Thursday, January 01, 2009

My focus word for 2009...

Discipline. (yawn) It's not too exciting, is it? But when I look back on where I've been, where I've ended up, and what I could have achieved, I've realized that this one element is key - not just in my art life, but in every single area of my life.

Friends who know me well will be amused, because discipline has never been a strength of mine. I prefer to base my actions on whatever I feel like doing at the moment. I love being flexible and spontaneous, not rigid and calculated. Being a "stay at home mom" has been like winning the lottery for me, because no one tells me what or when to do anything, I plan my days according to whatever I feel like doing.

But, this freedom has its downfalls, and God has been kindly pointing out some glaring deficiencies in my life over the past year, all of which involve my having great difficulty saying "no" to myself, and yes to something that would be a wiser, or more unselfish use of my time.

The most glaring area of my life that lacks discipline involves my use of time - especially in relation to the Internet. I love, love, love, checking my email. I love reading blogs, too many blogs. I love checking out CNN, USA today, Fox News, the Weather Channel, Lifehacker, ebay, MSNBC...the list could go on and on (and some days it does). I need to wrestle with myself and come up with a workable way to be more disciplined in my use of the internet - the amount of time I could free up would be huge.

I really love myself, and love giving myself whatever I want at the moment. Another snack? Sure. A free afternoon? No problem, you can fill that order and do the laundry tomorrow. That growing pile of bookwork? It can wait, and besides it's so boring so go ahead and ignore it another week or so...

Basically I divide my life up into these five areas: spiritual (my relationship with God), family, home(and garden), others (church, friends, etc), Elizabeth's Flowers (my art and online businesses). Each of these areas would benefit greatly from me saying "no" to myself, and my whims, and "yes" to whatever would help me achieve my goals in these areas.

I do foresee one major problem with my quest to become more disciplined. What will motivate me enough to override my long ingrained natural tendencies? The newness of the challenge might for awhile...but what about during the long haul? Do I even have a chance at becoming more disciplined consistently? Knowing me, and my track record, my answer would have to be no. Not in and of myself. I don't have enough "will power". But, while reading a blog this morning (there I go again), I came across the answer. I need to love someone else more than me. I'm going to give this a try.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hope you will post often about your journey for discipline! I have to be the most undisciplined (along with unorganized) individual to walk the planet. It's not who I want to be just who I am.

4:29 PM  
Blogger Elizabeth said...

I would be happy to, Ang. Here's to both of us getting our acts together!


4:51 PM  
Anonymous Flower said...

That was an entertaining read. I work at home as well and believe me, I can understand how time just drifts away while surfing the internet. Freedom can be troublesome when you don't know how to stop yourself from doing everything you want.

10:47 PM  
Blogger Elizabeth said...

I love how you said,

"Freedom can be troublesome when you don't know how to stop yourself from doing everything you want"

That is so true. Freedom/independence, like any gift, is such a wonderful blessing, but it can also be a stumbling block as well.


7:55 AM  
Anonymous said...

The comment that Flower made is very true and well said.
Being an artist also without a "real job" and having almost total freedom of my life, I can relate to all of this.
I always have good intentions of turning my days into 9-5'ers, pretending I have a job and deadlines again, but somehow the hours slip away and I have accomplished nothing constructive.
Then I kick myself for wasting that all too precious commodity of time.

6:01 AM  
Blogger Elizabeth said...

I know Bonnie, it's the exact same way with me. I think genuine change, at least in my case, will take true focus, repeated review of my goals and artist/mission statement (why I do what I do), and lots of divine intervention!
Otherwise I'll just slip back into my usual ways...

7:15 AM  

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