The Discipline Bridge

April 2006

I have a confession to make.  It involves Ben & Jerry’s peanut butter chunk ice cream.  Although not normally possessed of an edacious appetite, I was ravenous after an extended, tiresome commute home at the end of a long day of work.  In a moment of weakness, I wheeled into the neighborhood grocery store three minutes before it closed.  The freezer section beckoned (hey, the bananas were a bright green, and besides fruit just wasn’t going to satisfy the craving I had for comfort food).  The good news of this story is that my beau helped me polish off the treat, so I only succumbed to half the pint.  It was delicious.

In the past, this dietary detour would have turned into a full-scale derailment.  However, this time it did not.  I was able to reflect on the sources of the slip-up (fatigue, hunger, frustration at traffic), as well as other contributing factors (no healthy snacks at home, that deceptive svelte feeling you have when your tummy is empty, eagerness to officially begin the weekend relaxation).  Then, I faced the reality that I’m not yet at my goal weight, and that this sort of behavior was not going to get me there.  And, I reviewed my plan to reach my desired weight and fitness level through hewing to the disciplines of healthy eating and regular exercise.

Discipline is like a muscle; it needs regular use to grow strong.  Character and choice both come into play when we talk about discipline.  Knowing ourselves is an integral part of developing the character to support a disciplined life.  When we have the self-awareness to know our own foibles and vulnerabilities (like chocolate addictions), we can work to strengthen ourselves in those areas. Understanding choice is also an element of building discipline.  If we are held captive by the illusion that we don’t have any choices, we really don’t need to call upon discipline.  It is only when we realize that life is a series of decisions that we make every minute, can we embrace the discipline that we will need to make different choices.

Jim Rohn wrote that “discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishment.”  However, like my ice cream episode, there will be times when you will veer off the bridge.  I encourage you to step back, learn from your experience, and refocus on those actions required to reach your goal.  When you can build that discipline muscle to stay the course despite setbacks, that is what will take you to success.  I welcome the opportunity to support you along the way.

Sharon Keys Seal

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