Self-Conclusion…Live NOW

An interesting response came the other night from Gary. I was sitting on the couch watching TV and working on my laptop. As I was shutting my laptop down and closing the recliner to get up I said to Gary “I really need to get my life together!”. To this Gary literally laughed out loud and said, “If you need to get YOUR life together we are all in trouble”. He actually made me laugh at the ridiculousness of the statement! To this brief, comical encounter I offer you the last of the Self-Series.

I often pontificate on the life I have and if it is indeed the life I want. I do this because I am of the belief that we are the ultimate creators of our life through our choices. We come into this world alone and we leave it presumably alone and yet how we live is so frequently dependent on others. Seems an oxymoron of statements. The reality is that even as we live with others we are on our own in defining life as we live it.

We are all so busy making it happen for everyone else. But what about the canvas that is your own life? As Oprah says, “You alone are painting your own canvas, thought by thought, choice by choice.”

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/finding-true-love/201910/what-i-learned-being-oprah

I feel that I have become an expert at creating the blueprints that define the life I want to live and then creating or architecting that existence. Unless I am tired, distracted, happy, sad, content, etc. You name it and it has the ability to throw me off of the plan and leave me with all of the pieces and parts that I attempted to set in motion lying around me. Pulling from my recent “Self-Series” it would seem that self-discipline, self-motivation and a bit of self-control could solve for any distraction, yet here I sit.

My ability to summon the self-discipline/motivation/control can certainly push beyond my mood or state of being in the short-term. It is the long-haul that is put to the test when the only consequence is yourself. If I am not letting anyone else down then why does it matter if I don’t run, write, read, sleep, _____________. But the reality is that letting myself down is the worst thing I could do because I matter and what matters to me, matters.

The life I want requires many things from the “self” but most importantly the result of the life I want is to feel satisfied with what I am doing, who I am and how I live it. The only way to do this is to not be dependent on others or situations. You have to be willing to live despite it all. I used to say “I will be happy when_________”, “Things will be perfect when_______.”, you fill in the blanks. And then I got to __________ and nothing changed relative to my happiness beyond what it already was prior to the condition I was summoning.

Today, this weekend and even some of last week, I was living my “best” life. Life fulfilled with those that matter most, doing the things that matter to me and finding value in that simplicity. Don’t make it harder than it has to be, live it simply. Live it without conditions and live it now, right where you are…today, this minute…now.

Live as I see it – L.

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.

I don’t want to…

This is the latest statement that I hear myself saying more often than not. Let’s explore my laundry list of all of the things “I don’t want to…” lately:

  • Get up at 5:00 am; this is the golden hour as no one else is up so it is the perfect time to exercise, write, catch-up on shows or reading.
  • Exercise; yep I don’t want to run, bike, Orangetheory or anything at all.
  • Eat the same foods again and again; I just told my friend yesterday that I cannot eat another “fill in the blank”. I am over my diet!
  • Write; yes, this is the latest as this is a passion of mine but sometimes it feels “hard” and that creates resistance so yes even writing has an “I don’t want to…” somewhere along the way.
  • Do anything; many a weekend I find myself just wanting to do nothing despite a laundry list of items that are “To do” I find myself “Not To Do-ing” for the sake of being still.
  • Be where I am at that moment; yes this may be a tougher one to explain but I find myself at times not wanting to be where I am at that moment. It’s an awkward feeling especially when I am somewhere that I chose to be initially. Might be a bit of “fight or flight” spurred by anxiety but most of the time it is a daunting feeling.

You get the idea, the love of being an adult and being responsible for myself is that I decide what I want to do and what I do not want to do! The discipline is forcing the things you should do despite want and that is where at times I would like to throw myself on the floor like a 2 yr old and have a full-scale tantrum. Ha!

I do agree with the statement that you have to “meet yourself where you are” however that is not a permanent solution to the “I don’t want to…” argument. Meeting yourself where you are is more of a strategy for the moment and not for the long-term. If you don’t want to run today, then don’t, but if you don’t want to run ever again you have to consider the implications of that decision. If I don’t run it affects my weight, my mental health and my social circles. Am I willing to give-up these benefits of running because “I don’t want to…” or do I instead push on?

At some point you have to push beyond the “I don’t want to…” because that is what discipline is all about and where habits are formed. No one wants to do anything all the time. Of course some things are more pleasant than others and don’t require as much effort to get to a point of “wanting to” but in the example of running, it is hard and so you are not going to “want to” all the time but having the discipline to stay the course it what makes a great runner. The benefits of being a great runner have exponential benefits to physical and mental health and that is what makes it worth pushing beyond your want. The same can be said about a healthy diet. No one starts out wanting to eat healthy. Let’s face it macaroni and cheese is always going to taste better than broccoli however the long-term decision to stay the course of a healthy diet will extend your life and for that reason the decision to push on is easily made.

One of the greatest ways to get beyond your “I don’t want to…” moments are to find an “Accountability Partner”. Find someone else that is not wanting to do the same thing and partner! My son said to me yesterday, “I have been setting my alarm clock for 4:45 am to get up and workout before school, but once the alarm goes off I don’t want to get up.” I can totally understand because I also do not want to get up at 4:45 am BUT if we partner we can make it more tolerable. What if we both get up at 4:45 am and do it together? It will make it easier to get up as we won’t want to let each other down and we both benefit from the long-term effects of getting that workout in before school! Accountability! Voila!

I am not sure what is easier being an adult that can decide what you want or do not want to do or being a child and being told what to do. Ultimately I will choose “adulting” every time but the point being that having the ability to decide can be a sticky wicket. If you do not possess the discipline to push yourself beyond your immediate “wants” you may find yourself “paying the price” for that decision. When I think back in my life to all of those moments I pushed past the “I don’t want to…” moments I have ZERO regrets. I cannot think of a time that I would look back and say, “Man, I wish I had not pushed myself to do ________” because the reality is that that resistance that shows itself in those moments are typically the hard work that needs to be done to create our best life.

I leave you with a challenge; do ONE thing today that you do not want to do and then considering how it makes you feel when complete. Were you better off for having pushed through or….well let’s stay optimistic in our approach as I think we both know the discipline to do will always beat the lack of discipline to don’t.

Doing as I do – L.