Changing non-discretionary activities in your life

Before I swam this morning, I had a conversation with another person at the pool about the Canadian Masters Nationals. It made me think about why I swim and especially the fact that I have been doing it consistently for so many years…

While I enjoy the competition and it motivates me to work hard during my swims, that isn’t why I started to swim…in fact, if the truth be told, two of the biggest reasons I swim are:

1) I like to eat …and the level that I swim at means that I can eat several hundred more calories every day

2) people who swim regularly have a much longer life span than others.

But, when it comes to getting up early 4 times a week and heading to the pool, the truth is that I never DECIDE if I have time to go, or if I feel like going, ….I just go, because it is what I do

And it made me think of other non-discretionary things in my life….

Some are obvious – e.g. sleeping and eating….

Others are habits that I have developed…like the swimming. Reading a portion of scripture every night before I go to sleep. Going for coffee with some friends….And for the last number of years – going to work for IBM.

So, as I get on with this next phase of my life, I pause to think….what are the new non-discretionary things I want to add to my life?

One of the possibilities is writing – I’d like to get to the point where doing some writing every day is just something I do….

Eating that frog? (that’s another story for another time)


And once I’ve chosen something, the question comes, how do we get to the point where something I choose to do becomes non-discretionary? I’ve been told that, if you can discipline yourself to doing something every day for 30 days, it will become a part of you. And, I suspect, that, if I am to keep to that discipline, I will need to enlist some help to hold me accountable for those 30 days to develop the positive habits that I CHOOSE to add to my life.

About the Author Les Lindquist