Everyone loves a clean slate.
A new year.
A brand new white board. A fresh sheet of paper. An empty journal soon to be filled with the brilliant ideas in your head. A new workout program. Resolutions.
New. Fresh. Clean. Shiny.
Not new things happen.
Not fresh things show up.
The unclean invites itself.
You misspell a word on page 2 of the journal. In INK.
You skip two days of the new workout because your thighs were screaming horrible things at you. But they scream more and louder when you go back.
You can see the last two weeks of white board markings and can’t get that shiny new finish back no matter how much spray you use.
It’s old now.
Eh. It’s easier to quit than fail.
Pretend you never started.
I’ve done that. Been doing that for years, actually.
I’ve tried picking a word of the year. 2016 was “intentional.” I intentionally did not make it to February. 2017 was “change.” I wrote down in a journal, “Nothing changes if nothing changes.” Wow. Deep. And nothing changed. Because nothing changed. 2018 was the hardest year of my life, with more conflict and change than I’ve ever experienced. As much as I didn’t work toward a New Year’s resolution or set specific goals this year, I did work and my regrets are fewer than usual. The hard stuff kept me on my knees, which is the safest and best place I could be.
But something hit me the day after Thanksgiving just a few short weeks ago. In the unlikely and uninspiring setting of a laundry room, I leaned over a dryer and read a Sean Dietrich blog post (www.seanofthesouth.com) from start to finish. It made me cry. It was simple, poignant, and powerful. The next day, I read another. And the day after that, another. I loved reading. He kept writing. That’s when it occurred to me that he writes every day. New material. From January 2018 until that moment in November, I had written 3 times. I wanted to write. I needed to write. But I wasn’t writing.
Inspired by the simple and consistent words of a man I’ve never met, I decided that if he could, so could I. At least on a Monday-Friday basis. Monday-Friday means 5 posts a week. That’s a specific goal that is 1,000,000 times more than I’ve been writing. How would I make that happen? What magic could I tap into to pull it off?
That’s when it hit me. Magic isn’t how things happen. Inspiration isn’t the source of great ideas and fancy words. It’s time. It’s effort. It’s determination.
It’s DISCIPLINE. Training myself to do something in a controlled and habitual way. (Thanks, internet.) Controlled and habitual. Ok then. I can develop the discipline to write daily. To do anything daily.
And out popped the word for 2019: discipline. In 2016, I tried to be intentional without any discipline. In 2017, I tried to change without applying discipline. In 2019, I’m going to develop discipline. To read. To write. To get healthy. To study. To whatever. Put in the time and the energy every day for whatever I’m working toward. 20 minutes here. An hour there. It’s a focus not so much on the outcome as it is on the process. For any goal I set, there has to be a controlled and habitual in place to accomplish it. In order to get something done, I must do. Well, then.
It is the simplest of all plans. So simple it’s almost guaranteed to fail. But let’s not talk about failure. That’s so negative.
Happy 2019, friends.