Last year, I spent a good amount of time listening to Carl Newport’s podcast, “The Deep Life” while tackling laundry. One of the overarching qualities of living a meaningful life, it seems, is to develop (self)discipline in your life. Not surprisingly so, after all, good habits are grounded on discipline. Having a self-discipline gives you the stamina to press on even when you are close to giving up. Discipline cultivates intentionality and consistency, character traits I’d like to cultivate in my life in my 40s.
Using my guide here on how to select your one word for the year, this is how my thought process looks like in choosing this word for 2024:
Step 1 – Write down what your heart longs for the most – What my heart longs for the most in this season of my life is some kind of grounding for good habits to stick. In my early 40s, I would like to cultivate discipline in the areas affecting my physical, mental, and spiritual health.
Step 2 – Reflect on what worked and what did not work the previous year – To me, this looks pretty much like this:
Step 3 – Write one-word ideas – Words that came to mind when I was praying and reflecting on my one word for the year were these: cultivate, consistency, habits, pursuit, and discipline.
Step 4 – Choose one word that speaks to your longing the most – I chose discipline as my one word for 2024. When I looked up the meaning of discipline, it showed me that it is “an activity that provides mental or physical training” and “to train oneself to do something in a controlled and habitual way.” I know discipline this is what my heart is longing for to be able to live a more meaningful and purposeful life this year. I am challenging myself to the edge by choosing this word but I also know I would love to grow in the process.
A Backstory to my one word in 2023: “Faithful“
In 2023, I longed for career growth which I didn’t know I was longing for until God stirred my heart in that direction. So I chose the word “faithful” — to be faithful in little things (Luke 16:10) so that either God may entrust me with more or I would learn to cultivate joy and contentment with my current job position. My one word guided me throughout the year and God miraculously opened doors for me to experience growth in the workplace in ways I’ve never even dreamt of, but to be actively dependent on God and grow in this area is the bigger blessing. Choosing one word for the year has been a life-giving practice for me, and I hope that it will be the same for you.