“She’s disciplined, like all those ballet dames,” Humphrey Bogart said, referring to the effortlessly graceful Audrey Hepburn. But maybe Miss Hepburn, a lifelong smoker, had her own struggles with discipline.
I’ve been thinking about discipline a lot lately. How it works, who has it, and how I can get some more.
In her book Never Say Diet, Chantel Hobbs shares her thoughts on why some people achieve so much in life while others just slog along. I appreciate her perspective because she’s been on both sides of the discipline divide.
Discipline is a learned behavior pattern; it doesn’t come naturally. I spent years wishing I had it. I envied those who did, sure that they had been born with some magical gene. These people usually looked great from head to toe and had perfectly organized closets and spotless minivans with the CDs in little baskets, and their favorite pastime was scrapbooking….
…I wasn’t willing to do the things that bored me or made me uncomfortable, even if they would cause me to be more organized, healthier, and happier. The people who seemed to be more together were willing to be inconvenienced and to set aside certain things to accomplish the important things. They maintained their focus and found time to work toward achieving their goals, while I was probably baking a cake and watching Melrose Place. We had different priorities.
Chantel goes on to say that she doesn’t have any more discipline than other people even though she’s lost 200 pounds and runs marathons. She reached her goals because she finally committed to doing things that made her uncomfortable and kept at them until she became comfortable doing them.
Among other things, I’m working on the discipline of using my time wisely. What behaviors am I clinging to because they’re comfortable? (Cleaning out a closet instead of writing a tough chapter?) And how can I push myself to be inconvenienced for the sake of reaching my goals? There are lots of tools and strategies out there to help and I’m looking forward to exploring them here.
By the way, Chantel has a great story to tell; it’s definitely worth a read.