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.

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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7 Responses to Reboot

  1. Trish says:

    Had to add this video, if only for, I know I can do better than that! And he does…

  2. Trish says:

    Juan, Nicholson eyes can hold a thousand expressions (this is his “don”), but no matter how he lifts, shifts them, they always have a glint of devilishness, and at the minimum, mischievous look! Hunt of course is no competition to the master, but her expression of welcomed surprise is heartwarming! And yes, the music sways as the scene moves. I have to add, how he orders the dinner via shouts across the room, and the waiter shouts back…simply fractured me!! Lets not even talk about his comment over her dress-housecoat! But I think the beauty of this scene is how quickly it changes from humorous moments, to the the touching. She with her patience’s and anticipation, for she really does love him in spite of his idiosyncrasies. And he, with no doubt is doing double duty to prove, and impress her to proclaim his love. What a scene!!

  3. juan says:

    The scene is crystal. Note how the music shifts from one important scene to the next. Hunt is good with her eyes, but Nicholson is practiced – he uses his eye-lids as well!


  4. The scene shreds what’s left of my composure. Jesus! You are a good man, Juan, though you are given to giving accolades that sometimes may not be deserved! I love the “Obligatory Prayer.” Reading it almost makes me wish I’d been reared Catholic; there’s so much solemn acknowledgement of obligation in the Catholic church! It’s a healthy solemnity, though, and regardless of my beliefs (or lack thereof), I feel a sense of appreciation and admiration toward it.

    You are a young man, Juan…surprised to learn you’ve broken 40! 😉 I tell people I’ve hit 60, but it’s just a game; I’ve never been a day over 35 in my life!

  5. Trish says:

    Thanks for your kind words, Juan. Thanks for posting this video, also. Yes this is such a wonderful scene! Always brings me close to tears, too. The expression on her face after she understands his compliment is really quite moving. Love this film, and it never gets old no matter how many times I’ve viewed it (which has been numerous!) Great movie!!

  6. juan says:

    Your are a human being who comes from high principles — just like Trish — and this is exemplified in your recognition of “things [you] should have done, but failed to do.”

    We all fall from grace. Even Jesus or The Buddha fell from it. Name any of the great heroes and heroines of the past and present, and we would find that at some point — often many times — they had fallen from grace.

    Part of your critical personality (something I have long admired in you) is your ability to keep abreast and march to the rhythm of that “distant drummer.”

    As an Altar Boy memorizing his Latin prayers (I actually represent the last of a generation of Catholic boys who were came from that “on-the-cuff-era), if there was any prayer I kept it touch with (even today), it was the the prayer of obligation:

    Confíteor Deo omnipoténti
    et vobis, fratres,
    quia peccávi nimis
    cogitatióne, verbo,
    ópere et omissióne:
    mea culpa, mea culpa,
    mea máxima culpa.

    In English it goes:

    I confess to almighty God
    and to you, my brothers and sisters,
    that I have greatly sinned,
    in my thoughts and in my words,
    in what I have done and in what I have failed to do,
    through my fault, through my fault,
    through my most grievous fault.

    That portion of the “Obligatory prayer” follows me incessantly. It became part of my Catholic conscience. What have I failed to do? How could I be a better man? I am in love with the idea that there are things, like ideas and books and people that make me want to be a better man. I am never so old that I cannot want to do or achieve better!

    That’s what keeps you so young looking, John. I swear you look like you’re less than 40 — almost as young as I look (and I’m barely 40 myself ;). That your youthfulness is birthed from your need to be better!

    I suppose it’s why I love the movie “As Good As It Gets” that I may even watch tonight (love this scene that nearly brings a tear to my eyes):

  7. Trish says:

    Oh, I think we are all guilty of procrastinating, John. Know I am. It is great to hear you shall resume, and, write of your walks. I do recall back when you were doing it, and set daily distances goals, you seemed quite enthused about it. More power to you! Looking forward to reading about your progress, and thoughts! 🙂

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