Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Self-discipline: The triumph of goals over "What I Feel Like"

We've made our resolutions for the year. We've set our goals and (hopefully) figured out a plan on how to achieve them. We've maybe even put them in a prominent place so we can look at them often. Now comes the tricky part: doing it.

And that's going to involve the "D" word.


The boring,, definition of self-discipline is pretty self-explanatory: discipline or training of oneself, usually for improvement.

My definition, though, is: the triumph of goals over "What I Feel Like."

Just stop for a minute and let that sink in.

Self-discipline is getting up early in the morning to work out when what you feel like is staying put in the warm, soft, inviting bed. It's biting your tongue when what you feel like is letting loose when your child does something that makes your blood boil. It's calling the insurance company about that charge when what you feel like is not bothering. It's slogging your way through your train wreck rough draft when what you feel like is throwing it out the window and working on the new, shiny, so-much-better idea you had the other day. It's not checking email 15 times a day when you feel like procrastinating. It's turning off the internet for your writing time. It's writing instead of watching TV or whatever other activities you are giving up for your dream.

Self-discipline is giving up what you feel like doing now for a future worthwhile goal.

To quote Gary Ryan Blair: Self-discipline is an act of cultivation. It requires you to connect today's actions to tomorrow's results. There's a season for sowing a season for reaping. Self-discipline helps you know which is which.

It's often hard, but once you discipline yourself, you can do almost anything.

And if you're the affirmation type, here is a blog with a list of self-discipline affirmations.


L.T. Elliot said...

This is a perfect description of self-dicipline. I loved how both you and Blair put it.
Now to employ it!

Elana Johnson said...

Self-discipline is so so hard! Why is it so hard?

I really need to work on this.

Carolina Valdez Miller said...

Thank you for the pep talk! I'm so undisciplined, sometimes I wonder how I get anything accomplished. Perhaps this year I should make a resolution to be more disciplined. Well, hmm...

I really like your definition though. It feels spot on.

Angie said...

What a great post. That is so true. It's definitely time to get over doing just what I feel like.

Carolyn V. said...

I love this post Jaime! Your examples are perfect. Discipline is hard, but worth it! Although, I would rather stay in bed instead of visiting my treadmill in the mornings. *sigh*

Danyelle said...

Awesome! I like your definition--that it's goals vs what we feel like doing.


Which is probably why it's so hard. But it pays off in the end. :D

Kathi Oram Peterson said...

I love your insight! Everything you said is so true. Here's one: saying no to five cookies when one will do. Still having trouble with that one. I can be strong, if I must.