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21 Days to a More Disciplined Life: Discipline is a Choice

Based upon your responses to yesterday’s introductory post, many of us are longing for more discipline in our lives. We crave order and peace. We want to be better managers of our time and life. We want to follow through with our good intentions.

But so many times I’ve found that I try to go about developing a more disciplined life in all the wrong ways. I check out a book on living an organized life from the library and think it will make all the difference. I download a printable household organization planner and think it will magically whip my house into shape. Or I think that if my house or life or responsibilities were different, then I could achieve a disciplined life.

Instead of addressing the root issue–my lack of self-discipline–I think that a fancy new system is going to fix the problem. A bad system is not the problem. I am the problem.

Oh sure. Life throws curveballs. There are job losses, babies born, illnesses, moves, and projects that can get one off course. But ultimately, whether or not I live a disciplined life is dependent solely upon me and the choices I make on a daily basis.

Those are tough words to swallow. And I could wallow in frustration over my short-comings and failures. However, instead, I want to let it motivate me. I am the problem, but I am also the solution.

I don’t need to spend hundreds of dollars on organizational products. I don’t need to buy 20 books on living a disciplined life. Instead, I need to resolve to change from the inside out.

Tomorrow we’ll talk about how to start making specific, realistic changes to transform a cluttered, chaotic life into an orderly, organized life.

Practical Application

To jumpstart the 21 Days to a More Disciplined Life Challenge, choose one small project that has been nagging at you for the last few weeks or months and go start and complete it in the next 24 hours. You may find that it didn’t end up taking you near as long as you thought it would and you’ll feel so good to have it done.

I’m tackling the laundry pile (no surprise there, I’m sure, as this seems to the area I’m constantly struggling in!). Ever since returning from Relevant, I’ve been woefully behind on laundry. So I’m going to aim to get completely caught up within the next 24 hours. And then I’m going to be intentional about keeping the momentum going… more on that in a few days.

Come back tomorrow afternoon/evening and I’ll tell you how it went–and you can tell us how your project went, too!

photo credit

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  • I’m really looking forward to following this series! I have found myself really lacking motivation and self-discipline lately.

    It is too late in the evening for “today’s” project so tomorrow morning I’m tackling my fridge. I have tons of left overs that need to be dealt with before they end up in the trash. I hate seeing good food go to waste.

    I am also working a later shift at work tomorrow so instead of sleeping in an extra hour or two I will get up at my normal time and be productive!
    Thanks Crystal, this is the kick in the pants I needed!

  • Love this! And it’s so true! Not only do I know that this is true for me but it is also true for nearly every client I work with 🙂 We are so tempted to believe that it’s a new book or system or guide that will fix our difficulties when what we need most is the gumption to ‘just do the next right thing’ again and again! This is where sticking close to like-minded people is so important. Together we can get so much further toward our goals. Without personal accountability I know I wouldn’t be anywhere near where I’ve come to today…nor will I get the rest of the way without LOTS of support! Thanks for being a great source of encouragement and strength here on the web, Crystal!

  • Liz W says:

    I am going to tackle the mail pile from the last few days….

  • Nicole M. says:

    I follow several money-saving blogs and each of them is great for what they are and what they do, but I will say that if I could visit only one blog everyday, it would be this one. I feel like I think of something I’d like to do, to improve on, to read about, whatever, and I come here you’re doing it, you’re working on it, you’re writing about it….and it’s so much of a blessing to me. Thank you so much for all that you do. I can’t wait to get started on this discipline series as I feel like could have written, WORD FOR WORD, what you had to say about the discipline, or lack thereof, in your life. 🙂 What a treasure this piece of the internet is to me. Thank you again and I can’t WAIT to get started!!

  • Meredith says:

    I’m going to tackle the two tubs-worth of the five year old’s outgrown clothes that need to be sorted, folded and put away for the baby. Then I need to get what all the baby has outgrown ready to head to a swap at a friend’s church this weekend. This will knock two things off my list because it will leave the baby’s room organized and spotless… even if it’s the ONLY room in the house right now that is! Hopefully it’ll give me momentum to finish a few things in the five year old’s room next. 😀

  • I’m going to tackle some SEO on my blog. I’ve really gotten behind and just skipped it a few (or 20) times lately. 🙂

  • Christine says:

    I love your blog. I am sorry for such a blunt question, but how can you have problems with your laundry when your family has such a minimalist wardrobe? 🙂

    • Carrie says:

      Sorry to offer unsolicited advice, but here it is:
      You should just pay someone to do your laundry! My mother’s helper/sitter does most of ours. You have so many skills and are doing so well with your business — why take time from your work and your homeschooling and all that to do work that anyone could do?

      • Crystal says:

        My mother’s helper usually does one or two loads on Tuesday plus changes the sheets, so I do have help with laundry once a week–which is SO nice (otherwise, I can’t imagine how much I’d struggle with laundry!). It’s the other six days that are my problem…

        I know, it’s crazy why laundry is such a struggle for me (it’s always been my homemaking area that I struggle the most to keep up with for some reason!). However, the good news is that my children are starting to help out with the folding and putting away– so I see that it is going to get easier, if I can just be consistent about doing a load every day and not letting it pile up!

