Good Intentions, Zero Follow-Through

Plans. I have lots of them. I plan to make all sorts of new recipes, read all kinds of new, life-enriching books, achieve new fitness goals, teach Charlotte Mandarin (not really). But so often those plans? They remain only that: ideas in my head, not realities. After all, it’s easier to use the same old recipes over and over again; I don’t have time to read books (but plenty of time to read my Facebook news feed); it’s winter and our treadmill is broken, so I don’t want to run outside, etc., etc.

If there is one thing I am good at, it’s making excuses.

And then I beat myself up because once again I failed to live up to the expectations I had for myself. Not a day goes by that I don’t think I could have done so many things better, but when I am honest with myself I realize that many days I don’t give the effort required to achieve those things.

I am realizing anew how incredibly lacking in self-discipline I am. I haven’t exercised consistently since I got out of the hospital, and while for about a month of that time I really didn’t have the energy to exercise, I do now. There is no reason for me not to be able to exercise at least 3 times a week. The only thing standing in the way of that is me and my excuses.  What is most pathetic about this is that at the end of January a new gym opened up across the street from my office, and I got a membership to that gym for free. FREE. Do you know how many times I have been since I joined on January 31? Three, and one of those was just to attend an orientation. How dare I squander something that was just what I needed after my treadmill broke? How dare I not take advantage of this wonderful opportunity?

Even worse than a wasted gym membership is all the time I waste on things that do not matter. I say that I never feel like I have enough time, but I spend a good portion of my evenings watching TV or browsing the Internet. Charlotte is in bed by 6:30, Stephen and I eat by 7:00, and I don’t go to bed until 10:00 p.m. or later. At the very least I have 3 hours every evening that I can use to do whatever I want. That adds up to 15 hours during the week and even more on the weekends. How can I say I don’t have enough time?

What it all boils down to is priorities. I make time for the things that matter, and if you looked at a week in my life you would conclude that the things that matter to me are Facebook and my iPhone and the Internet. What kind of legacy is that? What kind of example am I setting for my daughter? Most importantly, what message am I sending to my Heavenly Father? I’m not saying that I should never use the Internet or that Facebook is evil, but I am saying that when those things prevent me from spending time with the Lord, there’s a problem.

One of the ways that I am attempting to combat this excessive waste in my life (if that phrase even makes sense) is giving up Facebook for Lent. I realized last week how much time I spend scrolling through my news feed, and I decided that a break would be good for me. I have missed it more than I care to admit, but it has been good for me.

I am also trying to be more intentional with my time spent reading God’s Word, and I am really enjoying YouVersion’s Psalms reading plan, which will take me through the book of Psalms in 31 days (I highly recommend the YouVersion app or website. They have tons of free reading plans, and you can listen to audio versions of Scripture as well).

Do you struggle with self-discipline? How do you work on being more disciplined?

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3 thoughts on “Good Intentions, Zero Follow-Through

  1. my evening schedule is much the same–zu goes to bed at 6:30, bryan is usually at work at 5, so i make dinner for myself and often watch tv. i've been limiting myself to less of that and less internet and, suddenly (magically? lol) i have all this time to Write that i didn't have before.

    i would say though that i do need a little bit of unwinding time at the end of the day. i'm so tired by the time zu is in bed and the house is quiet, that after i finish my chores and cleaning (i usually do that after dinner), i let myself have an hour or so to just relax, before digging into revisions or writing prompts or submissions. i also do my quiet time in the evening, since that is when i have the most free time.

    ok all that to say, don't be Too hard on yourself–maybe make a list of things you want to accomplish during this downtime, but also give yourself some time to relax too. that's what i do, and my evenings are typically both productive and refreshing.

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  2. I definitely have a problem with self-discipline. It's kind of been embarrassing how much time I've gained back just from giving up Facebook (and I've given it up loosely – I still check my private messages every few days because so many people contact me that way, but I try to check my messages in under a minute and then respond by email). Still, it's amazing how much time I have now that I'm not checking the newsfeed every couple of hours (embarrassing!). It's funny because I don't think it's something we even want to do or find that interesting/entertaining – it's just a mindless habit. I'm actually reading the Psalms right now, too! I'm just reading one a day right now, though – Tyson and I are going through the Psalms together. I'd forgotten how good the Psalms are. I've been writing down tons of verses. It's so good.

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  3. Your last few posts have really resonated with me. My evenings sound like yours, except for the baby. My kids are grown, but still living at home. I'm just tired after working all day and then cooking and i just want to chill out in front of the TV. I usually do Facebook in the morning before work. Or in the middle of the night like now when I can't sleep. But, do i have time to exercise? Or read the Word or other uplifting books? Of course I have time! Just need to do it. Thank you for sharing.

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