"I'd love to, but I just don't have the discipline!"
Have you heard this before? Have you ever thought it yourself or even said it? In what context?
I hear it all the time in my job or at least around it. Doing sports regularly, eating well and healthy, optimising my weight... I would love to, but I just don't have the discipline.
Sometimes it even comes across a bit more embellished and is complemented by statements like: "Yes, but YOU are an athlete..."
Seriously, what does it say about me that I am an athlete? Is the fact that I often swim, cycle and run some kind of cachet that makes it "okay" in the eyes of others if they don't aspire to the same standards? Or what they use to justify not taking particularly good care of themselves?
Because, and this is the other side of this coin: I have never heard this sentence from anyone who was doing well all round, who was happy and who had no health or weight problems whatsoever. I only ever heard it from people who really, really wanted a change in their lives. They wanted a BETTER life. Only they didn't want to deal with the problem that they would have to actively do something for it....
So once again the club is brought down from the cupboard, the club with the fairy tale of discipline, and it is wielded cheerfully. "I'd like to, but... Discipline, you know?"
It seems like all the problems in the world would be solved if it weren't for that darn discipline that seems to be damn well needed for anything worth having. But since it is so unattainable and is attributed above all to people who are far above the average in the eyes of the average, it is absolutely okay not to have it and thus to justify one's own misery.
Let's ask ourselves the big question: What is discipline anyway?
Most of the time, no one can really answer that question for me, and I have to admit that I find it difficult to put my finger on it myself. Of course, terms like "consistency", "toughness with oneself", "renunciation" and so on come up, but that doesn't quite satisfy me. Why am I so consistent with myself and my sport? Why am I sometimes very hard on myself? Why do I do without many things that seem, well, indispensable to others? Discipline?
I can answer that with a clear "no". And recently someone in the vastness of the internet gave me an idea of what "discipline" actually is, which I can definitely relate to. Specifically, the sentence was: "Why don't you replace "I don't have the discipline" with "I'm not worth it" - and see how that feels...".
That hit me pretty hard, because that absolutely summed it up for me. I want something - this sport, this professional licence - and I'm worth it to myself to achieve that. So I do without, I am hard on myself, I am consistent. Because I have a goal in mind and I like myself enough to pursue it. I don't have to comfort myself with little comforts to make everyday life more bearable and then at some point I can't do without them. Instead, I treat myself with the highest degree of appreciation. Which probably looks like discipline from the outside.
How do you feel about it?