Discipline

I have no willpower when it comes to coffee!

Discipline is something most of us learn at an early age.  I am only saying “most” because I think there are a few kids (and adults!) out there who have learned absolutely nothing about discipline, but that is a different story for a different day.  Discipline drives every thing we do in life.  If we don’t have the discipline to get out of bed when our alarm goes off then the kids will start screaming, we will be late to work and we will become a member of the unproductive population.  If we don’t have the discipline to brush our teeth or wash our hair then hygiene issues will arise and we will no longer have any friends.  I guess you could conclude that laziness is the opposite of anything related to discipline.  Or, it could be that when you don’t have discipline then you have a loss of willpower.

We are all (oh, wait… I mean most) disciplined in some things and nowhere near to being disciplined in a handful of other things.  It’s true and I will admit my failures when it comes to discipline.  For one thing, I would not have enough discipline to banish coffee and scones.  I might be able to get by one day, but that might be the extent of my willpower.  Oh, here’s a good one that I think everyone can relate to:  I would not be able to go an entire day without getting on the internet!  Okay, if this is your discipline then please stand up and show us the way out of this technological madhouse!  Right, no one is standing up.  Figures.  We are lost to the computers and phones and ipads.

Most people tend to relate discipline to exercise and dieting.  We have learned that human beings feel better when they eat what they want and sit around to enjoy the process of digestion.  But, that is about the extent of feeling better.  We soon realize that the food doesn’t really make us feel better after we have eaten it and we end up not liking how we look because we ate too much of the stuff that tasted way too good.  Then we just sit around feeling depressed because we can only last 10 minutes on the treadmill before we feel like we might collapse.  Exercise feels good, but it takes a lot of work.  It is much easier to take a seat on the couch and watch a movie or two.

What is it about exercise that is so hard?  Waking up early?  Finding time to squeeze it in during your busy day?  Not knowing what to do and how to do it?  You think sweat is stinky and unattractive?  Feeling selfish because you took time out of the day to take care of yourself?  You are just not interested or don’t give a rat’s crap?

Well, it does take work and it does take time.  After a few years, I can finally say that I am pretty disciplined when it comes to exercise.  I will jump (okay, maybe it is more of a roll) out of bed as soon as my alarm goes off even though I would much rather be sleeping.  I make time for exercise, whether that means getting up extra early, taking the kids with me to the gym, pushing a jogging stroller, running on the treadmill during naptime, catching a class at my work or scheduling a workout around my husband’s schedule.  Give me any day and I will find time for a workout.  Sure, I didn’t know how to run when I started… said no one ever.  How could anyone not know how to run?  Or even walk for that matter because walking is exercise too!  Sure, you might not have the best runner’s form, but not even I know what that is.  If you say that you don’t know how to weight train, then I will understand.  However, it is not hard to find someone to show you how.  Sweat is wonderful and it means that you worked your rear off!  If you don’t sweat, then there is a problem.

The taking care of yourself part is a hard one for most women to grasp.  It is common knowledge that women feel a strong urge to put everyone else’s needs above their own.  It is a tough instinct to fight, but there is one clear way to look at it:  if you don’t take care of yourself, then how can you take care of everyone else?  Do you want more energy so you can keep up with your kids?  Exercise gives you energy (as long as you don’t get too crazy and overdo it).  Do you want to set a good example and inspire others around you?  Set a goal and achieve it!  Do you want to live longer so you can spend more quality time with your family and friends?  Well, you won’t live longer if you don’t stay active or eat healthy.  Of course there are no guarantees, but you sure as heck can up your chances.

This discipline thing will not work if you are just not interested.  Do you prefer to sit on the couch?  Or is it just easier?  If you prefer the couch, then I guess couch discipline is the only thing for you.  Now, if it is just easier to  sit on the couch, then you can be molded.  Life shouldn’t be so easy.  Things don’t end on a good note when life is too easy.  Being successful means taking on challenges and pushing yourself to new limits.

The only way to get rewarded is through discipline.  This can apply in many areas of our lives, not just diet and exercise.  However, when I have discipline in one area of my life, it tends to creep into other areas.  If I am willing to get up early for a run, then I am more willing to cook a healthy meal or spend extra playtime with my kids.  If I wake up already defeated, then I tend to be unproductive for the rest of the day.

It is not easy.  Not at all.  But that sounds like a challenge to me and I love challenges.  How about you?

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