Discipline is figuring out how to love doing the things that are good for you. This definition of discipline and new way of thinking helps me understand what I need to do in my life each day.
For most of my life, discipline was forcing yourself to push through things you hated that were good for you. I pushed through things like finishing a paper for school, running a mile, or doing homework. I thought discipline was sticking with something no matter what. For example, I would with a relationship because I made a commitment to this person. I didn’t consider whether it was good for me or good for them to be in a relationship with me.
Discipline was something I hated. I prided myself on being able to freestyle my life and start something new and end it whenever I felt like it. I thought that if I tried a diet I didn’t like and gave up on it, that meant I didn’t have enough discipline.
I thought discipline was something negative. Now I look at discipline as a way to love the things I’m supposed to do. That definition of discipline helps me today. When I think of discipline as a way to love the things in my life, I get to test out different ways to do the right thing. I used to think of discipline before like something I had to do. If I have to go for a run I would do these long runs I hated and I wouldn’t do them for long. I needed to exercise on a consistent basis, but I could only see a limited number of ways to do it. Rather than find something I did like, I would force myself to do it.
The same thing tends to happen with eating healthy. I would guess every human being on the planet knows at some level you need to eat healthy. You need to eat certain things and not eat certain things and have some discipline as far as your eating goes. Why don’t we do that? It’s because most people think eating healthy stinks and that it’s not fun.
With this new definition of discipline I’ve figured out how to enjoy eating healthy. I understand that to eat healthy, I need to find ways I like eating healthy. Then I will do it because I want to keep doing it and to remember why I want to keep living healthy. It’s so I can continue living a life of service where my body works well and I feel good, I look good, I’m able to do well. I want to eat healthy to have a good life.
For me, thinking about why I want to do something is a key part of discipline. I have to do it out of a loving reason and I can’t beat myself. I tried to whip myself disciplined for most of my life. I told myself I was going to keep running, keep eating healthy. That’s how I looked at discipline. I kept beating myself into doing the things I needed to do. Of course at some point, I stopped doing the things that were healthy for me. At some point, I stopped eating well. I stopped trying to stay sober. I stopped trying to exercise.
I ended up with a life that was miserable. I closed my mind off to finding the ways to do the things I needed to do so I would keep doing them. Now, I’m able to eat healthy because I keep finding new ways to eat healthy that I enjoy. The most recent thing I’ve done is I bought a shrimp cocktail platter. It’s a healthy thing to eat and it’s only 500 calories. A big part of eating healthy for me now is trying new things so I can find the things that are good and healthy to eat.
That way I have room to eat the things that I might want to eat. I have room to eat dessert every day. Every day I can have a nice big slice of pie if I want to. I eat healthy most of the time so if a piece of delicious vanilla cake with chocolate frosting comes past me, I can eat it. When it’s Christmas time, I can have 6 cookies every day. The rest of my diet is okay with having some fat, sugar, and flour in my diet. I’m eating things like fish the other parts of the day. I’m tracking my calories so I can see what I’m eating. If I’m eating 6 – 7 cookies, then I know I need to make healthy choices for the rest of the foods I’m eating. Then I know I can always have what I want, I’m doing what I need to do, and it’s not miserable. It doesn’t suck and I can keep doing it.
I’m grateful that last year every day I tracked what I ate either through the calories and My Fitness Pal. That’s discipline. I didn’t miss one day last year tracking the food I ate. Why did I do that? I did that because I want to live a healthy life. I want to be here and be useful and I found a way to do it that was fun. A lot of people say isn’t that exhausting to track your calories every day? Doesn’t it get old?
Think about all the things we do that should get old, but they don’t? Even after playing video games for hundreds of hours, many players don’t get old. I took games off my phone so I could have the time and energy to track my calories. I look at tracking my calories as a game I play on my phone every day. It’s a lets-see-if-I-can-eat what I want to every day and still come in at the right amount of calories game. It’s a challenging game that doesn’t stop because I have to eat every day. That’s fun. It’s a game I’m playing with a purpose. It’s a game I’m playing with my health. It’s fun.
It’s more productive than playing Star Wars Commander and sending my soldiers to take out a rival soldiers base. I get something out of My Fitness Pal, that’s why I do it. I had to make a conscious decision to stop playing Star Wars Commander and start playing a new one. I’ve set up my life in a way that it’s fun and easy to do the things I need to do every day.
That didn’t happen overnight. It happened with a lot of trial and error and a lot of feeling too fat. It took a lot of feeling lazy because I was carrying 20 – 40 extra pounds of fat. I work each day to eat healthy because I like the results of it. That discipline comes from having everything work together. There’s no whipping myself in what I’m doing right now. I pray that what I want to eat matches with the Fitness Pal app I use every day. I pray that I can eat what I enjoy and what’s healthy every day. I don’t limit myself on any kind of food and I’ve done the best eating of my life since I started tracking my calories. That is an amazing amount of discipline that can apply to anything else.
I pray today that I continue using the definition of discipline which is guided by love. I pray that what I want to do and what I need to do will become one. I pray that if I want to do something, it’s what I need to do and if I need to do something then it’s what I want to. I pray that you have the same chance today to use this definition of discipline to do a little bit better today. I pray that you can see that you’re already doing good enough. I pray that if you want to do a little bit better, all the help you could want is right in front of you. Thank you for being here with me and I hope you have a great day today.