“If only I had enough money, I wouldn’t need self-discipline.”
I was walking our puppy when that thought popped into my head. It blew up just as quickly. The noise seemed so real, I almost expected the couple walking by to turn around and stare.
Until that moment, I hadn’t recognized how close I was to settling for jobs (just for the money) and a lifestyle to replace self-discipline.
I had big plans for my bank account. It was going to buy our adult kids what they couldn’t have when we lived on a budget, allow us to make an offer on another home to distract us from the harder work of working towards our ambitions, and buy a good life from the shelves of Target and Eddie Bauer.
Like a friend said when we talked about her economic plight, “Friends keep saying, ‘Money’s not everything,’ but I need it to keep on my lights.”
She’s right. A million dollars would light my way around self-discipline, I was pretty sure of it.
I mean, I’m only writing stories to get a paycheck, not touch lives, right? So, why not get a real job and give up on the patience and self-discipline it takes to write a book?
We’re only eating at home and healthier until there’s extra in the budget for fast food, yes? Why not skip the time and self-discipline it takes to plan a meal and cook it?
And my husband and I are talking in the evenings about ways to deepen our marriage, but just until we buy more TV time or online time or iPhone apps, true? Why not avoid the discomfort and self-discipline it takes to get in touch with how we feel?
After years of knowing better, it took me by surprise to find myself pondering on, of all things, the thought that money, not self-discipline, would enrich my life. For maybe the first time ever, I truly took note that I can’t hire out the really important things in life like purpose, health, and healthy relationships.
Life improvement starts with self-discipline, which starts with starting.
If you’re anything like me, how many times do we have to figure this out before we get out of our checkbooks and off the couch?
A few tips for startup:
- Get a pen and paper now. I’m doing the same since writing down our ambitions is an important first step.
- Write down the thing in your life you want to do, but avoid. Write down what you’re willing to do today to make it happen. Also write down what you’re willing to do tomorrow.
- Make time today to make it happen. Do this every single day except your day of rest, and preferably do it first thing in the morning, even if you’ve only got 10 minutes to spare. That’s a start and that’s self-discipline.
- Undertake one thing at a time so you stop walking in circles. Figure out the first step to eating your frog, which may be as simple as pulling out a sketchpad and sharpening your colored pencils.
- Do not make excuses. Stop telling everyone why you’re not eating your greens. Either eat them or don’t.
What purpose, health issue, or relationship in your life needs a dose of self-discipline?
WRite wHere I’m supposed to be – Let’s spend the next 10 minutes working towards the thing we want most and avoid most. Sign up for an exercise class, write a paragraph, order the book or DVD, address an envelope, have the conversation. Whatever it is, do it now.
On the side: A funny thing happened on the way to my blog – I wrote this post a month or so ago, before I heard our church was offering Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University.
One of my husband’s and my ambitions in 2005 was to be financially free in five years. We didn’t make it happen because, at the time, we didn’t care much for self-discipline. It’s 2013 and we still don’t care much for self-discipline, except Dave Ramsey says the dirty D word (discipline) is the only way to financial freedom (and any freedom, for that matter).
My “first step” was to sign up for his classes, which started two Wednesdays ago. I’d love to hear your first step.