    • Need A Nap2 says:

      Since she was gone to a conference over the weekend, probably several loads have piled up. Maybe sheets got changed the but the dirty load hasn’t been run yet. 🙂

    • Crystal says:

      Sometimes I think that the minimalist wardrobe *is* part of the problem. Because it’s hard to find something to wear if I don’t keep up with the laundry on a very regular basis! 🙂

      With five people who each wear one outfit each day plus exercise clothes and cleaning rags (we’re always seeming to spill things!), etc., we always have enough to do at least one medium-sized load of laundry each day. So if I don’t do laundry for 3-4 days, that’s 3-4 loads I’m behind on–and for me, I’ve found that if I get more than 1-2 loads behind, I struggle to get caught back up. That’s why the one load a day thing works so well for me. If I can just follow through and actually *do* it!

      • I’m the same way- if I get behind even a little, I get discouraged. Then it all just piles up. For me, the problem is putting it away! I can wash and dry it, and usually even fold it. Then it sits in the laundry basket waiting to be hung up or put in drawers.

        I like your goal of doing one load a day. I normally wash clothes two days a week, diapers two days a week, and then one load of “household” laundry one day. If I did one load each day the loads would be smaller and I would not be so overwhelmed if it were a part of the routine to wash, dry, fold, put away each day. . .

        • Crystal says:

          You sound like my twin!

        • Amara says:

          Sarah, I really struggled with the “putting away,” too. This led to a really romantic master bedroom scene where piles of folded laundry made a lovely “perimeter” to the room. Nothing says “love” like a freshly folded stack of whites, I always say. (Wink.:) )

          Then we would go THROUGH the laundry to find our favorite items, and with four children you can just imagine all the little half-tipped stacks of clothes getting “waded” through. Finally, on the weekends we would all tackle the piles…only to have the same situation the next week.

          Here is what has helped. I was taking a one-step process, and making it into two steps. Now, I keep hangers above the dryer to deal with hanging clothes immediately. I sort the clothing into little piles on the family room floor and send the kids to put things away right as we sort/fold them. Before, I was folding EVERYTHING and then sorting it AGAIN to put it away. It seems small, but learning to simply put away the load coming out of the dryer right.away. has been the small secret to success.

      • Erin says:

        I have to do laundry every day, as well. Strangely, it’s one area in which I don’t usually struggle! We do NOT have a minimalist wardrobe by any means. (I was actually thinking that might help reduce the amount of laundry I’m doing . . . but maybe not if you’re struggling with laundry!) The laundry room is upstairs next to the bedrooms, so most days I toss in a load in the morning while we’re dressing. If your laundry room isn’t upstairs, I can see how it might be more difficult to make it a daily habit. If your dirty clothes hampers are upstairs, maybe you could sort your loads while dressing and get them ready to wash. Put them in front of the stairs so you can’t get downstairs without moving them. If anything is going up or down the stairs, I have to block my way with it or I’d forget to put it away!

        Does my project count if I started before reading this post? 🙂 I was finally motivated to dust and vacuum the bedroom today! Sounds silly, but it takes forever to get the house dusted and vacuumed because I always have to pick up and put away baby toys, big kid toys, and even bigger kid toys (my husband’s stuff) before I can begin. By the time pick-up’s done, the baby’s up so dusting and vacuuming don’t seem to happen!

        • Crystal says:

          Thanks for the laundry encouragement! Kudos on your dusting and vacuuming!!

        • Courtney says:

          I have one laundry day. It may sound counter to the minimalist wardrobe, but I plan to do all my laundry on Wednesdays. I also plan my other chores around this, and set a timer to remind me to move laundry. Therefore, we have enough clothes/underwear for 8 days (although, since we rewear a lot of the clothes, that only amounts to a couple pairs of pants , and shirts except for the baby.) Also, to assist in sorting, we have one hamper in the baby’s room; one at the bottom of the stairs for all towels, dishcloths, etc.; and two in our room: one for whites, one for colors. We throw the (very) few whites the baby wears in our white hamper. I do not separate laundry more than that.
          I love knowing that all the laundry is done rather than having it be a constant chore all week like dishes.

      • Andrea says:

        Only do completely full loads. From experience, it saves time and money.

        • Crystal says:

          For me, doing medium-sized loads is much more efficient, because the HUGE loads overwhelm me–especially if I have more than one or two. And because of the settings on our washer and dryer, it seems like it doesn’t cost anymore. However, I know that I’m weird in this respect and just have laundry issues. 🙂

          • Andrea says:

            Laundry in general is overwhelming! The past few weeks, I haven’t been washing until I have a full load. I am definitely running the washer less and because I’m folding more at once and getting it all put away at once, it seems to be a lot more efficient. We don’t do minimalist wardrobes, though, so I guess it’s all about finding the balance that works for you.

            One large/XL load uses less energy than two medium loads and less water, too. The longer cycle time for the washer is often the tub filling with water; wether you do a medium load or an XL load, the amount of electricity consumed to run the washer is about the same. Drying small loads (i.e. the dryer is only partially full) also wastes energy. I know that the savings isn’t a lot, but every dollar counts these days.

            • Crystal says:

              Whoops, I just realized I should have clarified: our washer (a newer model), has a weight setting, so it bases the water usage upon the weight of the load to guarantee no water is wasted. And our dryer tends to take about twice as long to dry a large load as a medium-sized load. So, when I’ve tested it both ways, I’ve found it’s better to just stick with medium-sized loads–especially since it means that I’m able to stay much more on top of the laundry most of the time as opposed to waiting until I have a ginormous load to run every two days and then usually getting overwhelmed by a huge laundry pile.

