For the past week or so, I have been experiencing some minor health issues. Issues that have impacted me physiologically which have in turn, affected me mentally and emotionally.
The problems are much bigger in my head than they are physical manifestations and overall, I am fortunate to not be gravely compromised. But it’s got me thinking about how I’m living my life right now. How some of my habits, behaviours and choices are harmful. How my willingness to change and improve is overshadowed by a certain laziness and lack of discipline.
There, I’ve said it. I lack discipline.
I am realising that I do not possess this largely necessary and underrated skill, especially across areas of my life that matter most. I am acknowledging that both my wellbeing and potential is at stake and I cannot afford to let another day go by where I give into the destructive patterns.
Today is the first day of March and somehow, I broke one negative pattern – I woke up two hours earlier than usual. I’m not sure if it was a subconscious effort, or the morning’s responsibilities were enough motivation to kickstart my day. For once in a long while, I didn’t sleep in past my alarm, even though I didn’t get my eight hours of sleep.
I pray that I can find the strength to continue this from here on in. I want the discipline to fight off the temptations and distractions.
This is incredibly difficult to do in the kind culture we now live in. A culture which puts our ‘feelings’ on a pedestal, even when they lead us to make questionable decisions that are detrimental to us in the long run. We refuse to deal with the temporary suffering which leads us to neglect impending, perpetual misery. Not to mention, we look to temporary remedies for our active pain, rather than addressing the root cause of them.
My eyes have opened to what has been causing my pain and recent discomfort. I haven’t been eating well, sleeping well or exercising my mind and body enough. Because I lack discipline. Because I’m averse to the temporary suffering – the effort and hard work, the allocated time for blood, sweat and tears. I never ‘feel like’ doing what is necessary because necessary is often boring. It’s more fun to binge TV shows and junk food, to stay up late and buy things online. And these things are okay every now and then, they’re just not sustainable for daily living. The wear on the body, mind and soul eventually catches up to you.
Like suffering, worldly pleasures are temporary. We may enjoy the immediate gratification and dopamine hit from engaging in these frivolous activities, but the ‘feeling’ always passes and gives way to decline until we start the pattern all over again. As I said, unsustainable.
But discipline, as big and scary a concept it is, helps us structure our lives with intention, ambition and determination. It helps us find focus in the direction of our goals. It teaches us to anticipate and work through the temporary suffering. Because the rewards on the other side of that suffering are greater than we can imagine in the midst of it. Discipline is an appreciation of the process. Trust in the process. Love for the process. Hope for the outcome and confidence in spite of it.
Discipline is a key skill. And something attainable for all of us if we try.
I’m going to try.