THE SURPRISING FREEDOM THAT COMES FROM DISCIPLINE
No one really likes the thought of discipline. It seems and sounds so harsh, unyielding, and rigid. And most of all, discipline is restricting and no one wants to feel restricted in their lives. But here's the thing, there is a weird sense of freedom that partners with discipline and helps us become happier. Here's what I mean:
My husband and I each have a budget of $200 a month to spend on whatever we please. This could be dinner with friends, a new shirt, whatever we want. (I know that to some $200 is a lot and to others, it seems very small but it's what we've determined will work for us.) But here's the thing, since limiting ourselves to this budget, I've experienced a sense of freedom I've never had before.
Instead of feeling like I have to participate in everything or accept every invitation to dinner, now I am creative with my spending and time. Having the discipline of a budget had allowed me to say no and only spend my money on the things that are really important to me.
It's forced me to think outside of the box and say, "You know, dinner isn't in my budget right now, but what if we went for a walk instead of dinner?" Instead of spending $30 at dinner, I can spend 2 hours walking and really talk with a friend. Saving money, getting in real quality time, being outside AND exercising? So many more benefits than just spending the $30 and stuffing my face while trying to communicate.
There are other benefits too. I rarely have buyers remorse because in most cases, I have to save up to buy an item I really want. And it's given me fewer options when buying something, helping me feel less overwhelmed.
I don't feel restricted or like I'm missing out. Instead, I feel like I'm in control and I feel happier. This has also resulted in healthier/less expensive food choices, more quality time with friends/ family, and a sense of accomplishment every time I do buy something that I've saved up my money for.
But all of this only works if I stick to and am disciplined with my spending. And I've seen it ripple over to other areas of my life too. I find I'm more dedicated to other goals like reading more or working out... it's become fun to be disciplined and it's made me happier in my life. It hasn't been easy at times, but in the end, I've been pleasantly surprised at the freedom I've gotten.