July 29th, 2020
It was a Monday morning. I had gone on a very long bike ride the day before. I had neglected my road bike most of the summer and it was immediately obvious the moment I started climbing the first hill. The muscles in my legs were exhausted by the end of the ride. All during the night, I shifted around in my sleep, trying to get comfortable and alleviate some of the pain in my legs.
Needless to say, when the alarm rang at 5:30AM, the last thing I wanted to do was get out of bed, let alone go meet my friend for our regular workout. Regardless, I dragged myself out of bed and drove to the gym. It was a slow start, but once I was there and active, I fell easily into the rhythm of the workout, and by the time I was done, the movements and increase in blood flow from the workout had eliminated the soreness in my legs. I remember thinking on the drive home how grateful I was that I won the mental battle I had been fighting earlier that morning on my pillow! Discipline stepped up and I chose to work out. If I hadn’t, I would still be home lamenting my sore legs and painful knees....
Success happens by choice....not chance.
I am blessed to have had parents that instilled discipline in me from a very young age. I am number 5 of 6 kids and was given my share of daily chores and responsibilities, and play time wasn’t allowed until they were done. Emptying the dishwasher always seemed to be my responsibility...all that silverware, ugh! That and sorting the socks in the laundry. Today, I gladly pass these tasks along to someone else!
Along with the responsibility of chores was the discipline of learning music. I started playing piano when I was five years old. I had a lesson every week, and was held accountable to daily practice.
I won’t lie. I didn’t always like it. In fact, I’m sure I complained every time my Mom MADE me do my shores or sit down at the piano to play.
By the time I was twelve years old, I was excelling, playing multi-movement Classical works. Discipline fostered diligence, focus, confidence and success.
I have carried these lessons from my youth into adulthood, and while admittedly hating it when I was young, I am so grateful for what it created in me. Discipline has helped me reach the goals I have set in my life.
It is the locomotive that drives me through the changing seasons of my life.
It gets it done.
There are times that “I just don’t feel like it!” and a battle ensues in my head. When I cave in and lose the battle, I spend the day listless and indifferent. When I choose to get out of bed and go for that run, or sit down at the piano and learn that song I want to play with my friend, I NEVER regret it and am always thankful. The benefits far outweigh the inconvenience...
Discipline brings freedom, happiness, purpose, and control over our thoughts and actions. It steers us in the direction we want to go.
Fostering discipline is what moves us to reach our goals. It creates clear focus and doesn’t allow alternatives. If you can achieve discipline in this culture that prefers instant gratification over diligence, then you are already a standout.
Take steps to develop discipline, one day at a time. Once you do, you’ll recognize its value and be hooked. It is the surefire way to get yourself to where you want to go, while building character, responsibility, and a deeper, more meaningful life.