by Jamey Mann, Catoctin School of Music
What is your New Years resolution? This is a common question around this time of year. I often find it an annoying question as no one really takes their resolution(s) seriously and many give up within weeks to months of the new year. Although most of the time it is just part of conversation, it can be a lot of pressure to commit yourself to something, tell everyone about it, and then fail. The failure part I believe can be detrimental to a person’s wellbeing and overall discipline.
To commit yourself to a goal you need to have thought seriously about the amount of discipline needed. One cannot simply say “I’m going to lose 100 pounds this year” and expect it to happen without planning and discipline. Inevitably, when most people fail it will get harder and harder to start over.
Discipline like many things is something you can work on and improve. With it, taking on tasks, accomplishing goals, and just dealing with everyday life will get easier. I suggest before setting a resolution or a goal to evaluate your personal level of discipline and see where it/you needs improvement. For example, learning an instrument takes consistent practice. If you find that you have a hard time maintaining a schedule before picking up the instrument, then improving your time management skills is the area of discipline you should consider first.
The following is a list of suggestions to improve personal self-discipline prior to setting resolutions and/or goals.
- Start Small – Many make the mistake of taking on too much too soon. This is a set up for failure. Start by setting small, realistic goals that will make your life be a little bit easier and more organized each day. It can be keeping an organizer for your schedule, something to separate junk mail from important mail, or running the vacuum once a day. It will be something different for everyone, but it should help open your schedule and relieve stress.
- Get Sleep- The amount of people not getting enough sleep is staggering. Around 70% of Americans report trouble with sleep. Lack of sleep can lead to numerous health issues including depression, anxiety, heart, and cognitive issues. If you are having trouble with sleep, I strongly suggest seeing a health professional about the issue. Setting a new goal while you body is begging for sleep is just counterproductive.
- Maintain a regular schedule- Try to get on a regular routine. This will help with time management. After a while you will find yourself in a rhythm and finding time for all the things you did not think there was time for.
- Exercise- For a lot of people exercising might be their goal. However, trying to exercise when there are many other things to work on can be fruitless. Instead of resolving to try a 2-hour workout in the gym 7 days a week, start small. Work in small exercise routines such as yoga or walking into your days. A regular exercise discipline is healthy and foundational to achieving any new goal or resolution you set for yourself.
Try introducing these initial discipline jump starters prior to your actual resolutions and I bet you’ll find you are much more likely to succeed!