Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Defining Character: Self-Discipline

"In reading the lives of great men, I found that the first victory they won was over themselves ... self-discipline with all of them came first." — Harry S. Truman

How many times a day do I do one thing when I know I should be doing something else? A lot. I know self-discipline is one of my weak areas. Before picking this topic for my character development, I thought to myself “Do I really want to be known as self-disciplined?” “Aren’t those people boring?” “I don’t want to be boring.”

In the end though, everyone needs self-discipline. There are just things in life you are not going to want to do. I don’t want to get out of bed every morning and go to work, but I have to do it. I don’t want to sit down to pay all my bills each month, but I have to do it. I don’t want to clean up my dog’s poop or clean out the litter box, but I have to do it.

Lately I feel like the life is being sucked out of me. This constant struggle with feeling uninspired, frustrated, and just basically checked out has been making things hard. I struggle with everything else in my life because one or two BIG areas are just draining me. Cleaning my house and my car, cooking and eating healthy, exercising, saving money, doing my taxes, and even reading the Bible feel like they would take a Herculean effort on my part to accomplish.

It has never gotten this bad. I never had to “work-on” the self-discipline this much. But something has to change. I have to motivate and inspire myself somehow.

Self-Discipline isn’t fun. It doesn’t come naturally. It is something I think everyone has to work on and develop. It can be overwhelming if you try to do too much at once.

It all started when I decided I was going to give up fast food for Lent. (even though I don't really practice Lent, but my mom does so I jumped on the bandwagon) #1- it would save money and #2- It might help me shed some lbs! (BTW, I am having a crisis because my team at work wants to take advantage of FREE milkshakes at Chic-fil-a for our company's employees next Tuesday. I REALLY want to go, but that counts as fast food right?)

Then I decided I was going to take on more of a challenge. I was going to focus on specific things to eliminate or add to my life. Once, I read that there are two types of people when it comes to this type of thing:

The first type is the “all or nothing” type. These are the types of people who must give up something completely, or practice it every single day to get it under control. You either do it or you don’t. Period.

The second type of people are the moderators. These are the type of people who if you tell them they can’t have something or can’t do something, it makes them indulge. They would do better with having just one cookie a week to hold the edge off, rather than giving up cookies for a week and then eating an entire box.

You always hear “moderation is key”, but I think I am more of an “all or nothing” kind of girl. When I try to practice moderation, it never works out. I make too many excuses when I try to moderate. Instead I am going to try to make a goal to either eliminate or add something to my life, practice it religiously for 2 weeks then pick something else to work on. Hopefully after 2 weeks whatever I have been working on will become second nature and I won’t have to think about it as much, I’ll just do it naturally.

This week I started with a spending diet. Monday- Friday I am not spending any money. I have to make sure to fill up my car with gas on the weekend and get any essentials I may need. I pack my lunch everyday and eat whatever I have in my pantry instead of going out. So far it is going good. The only thing I am worried about is my Bible Study group is going out to dinner for a birthday next Monday. Would it be rude to not eat? I want to stick to my spending diet…no exceptions. But I don’t want to be rude? How do I handle this?

Other things I plan on giving up/adding in the coming weeks:

- 2 weeks of working out every single day
- 2 weeks of keeping my house clean every single day
- 2 weeks with no internet
- 2 weeks with no TV

I feel like these exercises will help me live more simply and get a better control on my most precious resources: time and money. And hopefully exercising all this Self-Discipline along the way will permanently ingrain that in my character.


Morgan said...

Hey Suz - this is Brooklyn's friend Morgan -

I just wanted to say I think this is a great idea! The more often you do something the more it becomes second nature - I do same thing.

As for the dinner with your Bible study, I say they should support what you are trying to do - so just explain to everyone what you're doing and I think they'll support you, instead of making you to feel like you have to!

Good luck! Keep it up!

Anonymous said...

hmmm I will tell you from experience that giving up fast food is hard at first, but I promise you (seriously you can come kick my butt if you don't find this to be true!!!) that after a little while, you totally don't miss it. I think it is really great that you chose to do that. Maybe if you watch Supersize me that will help you with the self-discipline part (or at least gross you out for as long as lent is to give it up). I support you and if you ever want to grab a bite that is non-fast food, just let me know!

- Jennifer

hackia said...

hmmm first off , i read a book it was "physcho cybernetics" by maxwell maltz. the best book i ever read. It said it takes 21 days to stick to something so maybe you might want to up to 3 weeks. Proven study.

and 2 weeks no internet ouuu then you wont read what i wrote. Thats no good.

Ouu and Bible study, forget your wallet. their a bunch of holy people iam sure they will pay for u. That still kinda breakin the rules or you can call in sick or.

The best solution: is tell them that you cant spend money. And they will either understand and let you stay home or someone will offer to pay and probably ask you take them out on the weekend.

Anyhow i was looking for some inspiration to get my butt up and clean my house. I think after reading this iam just gonna "buck up" and do it. Starting by playin a little tunes.

anyhow good luck, good post and good bye


ps check out that book i mention!!