Discipline: The Other Four-Letter Word

A four letter word. That's what discipline feels like sometimes. At least for me. I sometimes get mad when I have to be disciplined about not eating an entire bag of m&ms (when I say an entire bag, I mean a pound of them, not those little ones at the check-out counter). Or saying no to those shoes that are well over my budget. Or giving up my Saturdays for six months to train for a race I've committed to.

Discipline makes me mad sometimes. I've too often conditioned myself to live for the instant gratification. I have the "i want it now" syndrome. What do you mean I have to wait?! But when I do that, I am potentially giving up something better just because I think I can't wait.

Discipline is not about saying no for the sake of punishment. Discipline is a choice. It's a choice that says I have a goal and my goal will only be accomplished if I make different choices now. Discipline is a practice of behavior. Discipline knows what it wants and goes after it.

How do you begin to live a disciplined life?

1. Choose a goal and set a deadline. If you don't have a goal, you will have zero motivation for cultivating any sort of discipline.

2. Make small changes over time. It will feel too overwhelming if you decide you want to save $2000 in three months. Those are the things that are too tempting to cheat on. But  if you decide you want to save $2000 over the course of a year, that feels more manageable.

3. Plan your celebration when you accomplish your goal! Don't forget to celebrate. You didn't work this hard for nothing!