Day 3: Discipline in the Small Things

Self-discipline Challenge

Thanks for joining us for the 21 Day Self-Discipline Challenge!  See what it’s all about here.  If you’re just joining in, you can get the book here.

Today, we learn about the importance of the small things. They add up.  Crystal says:

Remember, moving in the right direction – even at a microscopic rate – is always faster
than standing still.

This is the problem with an all or nothing mentality.  There are so many things to change about myself.  So many shortcomings, so many things on my to-do list, and I get overwhelmed. I buy into the lie that my small changes aren’t enough. I end up doing nothing instead.

It’s important to remember that it’s the small, daily things that define who we are.

My husband has a cell phone for work that he also uses for personal calls, and pays for at a rate of $.10/minute. A few months ago, his bill was nearly $50! A dime isn’t thing much, but all those “little bits” can add up to a lot.  The same is applicable in our lives, both good and bad.

It’s the little things we do that can add value and character.

Assignment 1: Follow through on yesterday’s “small thing”

My “small thing” was to get dressed and make my bed as soon as I got up. I was actually doing really good at this for a while, but had kinda fallen off the wagon, so I’m getting back to it with two days under my belt.

Assignment 2: Life Hack

The assignment is to choose one bad habit to break or a positive one to implement. If we didn’t already clean our kitchen at night, I would probably choose that as well because I agree with Crystal that having a clean kitchen (and living room) to start the day off with just makes such a big difference in my day.  However, I already do that.  So, I’m going to start working out again. Some of you followed my weight loss goals back in the spring. I have completely fallen off the wagon (and got run over by it???).  And, mentally, the feeling of “failure” involved with that has been such a drain on me. So, even though it’s not really a chore, I’m going to work out because I know that the mental victory of getting back on track (I’m going all the way back to my workout jar), will be a huge motivation to me in every area of my life.

Assignment 3: Continue w/ the mega project

Today is the final day of the kitchen.  I separated it into 3 parts so that no part would be overwhelming.  I have organized and purged the cabinets and reduced clutter.  Today, I’m tackling the freezer and refrigerator.  Kinda looking forward to getting out of the kitchen tomorrow! Lol

As many of you have stated in your posts and comments, I’m finding that the mental victory of being more productive leads to even more productivity.  It’s a great feeling!

How did you do today?  Come back when you’ve finished and let us know.  What is your life hack?

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  1. says

    Another run down, another lunch packed the night before and a quick pick up of the house before bedtime last night in addition to my kitchen counter sweep. And guess what- my husband is having some guys over this afternoon– can I tell you how glad I am that I did that quick pick up for 5-10 minutes before bed last night? I was able to spend 15 minutes sprucing up our bathroom and kitchen before work this morning (since I didnt have to clear off the counter for us to have a place to have breakfast and another 5 min I didn’t spend packing a lunch because I did those last night before bed). Now they won’t walk into the house and think “Oh my what a pigsty!”

    • Crystal says

      Jenny, this is a great observation! This is one of the main reasons that I want to keep my house more picked up. Because I want us to be in a position to offer hospitality at a moment’s notice with no feelings of reservation whatsoever. If someone knocks on my door, I don’t want to be thinking in the back of my mind how my house is messy. Lived in is okay, messy isn’t…for me it’s just drawing that line and trying to keep it up so that my husband can call and say “Hey, so-and-so is coming home with me for lunch today.” and there is no stress involved!

  2. Tami says

    finished my day 3 tasks! now i’m off to go sit in that clean room and relax with a diet coke!! my life hack is going to bed w/a clean living/dining room. (so these things are adding up (yesterday’s bed-making and now this life hack)…i wonder how many new things i’m going to be doing by the end of the time–hopefully not too many that will end up overwhelming me!)

    • Crystal says

      Tami, I had the same thought about being overwhelmed by adding too many things. So far I’m okay though. So glad you finished your 3 tasks :) I love going to bed with a clean living room and kitchen (no dining room here). It really does make the whole day start more peacefully for us. Isn’t it so much easier/more fun/more guilt-free to relax in a clean room??? lol

  3. says

    Almost forgot to make my bed today. Then I read the e-book and remembered! My life hack is going to be meal planning. Too often I wait until right before dinner to think about what we’re going to eat. By then, it’s too late to marinate or naturally defrost. If I had a plan, I could take frozen things out the night before, make better use of my fresh food, etc., etc.

