Discipline is a word that people generally find intimidating.
It has overtures of rigidity; adherence to protocol; lack of individual choice.
Yet if you are going to be happy in life you have to commit to a little self-discipline to play a part in it.
I wrote last week about the strict six month fitness regime I have recently made part of my day to day life. It was my choice and I’m happy with that.
As I am with the more disciplined way of life I’m now living.
That means working out on a regular basis and to a carefully structured routine as well as eating and drinking sensibly.
It sounds boring. Keeping fit, committing to an evening or three at the gym rather than out on the town with mates and maybe having a salad or some wholemeal pasta when the easier choice might be a burger with fries or pizza. After all, I don’t have to do it.
But I want to.
Yes it’s about discipline and self control. But the personal rewards for me will far outweigh any perceived sacrifices. And it certainly won’t make me unhappy. Indeed, I suspect all that self-discipline now playing a part in the life of Paul McVeigh will make me an even happier person than I am now.
Recent studies conducted from the University of Chicago suggested that people who had committed to self-discipline in their lives found it easier to make the right choices whilst those who submitted to their personal ‘vices’ suffered feelings of regret and guilt as a result. A psychologist added that whilst we may all enjoy the immediate gratification of giving into our desires, it can soon wear off, leaving the recipient unfulfilled and unhappy.
That makes sense. Think about a time when either you or someone you know has gone out for a night on the lash only to wake up the next morning feeling terrible, vowing to themselves “never again.” That’s how mind and body tells you to think twice about excess self indulgence in the future.
You should listen.
If you were listening to me giving a talk about self-discipline I’d focus a lot about how self-discipline is projected in the popular media, how we perceive it and all the negative images that conjures up for us. I’d also outline how discipline has a ‘bad press’ because we all seem to focus more on the difficulty of exercising self-discipline rather than the benefits that can result from it.
And yes, I’d be happy to tell you which benefits I am looking to achieve and enjoy from my own example, the self-discipline I will need to make my six month health and fitness regime a successful one.
Discipline is, at its core level, a matter of choosing between what you want now and what you need the most.
And if what I need the most means missing out on pudding every now and again, I don’t have a problem with that.