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Reader Tip: Changing Our Thinking About Discipline

Self Discipline via Bigstock

Tessa emailed in the following tip:

Quick: what’s the first word that comes to your mind when you hear the word discipline? Yuck? Difficult? Unappealing?

If you are like me, then I’m sure you at least thought of a synonym of the above words. In our culture of entertainment, discipline gets a bad rap. You hear, “You don’t need to be disciplined… everything will work itself out.”

Yeah right.

When has sitting on the couch ever gotten you anywhere?

Exactly. I believe that if we just change the way we think when we hear the word discipline, then we can stop buying into the myth that laziness is an acceptable option.

Start thinking about disciplines that you do every day… otherwise known as, chores. That’s right. You are already disciplined in some areas. Congratulations! If you start pairing the word discipline to sweeping or doing the dishes (or something that you do every day/night), then you start to associate it with action items that are doable.

Start with a small, new discipline to add to your life. For example, if eventually you want to run a marathon, you’re going to have to build up your endurance. So, you could start by walking a mile. Before you know it, you have a new discipline in your life. TA-DA!

Being disciplined is not as bad as it seems. If you look around, you’ll see that discipline does not have to have the negative connotations that society gives it. Today, let’s change the way we think about discipline and take action.

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  • Lisa says:

    Thank you for a timely reminder! I’ve been dreading learning new disciplines when I go back to work after maternity leave ends next month. This is a good new way to look at it.

  • August says:

    Is it bad that the first thing I thought of was my son? Haha, the terrible threes are almost here . . .

  • Susan says:

    I first thought of the word “discipline” in the context of how I need to be a little more firm with disciplining my daughter. 🙂

    But anyway, yes, the rewards of having discipline in your life are so great that it is worth the effort, no matter what you are trying to accomplish: saving, paying off debt, losing weight, keeping your home maintained, getting a college degree, and the list goes on and on.

  • BethB says:

    My husband and I have been talking about this quite a bit lately as our families of origin differ immensely in this area. My take is that being more disciplined gives you *more* freedom rather than being repressive. Especially in the areas of organization and time management.

  • Jen says:

    Earlier this year I read a reeeaaallly looooong book on Willpower which can also be described as discipline. Studies show that exerting willpower over the smallest improvement, such as sitting up straight in the car or not biting your nails, has a positive affect on other decisions. People that make a conscious effort to do something, anything, then make smarter and better decisions in other areas of their lives. I have to remember this when I feel like things are out of control, crazy. I pick one thing to improve and it really does snowball in a good way.

  • I love this! It is so true, I don’t know when we starting thinking that discipline was a bad thing. I am really working on this in some areas of my life.

  • Good point. A simple illustration to get from point A to point B. Thanks.

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