              I wish I could be like those amazing women who just do laundry once a week or once every 4 days. Those types of people are my heroes!

          • Andrea says:

            Oops, sorry about the typo. That should be “whether”!

          • Johnlyn says:

            This probably wouldn’t work for you given your wardrobe, but thought I’d mention it anyway.

            I don’t mix our laundry anymore. For example, when I wash my daughter’s clothes, it’s only her clothes that go in the washing machine. It took too long to sort them out when I combined laundry. Not frugal, but a mind saver.

            Right now what I do is put 1 load of laundry in at night so it’s ready for the dryer in the morning. In the morning after I put the clothes into the dryer I set my timer. When my timer goes off I put the clothes away.

            I love my timer…well actually I have a love/hate relationship with my timer because it always makes me work.

          • Cayla says:

            I also have a separate hamper for my son, one for colors, and one for whites. It makes sorting much easier not having his little things mixed in with ours. Also, when I fold laundry, i sort it into little piles on the bed (my shirts, my husband’s shirts, my pants, his pants, socks, towels, etc.) – having these “mini piles” to tackle makes the folding/hanging seem much less overwhelming than just picking up one random garment at a time from a huge basket. 🙂

    • Christine says:

      (I’m the same one who posted the above comment). Actually, after thinking about it, I guess with having a minimalist wardrobe, you get MORE laundry 🙂

  • Another avenue of this same thought is that children crave discipline. Before I hear people going nuts, no I didn’t say children crave punishment (although they do need us to enforce the boundaries if they are to feel secure). Children desire to know what is right, what is wrong, and where the boundaries are. Because it is seen as out of fashion to set boundaries for our children, many grow up with a sense of “it doesn’t matter what I do” I looked up Discipline in the Mirriam-Webster online dictionary and found this as one of the definitions: training that corrects, molds, or perfects the mental faculties or moral character. I think that is a good definition for what our children need as well as the personal discipline you are talking about here. I was disappointed though to see another definition of discipline: “instruction” labeled as obsolete. Maybe that point speaks for itself when we look to where society is as a whole. Just a thought.

    • Marisa says:

      I like that you brought this up. And I suppose of course that one way to teach children discipline is to model it myself :-).

      I recently heard that the root word of discipline is disciple, which makes me think of striving to be a disciple of Jesus Christ. I think discipline, in the right direction, can help us be better Christians.

  • Stacie says:

    I need to sort the summer clothes and get out winter clothes for my littlest girl. And her room needs a good cleaning. That’s my nagging project for tomorrow!

  • Great post! “Discipline is a choice”, I like that. It’s similar to a convicting saying in our house “Your attitude is your choice.”

  • Cynthia Arebalo says:

    I am going to tackle my daughter’s closet tomorrow….so
    excited for this series…thanks Crystal!!!

  • Carole says:

    wow- thanks for saying what needed to be said without sugar-coating it! I needed to read this, my kids need to read it, and we all need to embrace the philosophy! Well said, Crystal!!
    I’m going to go grade math now – that’s my daily “nagging” project that always gets put off till 11pm!! 🙂

  • Would it defeat the purpose if I chose the easiest thing I’ve been putting off? Just wondering….

    In all seriousness, I’m planning to clean out the closet of our spare bedroom which has become my dumping ground for all my scrapbooking and craft things!

  • Ashley says:

    Thanks so much for this series! I plan on tackling the “catch-all” drawer in my desk at work and come home tomorrow evening and take pictures of the “I’m going to put this on ebay when I get extra time” pile.

  • Gina says:

    I struggle with self-discipline. I have health issues and sometimes I get behind on household tasks, get discouraged and wallow in self-pity; however, I am blessed with two great kids who encourage me and help get things done. I have a bathroom that has been prepped for over a month that I still need to paint. Perhaps that will be my 24 hour project this weekend!

    Looking forward to reading more in this series.

  • Carrie says:

    I am going to attack the kids closets and clean out the shorts and tank tops. It is 35 right now outside -I think it is time to put the summer clothes away.

  • Jennifer Kaiser says:

    YAY! I am so excited abou this series! My 24 hour project is going to be finishing changing out my two boy’s wardrobe for winter! Can’t wait!

    • Megan says:

      That’s what I’m going to tackle today too – plus I need to get out hats and mittens and see what still fits and what needs to be replaced.

  • Amy says:

    Thank you for doing this series Crystal. I have been looking elsewhere like books, organizational products, etc to help me do things in my daily life. However, deep down, I knew those things could help only so much.

    I am going to start tomorrow with something small like you suggested and go from there. Can’t wait to read your next post!

  • Davonne says:

    Our school room is a mess. I’m going to tackle that. Scary! Thanks for this post/challenge.

  • Cayla says:

    Love it. I think the laundry mountain will be my task as well.

  • Tiah says:

    Crystal, thank you for this post. The series reflects how I have been feeling in my day to day life. For my task tomorrow – finish and mail out the mail (two thank yous and a birthday package). I am excited for the next installment and thank you for the opportunity to improve upon myself.

  • Hilary says:

    Wish me luck…I am going to try to label the back of pictures from last Christmas on. I finally got them printed out and now I just have to label them and put them in the right baby book. Not a difficult task- just one that I never just sit down and do!

  • Carrie says:

    Here’s my goal for the next 24 hours: Check one item off that dang weekly goal list. Specifically, get my 2 girls signed up for their swimming, ice skating and (if it’s time) gymnastic classes for the next session.

