed the most is not having any set schedule. But not having a schedule has its drawbacks. Whether I am working, reading, writing, or resting, I get involved and the next thing I know, hours have passed. If I’ve accomplished something, that’s okay. But if I have other things to do, they go undone. Another drawback is finding yourself at the mercy of other people’s schedules. Since you’re “not doing anything” and you “don’t have a job,” it is hard to turn down requests from others. So, you rearrange your day to meet others’ needs and your to-do lists wait.
But mostly, I need discipline because it makes me accountable. I can set all the goals I want, but if I don’t discipline myself to accomplish them, I don’t succeed. And then, I feel bad.
I could probably improve discipline in all areas of my life, but the one I want to focus on the most is my schedule. Dictionary.com defines discipline as an “activity, exercise, or a regimen that develops or improves a skill; training.”
Regimen is defined as a regulated course to attain some result, a systematic plan.
Freedictionarydefinitions.com defines discipline as “training that … perfects the mental faculties …, control gained by enforcing … order, … [a] prescribed conduct or pattern of … self-control … or system … governing … activity.” (I have taken the parts of the definition that apply to order rather than behavior.)
To discipline myself to have order in my day, I need a schedule. Not a rigid schedule, but a routine, a daily or weekly plan of what needs to happen. I haven’t been doing that. I’ve been planning my days as they happen. I am determined to accomplish more by taking back time. For me, that may mean setting the alarm, avoiding work in pj mode, and setting some time frames for things that need to be done. Whether I decide to work every day or a few days a week, those days need to be structured so at the end of them, I can see the progress.
Working at home requires a different kind of routine than a regular job, but a routine is necessary or other things will distract you. I want to improve at this. I will still have the flexibility to be spontaneous, but that needs to be an occasional, not daily, occurrence.
I encourage you to focus all your goals and resolutions for the year into #onelittleword that will keep you on track. I’d love to hear the word you have chosen.
Join me, won’t you? Choose #onelittleword for 2016.