Monday, November 24, 2008

Developing Discipline, Part I

Back in September, I waxed eloquently about the difference between will or willpower and discipline. I went back hunting for that post because I continue to think about and wrestle with will vs. discipline.

I wrote
"Bottomline, there is one thing takes us from desire to result. It's not education or knowledge. It's not the support of family and friends. It's not even the ideal environment, be that a paid-in-full gym membership, an in-home personal trainer, a personal chef, a spa retreat, or any other things that we dream about, wrongly believing "if I only had..."

That one thing is discipline.
I have tremendous will, which is why I'm always trying to lose weight.

I fall exceedingly short, however, when it comes to discipline.

Take this week for example. The first four days of this week, I got up, slightly later than usual but still early enough to exercise. I started the morning breakfast routine, put on my workout clothes, put the DVD in the player, and...

I did not exercise this week (or most of last week.)

Oh, I did get through about five minutes of a workout DVD on Wednesday. The warmup. I kept getting interrupted by my children, as they finished their preparations for school and headed out of the house.

By the time, I took a calming breath, there just wasn't enough time left to get in twenty minutes and still get myself and Youngest One out of the house.

This same routine worked very well for the first three months of the school year. What happened?

What happened is that, in lacking discipline, my wake-up times have gotten later and later. A couple of minutes here, followed by a couple of minutes there. I'm now waking up at least a half hour later than I was at the beginning of the school year.

What happened is that I've hemmed and hawed while serving up breakfast, all the while knowing that I was sabotaging my workouts.

What also happened is that, in breaking my workout routine, I've lost some of my passion for working out. I'm trying to hold on to the memory of that great feeling I had on the mornings when I actually did work out. How light I felt when I'd get on the scale and see even a half-pound change. How refreshed I felt after showering and even after I'd gotten to work. How motivated I was to make good food choices. How buoyed I felt when my husband noted positive changes in my physique. How proud I was when my sons noticed too.

I'm trying but the memories are waning.

Memories and feelings do not amount to discipline.

Discipline is "activity, exercise, or a regimen that develops or improves a skill; training". It is also defined as "controlled behavior resulting from disciplinary training; self-control."

A regimen. Training. Controlled behavior. Self-control.


Whenever I think self and control in the same thought, decidedly a dangerous, slippery slope, I immediately think about God. So I go to my Bible, and turn to the chapter I think of specifically as the book of instruction, Proverbs.

It begins with
The proverbs of Solomon son of David, king of Israel:
2 for attaining wisdom and discipline;
for understanding words of insight;

3 for acquiring a disciplined and prudent life,
doing what is right and just and fair;

4 for giving prudence to the simple,
knowledge and discretion to the young-

5 let the wise listen and add to their learning,
and let the discerning get guidance-

6 for understanding proverbs and parables,
the sayings and riddles of the wise.

7 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge,
but fools despise wisdom and discipline.
Proverbs 1:1-7
Then, in the third chapter, I found
My son, do not despise the LORD's discipline
and do not resent his rebuke,

12 because the LORD disciplines those he loves,
as a father the son he delights in
Proverbs 3:11-12
As the Lord disciplines or trains His children, so must I discipline (train) first my mind, then my body.

Mind first because the biggest thing I got from these passages, relative to discipline, is that it's all about attitude.

I don't like exercising so my mind and body resist it.

I resent that I need to exercise in order to lose the excess weight so my mind and my body resist it.

I don't love my body as it is so I resent what it requires from me.

I've got to work on my attitude in order to develop discipline.

Are you disciplined? What is your honest attitude toward doing things you don't care for but you know you should?

Peace & Blessings,


Chicki said...

I've decided to forget about this stuff until after the holidays...

Patricia W. said...

I hear you, Chicki. Normally that would be my decision too. But then I'd be doing what I do every year yet expect a different result.

So I'm pushing myself, even though it feels like I'm trying to move a brick wall.

Wanza Leftwich, The Gospel Writer said...

Hi Patricia,
Let's just say, if I need to print this out and keep it. I am having the same struggle as well. I love how you explained the difference between will and discipline. I have a lot of will but no discipline at this time.

I made the decision over the weekend to commit to exercising. There is a dvd series that I want to order and almost talked myself out of doing it - until I read this post.

Hmmm...God knows exactly what you need. I look forward to reading about your success with discipline. I'm touching and agreeing with you.

Patricia W. said...

And I touch and agree with you, Wanza. Discipline will be my word in 2009, not only in weight loss but all areas of life.