My Word for 2019: Self-Discipline
Almost every year I pick a word of the year.
Usually it’s something exciting and inspiring like “limitless” or “joy”.
Oddly enough, in 2018 I forgot to pick a word (or maybe I picked a word and forgot what it was).
And now that everyone, including myself, is in full swing planning 2019 I have been thinking about what word or phrase I need to support me in my goals for the next 12 months.
For me, the word I need most in 2019 is SELF DISCIPLINE.
Let me back up a bit…
Up until recently, my driving force has been a desire for FREEDOM. For me, freedom always meant…
Doing what I want, when I want
Designing my days how I see fit
Being in control of my life
But a funny thing happened when I finally got the freedom….I started watching too much Netflix and spending too much time scrolling Instagram. I felt aimless, empty, and bored.
I won’t lie, at first the freedom to spend a random Tuesday however I wanted gave me a thrill. It was the rebellious jolt that I needed.
But after a few weeks, the life of pleasure started to feel bad. I know this might seem obvious to you, but living a life of instant gratification is NOT conducive to achieving big goals.
And as it turns out, I have big goals.
During my month-or-so of freedom, I started to dream big again. I realized that I have more businesses in me. That I want to write books. That I want to work hard to speak on stages. That one day (hopefully not too far away) I want to buy a really really really nice house.
To achieve these things requires self-discipline.
It takes discipline to wake up early and exercise so that you have the health and energy to take on the day.
It takes discipline to say no to junk food and yes to vegetables so that you can raise your chances of living long enough and healthy enough to achieve your goals.
It takes discipline to take action to do the not-so-fun parts of making things happen, to step outside of your comfort zone, to truly live your ideal life.
To me, self-discipline means…
Doing what I say I’m going to do.
Acting in a way that will help me achieve my goals
Designing my days in a way that will support my goals
Being in control of my life
Newsflash: Freedom and Self-Discipline have eerily similar definitions. The difference is the long-term vs. short-term approach. Freedom is all about instant gratification and hedonism (which I’m great at) whereas self-discipline is about long-term gratification (which I’d like to work on).
There is NOTHING wrong with doing what feels good in the moment. However, there are consequences to every choice you and I make. Oftentimes, choosing present comforts steals from future success.
Anyway, friends, I am SOLD on the need for self-discipline. At this point, though I need to get really clear about what specific actions and habits I need in order to make it happen.
STEP 1 - DECIDE WHAT LONG-TERM RESULTS I WANT
I love the exercise from Tara Mohr’s book, Playing Big, where she encourages you to picture your ideal future self in as much detail as possible and then make decisions that will help you to become that person.
Here are some things that come up for me when I do this exercise:
Have lots of energy throughout the day from the time I wake up
Be in great physical shape throughout my entire lifetime (I want to be a sprightly 80 year old!)
Start and own multiple successful businesses.
Live in a tidy, charming, and cozy home (I have Pinterest boards to help me with this one)
Have strong social connections where I live
Teach, coach, and mentor female entrepreneurs all over the world to inspire them to take massive action towards their goals.
Cultivate strategic business relationships with intention (rather than passively)
Enjoy the here and now as much as possible (I’m naturally a future thinker, which has served me well, but sometimes I’ve regretted constantly thinking about the “next thing”).
STEP 2 - BRAINSTORM ACTIONS THAT WILL HELP ME BECOME THAT PERSON
In order to cultivate my ideal life, I want to take small actions every day that will slowly walk me towards becoming that person.
Looking at the list above, these are the actions I’ve come up with so far (would love your input in the comments if you have more ideas for me!):
Don’t use technology within 1 hour of sleeping or waking (perhaps except for the Headspace app that I use for mediation).
Have a regular sleep and wake time
Have an exercise plan / schedule to follow
Drink lemon water first thing in the morning
Take at least 2 long walks every day
Do deep stretches most days
Join a skating team
Start an informal mentorship group locally
Always go to bed with a clean sink and do dishes as I use them
Do laundry whenever there’s a load and fold it immediately
Focus on adding fats and proteins to all meals
Hire a cleaner
Have a clear networking goal for every event
Reach out every day to at least one person I want to cultivate a relationship with
Send X media pitches every week (I haven’t decided how many, but I want to make this a regular thing. Up until now, almost all media opportunities have come to me and I’d like to be more proactive).
Practice daily meditation using Headspace (I’m obsessed with this app!)
When I choose goals and create plans, do whatever I have to do to implement the plan.
Outsource accountability wherever needed. This could be hiring a cleaner, skating coach, trainer, business coach, or even announcing goals to my audience on Instagram).
STEP 3 - PICK ONE THING TO FOCUS ON AT A TIME
I’m drawn to the idea of picking ONE thing to focus on each month because I don’t want to fall into the trap of front-loading my goals only to get overwhelmed and quit two weeks into the process.
That said, when I say ONE thing, I actually mean 3-5. But don’t worry, I’m going to get really specific about what those things are.
So here’s what I’ve got on deck for January 2019:
Start skating lessons - I’m signing up to skate 2x per week at 6:00am 😳This might take a little getting used to!
Work up to running 8-10 miles per week - I need to do this in order to prep to train for a half marathon.
Phone-free within 1h of sleeping or waking - This is the thing that I think is going to be the hardest for me. I used to be really good about not looking at my phone and now it OWNS me. Send help.
Alright friends, that’s about as far as I’ve gotten with the whole self-discipline thing.
I’d really love to know what YOUR word of 2019 is, too. Would you mind sharing it with me as a comment on this Instagram post?