  • I’m so excited about this new series of yours! I recently got motivated by all of the ladies doing projects for October (31 Days Series) and made a list of 10 “frogs” I need to eat. I’m slowly, but surely finishing my least-favorite tasks and am trying to get more discipline in my life too! I agree that so often it’s easy to look for external answers and easy formulas to get stuff done when the truth is, we need to get off our hind ends and just do it!

    I’m so proud of you with your book! Soooo exciting!
    I can’t believe how quickly God can make big dreams come true. We both got our houses and you wrote a book which was endorsed by one of your heroes and my photography business is taking off without me even advertising (4 paid jobs in a month, including a wedding!)

  • Jessica says:

    Love this new series…thanks for talking about this. Self-discipline is so important and it’s all about making the little changes that add up to something big!

    I just wrote about self-discipline on my blog as well. Check it out if you want:

    Also, if you need another thumbnail image for a post you put up, feel free to use the one that’s there, it’s of the quote ~ “Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishments.”

    Looking forward to more of your posts! –Jessica

  • Tricia says:

    After reading your post, I jumped right into action. Our table had become quite the dumping area. It all started with mail, and then before you know it, little things kept piling up making it one very cluttered area. We couldn’t even eat at the table sadly. So I finally tackled it, wiped it down and I’m happy with the results. I am excited about this series and can’t wait to tackle the other areas in our home that desperately need some tending too.
    ps- congrats on your book. I have already requested to my hubby to get me a copy for after christmas. so happy for you and can’t wait to get my hands on your book. God is good 🙂

    • Sandy says:

      My table is the “hot”spot also. I plan on cleaning it off so I can wrap “Santa” presents for grandson’s Headstart class.

  • Patty says:

    “You may find that it didn’t end up taking you near as long as you thought it would and you’ll feel so good to have it done.”

    This is SO true. I don’t know why it always comes to me as such a surprise. It’s like Groundhog’s Day. Every time I tackle a project I’ve been stalling on, I most always end up saying, “well, that wasn’t so bad.”

    My 24-hour project is getting ALL the cardboard out to the recycling bin. They pick up on Thursday so I’m deadline-motivated.

  • Marisa says:

    I’m going to sort through my son’s winter wardrobe. We have been blessed with lots of hand-me-downs for him, more than we need (we have 15-20 pairs of pants, and about the same number of long-sleeve shirts, as well as 12 – 15 jackets and coats). I’d like to pass the extras on to some friends who have a baby boy and don’t have a lot of funds. Not only can I help someone else, but I will get rid of the large pile of jackets and coats in my bedroom :-).

  • Marisa says:

    Hmm, I posted a comment, but it didn’t show up. Sorry if this is a duplicate.

    I’m going to sort through my son’s winter wardrobe. We have been abundantly blessed with hand-me-downs for him, that we have much more than he needs (we have 15 – 20 pairs of pants, about the same number of long sleeve shirts, and 12 – 15 jackets/coats). I’m going to pass on the clothes we don’t need to friends who have a baby boy. Not only will this help someone else, but it will get rid of the large pile of jacket and coats in my bedroom :-).

  • Sakura says:

    I am going to juice the concord grapes I keep putting off!

  • My 24-hour goal will be to clean up my corner of the living room: clear off the couch, organize the magazines, move teaching stuff downstairs… Then I just need to work on keeping it cleared off!

  • Nancy Rice says:

    I’m going to tackle my ironing today.

  • Lori says:

    I am really looking forward to this series, and I actually thought about this one-day challenge for most of this evening last night. Today I am going to tackle cleaning the shower in our master bathroom, which is one of my most-detested tasks.

    This topic is interesting because where I struggle most with discipline is taking care of myself. Like most moms, I do a pretty good job taking care of everybody else – but when it comes to taking care of me, it’s like I have no discipline left. Does anybody else struggle with this? What suggestions can you offer? I need to make some big changes but I need to find the inner strength in myself to do so.

  • Anna says:

    I am right there with you…. I never ever got up before the kids unless I had to, but I know it is the key to changing my lack of discipline. So here I am, awake before the kids on day 3 of this week. It’s going well. I am tired cause my kids aren’t super good sleepers, but it’s been so much better for my family all around. I will whip myself into shape with the help of God. That is what I am awake for, to pray, seek God, and read my bible. 🙂

  • Thank you for this series. Since going back to work a couple of weeks ago, several things have been going unattended to. This is what I need to just get it done.

  • Laura says:

    So true about being both the problem and the solution. I’ve also often struggled with thinking that a book/method/etc. is going to be the solution and then get frustrated when things don’t work as planned.

    I’ve been doing much better with keeping my house in order since reading and using the Totally Together Journal you mention a couple of months ago, but the lightning bulb really came on for me a little while ago when I was looking at my messy kitchen after supper. I told my husband, “I really don’t want to do this, but I know I have to or else I’ll feel even worse about it tomorrow. It just has to get done.”

    This may sound simplistic and obvious, but it was at that moment that I realized that sometimes I just need to muscle through the work, even if it’s not enjoyable, because SOMEone has to do it and that someone is usually me.

    All that to say, I’m looking forward to reading this series and being motivated by how others apply discipline to their lives. As for me, the project of the day is organizing my pantry. I have bags on top of my cupboards from grocery trips (all non-perishables) that still need to be put away. Ugh.

