Skim-reading last night, my eye fell on a random sentence. When you commit yourself to doing something every day that self-enforced discipline spills over into other areas of your life.
THAT IS SO TRUE.
In an effort not to be a slob, I committed to making my bed every morning. I forced myself to make it a habit. That led me to KonMari’ing my dresser drawers. I even did all her special folding. Now, the inside of my drawer looks so neat, I can’t just throw my PJ’s in there like I used to do, I have to stop and fold them.
After that, I thought: “I’d like to wake up to a clean kitchen every morning,” so I committed to leaving no unwashed dishes on the counter or in the sink. Having clean counters means I’m less likely to leave crumbs after lunch. The kitchen looks so nice, I thought, “I should extend this to the dining room.” To reduce the amount of “work” involved each evening of “tidying up,” I have put things away during the day. If those rooms look nice, so would the bathroom if I didn’t leave makeup on the sink. Without it there, I have more of an incentive to wipe it off after I brush my teeth at night.
In three weeks, my house has gone from “sometimes neat, sometimes messy” to “almost always neat.” A few rooms are still a problem, like my office where papers and books pile up, but if I find a place for them, that won’t happen. If everything has a place, you can put it back, and have a clean desk. The awareness of all of that happening inside a month has me “shook.” If I maintain these routines, I will rarely have a messy house.
But it goes deeper than that. It took so little to “change” me positively. Just self-discipline. Just forcing myself to do it. I feel so good about the change, I have looked at what else I can achieve. What else could shift if I engaged with a little more self-discipline? My relationships? Work ethic? Attitude?
I have the bad habit of reaching for an electronic devise as soon as I wake up, and the internet provides endless reasons to get annoyed about, before I have even had breakfast. The lazy part of me who loves to lie in bed with her laptop and chat with her friends while watching an hour of Netflix would rather keep my current routine. But the new, excited, self-disciplined part of me wonders, “What if I got up and started my day in a positive, peaceful way instead? Would that correct some of my ‘attitude’ problems?”
This experience has taught me I’m malleable. The effort of change is not as hard as I like to believe. I have had nights where the last thing I wanted to do was get a sponge, wipe out the cat dishes, dry them and put them away so I wake up to a clean kitchen sink, but I made myself do it anyway, to “not break my streak.”
What else can I do if I commit to it?