Discomfort and Discipline

Less of this in 2012? Possibly.
Less of this in 2012? Possibly.

I’ve been thinking a lot about New Year’s resolutions over the last couple of weeks, which is quite unusual for me. I am not a resolver, and never have been. When pressed on my lack of an annual list, I generally say something along the lines of “I don’t need an arbitrary date on the calendar to make changes in my life” – with enough of an air of superiority that the subject usually gets dropped. (I know. Nice, right?)

Here’s the truth: I don’t make New Year’s resolutions because I don’t keep them. Can’t keep them. Won’t keep them. I am entirely without discipline.

(Well, that might be overstating it. I am, in fact, sufficiently disciplined to be effective and successful professionally, but not enough to have any carryover whatsoever to my personal life.)

If I vow to lose 20 pounds, I keep a food journal and diligently track food and exercise for the first five pounds, and then I get bored and stop. If I decide to save money (and calories) by bringing my lunch every day, I’ll do it for a week at most, and then quickly slip back into my old habits. If I say I’m going to write a blog post every day for a month, I quit after day 29. If I want to get more sleep and/or wake up earlier… well, if that even happens once, it’s a miracle. I backslide right into my comfort zone almost immediately.

So that’s what happens when I think about resolutions. I bog myself down in a giant pit of negativity, and seriously, who wants that? Best to avoid, right?

Not exactly.

What I realized this year was that I need to resolve my way out of this – out of my lack of discipline and out of the default of my comfort zone. And the first step is to actually make a public New Year’s resolution, since I am so uncomfortable with them. (The solution is in the problem, right?)

And so, I resolve to make 2012 a year of discipline and discomfort.

I’m not gonna lie, the discipline part is not likely to be awesomely fun, but I’m going to break it down to one thing per month so it’s not entirely unmanageable. For January, I’m bringing my lunch to work every day, unless I have pre-scheduled plans. Like real, on-the-calendar, meet-at-a-restaurant plans.

I think the discomfort part is going to be a lot more exciting, since it’s going to involve saying yes to at least one thing every month that normally I’d say no to – like speed dating or a class in something I’m awful at, like drawing. Anything where my default impulse is “but I don’t/can’t do that” is going to get a yes. (Well, as long as it’s legal/ethical. I want to do interesting, creative stuff, not end up in the pokey.)

And finally, in a feat that will require a bit of both discipline and discomfort, I’ve decided to try writing every day on the blog. Or, more accurately, posting every day, since photoblogging totally counts. I have no idea is even possible (I mean, how much Internet connectivity will I have during my two weeks in Alaska this summer?) but I’m going to give it a try.

So, anyway… there it is. A resolution.

Huh.

Oh, and Happy New Year to all… And I hope your resolutions came with less mental stress than mine.

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11 thoughts on “Discomfort and Discipline

  1. wendalicious January 1, 2012 / 8:29 pm

    Good for you! I am a bad resolution-maker. I’m terrible at setting goals, and lack discipline. This is why we’re friends. I’m eager learn from you, whatever you learn.

    And, Alaska is not North Sentinel Island (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/North_Sentinel_Island). I do believe they have the Wifi. 🙂

    • Sarah January 2, 2012 / 10:07 pm

      Well, let’s focus on pushing each other, since we’ve both set public goals this year.

      And yeah, I figured I’d be OK for wifi on the part of the trip where we’re on the ground in Alaska, I wasn’t sure about the ship, having never done a proper big cruise before.

  2. Fran January 1, 2012 / 8:39 pm

    Those fries look delicious. Sorry to learn we are alike on the 5# thing. I was so happy to lose 10# in Nov … grateful that only +5# found me in Dec. Damn Gingersnaps!

    No problem with Internet connectivity aboard ship … it will be another discipline-thing 😚

    Happy 2012.

    • Sarah January 2, 2012 / 10:05 pm

      Oh, good to hear there should be Internet on the ship. I wasn’t sure. And even though some people think unplugging is relaxing, it really stresses me out.

  3. Eileen January 1, 2012 / 8:50 pm

    It is comforting, and equally a cop-out, to know that this lack of discipline thing is likely genetic (I’d acquiesce to the other possibility that it *could* have been learned, but since Mom is a frequent reader/commenter, I don’t want to subject myself to her wrath even though we could’ve learned it from anyone).

    Anyway, I suck at resolutions too and my track record of accomplishment is similarly dismal. I joke about having no discipline, which is actually quite pathetic cause I can and do succeed in many things except those things that I dunno might actually be healthy – like fewer fries and more exercise.

    But I haven’t been pondering this for weeks. I’ve actually been quite the opposite these last two weeks…I’ve gotten less than normal accomplished while Chris has been home on vacation. Sigh. So I’ll have to ponder and come back, except to say that those last 12 James pounds gotta go. Seriously. Gotta. Go!!

    And lastly, I love the idea of the daily blog, but does that mean I gotta go get my own? I’ve been meaning to blog more, but don’t want to cramp your style.

    Good luck, btw. And Happy New Year.

    • Sarah January 2, 2012 / 10:04 pm

      Nope, you’re welcome to keep blogging here – if there are two posts some days, that’s fine. We’ll just need to coordinate timing.

      And I do think these bad habits are learned, to an extent, but not from our parents. I suspect it’s from not having been challenged that much in school – we never really had to work very hard to get good grades/be teacher’s pets/etc., so we never had to figure out how to buckle down and do something we didn’t like/sucked at/whatever. At the time it was awesome, but maybe in the long term, not so much.

  4. Common loon January 1, 2012 / 9:25 pm

    Wing suits / Cliff flying is legal and ethical, but you don’t have to say yes to it! Good luck with your goals!!!! Happy New Year one and all.

    • Sarah January 2, 2012 / 9:59 pm

      Haha. Saying “yes” does not include things that are plain-ass insane. I should have included that among the caveats.

      • Rudi January 3, 2012 / 4:51 pm

        So does this mean that a bobsledding date is right out of the question?

      • Sarah January 4, 2012 / 2:29 pm

        In a word: Yes.

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