It is Monday, and that can be a pain. People generally focus on what is causing them pain in their lives. Why? In a physical sense, it can be pretty hard to ignore. When the pain is mental or emotional, it can be overwhelming.
The bad news first, there will always be pain in your life. Pretty inspiring for a Monday, right? Pain is not always a bad thing. It can be one of life’s greatest teachers. It can let us know when something is not right in our lives. This can be the pain of a physical injury, where our body is letting us know something is wrong. Even the heartache of a toxic relationship is pain that is telling us that person is not right for us.
The good news is that in many ways you can choose your pain. In most cases this comes down to the decision of the pain of discipline verses the pain of regret. I am forever reminding Margie that “discipline equals freedom” a quote I stole from Jocko Willink. So much so, she probably is sick of hearing it. That does not make it any less true. If we choose to skip the initial pain of discipline, we will have to face the pain of regret.
Let us look at our examples above. In the case of a physical injury, physical therapy and doing exercises can be painful. If we do not do them, we could heal incorrectly and suffer the pain of regret. Toxic relationship? Breaking up with someone can be hard and painful. Staying in that relationship can have us waking up to the pain of regret with every painful episode.
How about you? Are there disciplines you are putting off because they are painful? Not disciplined in your fitness because you “don’t have time” or it is “too hard”. Let me tell you from experience. The pain of a good workout goes away in time. The pain of being out of shape is something you have to deal with daily. Not disciplined in your diet because you would just rather “eat what you like. ” or “eat what tastes good.” Then you must suffer the regret of all the pains an unhealthy diet give you. These pains, such as heart disease, can be fatal.
This week, if you find yourself trying to get out of the pain of discipline,ask yourself what the pain of regret will be if you don’t follow through. Be honest with yourself. The pain of missing just one workout or the pain of eating just one doughnut can lead to the regret of choosing bad habits over good ones.
It is the middle of the week and we are all starting to wear down a little. I think there comes a time in all of our lives, mine happens several times, that we say defeating things to ourselves. Some of my not-so-self-serving thoughts include phrases like, “Why do I always go the extra mile for people who would not do the same?” “What is the point of working hard when your boss doesn’t appreciate you?” or “What is the point of always doing the right thing when it doesn’t seem to get you anywhere?” Trust me. I get it. Life can be hard and the rewards and purpose for giving it our all can be a little gray to put it kindly.
The picture above should make it perfectly clear as to why we keep going when the going gets rough. You may think if you are not a parent or a teacher that this does not apply to you. That couldn’t be further from the truth. You never know who is watching you where. It also doesn’t have to be a child. There are so many people that may choose not to give up because they have seen us do the same. I recall a gentleman thanking me for opening the car door for Margie because it reminded him of something simple he could do to make his wife feel loved and valued. I didn’t know this man. Haven’t seen him before or sense. I also wasn’t opening the door to inspire him. I actually do it as a sign of respect for the lady I love. Still, it inspired him.
It is the middle of the week. Hump day as it is known to some. The week may be starting to wear on you. Don’t slip, don’t give up that effort or discipline. You never know who you may be inspiring and you may never know. One thing you can know for sure is that you are inspiring someone.
Today we are going to discuss one of the greatest secrets to an amazing life. This secret will allow you to have more free time, get things done with ease, not worry about the opinions or judgement of others and have a lot more confidence in yourself. Sound interesting? I assure you that this secret will bring you all of that and more. This secret to help you achieve an amazing life is a disciplined mindset. When I first heard of this secret, I thought it would do the exact opposite. A lot of this has to do with our association of the word discipline. When we think of the world it is most often associated with a form of punishment.
The discipline we are discussing here is self-discipline. The self-accountability we have. Although we can be tough on ourselves when we make a mistake, in general we are very lax on the discipline it takes to prevent us from making that mistake. When I first looked into self-discipline I thought it would take away a lot of my freedom. I came to discover the opposite is true. In the morning if you make your bed, get your workout in you not only can celebrate that you accomplished something and already have a win, but that you held yourself to a standard. If you find yourself sleeping in and waking up at the last moment, how does your day feel? Do you feel like you have lots of time and are not rushed? No. You feel like you are racing to do one thing after another. That is not freedom.
The hard truth is that discipline equals freedom. When you focus and accomplish the things you know you should do in a day, you have the freedom to spend the rest of the day as you please. If you procrastinate and hit the snooze several times, if you only work hard when the boss is watching or any other type of situation where you think you are giving yourself freedom, you will soon discover that freedom is at a sacrifice of your freedom later in the day. If, on the other hand, you continue to be self-disciplined, things will begin to take care of themselves. You do not have to worry if the boss is looking over your shoulder. You are doing the best job you can because that is your standard. You do not have to worry about trying to fit everything into a day because you have worked hard and were disciplined to begin with.
