[Video] Self-Discipline: What it is and what it isn’t.

This is a continuation of my talk on self-discipline in a video format.

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What is the meaning of self-discipline?

Have you ever tried to start doing something new, but find yourself in a cycle of excitement and then disappointment?

If you ever feel you lack self-discipline, hold on for this series on self-discipline.

Today I’m going to cover the meaning of self-discipline.

Let me first define self-discipline by explaining what self-discipline is not.

  • It’s not punitive.

When we think of the word discipline, more often than not it has a negative connotation.

Sometimes we feel like in order to be disciplined we have to punish ourselves or make ourselves suffer in some way.

This brings me to my next point.

  • Self-discipline is not linked to your morality (or it shouldn’t be).

If you mess up and fall of the wagon you are not a bad person.

This type of thinking is actually self-sabotaging.

Whether or not you choose to eat celery doesn’t determine the type of person you are.

The amount of time you spend in the gym versus sitting on the couch is not directly linked to whether or not you are a good or bad person.

  • Self-discipline is not shaming.

This is related to the morality point because those negative thoughts you have come from a place of shame.

While negative reinforcement can work, it will only work for a short period of time.

  • It’s not just sheer will power alone.

If you hate what you are trying to be disciplined about, when the going gets tough that’s when it stops.

If you are trying to do something out of self-loathing or because you want to be like someone else, that won’t work long term either.

One of our main motivations in life is to avoid pain.

So cultivating self-discipline cannot come from a place of punishment, self-hate, shame, envy or will power.

So what IS self-discipline?

Well, I am going to start with definitions from a couple of dictionaries.

I like using official text in my analyses so bear with me here.

The Mariam-Webster dictionary defines self-discipline as correction or regulation of oneself for the sake of improvement.

The Oxford Dictionary states that self-discipline is the ability to control one’s feelings and overcome one’s weaknesses; the ability to pursue what one thinks is right despite temptations to abandon it.

In order to accomplish either definition of self-discipline effectively is to start from a place of self-acceptance.

Self-acceptance isn’t just accepting the sunny side of yourself, but the dark side of the moon as well.

Then a continuation from a place of self-awareness.

What do you really want?

If it’s not running, forcing yourself to be a runner isn’t going to work long term.

Especially if you don’t just dislike running, but you hate it.

It’s okay, I’ve been there. I wanted to run a marathon at one point, but I came to the realization that I can’t stand running.

I found that I don’t really care to understand pace and all of the things that go into running effectively and with intention.

When I let go of running and just started dancing (setting up the PS4 camera again), I had more fun.

The one thing I consistently did growing up was play Dance Dance Revolution with my friends or doing a belly dancing class.

Because I am aware of this, I found a sustainable way for me to do cardio and enjoy doing cardio.

For some people it’s the opposite.

The point is you have to know where you stand with what you are trying to accomplish.

I am aware that I am a dancer, not a runner and I accept that.

If the weakness you want to improve requires an action you love doing you’ll stick to it a lot better.

There is a lot more I want to cover on this topic, so catch my next point on why self-discipline is important.

Until next time.


Reflections on Passion and Boredom

Sometimes when I’m reading I run across passages that speak to me. I share my thoughts on this one in particular.

When I read this, I paused to think about the meaning behind it.

When put in this way, it hit me different.

Kind of like a revelation that was presented to me in that moment.

It never occurred to me that when I get tired of something I’m passionate about that I might be blah somewhere else.

It’s strange because when I think about people being hurtful there is a need that’s not being met somewhere else.

Why should boredom be any different when the thing I’m bored with is something that I’m passionate about?

If I am bored, a need isn’t being met somewhere else.

Don’t get me wrong, I am an advocate for embracing boredom.

In this day and age we are so plugged in and going so fast, we forgot how to be bored and unfortunately, our children haven’t had the opportunity to sit in boredom to begin with.

It’s kind of like smartphones.

I know I lived a pretty decent life before the iPhone, so why can I not imagine life without it now?

It’s an interesting concept.

The spaces I have found that are the best places to be bored are in down time.

Sometimes it’s a good idea to let yourself be bored, especially in down time.

It requires your mind and your imagination to get to work to keep you entertained.

The spaces that you don’t want boredom to set in is in your passions, like the quote states.

That’s not to say that your passion will be easy everyday or that it will be the most interesting thing in the world everyday, but you don’t want that fire to go out.

You also don’t want to be so inundated with your passion that you don’t make time for anything else. That burns the candle faster.

The point is that in order to keep going with fire takes self-awareness.

Creating that space to be self-aware can come from meditation and journaling.

That isn’t an exhaustive list by any means, but those are the ones that I know of fairly well.

So today, take a moment to think about where you are in each area of your life, and find where the fire is starting to go out.

A better description might be where the thread is starting to unravel, but either way, reflect and identify it.

Be come self-aware and honor yourself in that area so you can honor what you love by creating interest in that area. That loose thread.

Until next time.