    • WilliamB says:

      There are days when I just have to power through the Ugly Tasks. These are ones I don’t like, or that involve a disproportionate amount of hassle, or that come with upleasant consequences. Usually I find that they don’t take nearly as long as they seem that they do, and I sure am happy when they’re done – the mental dark cloud is gone.

      And yet, they still build up.

  • Alyssa says:

    I can’t wait to follow along with this! I was just telling my husband that basically, I have no self discipline. I could do more, and be a better person but I lack the discipline to get me there! You are always so inspiring, thank you!!!

  • Colette says:

    I have so many projects, I don’t even know where to start! 🙂

  • Sara says:

    I’m very excited about this! And I’m going to force myself to participate everyday… including publicly announcing my goal for this task! Today, like many others, I WILL sort/organize the kids’ closets.

  • Cate says:

    I am so excited for this series! I’m 24 weeks pregnant with my second child and even though pregnancy and chasing after a toddler can really take it out of me, I always feel so much better when I’m disciplined and productive instead of sitting on the couch all day feeling sluggish. I think today I’ll tackle all the little errands I’ve been avoiding for the past week: going to the post office, depositing a few checks, picking up a couple things at the grocery store, and maybe even braving Target with my 2 1/2 year old to spend the remainder of a gift card. 🙂

  • Jessica says:

    Looking forward to this! I am going to tackle the filing cabinet- I have just been shoving stuff in there for months and need to relabel and reorganize my files.

  • Meredith says:

    My daughter’s bedroom has been on my weekly goal list for weeks! What on earth is holding me back??? It aggravates me when I walk in, yet I still haven’t done it. Hopefully this will be the kick in the pants that I need. Thanks and congrats on your book!

  • Tara says:

    Great post! We have lived with my in-laws for the past 7 years. Sometimes, when I’m overwhelmed I try to blame my lack of discipline on not having a house of my own (like I will say, “If I had my own house, I’d do things better…”) But I think that God really wants to see me do ALL I need to do where I am in order to get where I need to be!

    I’m going to tackle the upstairs hallway. It is between our boys’ room and the schoolroom, and you can barely even get through it. I usually just put (ok, throw!) stuff there to store until I can find somewhere else to put it!
    Thanks again, Crystal, for being an inspiration!!

  • Bridget says:

    Well I agree that discipline is a choice and something to choose. But, being a working mom in a 2 working parent household, the best lesson I have learned is that everything doesn’t have to be perfect. If laundry is piling up, it’s okay. Everyone has clean underwear and a clean outfit for the day. If there are dishes on the counter, that’s okay. It’s more important I enjoy the few precious hours of each day that I get with my kids than to worry about have a perfectly kept house. And yes, it takes A LOT to get from the point of wanting everything to be perfect to the point where I let it go if the house is messy. Because to me, it’s much more important that the kids know what is most important in life – family.

  • Dawn says:

    By midnight tonight – I will have my laundry caught up and the kids socks sorted through to remove too small socks. (one of my dreaded chores)
    Thanks for doing this series!

  • Amber says:

    Love this post! There’s a closet I need to tackle!

  • MaryAnn says:

    I am going to clean off our computer desk. It just a place where things pile up constantly to the point where I can’t even use it.

  • Ruth says:

    I am tackling the laundry too…thanks for the encouragement.

  • Elly says:

    I’m tackling the ironing pile that is threatening to take over a room. I, too, find that my laundry gets out of control unless I do a load a day. Thanks for starting this series. I like the sense of community and accountability you are developing as part of it.

  • Jennifer says:

    I hate sewing, so when the zipper seam on my winter coat started to tear last year I just ignored it and kept wearing it anyways. Well, now it’s getting REALLY bad, so today I am going to finally sit down and sew it back together!

  • Amanda says:

    I am so thrilled for this series! I have been feeling lazy and unmotivated lately and I know it’s all me. Thanks for giving me a kick in the butt, Crystal! Your blog continues to help me be a better person!

  • Alicia says:

    I have a ton of those things that’ve been nagging me for months! ;0 I think I’ll go for organizing the teaching stuff I’ve been meaning to go through in the garage. It’s been sitting there in the middle of the floor for months, waiting for me to purge and reorganize for my own kiddos. I just need to get to and get it out of the way. I do need to go out there first and see if it’s too cold of working conditions for now. If it is, I’ll do the pile of papers in the desk drawer (it’s a large drawr and a large pile).

    • WilliamB says:

      Sometimes the hardest thing for me is to figure out which nagging task to do first. Then common sense kicks in and I realize better to just get started, lest I spend all my time planning instead of doing.

  • Emily says:

    I am really excited about this series, as it looks like everyone else is too… I have been going in circles lately and been struggling with buckling down and doing what needs to be done (instead of what I WANT to do- namely spending a lot of time on couponing, haha).

    That’s what I love best about this site- all the practical help you give us. I honestly don’t come here for the deals (I can get those anywhere), but for the advice!! So thanks!