  4. Coreen Smith says

    Day 3 down. I asked my hubby what bad habit I should focus on, “how about getting up with your alarm?” Ugh!! The truth hurts. Still continuing to work out, going to now get out of my bad habit; sleeping in, which has delayed my working out to later in the day. Going to start tomorrow and get to bed early tonight. Also got my Mega proj. done and I am tired, but feeling so good about all that was accomplished and is yet to come tomorrow.

    • Crystal says

      That does sound like a good thing to start. I did the same thing–asking my hubby what things he would most like me to focus on. That’s how I chose my mega-project from my larger list. Good luck getting out of bed when your alarm goes off.

  5. lvg4him says

    Assignment 1: Follow through on yesterday’s “small thing”
    My small thing will be to make the bed as soon as I get out of it each day.

    Assignment 2: Life Hack
    I need to exercise daily. So to help me do this, I am going to purpose to only surf web, read emails, and other social media while on treadmill. If I want to look something up, even for five minutes, it’s gotta be while walking!

    Assignment 3: Continue w/ the mega project
    Get inbox down to zero. I had done this a while back but am now up to 100 in my inbox. So doable! :D

    • Crystal says

      That’s a great idea for the exercising thing! I don’t have a treadmill, so I’m working to balance screen time with work-out time…so I have to “earn” my 20 minutes online with 20 minutes of working out or walking…we’ll see how it goes! lol I am the world’s WORST for email! I check it, then I just leave it there. I literally have thousands of old emails in my email accounts! lol

  6. says

    Yes, I totally agree about productivity leading to more productivity.

    My life hack has been to refuse to wash any more laundry until I fold and put away what has already been washed. This is a problem for me….

    I dug out the leaf to our table yesterday to get everything ready for the holidays. While I was doing that I also moved all the furniture and mopped the dining room floor, and polished the furniture. Yay!

    • Crystal says

      Wow, Jillian, that’s awesome! It sounds like you had a very productive day :) That’s a great life hack with the laundry! That’s definitely a problem for me as well.

  7. says

    Here is my Day 3 check in! Loving these changes (but a little worried about this if we keep adding in small things, lol) For now, I’m focusing on limiting my internet/computer time to 3 hrs/day (mega project) and programming our coffee pot each night and setting a timer on my phone to alert me at 10pm to STOP SNACKING and brush my teeth.

    I love how having a fresh pot of coffee brewing/waiting for us each morning can make the mornings a little bit easier and a little more enjoyable… though I must admit that my boyfriend has been the one doing the prepping and I’ve been the one doing the reminding, lol!

    • Crystal says

      Hailey, I too was worried about continuing to add more things each day, but I don’t think that’s the case :) Glad the changes have been positive for you so far.

  8. says

    Sounds like you’re doing great! Making progress on your kitchen and tackling the weight loss arena! I totally know what you mean about falling off the wagon and getting run over by it! And I see you’re changing up your blog design. I read the post, clicked to leave a comment, and things were all different!

    • Crystal says

      lol…this is usually my lowest traffic time so I decided to go for it. Very clean and simple. I’m still kind of deciding if I like it or not…we’ll see. I want to get something that I can stick with.

  9. Bethany says

    Crystal, just reading about your progress and determination is inspiring to me. Here’s my progress for Day 3:
    Assignment 1/Follow through on Day 2’s small thing: Thanks to this challenge I did, indeed, refrain from sitting down at my computer to browse emails/blogs/fb. The result was a much more productive Saturday. Not to mention the boost I got from the intentionally pursuing this goal. (I loved your term “mental victory”–so true!)

    Assignment 2/Life Hack: Drink 16oz+ of water and take a multi-vitamin before noon each day.

    Assignment 3/Continue with Mega Project: Actually wrote out and followed a meal plan for the weeknd. Then created a meal plan for the coming week and went grocery shopping for it.

    Here’s to the week ahead! :)

    • Crystal says

      Awesome, Bethany! Yay for meal planning :) Thanks so much for sharing your success! I, too, am being inspired by all the successes so far :) Excitement and motivation is contagious.

  10. Lindsey says

    The bad habit I want to end is biting my fingernails. It is disgusting, I don’t wear some of the beautiful rings I have because I don’t want to draw attention to my fingers, and it shames me to be this old and still biting my nails.

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