In Search of Self-Discipline

Floating on my back in the Cosmo pool, sunlight glittering off the towering casinos, palm trees and cabanas in my periphery, I realized I could use a hefty dose of self-discipline.

A mastermind of excuses, I have a litany of extenuating circumstances that keep me from sitting down and confronting the blank white page of my computer screen. The trouble is, none of these excuses are really any good.

So today I’m renewing my commitment to a disciplined life.

First, I need to remind myself of the importance of what I’m doing. I know (despite what my ego thinks) my lovely, compelling prose is unlikely to change the world. But writing is important to me. This is the life I want. And anything worth having is worth working for.

I also need to refresh my goals. This goes beyond writing. Yes, I want to plow ahead with my second book. I want to find and an agent for my first novel and continue improving my craft. But I also want to be more healthy and fit (I can’t even do a push-up). Though a batty recluse by nature, I want to keep in better touch with my old friends and reach out to new ones.

In their blogs, both Peter Clemens and Steven Pavlina liken self-discipline to a muscle – you must exercise it to make it stronger. This requires hard work, investment of time, and persistence.   

But to effectively (and realistically) exercise my self-discipline, I have to accept where I am right now. I can’t just go out and run a marathon (in either the literal or metaphoric sense).  So here are my modest goals to ratchet up discipline:

  • Get up every morning by 8am
  • Work at least 6 solid hours each workday and DO NOT work on days off
  • Track and improve my productivity (more on this later)
  • Do aerobic exercise at least 3x/week, weight-lift 2x/week (ugh! I’m already sore just thinking about this)
  • Carve out time to connect with family and friends
  • Watch no more than 5 hrs of TV each week

In parting, here’s a little inspirational kick-start:

The price of discipline is always less than the pain of regret. —Nido Qubein


6 thoughts on “In Search of Self-Discipline

  1. You’ve motivated me to be more disciplined! You and Steven should get a membership at a rock climbing gym. It’s great weight bering exercise and it’s much more fun than just lifting weights. Good luck following the straight path, I’m sure you’ll do great!

    • Thanks for the good suggestion. Rock climbing would be a lot of fun. I think there’s a gym about only about 15 minutes away. I’m also loving my new bike, but it’s gotten too hot to exercise outdoors.

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