Thursday, October 31, 2013

5 favorites: Discipline edition

The irony is not lost on me that I'm writing a post about self-discipline for a link-up that occurred yesterday in a state of exhaustion from having stayed up WAY past my bedtime for two nights running.

But - just because I haven't completely figured out how to implement all of the self-discipline into my life, that doesn't negate the many "a-ha" moments I've had recently about how discipline - in all areas - really is the key to growing in happiness and holiness.


Vintage Household Chores Kitchen Towel Set
Image source

Daily chore assignments (and sweet vintage embroidery patterns).  I've had a theoretical schedule for the last year or more, but it has typically fallen apart around starting the laundry on Monday, and most other things have gotten back-burnered until some company was coming.  For the past three weeks, I've been sticking (more closely) to my schedule, and it's both freeing and motivating.  I wake up in the morning knowing what actually needs to be done, I don't feel overwhelmed by everything all at once (den is really dusty?  that's OK, I'll get to it Thursday), and - because there's a set list of things to accomplish each day - I can, at least theoretically, finish working for the day and transition into more relaxing activities in the evening without feeling guilty.  I'm starting to see why those vintage day-of-the-week embroidery patterns were so popular!  I want to work on the set above because I think they're pretty charming.


Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred work-out video.  I've seen a lot of people mention that they've done Jillian's videos (usually with oh-my-gosh-I-can't-move-today disclaimers), so I decided to try one (with some trepidation about my next day's mobility) - and I really liked it!  I've done a moderate amount of running over the summer (plus repetitive lifting of a squirming 23-pounder), but I needed something to fill the gap as the weather gets colder, as well as a little cross-training action.  I appreciate that it is very efficient - strength, cardio, and abs (and warm-up and cool-down), all in only 30 minutes of precious nap time!  Also, I appreciate that you don't have to do any one exercise for more than maybe 90 seconds.  (Does that sound weird coming from someone whose exercise has been exclusively running for the last several months??)  


Image source

Daily prayer.  My mom gave me a copy of the October edition of Magnificat, and I have enjoyed it enough that I purchased a subscription.  I've attempted to do the daily readings in the past, but (this is shameful) having to flip around between one book and then to different pages in the Bible ended up being a barrier to doing it as regularly as I wanted to or should have.  The Magnificat has morning prayer, the daily Mass parts and readings, evening prayer, a daily reflection, and saint-of-the-day biographies.  And I can read it all in one little book without any flipping, which has translated into me doing it much more often, and (naturally) more prayer time is always a good thing.


This will come as a surprise to everyone who knows me, but MORNINGS!  Obviously this doesn't apply to days like the past few when I've stayed up way too late, but I've started to get up much earlier, and I've been loving it.  Anna often wants to eat around 5:30 or 6:00 and then go back to sleep for a few hours, so that's been a good alarm clock for me to stay up.  My whole life, I've thought that I was a night owl, but it turns out I'm just a morning person with poor self-control and who doesn't want to miss anything (thus staying up far later).  But I have discovered that I'm significantly more productive, optimistic, and less grumpy in the morning, and not only then but throughout the whole day when I get up early.  Of course the challenge is to then also go to bed on time so that I can keep the cycle going.  It's a work in progress.


Inspiring reading.  Has it ever happened to you where you learn a new word, and then suddenly you read & hear it 3 times in the next day?  I feel like that is happening to me now that I've realized discipline is such an important concept for me to focus on right now.  I'm sure that's why it was my key take-away from the Light of Love movie.  

At any one time, I have six or eight books on my nightstand that I am reading - not necessarily from front to back.  I sort of flip through and read snippets each night before bed.  Here's two that stuck out recently as I flipped around:

From Gretchen Rubin's Happier at Home:  

Routine doesn't deserve its bad reputation.  It's true that novelty and challenge bring happiness, and that people who break their routines, try new things, and go to new places are happier, but routine can also bring happiness  The pleasure of doing the same thing, in the same way, every day, shouldn't be overlooked.  The things I do every day take on a certain beauty and provide a kind of invisible architecture to my life.  Andy Warhol wrote, "Either once only, or every day.  If you do something once it's exciting, and if you do it every days it's exciting.  But if you do it, say, twice or just almost every day, it's not good any more."

This resonated with me in relation to the routine-setting I've been doing.  In addition to the weekly repetitions, I've been trying to instill more daily routine, as well, like sweeping the entranceway rug each night after tidying the toys, and it's been surprisingly satisfying - both in that there's less outside dirt being perpetually tracked into the rest of the house, but also in a comforting "this is how we close-up shop" night-time routine sense - exciting, as the quote says.  I'm still at a-few-times-a-week, not every-single-night, but it's still been a positive improvement!

From Matthew Kelly's Rediscover Catholicism:

The philosophy of Christ is based on discipline, and it is discipline that our modern culture abhors and has rejected with all its strength.


Discipline is the faithful friend who will introduce you to your true self.  Discipline is the worthy protector who will defend you from your lesser self.  And discipline is the extraordinary mentor who will challenge you to become the-best-version-of-yourself and all God created you to be.

If that's not a call to action to keep on keeping-on with the things I've listed above, I don't know what is!

I hope that in reading this, you realize how much of a work-in-progress I still am.  I've learned these things intellectually - but as we all know "The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak."  (Matthew 26:40).  I put them out there on the blog, though, because of the incredible encouragement I've received from reading other people's writings on all sorts of subjects.  I always hope that someone reading my posts will have a little "me too" moment and somehow find it useful.

Linking up (a day late and a dollar short) with Jenny for this week's 5 Favorites.  Oh, and as a bonus, read her post HERE.  Her blog is new-to-me, and when I read through her most recent posts, I thought this one was just fabulous.  A good reminder that it's not just about self-discipline...sacrifice is necessary!

P.S. Don't worry, part three of the sewing series is coming...(and parts 4, 5, etc, if the collective you has things you want to know.  Leave me comments with sewing questions and I'll answer them if I can).


  1. You're not a night person anymore? Oh, dear. How are we going to be best friends next time I visit??

  2. Jillian Michaels has been a staple in my exercise routine since 2009. If you enjoy 30 Day Shred, she's got a whole slew of other videos that are equally as fantastic.