2017: The Year of Discipline

I think my word this year will be discipline. Yeah, that sounds good: discipline. I used to hate the word, thinking it implied a loss of freedom. Assuming, incorrectly, that it required rigidity and self-denial. But now I realize that it’s so crucial to my personal growth – I can’t let another year go by without making it my focus. Discipline – in health, meditation, food choices, writing, freelancing, making my life more than just a montage of random events and spontaneity.

I’m starting to slow down, to settle. I want to dig my toes in. In the past, routine has been anathema to me. It became almost synonymous with monotony – the one thing I’m truly fleeing living my life around the world. But I’m starting to realize the sanctity of routine and discipline (maybe a few years late), the slow journey to self-betterment.

I think one thing I’ll definitely have to shed is my perfectionism. Vanessa Mártir calls it masked self-sabotage. I know the feeling – creative paralysis – it prevents me from getting anything done. I’m so worried about the finished product, what others will think, how I’ll appear. Anything less than perfect doesn’t seem good enough. But it is. And it’s better to produce often, imperfectly, than to withhold. It’s about being raw and vulnerable – two things I’m not great at.

Writing is about believing in yourself as an artist, but it’s also about believing your experiences have merit. As Leslie Jamison says, by penning words on paper, we honor the complexity of our own lives, and we affirm the dedication to connecting our experiences to something outside ourselves, something greater.

I hope to honor myself this year by giving more, withholding less, and sticking with it.

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