12 Months of Discipline: January is for Clairty

Discipline is choosing between what you want now and what you want most

— Abraham Lincoln

Last year or I guess I should say towards the end of 2018, I purchased The Daily Stoic: 366 Meditations on Wisdom, Perserverance, and the Art of Living, co-authored by Ryan Holiday and Stephen Hanselman.

The Daily Stoic was designed to be read as a daily devotional on Stoic wisdom, day one starting precisely on January 1st. The contents of the book are broken down into three parts organized to follow three Stoic disciplines (Perception, Action, and Will) and then further fragmented into themes within those disciplines.

The Daily Stoic co authored by Ryan Holiday and Stephen Hanselman

By the end of the year, I was a different person. I read through my journal that I kept through all of 2019 and I could see in my notes and my thoughts how I was transitioning each month thinking more clear and clear on how a situation played a role in my decision making. I found myself ending 2019 in a peaceful manner despite going through a huge hiccup that shook my foundation earlier in the year.

With my new pair of eyes and refurbished mindset, I have decided to train in these disciplines on a deeper level. Through trial and error, mistakes, hangovers, and journaling I learned last year that when I approach things in baby steps—my success rate towards my goals skyrockets through the roof. I still fall down but my comeback is faster, and my fight is harder. In one year, I picked up new routines and habits that fuel me; successfully dropping some baggage, I could not release before.

Hello January

Followed as seen in the book, January is for Clarity. Each week I will train in the areas that formulate clarity. If your looking to have a better year, maybe some of this will also work for you.

Week 1: Clarifying My IntentionsAsk yourself, what the shit is it that I really want? What is it that I need? What is my end and what do I need to do daily to get there? By clarifying your intentions, specifically, you will have begun the creation to the blueprint of your life.

Week 2: Control & Choice – Out of any practice you will do – this is the most impactful. If I had to call out one reason that causes a person anger, I would say it is due to control or the lack of. Former spouses making their lives hard and the lives of others including loved ones because they are still trying to control something they may have had a hand in once. Temper tantrums not just by children but also from grown adults that lead to strained friendships, broken things, and said words that injure deeper than a weapon. News shared that is scary as hell causing you to worry yourself sick. You may not be able to control everything but you can control your thoughts and emotions. The loss of such control can cause extra setbacks. Most of the time in life, we are our own obstacles. We have enough of life’s natural occurrences to face, why add any more to your plate. Learn what is in your circle of control, practice on making the better choice.

Week 3: Cut the Strings – Temptations, distractions, negative mental chatter—all of these things you must release in order to regain your control. These are the obstacles that multiply obstacles in your life if you give in to them.

Week 4: Reflect and Review – Not only of your accomplishments at the end of the month, but your daily. Journal everything, everyday or every week. What did you practice this week? What worked, what did not? What did your thoughts say? How did you redirect your attention? You can even go a level deeper and do just as the Stoics did and reflect in the evenings and prepare in the mornings. What did I do yesterday that was in line with my values? What do I need to do differently today? What setbacks (inevitable and probable) will I face today and how will I combat them?

To change your life, to achieve personal goals, to find peace, you must first start on your perception. Change your mind, change your mindset. I will not promise you that in these four weeks you will be a clarity ninja kee-yaing all chaos to come your way. I can however promise you, if your heart is truly in it, and you work hard, at the end of the four weeks, you will see things that you have never seen before.

Out of 10 setbacks you may encounter next month, 6 of them (way more then you’ve stopped to take notice of before) will make you pause before you choose an action. You will catch your thoughts before or you will instantly notice them after. You will have a new level of awareness to your daily life. You will take notice to your thoughts, to how you speak to yourself in your head. You will see traffic as an opportunity to use that time wisely for listening to an audio book or your favorite podcast. You will laugh inside at yourself and or even at others as you recognize unnecessary responses to a situation. You will find a clarity that helps you to think in a more constructive way.

Change is a process, maybe even a lifelong one. But that is okay, because during that process in working towards your main goals, you will be surprised at all the other gems you did not think about—that you will find along your way.

I am ready, are you?

Happy January!

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