  • Patti says:

    I understand perfectly how much life can interfere – right now my parents are in crisis (cancer and heart attack), my son is in crisis (going through issues adjusting to college), and my husband and I are adjusting to a new stage in life (empty nesters). Because I had to give up on my normal routine and it was driving me crazy, I sat down one day and made up a list of ALL the things I needed to do, room by room. It has really helped! Now I don’t have to think about it… just go to the list and see what I need to do next. I may only have a minute to work on it or I may have an hour. At any rate, I can accomplish something. So… next on my list is to file some papers that have been stacked up since we did our taxes. I’m off to the file cabinet!! Thanks, Crystal, for your inspiration -both to tackle tasks and to prioritize my time and energy. Yes, I have carved out computer time, too!! : )

  • Johnna says:

    Love this challenge! 21 days makes it seem more attainable. My 24 hr goal is my laundry room…Don’t mind doing it but the putting it up is hard….My one goal for sure this challenge is the having the dishes done every night! Nothing like waking up to a clean sink!

  • WilliamB says:

    I have three thoughts:

    1. Discipline is also a HABIT. Good habits can be as hard to break as bad ones so consider the work put into developing a good habit to be an investment in the future.

    2. The choice of systems matter. While I don’t expect to get the perfect system from a book, I do learn bits that help me create systems that work for me.

    3. Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good enough. A personal example: it’s better for one’s teeth to floss in the evening. For some reason, though, I only floss my teeth regularly when I do that in the morning. Flossing 12 hrs “too late” is be better than not flossing at all.

    • Crystal says:

      Great thoughts! And yes, systems do matter and I’ve gleaned a lot from reading books on organization, discipline, and time management. But at the end of the day, following-through is more important than having a perfect system.

      • Rachelle says:

        That is sooooo true…I know what to do, but get overwhelmed very easily. The follow through and up keep. I have trouble up keeping and the clutter starts to role back in. It’s hard for me to upkeep when I haven’t been able to de-clutter the entire house yet. That is where discipline is important and knowing that there will be an end in sight, right?

  • Ellen says:

    I just cleaned out my tupperware drawer! Thanks for the motivation!!!!

  • Rachael says:

    Today I am sending my neice a baby gift. I won’t say how old baby is, just that it should have been done months ago 🙂

  • Kim says:

    My laundry is insanely behind as well. Our washer was broken for about a week, and then I was just too “blah” this week to do anything about it. Before these 24 hours are over, I will have it done. Thanks for the inspiration. It is always easier to do these things when you have a group of people who are also doing it.

  • Emily says:

    I LOVE this blog and I’m very excited about this series! Than you Crystal! I am going to get my About Me page done for my and get this blog project rolling once and for ALL! Oh… and also 4 loads of laundry too.

  • SE says:

    Crystal, I have laundry issues too. I hope it’s ok to share with you what has been working for us this fall.

    I bought laundry baskets super cheap (one for each member of the family plus a big one for linens) and do a load or two of wash each day. My kids are the same age as you, my 6 yo unloads the dryer when it stops and he and my 4 yo sort the pile into all the separate baskets. We do this all week long until Friday morning when I have a dear woman from church who comes and folds everything for us. Then my kids each put their folded laundry away and I do mine and linens. If until then, the kids are in need of a clothing item, they know their basket is in the sorting corner in the basement and go down there to help themselves to what they need. So far it’s been working out just fine for us.

  • I am reading a book with some college girls called Girls Gone Wise in a World Gone Wild by Mary Kassian. It has been a real blessing to me. Last week the chapter was on habits. The author says that our habits really show what our priorities are. We like to think that things that sound good are our priorities, but our habits really show what takes precedence in our lives. I want being a woman of God’s word and an excellent wife and mother to be my priorities, but my habits don’t show that I’m working towards those goals. So this week, I implemented a new discipline…No Bible, No Blogs (meaning that if I haven’t read the Bible I can’t read any blogs). This has helped me so far. Also, if my kitchen isn’t clean, I don’t function well or get other cleaning done because I just can’t seem to get a move on. So the same rule applies for cleaning the kithchen. I like to say, No clean kitchen, No Pinterest (kinda rhymes lol), but the point is not to get on the computer until I have a clean kitchen. I hope to build these disciplines in my life. Thanks for this series. As for a goal to complete in the next 24 hours it will be to organize our master closet. This has been on my to do list for far too long.

    • Lori says:

      I love your rules! I’m going to borrow them.

    • Cort says:

      I just heard about that book on a radio show “Revive our hearts” where Mary Kassian was speaking. I may just have to read it now.
      Totally agree with your thoughts on no bible no blogs and no clean kitchen no pintrest. I seriously am addicted to watching everyone else living out their life on these blogs in all their creative and organized endeavors that sometimes I forget to go out and do things in my own 🙂

  • Danielle says:

    I really need to do this! I am 22 yrs old and have a 1 1/2 yr old and a 3 month old and I feel like my life is such a mess. I want to enjoy my children and spend as much time with them as I can but I feel like I’m burdened by my dirty home and just can’t enjoy them fully. It is a lose, lose situation. If I’m cleaning I’m not spending time with them and if I’m spending time with them my mind is still on what needs to be getting clean and I just can’t relax. I have a very unorganized, messy home and it creates disorganization in every other area of our lives. It is very discouraging and I often get overwhelmed and frustrated when I think of where to begin. I have let the fact that it overwhelms me be an excuse to just give up trying as hard. My husband and I have talked about it and I know it is a discipline issue and , as you said, I am the one who can fix the problem. Being unorganized and undisciplined is negatively affecting our lives and I sometimes feel like it affects my happiness. I really want to change my bad habits and learn to be more disciplined. Thank you for posting this.

