I’ve been reading a lot about discipline as I audition it for the 2018 Word of the Year, and I’m beginning to think it’s a bad fit.

Not that I’m opposed to discipline. It’s an importaant part of my life, in fact. But the word “Discipline” doesn’t seem like something I can contemplate and learn from for a year. I’ve brought concepts like Strength and Beauty into my life in this way and found them inspiring and worthy of thinking about. Adjectives like Clean and Sterling have been touchstones for me.

“Discipline” seems negative.

Discipline is clearly a good thing, but maybe not a good word for me. In fact, just thinking about it this week seems to have backfired.

I racked up some debt last year, between traveling and helping to prepare for a new grandchild, and I’m willing to scrimp my way out of debt this year. But couldn’t that be an adventure in creative frugality, rather than just discipline?

I expect to complete my weight loss journey, but couldn’t that be a celebration, rather than a slog?

I also have a couple of projects I’m planning for the new year. I found a book called The Knitter’s Life List which is filled with lists of things knitters do, like knitting sweaters or using specific strategies. It has adventures, too, like visiting fiber-related places or trying specific experiments with color. I’m definitely going to work through this next year. I was framing it as a disciplined way of filling the gaps in my knitting knowledge. But won’t it be an exciting collection of creative new experiences?

And I gave in to temptation and got DNA testing kits. I thought of this as a start on completing my genealogical research, conceivably a disciplined thing to do, but it’s really a jazzy new way to proceed on a path I’ve already been on for some years, injecting new energy into an avocation.

I think maybe the right word for these projects is “Journey,” not “Discipline.”