We have discussed at length what you stand to loose if you are not self-disciplined, but let me share a few things you will gain if you maintain self-discipline. These are personal examples that have happened in my own life since I have embraced self-discipline. The first is the gym. Let me tell you that leaving my warm bed with my hot Margie in it is never easy. Who would want to leave a beautiful woman and a comfortable bed to go outside in cold weather to go to a gym and put your body in an uncomfortable situation. I know the benefits exercise gives me both physical and mental, but those are hard to keep in mind when you have the arms of the one you loved wrapped around you. After forcing myself for several weeks to get up and go, the weirdest thing happened – it became easier. It is just what I did. I worked out first thing in the morning. Here is an additional reward. I had more energy to enjoy my time with Margie. I also wasn’t taking time away from us in the evening and had time to enjoy things such as watching a movie or enjoying a nice dinner. A huge plus was that I felt better about myself. I knew I was living up to my standards in that area.
My favorite example is the relationship I have with Margie. This is where being disciplined can offer some of the biggest rewards. Everyone knows about the ‘honeymoon period’. You know that feeling of floating through the clouds in love. Nothing seems to bother you. How long does that last? 6 months? 6 weeks? Eventually, it fades. In our relationship I have discovered a way to not only keep that feeling alive within myself, but keep it alive in Margie as well. You guessed it, self-discipline. How is self-discipline romantic? Most of us go the extra mile only when the situation calls for it. A birthday, Valentine’s Day or some other holiday. Forgot the time and came home a little too happy and a lot too late after a night with the fellas? These are times we make sure to do the extra little things. However, if we practice self-discipline in our relationships and make sure to do the ‘little things’ with focus and never let ourselves slip, it takes the relationship to a whole different level.
Is it any wonder that the Honey moon period starts to decline a little after we become a little less attentive to the little details? We hold doors only if we find ourselves to be in the position to do so. We only send a loving text if it is a special occasion or we know they are having a hard day. Familiarity can lead us to take certain things for granted. How many of us truly listen to our partners and try to learn new things about them after years together? We assume we know everything about them. Why spend all of that energy and effort? The reward of being self-disciplined in a relationship far outweigh the effort. If you hold the door for your partner even if it is raining or snowing, or even if you may not be too happy with them at the moment it sends a very clear message. That message is, “I respect you not only when it is convenient, but at all times.” Even though it may not be expressed outwardly, that goes a long way. Random acts of kindness and romance tell your partner that they mean as much to you, hopefully even more, than when you were in that honey moon period. Listening with an intent to understand and learn instead of just replying will keep you informed of your partners changing needs and likes as well as make them feel valued and like an important part of your life. How do you think someone who feels respected, important and valued act? Imagine if you are disciplined with actions and words that remind them they are both loved and beautiful. How will that impact your relationship? The honey moon period may change, but it will never end.
When we practice self-discipline in our life we will not only gain more freedom, we will develop more confidence and live a more rewarding life. What are some areas of your life that you need to practice better self-discipline and how can you do it? I recommend reading the book Discipline Equals Freedom By Jocko Willink. There are lots of great ideas in there.
On occasion I read a quote that makes me pause and reflect. This is one of those quotes. “Rome wasn’t built in a day but they worked on it every day.” I don’t know what goal you are working on this week, but it is important to work on it every day. Even if you do one little thing toward the accomplishment of your goal, you get one step closer. Not only does your goal get nearer to being accomplished, but it keeps your goal firmly in front of you and in your subconscious mind. Putting your subconscious mind to work for you is how miracles happen. I won’t get into exactly how that happens in this post as it is quite extensive. Feel free to look that up on your own.
I can tell you one way to activate your subconscious mind is through repetition. I am striving to be a best-selling author. The way that I do this is write something every day. One day it may be a chapter for a book. The next day it may be a post for this blog or an article for one of the magazines I write for. Regardless of what form it takes, the only way to improve my writing is to work on it a little bit every day.
Here is the flip side of this; every day that you do not work on your goal, you are not only pushing it back one day you could be pushing it back six months or more. You may be thinking why should I practice or hone my craft when I have no opportunity to put it to work yet? It is firmly better to be prepared for an opportunity and not have one, than to be unprepared for an opportunity when it arrives. Imagine wanting to be a great public speaker and never practicing. Suddenly you are presented a chance to speak in front of thousands and you have never prepared. Not only will you fail at that moment, but the effects of that failure follow you around for years to come.
Whatever your goal may be, do a little towards its accomplishment today. It may not seem like a lot at the end of the day, but in a month, in a year or more you will look back at all of the little actions you have taken and discover you have created a masterpiece.