    All that said, I’m going to tackle my laundry as well. We are going on a trip this weekend and having clean laundry is a must! Having it all in its place will help me to pack more efficiently as well.

  • Courtney says:

    My 24 hour project is going to be the pumpkins. I have 5 pumpkins waiting to be cooked and dealt with. Time to go focus on it and accomplish it TOday!

  • Kassi says:

    I have to tell you that I know we have never spoke but I feel as if you are one of my best friends. Since you post about eating a big salad a day I have also tried to do it. I feel like I clean with you every day when I do my 15 minutes of cleaning. So today when I tackle the basement and getting it completely cleaned out I will invision you there talking to me and folding your laundry. I so appreciate the “support group” of this blog.

    I recently gave a little presentation at my church on budgeting. I proclaimed to them that “I am a budget breaker.” Like any addictive habit which breaking the budget is. One needs a support group of people that are doing the same thing. So thank for creating a community of supportive people via your website!!!!

  • I also need this challenge! I have been slowly working on my lack of discipline since beginning a leadership class at Church a few months ago. Discipline has been discussed a lot in the books we have been reading and it has been a big wake up call for me.

    Even though I am making some progress I still have a lot of work to do. Too often my “want to’s” win out over my “need to’s”.

    So for day one of this challenge I will be getting the main part of the house straightened back up. (I have already started on it). We had a long weekend and I felt like I didn’t have the energy to touch it on Monday (however I probably could have spent 30 min and made a huge difference) and yesterday I was gone almost all day.

  • tracie says:

    got the van cleaned out and cleaned out the freezer and wrote down everything thats in it. Both these things have been on my list for awhile.

  • Julie says:

    I want to thank you for your blog. I have not only learned a waealth of knowledge from it but more importantly have learned that I am not alone. I have often felt as if I was a failure as a mother, wife, and housekeeper. Your blog has shown me I am not alone and there are others out there who struggle with the same things as I do. I respect you so much for your ability to admit where you struggle and fail. You are a source of encouragement and inspiration for me! Thank you!

  • Christy says:

    I organize a mission group and I have many to do items on my list one of which is writing letter of recomendations for seniors in high school for the college applications. I have been putting this off for way too long! That is my project today, thanks for the encouragment to just do it!

  • Shannon says:

    I’m excited! I really need this! Thank you

  • Laura Evans says:

    I am going to chop that pound of jalepenos and freeze them so I can make jelly later before they go to waste….Thanks for this. I don’t have kids but work 8-5 then 6-9 outside the home M-F, so I have a SUPER hard time motivating myself to do anything after work, even my online classes. My husband has been gone out of town for work for five weeks and my lack of dicipline shows!

  • Traci says:

    So excited for this series! today I will tackle the dining room table. We haven’t actually ate a meal at the table in months. It’s full of clutter!

  • Becky says:

    Thanks for the inspiration! Love your blog! I just re-hung the crooked pictures on my bedroom wall AND cleaned my dusty light fixtures.

    You often write about living a purposeful life. I try to keep that in mind when doing household chores. For example, I will do this load of laundry so my daughter can wear her favorite shirt tomorrow or; I will dust my son’s room so her can breath clean air or; I will empty the dishwasher so we’re ready to spend time together enjoying a family meal.

  • Katja says:

    My “aha” moment came after 3 children and seven years of marriage. I didn’t want to do the dishes after dinner. (My husband was swamped with homework and my children were too young to help). I realized that my Mom wasn’t going to fly across the country and do it for me. 😉 in fact, I was the Mom. If I didn’t do it, it wouldn’t get done. Life changed from that point. I grew up.

  • Sarah says:

    My project is getting through one of the three boxes that I still haven’t unpacked from moving more than 3 months ago. Here’s hoping that my cranky/sick toddler cooperates by taking a verrrry long nap. 🙂

  • Annie says:

    My Project for today is to get my radiator cleared off! It’s a great place to put things “until I can deal with it.” And that never seems to come! I’m hoping to join in! I feel like 21 days is so doable! Thanks for the motivation.

  • Amy says:

    Wow! You described me well. 😉 I’ve found that I enjoy the research and preparation to get organized a lot more than the act itself.

  • Heather says:

    I didn’t see this post until after two today. But I already tackled one of my projects without realizing it would be today’s goal, recalk the windows for winter. Tomorrow I am putting plastic around all the windows. It isn’t the prettiest but it helps with the heating bill.

    Thanks for the motivation. I need more discipline in my life!

  • Gina says:

    I have so many tasks that haven’t gotten done, I’m not sure where to start! Today I’m going to finally plant the tulip bulbs that are still in the bags on my dining room floor. They certainly won’t grow there…

  • Anshu says:

    Ok! I will play – I will fix the two overflowing shelves in my bedroom closet in next 24 hours. I need discipline more than ever because my daily help will go away soon and that may mean 2 hours less time everyday! Lets see if making some changes helps me absorb those 2 hours easily.

  • Jen says:

    Thank you so much for the inspiration! I just researched and called a pediatric dentist for my son and a dentist for my husband and I. We have been meaning to switch dentists for some time, but I never seized the moment to get it done. Getting it off of my mental to do list is liberating. I’ve also cleaned out the art supplies drawer and organized the bookshelves. Thank you for getting me fired up!

  • Jennifer B. says:

    I am so excited about this series. It seems as though my husband and I are constantly struggling with the self-discipline to get things done. Today I started a load of laundry (it’s in the dryer now), cleaned the shower curtain liner, emptied & refilled the dishwasher, & cleaned the litter box. Now only if I can get myself to complete all of my homework from my Statistics class in time for the quiz tomorrow, I will be doing just fine!!

