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The Joy of Discipline


How do you define “discipline”?  For many, it’s forcing myself to do all of the stuff that I really hate because I “should” do it, or “shouldn’t” do that.  It is motivated by a feeling of guilt and compulsion and condemnation.  I certainly wake up in the morning ready to jump into a lot of activity that I “have to do”, and that “I’d better do” and “shame on me if I don’t do”.  Only a masochist would pursue such misery and pain!

 

So, the key to embracing the discipline of creating new habits is changing the beliefs and feelings that typically accompany the practice of discipline.  Discipline is simply proactively choosing your habits.  We are creatures of habit.  You already have hundreds of daily routines. Some of mine are brushing my teeth, taking a shower, putting on socks, getting out of bed, putting on my right shoe on before my left shoe, and tying those shoes every day, several times! 

 

So, the practice of  “discipline” is simply replacing habits that don’t serve your intention with habits that take you where you want to go.  These new unfamiliar habits create discomfort.  However, if you continue to practice them while being mindful that they will produce the desired result, you can learn to enjoy the uncomfortable process. 

 

So, are you ready to upgrade a few habits?  Here are three helpful principles:

 

1. REPLACEMENT:  Quit resisting bad habits. What you resist persists.  A “bad” habit is just some sick practice that you feel or believe serves you.  Instead of fighting it, replace it with something better!  It’s adding something good versus taking something away.  I love to drink water.  It has become my beverage of choice and replaced all sugar drinks.  I didn’t need to give up drinking soda.  When I began drinking enough water, there wasn’t any room for soda.  You get the concept.  Find the replacement for any habit you want to drop.  It’s an upgrade, not a sacrifice.

 

2.  CLARIFICATION:  Get clear on your “why” for changing.  Choose to live for a greater purpose, not just immediate gratification.   Reject the desire for momentary feelings for the pursuit of deeper sustained satisfaction. Live a purposeful thought directed life.  Reprogram your emotions to respond positively to what you really want. Pursuing discipline is not choosing a life without gratification.  There is a deeper joy and contentment that goes with the pursuit of bigger purposes and goals. 

 

3.  INSPIRATION:  Seek people that will encourage you in your pursuits and support you in your purpose.  Choose relationships that inspire and motivate you.  A life of discipline can be a life of inspiration.  Inner peace and satisfaction are emotions that accompany self-control and focus.  True freedom exists within the boundary of routine.  Choosing discipline empowers you to fulfill your purpose and passion.  You don’t HAVE to change. but if you WANT to change, go for it, and CHOOSE to be inspired by the process.

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