Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Four days of Self-Discipline: Big Deal?

Four days in a row for me.
Not really a record to boast about, but at least starting to look like a serious start.
As I mentioned yesterday, self-discipline on activities like this -- as well as other things such as working out, sticking to a healthy diet, keeping up with correspondence -- has never been my hallmark.
I'm pretty good at holding down a job -- despite the occasional day when I am on duty in body only -- but in that case it's the fear of homelessness and starvation rather than any positive quality of self-discipline that is my motivation.
I really love to write, but still have trouble sticking to a diary such as this on a consistent basis.
When the activity is voluntary, it's too easy to push it off because other things have "higher priority." But I think that a lot of times it's my priorities that are screwed up.
A family emergency, or even a request to help my daughter with her homework, might be valid reasons for skipping a day of writing, or workout, or healthy eating. The need to watch the 7:30 rerun of "Malcolm In The Middle" is not.
But television is such an attractive nuisance, isn't it?
Don't you feel, after a hard day of work, that you "deserve" to vegetate in front of the screen?
I often do. It's the way I justify laziness.
Now don't get me wrong. I strongly believe that the mind needs "fallow time" to refresh. But is TV-watching the kind of fallow time that's needed? Is reading junk magazines, or surfing the Internet, or jacking off to a favorite fantasy any better?
I know the answers to these questions, as I'm sure you do.
Self-discipline is required to overcome the temptation of the easy fix.
Self-justification is required to reconcile the fact of having given in to the easy fix.
And the former takes a lot more effort than the latter, even for those of us raised to feel guilt for not using our "gifts" to the best possible advantage, for ourselves and the world.
Last night, I was in the office until 9 pm, after having gotten up at 4 am to drive 5 hours to corporate headquarters from my home. That's a long day, but I also spent at least 4 hours on personal business (i.e., talking on the phone and otherwise diverted from work)
My effort on this blog -- as miniscule as my 15-minute requirement may be -- is to improve my self-discipline in some small way. Maybe it is a temporary way to make up for my recent slacking off on workouts and healthy eating.
But maybe a little self-discipline in one area can be contagious. Maybe next week I can start working out again. I'm already trying to be more diet-conscious (you see, I'm diabetic and need to watch my carbs carefully).
This is a pretty pathetic contribution today, but at least I have spent my 15 minutes doing it. The effort has to be worth something, isn't it?