For many years, I didn’t recognize the choices that were all around me. And that by not choosing, I was actually making a choice. (Yeah, I can be a little slow to catch on.) Choices in how I feel, what I think, my attitude, time management, organization, and even wellness. Gradually, I’ve become more aware of the choices around me. I’m more able to recognize when I need to make a choice and to realize when I’m making a choice simply by doing nothing. I think the latter is sometimes called, ahem, denial.
Because I am organized, able to meet deadlines, and work from home, people consider me to be disciplined. Quite frankly, I don’t see myself that way. I see my failures, the list of what hasn’t gotten done, and the choices I make on a daily basis. But in the past few years, a quote has inspired me to think about discipline in a more friendly light.
“Discipline is choosing between what you want now and what you want most.” | Unknown
Different choices with my time and resources would accomplish some of those lingering items on my “To Do” list. But this isn’t about shaming, blaming, and regrets! It’s about adjusting my mindset in order to move forward. And no, I don’t expect to be perfect at this either. (But I can dream!)
There are three key words in this quote that help me to make positive life choices and changes: choosing, now, and most.
We all have visions, dreams, and goals – hopefully some short term, but also some lofty aspirations that take time and determination with results of joy, growth, and a sense of accomplishment. These bigger dreams are really a series of smaller choices that either support and draw us toward them or detract and stall us out.
That is where this quote about discipline comes in. As we recognize and make choices, are they leading us to what we want most? Or are they simply providing immediate (temporary) gratification? Are they leading us in a positive direction or are we taking steps, small or large, away from our true desires? Discipline isn’t as intimidating when you accept it as a series of decisions and choices.
For me, the daily “discipline choices” vary.
It can be a matter of choosing to take the extra time at the end of the day to clear off my desk to reduce stress the next day or leaving the mess to go have fun right now.
It can be recognizing what distracts me during the day and eliminating those distractions so that I can work efficiently and enjoy my time off rather than regretting what I didn’t get done. The biggest distraction for me? Leaving the house for meetings, errands, or any reason, oddly enough. When I get back, I am rarely able to regain my focus and get fully back in the “work zone”. A scheduled day for meetings and errands keeps the other days for focused work. I have found this more productive than spreading my “out and about” time.
It can be choosing to exercise daily to support my long term wellness goals. As opposed to my short-term “I’m tired and I want to Netflix and chill” goals. Hmm…depending on the workout – I could combine the two!
It can be looking at my dreams and goals, breaking them down into smaller steps and applying discipline to those building blocks.
Whether it feels like a life altering decision or a “so what, no one else is going to see” decision (as I put the jelly beans in my grocery cart), the impact resonates. And sometimes? We need to make the disciplined choices to take a time out, rest, and have fun!
I hope that this quote will inspire you as it has me. My small positive steps and short term goals lead me closer to my true desires. Move forward toward your vision and goals – I wish you all the best as you pursue your dreams!