It's generally the first thing anyone says after the first of the year: "I need more discipline!" And you see it a lot in writer's circles. Almost as much as in dieter's circles. Discipline for writing time, for blogging, for social functions, for housekeeping. And I have to be honest, I've made mention of it more times than I'd like to count.
But if we really need discipline, it's most likely in our ability to say no.
Me, I'm a big one for over-committing. Speaking in minimums, I'm committed to five hours of work, six days a week (30 hrs/wk). Three hours of writing, five days a week (15 hrs/wk). 2 hours of cooking, every day (14 hrs/wk). 1 hour minimum of cleaning house each day (7 hrs/wk). 1 hour for grooming each day (7 hrs/wk). If I'm feeling okay, I have to have at least 6 hours of sleep per night, or bad things happen (42 hrs/wk). As a mother, I need to dedicate at least 2 hours to the care of my son--bathing, brushing, playing, teaching, watching--per day (14 hrs/wk), leaving me 39 hours to spread in an entire week. That needs to include billpaying, paperwork, household shopping/repair, grocery shopping, research and so on. But if you look at those, individually, I've already got 20 hours of my day booked. If any one of those things shifts...I'm out of time in a heartbeat.
And yet, I commit myself to more things. Sure I can do this. Sure, I can do that.
What I really need to decide is...what I can't do.
I can't quit my career--though it may well change directions in the coming years. I can't quit my son or my husband. Sadly, I cannot stop paying bills. (Though not from lack of effort.) Should I streamline? Yes. Can I? Not really. So what does that mean?
It means, dear reader, that I'm going to train myself to say no a little more often. I'm going to really work on not feeling guilty if someone else doesn't do their job. My resolution this year is not to have more discipline. It's to have more respect for the value of my time. And, particularly, for the value of other's time as well.
What are your goals for the new year? Can you fit them in?