We must all suffer one of two things: the pain of discipline or the pain of regret.Jim Rohn
I happened upon this quote quite randomly one day. But when I saw it, I knew it was what I needed to see on that day. I was reflecting upon one of my fitness challenges – my nutrition. Specifically, I was trying to figure out what I could do to improve how I eat in the evening. I come home, tired from a full day of work, and eat without much of a plan. Or if I do have a plan, it gets hijacked at some time during the evening. Consequently, I am overeating and very frustrated with my behavior.
It’s a challenge many people face. It is hard to muster the energy to cook a healthy meal when you are tired after a long day. And when you are worn out or stressed, it is difficult to push away the craving to “reward” yourself with some fun, albeit, unhealthy food.
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I find it way more fun to pour some wine and eat cheese & crackers, than it is to plan and prepare a healthy meal. After I eat, it’s hard not to look for a treat, especially since I feel I deserve a little reward. Unfortunately, many times a small treat turns into a grand over-indulgence. This mindset upsets my weight loss efforts more frequently than I am happy to admit. And I have been struggling to find the solution.
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But after reading the quote above, I got the message. Discipline is key to helping you through the tricky times in your fitness journey and in your life’s journey.
Discipline is necessary to reach a goal
One rarely accomplishes a significant goal without a healthy dose of discipline. It might not be a great deal of fun because it usually means giving up something that is pleasurable. But when we are disciplined, we are trading off short term pleasure for long term gains. As the quote suggests, we have a choice between the pain of discipline or the pain of regret.
I know I would rather feel the discomfort of disengaging myself from a desirable, yet unhealthy meal choice than feel the regret that comes from never reaching an important personal goal. This is why I have been continuing to reflect upon discipline and what it really means.
Discipline is a valuable tool
When you say “discipline,” I am sure you may be like me. It doesn’t generate a lot of positive feelings and emotions. Looking the word up in the dictionary did not ease those feelings.
Discipline is (according to Merriam-Webster) “…control gained by enforcing obedience or order.” It is also “…orderly or prescribed conduct or pattern of behavior.” The part of the definition I liked the most defined discipline as “a… rule or system of rules governing conduct or behavior.“
It is easy to think of discipline as a personality trait – as in “I am an undisciplined person.” I don’t think that anymore. I believe discipline is a tool or a skill that any of us can train ourselves to use for our benefit. But we have to start small.
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Discipline is something to practice
I want to change my evening eating habits. But when I look at what I refer to affectionately as “my train wreck,” I am overwhelmed with the changes to be made and the amount of effort it will take. I think that is what stops me every time.
But I realized over the past several days that it doesn’t matter where I start. It just matters that I do. And I decided that I am starting simply by practicing a little bit of discipline each evening. My goal is to assign myself a simple task to complete each evening and practice completing it.
Once I have mastered one task, I will expand my effort to include two. My focus will be to keep the cycle going. I want more of my evening to be governed by discipline rather than by the randomness of my spontaneity. My weight loss goal is too important to me to leave it to chance!!
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