Change/self discipline or anything else related is difficult, or nearly impossible for me. I am a truly undisciplined person. So I am in a constant struggle with myself to improve in this area. It seems to me that there are two parts to work on - one is composed of the day-to-day chores that if left undone or done late create chaos and messes everywhere - such as paying the bills, doing the dishes and laundry, making the bed, errands - and on and on. Then there's the part that's composed of the actions or non-actions that move my life forward or keep it on hold - such as anything to do with work or creativity and my spiritual practices.
My usual way of handling these areas is to bounce back and forth, with one or the other taking precedence but not really getting anywhere with either area until the chaos and messes catch up and my fear of consequences causes me to take action. Around the first of every year I vow to clean these things up and every year I make a tiny bit of progress and then go backward. For the last three years I've had a wonderful excuse - my recovery from the wreck. But truly I've needed every bit of self-discipline I could summon to do the work of recovery. So here I am at the beginning of another year with the goal of improving in the area of self-discipline. This time I'm really looking at what the barriers are and looking for ways to get over or around them.
Some of my barriers are just expecting myself to "just do it" when I don't have the information on how to "just do it." Some of my deficits of information are time management skills, the need for really thinking through what I want to do and visualizing these activities, and practicing them. Then there's the problem of "why" and I've been using the "if I were a good person I would be self-disciplined" motivation. That always fails. Maybe a better "why" would be that I could build a better life for myself with better self-discipline. Another barrier is my self-image as a free spirit. In my mind, free spirits don't practice self discipline. It really messes up my image of myself badly. But I think free spirits like myself probably spend way too much time in chaos and trying to clean up messes caused by lack of self-discipline. This free spirit could use the extra time created by practicing self-discipline to be free.
Sublime 2009 - the year of my freedom from chaos and messes!
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