I’m about three-and-a-half weeks into a four-week exercise of discipline. I decided I would, for four weeks, not eat any processed food, dairy, and grains. With the exception of a couple of times when I slightly bent the rules when eating out (my wife and I celebrated the anniversary of our first date where we met, an Italian restaurant, so not eating a bit of bread or pasta was not an option), I have kept to the plan.
Part of the reason for doing this is physical. I set a goal not of losing weight but getting in a size smaller jeans. I have lost about four pounds and I can get into those pants (albeit not comfortably). I’ve also noticed that I’ve generally felt better as the period went on. Not unexpected, but certainly happy to have achieved that result.
The primary focus, though, was discipline. I wanted to exercise discipline because all too often it’s easy to slip once on a goal then falter to the weakness of having failed. For example, eating a bag of chips then leads to another, because the goal of avoiding junk food had not been achieved.
Discipline is one of the most important tools a writer has. We all set goals for daily word count or manuscript completion or publication date and on and on, but we can only achieve those lofty goals by maintaining the discipline of the little things. My lunch break today reminded me of this.
Normally, my creative writing time is early in the morning, be it a WIP or blogging. Today, though, it was well past noon before I could find any time to write. We all have days like that, but how we handle the effects of those days is what is important. I almost kicked my daily goal of 1,000 words to the curb. What difference does one day make? What difference does one bag of chips make?
You know the rest of the story. I focused on the task at hand and banged out my 1,000 words for my draft WIP during lunch. Conveniently, that exercise in discipline gave me a topic to keep up another discipline goal, blogging daily (except on weekends, I leave those days as optional). I strive for blog posts of 300-500 words and since I now just hit 385, this task too is done, thanks to exercising discipline.
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Photo by Sean McClintock on Unsplash