I am over here rolling my eyes because, when I first started my detailed explanation of the Ideal Life Exercise, it so happened that this theme was the first one I ended up writing about, in an article entitled, “Getting Bossy with Myself.“
I hated this theme then, and I still hate it now. So apparently I’m nothing if not consistent. But I took this horse outta the barn, so let’s get down to business. In my Ideal Life, I am a person who:
- thinks before she speaks
- considers all options before making a decision
- does not commit lightly
- thinks about the unwanted consequences of a bad decision
- is not swayed by urges and impulses
- trusts herself to make good decisions
- forgives herself when she makes a wrong decision
Where are you coming from?
Did I mention I hate this topic? I hate it because I don’t have to think back very far to find my last bad decision. It could, perhaps, have only been two minutes ago. Certainly not more than a day ago.
If you’ve been with me any length of time, you know that I don’t like to self-flagellate. I find no benefit in it. What does eventually happen though, is that I end up knee-deep in consequences and end up having a come-to-Jesus moment with myself through the means of my imaginary fairy godmother, who writes me letters and talks me through what I’ve been doing wrong. I know it’s convoluted, but generally it works.
I can come up with but one wise decision I made this year. Remember when I was so excited about getting offered a contract to publish my novel, but there was something about it that didn’t sit well with me? I declined that offer, and even though there have been no nibbles again since, I still stand behind that decision. I can find nothing to regret about it.
Which is crazy, since publishing that book is the thing that I want to do.
So…maybe in one big thing this year I did all right making wise decisions.
It’s those daily things, both big and little, specifically in which inaction would be preferable but I acted anyway. I find it much harder to resist action than to make myself do things…yes, we are entering into the virtue definitions of Self-Control and Self-Discipline. Notice that we have not taken those horses outta the barn yet in our virtue talks, because I am well aware that I would be a wizard standing behind a curtain pulling levers to make smoke and move mirrors.
But since I did mention those two little virtues: Hey! I did go all year without buying any new clothes. So I did resist a few urges. That’s self-control, isn’t it? And I did do my Mise en Place nearly every night, didn’t I? So I did practice some self-discipline.
Ugh. I hate this topic.
Where are you going?
I need rules. Rules are the only possible solution to guide my behavior, because I still don’t trust myself to naturally make a good decision. I flounder, often, in situations where I have no rules established, and therefore let myself get caught up in the moment, distracted by something as simple as a cup of tea and the little proverb written on the tag.
So…as I head into the new year, I will be attempting to identify the areas of distraction and at least corral them into designated periods of time I want to dedicate to “being distracted.” Whether this means cutting off my social media notifications, or setting limits for my tablet, I need to explore ways to create an inviolable “bubble” so that I can get stuff done.
I love some of the rules I set in place this year. I love that they forged routines and habits and I don’t want to lose them.
I dread the thought that at some point in the next few months, some big important decision might creep up that I will need to make, and that I will be ill-equipped to make it. That’s why I need to start small and be intentional.