I’ve never especially liked New Years resolutions. In the past, anything I’ve started on New Years seemed cursed by a very pissed off god. So, when I have had major goals for a new year, I’ve started before or after the first. This year is no different, but what is different is how I am framing my goals.
The last few years I’ve struggled to revise my novel, I’ve struggled to get my Pen name project off the ground, my short story submission schedule was spotty at best. Resistance is a constant friend along with it’s friends depression and self flagellation. A few weeks ago, I listened to Steven Pressfield’s book The War of Art and it started some wheels turning.
Before I finished the rough draft of my first novel, I could not write anything longer than 20 thousand words. Yet, after finishing that first rough draft my self concept changed from that of “oh, I never finish anything” to “I finish rough drafts.” Now, I’m self aware enough to realize part of my issue with finishing the revision to Passed is that I don’t have revision skills. But, another problem is that I’ve never finished a long revision before.
So I sat down and wrote all the things I wanted to achieve in 2017 and failed. Next, I added my new goals for 2018. Then sitting back, I asked myself “what is keeping me from these goals.” And the answer was deafening. I need to learn to become a disciplined person. In the words of Steven Pressfield, I need to turn pro. The problem… I have a lifetime of self tapes, my mother’s voice, my kids complaints, and my teachers frustrations and they all say “I don’t get it. You are so smart, why can’t you finish anything.”
I could write down all the goals I want to achieve but it would be for naught because I lack the basic skills of self discipline and I have spent the last several decades proving it to my subconscious. So my goal for 2018 is to systematically teach myself to become a self disciplined human.
Now the question is, how in the heck do I do that. It’s scary. It challenges every self belief I’ve had since I was 4 years old. I do have a secret weapon though. I actually do have several examples of myself being self disciplined. I remember what it was like to train for my marathon and ultra marathon. In addition I remember the initial experience of being paleo and maintaining it for years. Lastly, in the past three years I have embraced minimalism in a systematic and long lasting way. I can take those successes and use them to launch a new disciplined lifestyle.
But I have to start small. Last night I created a morning routine, wrote it on paper, and taped it to my desk. The last two mornings I actually did it! Here is my very simple routine.
Read 15 minutes or more non-fiction
Meditate 15 minutes or more
Write more than 250 words
This is not a huge routine and it doesn’t take long, but it is scary. The affirmations and meditation are especially scary for reasons I’ll talk about in another post. Beginning with Waking up isn’t lip service either since waking late is a favorite tool of my resistance. I know I can succeed though, I just have to be my own teacher. As this routine becomes automatic, I will add to it and add new routines until I have trained myself to have the type of self discipline I need to be successful in the goals that matter to me.