Self Discipline

I think there’s a very fine line between discipline and pushing ourselves, being kind to ourselves, and just making changes in order to get out of a rut.

For the last couple of weeks, a few things have happened that have made me come to this realization. First of all, I’ve done a few nutritional consultations. Some of these consultations were with clients whom I have met with in the past for a nutritional consultation but came back to me for re-motivation. What became clear to me is that both the new client and the client from the past really lack discipline. They seem to somehow think that the world owes them treats every now and then or perhaps they feel there is something missing inside of them that makes them need these extra treats. It could even be that they just haven’t had enough food and are hungry for more, so they end up reaching for the unhealthy choices. It’s almost as if they’re hamsters storing up for the winter; they need that extra food, just in case.

I can’t criticize them because when I train for a race and know that I will be burning more calories, I always say to myself “just in case.” Just in case what? I’m going to not finish the race? Well, so what? In their case, is it just in case they think they are going to starve? Well, they’re not going to starve. They’ve got plenty of food and, even though I am not an advocate of it, there are people who go weeks, days, and months on very little food. So, when you’re looking at yourself everyday, ask yourself  “Am I disciplined? Am I hard on myself? Am I in a rut? Am I allowing myself to make changes or am I feeding something that’s missing?”

Recently, I have been reading a book called “The Rules of Life.” It is an amazing book, an international best seller, and what I love about it is each day it gives me new readings:

Be flexible in your thinking.

Be your own advisor.

Be the last to raise your own voice.

Only dead fish swim with the stream.

Dedicate your life to something.

Know what counts and what doesn’t.

Accept yourself.

You get older, but not necessarily wiser.

Keep it under your hat.

It’s okay to feel big emotion.

Life can be a bit like advertising

Have a sense of humor.

Never be too busy for loved ones

These are just a few of the readings from the book. What all of these readings do for me each day is remind me how I can easily fall into a rut in my life. Is it that I’m stuck in the rut? Or is it that I’m just scared that I won’t be seen as disciplined, if God forbid, I should get out of bed fifteen minutes later, sleep in, or say “no” to a client when my body is tired and exhausted after I really have done enough. Am I being lazy? Am I actually not being disciplined? It is hard to see which one from the list above is the right point to focus on but all of the readings definitely leave me with food for thought. While reading each day, I think about how I’m living my life and the decisions I’m making in everything that I’m doing. The readings can apply to all aspects of life from nutrition and physical exercise to little, everyday things.

I hope that when you think about your exercise (and your eating, but in this particular incident, your exercise) you ask yourself, “Am I disciplined? Am I in a rut? Am I pushing myself? Am I being lazy? Do I deserve more?” When it comes to physical exercise, I think it definitely is one of the things in life that takes the most discipline. If you don’t actually make yourself push hard and just do it, physical activity is something that you are going to be accused of being lazy about. It really does take every little bit of energy, especially when you’re unfit and haven’t been working that hard, to do just thirty minutes of cardio when you really should be doing fifty minutes because your trainer says so. It also takes all of your energy when you know that you need to and burn those extra calories, or if you’ve got that race to train for. Whatever you are doing, it requires discipline to get up there and do it, but I can assure you that once you get going on that roller coaster, it does get easier and easier. Physical activity isn’t one of those things where you will find yourself wanting to do more because you are feeling you don’t have enough. Also, because it takes so much energy to do, you will find that it’s not something that will make you feel like you are getting stuck in a rut.

On that note, last week was the More Half Marathon and I have two women in the gym who were preparing for the race. They are both truly amazing examples of what it is to be disciplined. For the past months, they have disciplined themselves to get up everyday and get out there without too much training to work for this race. For those of us who find running more natural, we’ve always run and it’s part of our life. It comes so naturally to push our bodies that just running can even seem easy at times. However, for those people who aren’t natural runners, it can be one of the most difficult physical activities and requires a lot of discipline.

So, to my two girls who finished the race, I am so proud of you. I’m proud of you because of your discipline. Discipline is something that we need everyday, not just in physical activity. We need discipline when we’re doing other things in our lives. It takes discipline to wake up that extra half hour earlier to be somewhere on time. It’s easy to say no or deviate from your goals, but next time, think twice about whether you should be more disciplined. Back to nutrition, when it comes to whether you should have that extra food, think to yourself “Am I being disciplined or do I really need this?” You know the answer. Go do it.