Thursday, December 31, 2009

A New Perspective

Do you ever hear a phrase that gives you a new perspective on something? As soon as you hear it you slap your forehead and think “Of course! Why didn’t I see that before?” Just recently I heard one on self discipline.

In the blink of an eye Christmas is over and New Year’s is right around the corner again. As I put up the Christmas presents and decorations my mind turns to taxes and New Year’s resolutions. I know, I know, I know. I can hear you groaning through the monitor. Don’t be tempted to turn off your monitor at this point, I’m not going to beat you up. There are no New Year’s Resolution Police.

I pretty much hate New Year’s resolutions

The last two years I’ve made New Year’s resolutions that were pretty easy to keep. In 2008 I resolved to get pregnant. Resolution accomplished.

In 2009, buoyed by my recent success with 2008’s resolution I resolved to give birth.

Ta da! Meet Doodlebug, the newest and cutest member of our family. Well, there’s no way I’m going to be able to top that!

Okay, let’s see. I could work on the weight I want to lose, or actually keeping the house reasonably clean. But I’ve made those resolutions before, and here I am in my size way- bigger-than-I-want-to-admit-on-the-world-wide-web jeans with my computer desk threatening to cascade an avalanche of paper on the floor if I make one false move. And I start to think I just don’t have the self discipline to change myself.

And then I read something that resonated with me. Okay, it was more like being struck between the eyes with a two by four, but you know what I mean.

Self discipline is remembering what you really want. (Pam Young)

Now I always think of self discipline as sacrifice and hard work and deprivation. And it’s often about failure, guilt and beating myself up. But it’s really not that at all. It’s just about making decisions about what is important to me and following through on them. I can do that.

It’s not hard, or scary or depressing. It’s liberating, freeing and hopeful. It’s about knowing who I am and what I want and going for it. It’s keeping my goals foremost in my mind so I don’t get distracted by all the other stuff that inevitably happens in life.

Maybe the goals I have set in the past haven’t reflected what I really want. Maybe I just got sidetracked along the way. Either way the solution isn’t to buckle down, beat myself up or try harder. The solution is to figure out what I really want and hold onto that. That seems a whole lot easier to me.

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