Discipline you either have it or you don’t…right?

As I came home very late tonight from a very long day at work I was debating if I “had it in me” to do my scheduled run. Before I could even contemplate it, I was changing into workout clothes…it’s discipline, right? Sometimes it’s obsessive, sometimes unrelenting and sometimes crushing…yea that describes discipline in all forms. The point is that I did the run, despite any number of excuses that I could have come up with and have been very justified in honoring; I did the run. It is self-discipline, it drives me.

Discipline is the requirement for the reward. If you want anything bad enough you have to have the discipline to persevere. This is more than simply doing “it”. It is doing “it” when you are tired, sick, sore; it is doing “it” when don’t want to even better than when you do! Tonight’s run was supposed to be a relaxed pace however I pushed to the max of that pace and came out with my fastest yet; on a night after working 11 hours being away from my home for 13 hours…I had my fastest pace in almost two weeks.

I have always been someone that loves rules. Give me a set of rules and I will follow them to the letter. That is why I was the BEST dieter EVER!! I could follow a diet to the letter; measuring every ounce, counting every calorie until I didn’t…and then it was the complete opposite of discipline! It was debauchery at its finest. I could lose the weight like a BOSS but I would gain it back like a BEAST.

When I think about my level of discipline I realize that it does not apply to all things equally. For example, speeding…hmm…I definitely do not follow speed limits but I do keep two hands on the wheel at 9 and 3 and keep my eyes on the road (most of the time). I am sitting here trying to think of what else I am utterly undisciplined at in life and I really cannot think of much as it is a core value of mine.

This is not to suggest that having discipline is premium to lacking discipline. Lacking discipline allows spontaneity and creates a space where things that otherwise would not be possible can and are; this is the place imagination is piqued and dreams are realized. It is the box, right? We are told to stay in our box, our sandbox, stay in our lane; you name it…don’t wander. But when you do…this is where change happens. There were a few times I wandered and the reward was exponentially better.

Last year when I took on my first half-marathon of the season I was trained to do intervals; run/walk, run/walk, run/walk…but something came over me and pushed me to just run and run and run and 13.1 miles later I was crossing a FINISH LINE never having stopped once. It was beyond my wildest comprehension and it was because despite my training and discipline to follow the plan I did what felt right and just ran. The reality is that it was because of the discipline in my training that it was even possible. It was my Forrest Gump moment!

My level of discipline is forceful. I push myself beyond my comfort-level and that is why I get results beyond my expectations. I also sometimes get more than what I bargained for but in the end I always get a result. I am not suggesting this is the “way” but it is a “way”, it is my “way”. The issue if there were to be one is that when I am not following my discipline I feel like I am failing. It is a tremendous amount of pressure to put on oneself but I am hungry for the rules as heartily as I am for the reward.

As I am getting older I am trying to find the gray in my world of black and white; the wander in my world of guardrails and the space outside of the box as this is where the joy lies. Discipline is control and lack of it is surrender… L.

Life by my rules – L.

Organization or Obsession?

I am a self-described organized person but some of that as I define as organized can feel obsessive. I drive myself crazy with rules that I create for myself about how to live my life and disguise those as “organization”. Don’t get me wrong organization is key to a successful life. Everything has to have its place and time and that which is in its place and has its time must have importance and intention. The point at which it feels obsessive is when its rigidity feels like failure or false success because the rule was followed regardless of the importance or intention.

I am and forever will be obsessed with my health, which is actually my weight but I call it health because it sounds better and it is. You ask, “Do you actually organize your health?”…well yes of course because it satisfies the definition of being important and intended. I schedule every single hour of my day to include what time I am going to wake-up and go to bed so that I am sure to get 8-hours of sleep. I schedule my workouts, what time I will leave for work, what time I will leave for home, eat dinner, read…well you get the idea…obsessed or organized? Regardless of the answer it is my health; physical and mental and it matters so I do it.

I am a a strong-believer that if you don’t schedule it, it won’t get done. But what this scheduling replaces is the reality that life will get in the way and worse, doing what feels right regardless of the “schedule”. If you wake and don’t feel like working out, do you do it anyway? And when you have to deviate from that schedule is it a “fail”? Another example of this that also pertains to “health” is logging my diet. I have been logging my foods for a billion years. While this is considered a healthy practice and meal-planning is key to health; at what point do I eat because I already weighed out a 4-oz portion and logged it versus eating until I feel satisfied? In these cases I find myself listening to my organization more than myself. Organized or obsessed? or discipline? (oh wait…that is an entirely different blog 🙂

I might go as far as to say that I am obsessed with organization. I like everything to be just “so” at work and at home. My husband reminds me that we do not live in a museum. I understand that but nonetheless I like a tidy home and I like everything to be of use and have a home. I Spring Clean my home numerous times a year because I like to purge what is not being used to allow more space; not to be mistaken as room for something else, just space. At work you would be hard-pressed to find my office as I have not one picture nor object that would identify it as mine. I need a clean, minimalist space to do my best work; free from clutter like my mind.

I am a planner and spend the first weekend of every month, setting my intentions for the month and following up on those from the previous month to see what I accomplished. This is where success and failure are abound. Instead of patting myself on the back for all of the things I did accomplish I focus on those that I did not, and then set a new plan to accomplish those the next month. There is a little Stephen Covey discipline in there about moving things forward that don’t get done to keep the “To Do” list current but…taking time to celebrate the successes needs to be part of “the list”.

When I think back to when all of this started I remember always making my bed from the time I could recall having my own bed. I would clean the house without my mother ever asking and even recall offering to mop the floors around the age of 8 if she would buy me one of those new fancy roller mops. Growing up in school, I always kept a running list for my homework and found great pride in my neat papers; no dogeared corners, no spiral rip-offs dangling and God forbid if you could see when something had been erased, I would rewrite the entire paper. Definitely obsessed and organized to a fault!

Regardless of what you call it, I am obsessed with being organized and I own it. I make myself crazy admittedly and while I will swear off logging the same damn foods I log everyday and being wildly surprised when it still calculates to the same total…I know that in a moment of weakness on the scale I will find “MyFitnessPal” once again! Living my life obsessed, organized and owning it – L.