Happy New Year!
I’ve never been one to make New Year’s Resolutions. In fact, I hate them. To want to do or stop doing something just because the calendar has a different number always seemed a little silly. Perhaps it is because school never started in January, but in August; perhaps it is because I was born in June. My life didn’t start on January 1 and I don’t think it will end on a December 31. So why would I base my habits, goals and aspirations on something as arbitrary as a date?
But last month, thanks to a group of writers I’m involved with, I read an article called The Benefits of Choosing a Word of the Year. It was about choosing a word to determine what your year should be like. Not a list, not a set of resolutions, a single word to impact every aspect of your life. As I read through the article, I couldn’t help but think of the word Discipline, which has always been rather scary to me, not to mention difficult.
How tiresome it sounds. Despite my parent’s best efforts, I’ve struggled with discipline my entire life. Before I went abroad, I was a messy person. I didn’t like to make my bed, I didn’t do my homework, I didn’t return things to their place, and I never was on time.
And then I moved to Germany.
Here people can seem very disciplined compared to what I was used to. During my four years in Germany, and after screwing up a whole university semester, I was forced to drastically change my habits. I became organized, tidy, and quite responsible.
Why is discipline important? Discipline teaches us to operate by principle rather than desire. Saying no to our impulses (even the ones that are not inherently sinful) puts us in control of our appetites rather than vice versa. It deposes our lust and permits truth, virtue, and integrity to rule our minds instead.John F. MacArthur Jr.
And yet here I am, trying to come up with ideas to be productive, to stick to my rules, to accomplish something. Despite the many changes, when I sat down to think about what I had planned for 2016, I realized I didn’t quite make it through my list of projects.
I did manage to do a lot of the things I wanted to, you know, the important stuff: I completed my bachelor’s degree, I moved back to Mexico City, I lost weight, I improved my relationship with God, etc. But still, I can’t help but think that I could have accomplished more if I had been more disciplined.
This is the year I become disciplined.
There’s a short article by editor and writing coach called Sarah Dobson where she talks about consistency and accountability to ensure productivity: The Biggest Lesson I Learned this Year. After reading it, I realized that if I am to be disciplined, I need to hold myself accountable. So this is part of what this post is for. By telling you, dearest readers, some of my projects, I am turning you into my accountability buddies. Here’s what I’m doing this year:
Wake up early | Write regularly both on the blog and for myself | Apply for a masters degree | Read at least 25 books | Read the Bible every day | Practice an instrument | Participate in the four courses on my To Learn list | Declutter my life | Be more aware of what surrounds me | Eat healthier | Keep in touch with my friends | Be more open towards other people | Pray more | Stop wasting time on unimportant things | Press on toward the goal
I know most of these sound like New Years Resolutions, but I promise they’re not. They’re rather reaffirmations of ongoing plans I want to see through. We’ll see how it goes.