There have been times when I’ve exercised consistent self-discipline and there have been times when I’ve indulged myself in slothful laziness. I always feel better, and feel better about myself, when I have exercised consistent self-discipline. I felt better, physically, when I walked a couple of miles or more, every day, whether I felt like it or not. I felt better, mentally, when I wrote more than a few sentences, every day, whether I felt up to the challenge or not.
Lately, I’ve allowed myself to become undisciplined about my walking and about my writing. I’ve permitted myself to say “tomorrow” instead of “today,” which is evidence of a lack of commitment. I’ve had plenty of reasons…justifications, excuses…for letting my discipline lapse. Cold weather. Ice. Arthritis. Lethargy. I have hundreds of excuses, just waiting to be called on when required. But, why? If I feel better when I exercise self-discipline, why don’t I exercise it?
The simple answer, I suppose, is that it’s easy. It’s easy to be inert. It’s takes a little more effort to start the process that leads toward feeling better mentally and physically. Yet, that’s a poor excuse. But then all excuses are just that, poor excuses.
If this post were going where I might expect (if someone else where writing it), the next statement would be something to the effect that “tomorrow starts today” or “there’s no time like the present to change one’s life.” But that is not where this post is going. Instead, it’s going to give me permission to put off at least one component of getting back on the self-discipline train. I am giving myself permission to be inconsistent about walking regularly until mid-April. But no longer. By April 15, I will return to a daily regimen of walking…or some other exercise that will get my blood pumping and use my muscles and shed calories. And I will publicly report my progress in my Thoughts for the Day. I suppose you’d call this shaming myself into self-discipline; well, I use the tools available to get the job done! I have reasons (and I won’t call them excuses, because they are legitimate) for giving myself some latitude here; I know when to mix a little honey with the vinegar.
The second part, the writing, is already under way. I may not be quite so public about it, but I will record my progress with enough regularity to show myself, and anyone else who cares to know, just how I’m doing.
I’ve failed at this sort of thing before. I don’t like failing. I won’t fail at this sort of thing again.