Sunday, September 12, 2010

Self-Discipline Challenge - Day 1

     I've often wondered what results I'd get if I actually followed through and did the things I know I ought to, rather than making excuses and fluffing these things off. I'm referring to getting up early (versus after an hour's worth of hitting the 'snooze' button) and working out, going to church, getting the house organized, getting together with friends and family (versus "We should do lunch soon...") etc.
     My friend S. is the most disciplined person I know. I'm not sure if it's her personality or her policing background that created this characteristic in her, but she is definately someone who Gets Stuff Done. Her house is organized and decorated (versus mine still painted builder's white after 8 years), the family schedule is full of interesting activities, she is in fantastic shape, has a busy and illustrious career, and gets up at 5:00 a.m. to bake muffins for her family. As Bree VanDerCamp as this sounds, there is nothing Stepford about her and she's as real and passionate as they come. Compared to S., I am a serious slacker.
     Yesterday, as I moved at tortoise speed due to a mild touch of wine flu, accomplishing nothing on my to-do list, I decided I would challenge myself to 21 days (that's how long it takes to make or break a habit) of self-discipline. This doesn't mean driving myself into the ground with impossible expectations and burnout looming on the horizon. Rather, I would make a handful of commitments to myself to keep each day. A long list of "to-do's" that can't be accomplished is not realistic or self-supporting. I also decided it would be important to make some self-care and me-time commitments for the list as well, so it's not just all work, no play. And, I also decided a few mulligans would be made available for the extreme cases where I just didn't have it in me to make it happen. Ideally, I will use no more than 1 mulligan per week. So I've got a few 'outs' to keep things comfortable. Us slackers need outs as a safety net!
     So my commitments for today were to get up, work out in the gym, shower, wash my hair, shave my legs (I hate shaving my legs and you wouldn't believe the excuses or disguises I use to get away with long periods between leg scrapings), take the kids to church, get some laundry done today, and finish cleaning up our dining room. It was a fight to get out of bed rather than rolling over, when Cam got up to feed Lauren her breakfast. But I did it, made it downstairs to the gym, and actually worked out. And it was a real workout, not just schlumping along on the treadmill, watching t.v., pretending to break a sweat. Proudly checked off the entire showering checklist.
     The challenge was in getting to church. Austin will easily go to the Catholic church, however, I wanted to attend my church, affectionately known in our house as the "rock 'n' roll" church, which is more of a relaxed community-based congregation and an approach based more on content than on ritual. As I felt the excuses welling up inside me (I don't want to argue with Auz, it looks like rain, Lauren will miss her nap) I reminded myself of my commitment  and went anyhow. Lauren went into the nursery no problem ("Hey, more people to party with! Great!"), but Austin was teary and nervous (doesn't like new situations) and had to remain with me until his pals Ben and Luke showed up. The after-church recap from Auz was that despite the video games, movie ("lame"), floor hockey, Lego, and basketball, he'd rather sit through the service at the Catholic church than whoop it up at Rock'n'Roll church Sunday school. Auz is truly a man who sticks to his convictions. Lauren, on the other hand, wouldn't leave the nursery and kept trying to crawl back in when I was trying to sign her out.  Me, I had a lovely experience, re-connected with some of my MOPS moms' group acquaintances, and enjoyed the music, the service, and the company around me.
     The laundry is started, so I can say that commitment is under way. Of course I'll have to follow through and remember to fold and put away the clean clothes, which is 75% of the battle for me. Our dining room has been the defacto storage area for all our basement items while we renovated the basement. Trunks, Rubbermaid totes, renovation receipts, and numerous tchotchkes await me to deal with them. I'm off to get that done, so I can sit, relax, and read a book guilt free. I realize it's only day one and there are rocky roads ahead, but I think I can say I'm off to a good start in keeping my commitments.

1 comment:

  1. I spend a lot of time putting away clean clothes. I always tell myself I will be more disciplined from tomorrow, but never happends