  • Koree says:

    Work on my notebook of instructional strategies due very soon in my Methods class. Directions are unclear so it has been hard to get going on it.

  • This post literally made me cry. My life is so cluttered and chaotic that I am stressed beyond control. Every method I have tried to fix it has failed… becuase of my lack of discipline.

    Adding a huge schedule load to the chaos this past week (for finance sake) has me more stressed than I ever remember being. This past weekend I finally realized that it’s seriously time to put on my big girl pants, face the truth of my lack of character, stop making excuses, and just fix the problem.

    So far, I’ve managed to maintain the mess of this house (vs. adding to it). So it’s progress, but I’d sure like to conquer the mess and maintain the clean and organized. I know that the atmosphere of our home (and my sanity) would be much more peaceful if the house itself were manged better.

    Right now, I working on getting myself disciplined to get up right away in the morning, put a load of laundry in the wash, and unload the dishwasher while feeding the kids breakfast. Doesn’t seem like much, but this is so huge for me. If I can manage this for a complete week, I will feel like I’ve climbed to the peak of Mt. Despair.

  • Denise C. says:

    “I am the problem, but I am also the solution.” LOVE that!
    This was small….I moved our cordless drill, some screw drivers and other misc items from our kitchen, to their regular home, the garage. Why on earth it took me over a week to do, I’ll never know.

  • Sarah says:

    I love this series … or at least the idea of it! I hope the next 19 days are as great as this has been. I immediately thought, when I saw the 24 hour challenge, “I’m going to clean off my desk. No, I’ll do the whole study.” But I know that will take longer than 24 hours given other commitments (especially my 2 young kids.) So, I’m going to tackle my couponing pile. Gotta get it organized by 8:00 tomorrow evening!

  • Amanda says:

    I’ve been avoiding transferring my 2000+ photos dating back to March 2011 over to my external hard drive–don’t know why it isn’t like it is that difficult! Done now! And today I did I wrapped up a report that I normally would have put off–it feels good to be ahead of the game. Thanks for the motivation!

  • Teena says:

    I linked to your post on my blog! Thanks for this series. This quote on discipline has been working on me the past couple of days.

  • Johnlyn says:

    I wonder how many people are suffering from lack of self discipline vs. having too much on their plate (not saying that’s the case with you Crystal, but after reading the comments here that was the thought I had.)

    When people are overwhelmed, often times it’s because they’ve taken on way too much (speaking from experience!)

    I loved Amy’s book “Tell Your Time”, but I had to write a followup post on my review of her book. It said something to the effect: “the part in the book that I don’t like…I actually have to do something!”

    I my case that meant getting rid of a lot of “good” things in my life so I could concentrate on the “great” things.

    • Crystal says:

      I think that it can actually be a lack of self-discipline when we don’t say “no” and cautiously guard our time and priorities so that the good doesn’t eat up all the time for the best. That’s a lesson I’ve had to learn the hard way in my own life.

      Thanks for your thoughts!

  • Jennifer says:

    I was able to organize my office, all my folders for class, and get all of my stuff in line. It only took a few minutes (probably 15 minutes), but I have been putting it off for so long. Now I have a less cluttered place to spend time working on my thesis and other school work.

    I hope to continue this trend back at my duplex, and clean up my second bedroom/office at home, so that I can hopefully be more productive at home as well. This was maybe I will spend time working in my home office rather than on the couch in the living room, right in front of the TV. Hopefully this allows me to be more productive in more than just cleaning.

  • I can so relate to this! I am notorious for taking out a stack of organizational books from the library in the hopes they will help streamline my life and make me more productive. But in reality, I think it’s just a stalling tactic. In reading all those books, I may feel like I am doing something but I’m really just avoiding the hard work.

    Laundry is on my to-do list today also. Looking forward to the rest of your series!

  • My 24 hour goal was to fold all the clean laundry that collects at the foot of my bed and to also get all dirty laundry washed and put away. I have gotten all the laundry by my bed folded and put away, I have gotten 7 loads of laundry done and I have got the last load of towels in the wash now. All clean laundry was folded right away when it got out of the dryer! The laundry at the foot of my bed has been there since the week of my wedding…. which was in JUNE!!! Thanks for the motivation to get this done 🙂

  • durango mom says:

    I read this yesterday afternoon and last night I outsourced daily bookkeeping for my family business. I still “get” to do the financial statements and the analysis work, but the daily stuff is simply too much. I already have a full-time job plus the family business. Also, tomorrow my housekeepers start.
    One form of self-discipline I am working on is to be an intentional steward of my time. Where is my time best spent? Raising my kids, loving my husband and growing our business. Thanks for keeping me accountable.

  • Bridget says:

    My pastor really captured the essence of Godly discipline as he explained to us how DISCIPLINE leads to DESIRE which leads to DELIGHT. It’s called the three “D” principal. So many times we think it works the other way around and our desire for something will magically lead us into the discipline it takes to accomplish it! Thank you for sharing your journey to more discipline with us, we can all use a little more of it in our lives!!

  • jaylin says:

    i am excited to start this series! i have all these great ideas and think things will change by reading a book as well…but in truth i need more self discipline, this is inspiring me to pick one task and complete it!!! thank you

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