Posts Tagged ‘Discipline’

At the beginning of 2012 I committed to writing a daily blog post of no more than 366 words regarding some lesson learned.  It was a new venture for me to blog with that kind of regularity, so making the goal public was important to help with accountability.  I wanted to discipline myself to write consistently, to spend intentional time reflecting on the events of the day, and to learn to be fairly concise in what I write.  It seems appropriate at this midpoint of the year to have a quick checkup on where I am with the journey and what I’ve learned.

Halfway through this leap year I should have 182 posts behind me as of June 30, so my actual total of 178 through yesterday means I’m four behind.  That’s not too bad in the grand scheme of things and I will make up that difference with a few days of two posts each scattered here and there until I’m on schedule.  Quantitatively, I’m OK with where I am.

The more important measurement for me is whether any good has come from the effort, either for others or for me.  I confess that I would be doing this even if nobody read them because the main purposes are personal discipline, reflection and writing.  It’s hard to measure the value others place on the effort, but in terms of my own benefit, I believe it has been extremely valuable, both in intended and unintended ways.  For example:

  • I have developed the habit of writing, and no day feels quite complete now without it.
  • I am much better at condensing and editing what I want to say to fit within a limited space.
  • Living life reflectively, attempting to see meaning and lessons in what happens, is a wonderful way to make sure I’m not just going through motions, but instead that I understand more of the purpose behind them.
  • I have established connections with a few people who I would never otherwise have a connection with except through this blog.

Along the way I’ve learned leap year lesson #179 that in spite of the time and effort involved, Living reflectively is worth the cost.

Anyone who has traveled a great distance across many time zones knows the experience of jet lag.  Having returned to Louisville just after midnight Friday night, my body still isn’t back to a normal schedule.  Since China is 12 hours ahead of Louisville, readjusting those 12 hours takes a while.  I ended up sleeping much of the day Saturday, only to then be awake until 4:30 Sunday morning.  I forced myself to go to bed Sunday night at 3:00 a.m. and at 2:00 a.m. Monday night, having crashed for a nap after dinner nightly.

It was helpful for me to have to get up before 6:00 a.m. yesterday and today to be at work by 7:00.  Forcing myself back into the routine will help regulate my body.  I didn’t expect it to take this long, however.  I mistakenly thought I’d catch up on some sleep over the weekend and be my normal self by Monday.  Oops.

The act of getting up today when I didn’t feel like it, and the repeat performance the past couple of nights of forcing myself to bed by certain times are reminders to me of the value of imposing some disciplines in my life and routines even when every bone in my body and most voices in my head say to do otherwise.  That still doesn’t mean I follow all the disciplines I should, however.  I’m not quite the disciplined character I watched last week in the Beijing theater performance of “The Legend of Kungfu.”

I wrote in a previous post on this blog that sometimes we need to act our way into the right feeling.  Feelings aside for this topic, overcoming the jet lag is a reminder that we also need to act our way into the right disciplines, schedules and routines.  It may not be what we want or what feels right at the moment, but it is what is right for the long haul.

What disciplines do you need to perhaps force yourself into in order to eventually be where you want to be?  We can’t get where we should go just by following what feels right in the moment.

Leap year lesson #118 is Sometimes you have to force yourself.