What does discipline mean to you?
Doing what you need to do, even when you don’t always want to do it.. well that's what it means to me.
I have been told that I am very disciplined and I am!
In fact its a muscle that I have worked at developing over time and really is one that has served me well.
I recon the more disciplined you are, the more freedom you have!
Sounds a bit off, but it’s so true. Hear me out...
For instance, I knew I had to make some changes in my life when I kept getting really sick… like r.e.a.l.l.y sick.
I used to be a severe asthmatic, from the age of about 5 years old, in and out of hospital and I would often get a cold, and then a day or two later it would end up as bronchitis and then on the odd occasion, pneumonia.
No matter how much I tried to dose myself and stop getting sicker, my body seemed to just deteriorate over night!
My lungs were pretty crap to say the least.
I mean, when your husband says you should just make Vicks Vapor rub your perfume, it says something.
When we immigrated to New Zealand my poor lungs really took a bashing.
Getting used to the different climate took a while. To add to it, I was 8 months pregnant with our second child when we first arrived. So my health really took a bit of a hit and of course, when winter came, I would catch whatever was going around.
Not having any family or support when we first immigrated was challenging and having a 3 year old and new born baby certainly added to the pressure. Fortunately our kids have always been pretty easy going and healthy, so I can’t blame them for giving me the bugs.
Not having family or friends to help or support was tough going. And back then I didn’t know about me time, putting me first, having boundaries and taking care of myself first - everyone and everything came first, coz I thought that’s how it was supposed to be. And of course it took its toll on my health.
John was working shift work at the time, we only had one car at the time and were just trying to find our feet. So me getting sick so often was not helpful… at all!
Eventually I knew I had to make some changes.
You know that stage, when you get to a point in your life that you just KNOW something has to change!
Well I got to that point, and so after doing a bit of research, I decided to start running… something I hadn’t done since my teens!
Thing is, due to John working shifts and having 2 small children at home, the only time I had to work out was 5am.
I know! I wasn’t thrilled by it either...
… but you know what, it was the start of a transformational journey for me. Not just for my physical health, but my mental and spiritual health too.
Exercise is nature’s antidepressant and boy on boy, it certainly helped me keep the blues at bay! Having a family history of chronic depression certainly made me realize how important it was to keep on top of things, before the blues took hold.
I started by walking and then running between lamp posts, until my fitness increased. Eventually I was comfortably able to run a good 5kms and worked it up to 10kms, which was my goal. To be able to run 10km’s comfortably.
I even entered a few half marathons! And my mental health, well, I can’t explain just how beneficial my exercise routine was, in so many ways.
Thing is, getting up at 5am certainly takes discipline.
Especially when it's cold and dark outside and the bed is so warm and comfortable. It’s waaaay easier just to skip it and put it into the too hard basket.
Try again tomorrow… or push it out to another day, that probably never comes.
Unfortunately, the more you do that and keep putting things off, the less likely you are to get into a routine that you stick to and the more likely you are of stopping any good routines you want to start.
So to get past the negative self talk that used to come up, I used to focus on how good I felt after my run, particularly in the shower after.
My body all tingly, my mind feeling clearer, my energy levels topped up for the day and knowing I’ve done something for ME.
THAT is what I focused on to help me get up in the morning when I didn’t feel like it and to push through all the negative stories my mind would throw at me to stop me from sticking with it.
Much better than focusing on how hard it is, how dark, how cold, how tired I was, how warm bed was…
No it’s not easy! And some mornings I STILL need to silence the stories my mind is trying to tell me… but after my workout, MAN I feel amazing!
It’s after times like that, when you’ve pushed through the negative stories in your head, you’ve stuck to your plan and you’ve done what so many others fail to do, it's in THOSE times that you realize your strength.
It’s in THOSE times that you really work your discipline muscle and ultimately bring yourself more freedom to yourself in the long run.
Coz the more you work on being disciplined and doing what needs to be done when you don’t feel like it, the stronger you become, the more disciplined you become and the better the results are that you get, for all sorts of things in your life.
Recently, 6 months ago, after struggling with the start of all things menopause… not sleeping properly, bloated, weight gain, night sweats... for 3 years! Yes 3 years!!!! I again realized something HAD to change!
I was still running and exercising and had a healthy diet, however that didn’t seem to change the fact that I was putting on weight, not sleeping and feeling more and more uncomfortable in my skin!
I just knew I couldn’t keep going the way I was. And once again I knew I needed to be disciplined and start making some changes.
After much research, I found a way to control menopause naturally. I gave myself 6 weeks and said I would stay committed for 6 weeks and see if I noticed a difference… well not only did I notice a difference, I felt SO bloomin good that I made it a lifestyle change.
Was it “easy” NOOOO!
Did I have days where I wanted to quit… yes!
But because I had been using my discipline muscle with my daily exercise and me time routine, I knew how to silence the shitty voices telling me how hard it was and stick with it.
Honestly it’s been one of the best things I have ever done for myself!
Like, literally, one of those things that stand out in your life as a lifetime achievement.
Same with when I started my exercise routine. Same with buying our first house and building our first house. Same when we immigrated to New Zealand. Like, right up there!
It also meant changing how I exercised. At that point I had been running for over 16 years!
Getting up at 5am most mornings and I had also added a weight HIIT routine too. It was suggested I needed to be more gentle on my body to begin with - so I replaced running with walking and weights with Yoga or Pilates.
Man! Was I nervous about that!
After so many years of running to now change… I was worried I would put on even more weight and didn’t know how my body and mind would react.
Fortunately, my body is absolutely LOVING the power walks and Pilates and Yoga routines. I am actually getting more toned than ever before! Who knew!
So yes, discipline is certainly a muscle that I am very good at keeping fit and healthy and one that has served me incredibly well over the years and will no doubt continue to do so.
Giving me my freedom back - so that I have the health, energy, clarity, strength and drive to know that I am disciplined enough to do anything I put my mind to. That I stick with it, even when the going gets tough, coz that is what discipline is.
Doing what you need to do, even when you don’t always want to do it
Now THAT beautiful people is FREEDOM!
And THAT is something we ALL deserve more of.
So focus on the outcome, do what you need to do for you and work that discipline muscle.
Your world will change for the better, every time!