Sunday, September 8, 2013

define your habits, define your life

the sentiment “i don’t know what i’m thinking until i write,” or one of its many variations, has been attributed to many authors. i find that it’s true for me as well.

lately, i've haven't been putting much effort into consciously assessing my thoughts. instead of observing my mental activity, i often allow it to infiltrate the actions i take and to lead me off track. i let my thoughts control me. as someone snoozes in the next room, here i am, thinking. thinking so much.

i’ve been trying not to think so much, or at the very least, to recognize when i’m thinking too much and to stop myself. thought is extremely powerful. fortunately, for the most part, you control it. so you have the power to stop your thought process at any time and direct it elsewhere--somewhere useful. i believe that this is a vital skill. more vital, perhaps, than any other skill you can acquire. and it's an ability that is cultivated over time.

someone told me the other day, “if you can’t control yourself, you can’t control others.” this struck me as both a powerful and confusing thing to say. why would i want to control others? also, i feel that it’s so much harder to control yourself than it is to control anyone else. exercising restraint is probably the most difficult thing for a living, feeling, thinking human being to do. compared to living a highly disciplined life, getting somebody else to do something is usually a piece of cake.

how difficult is it to discipline yourself to do something, a specific practice, for a certain amount of time each day? for me, this is extremely difficult. i often lack the self-discipline that is necessary to choose one or two skills to work on, and to work on them consistently.
on monday i turn 21. i want to start working even harder for what i want this year.

this time ten years ago i was about to turn 11. i remember, during my 11th birthday party, telling my mom, with complete seriousness, that i was an adult, and that i should be treated like one.

that was a whole decade ago. in a decade from now, i’ll be on the brink of my 31st birthday. if i want to “get anywhere” in my life--if i want to live the life of my dreams, rather--i have to get started now. i am convinced that the most ingrained habits i have now are going to define the path that i will walk for the rest of my days. i want to cultivate only good habits. i want to become enmeshed in healthy and helpful routines.

school is still in session. it’s still something i have to deal with. but no matter. i can use the discipline skills i need in order to complete my schoolwork efficiently and on time while working two jobs to inform the ways in which i carry out my other routines. routines that will get me where i want to go and be.

but first, i guess i must define where i want to be. what are my long-term goals? the question that is constantly gnawing at me. the question i have yet to answer.

travel and writing--those are the keywords for me right now. travel and writing. writing in any form, really--it doesn’t have to be journalism, necessarily. and the practice doesn’t have to be writing either, although it’s something that i am naturally good at. communication, perhaps, is a more suitable word. communication of ideas and principles, in whatever medium possible--visual art, film, writing, etc. that combined with traveling. that's how i would like to earn a living and spend my days.

i want to define some good habits that i’d like to engrain in my everyday life, starting now… habits that i want to begin and maintain.

  1. daily meditation routine
  2. write at least 1,500 words every day (outside of schoolwork)
  3. mostly healthy diet--an abundance of fruits and veggies
  4. instead of saying, “i’ll do it later,” ask myself, “what can i do now?”
  5. a committed avoidance of unkind words and negative talk

i know i can do it. and if i do this, i can accomplish most anything else.

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