Do You Have The Wrong Idea About Self-Discipline?

self-disciplineWhat’s your reaction when you hear the phrase self-discipline?

Do you think it’s hard?


Something that feels like punishment?

Actually, self-discipline is something you do for yourself.

For your benefit.

And it can feel really loving and good.

When we run from self-discipline, we end up allowing our feelings to run the show.

We make decisions based on our mood in the moment.

We exercise no self-control.

And we make choices based on short-term thinking.

This gets us somewhere.

But unfortunately, it’s not usually where you want to be.

Because our moods give us great information about what we’re thinking.

But running your life based on what kind of mood you’re in is like playing the lottery.

Here’s what self-discipline really means:

It means that you have and use the ability to do what you should do.

Whether you feel like it or not in the moment.

Because it’s for your greater good.

So if you’ve committed to upping your health a level, maybe you’ve decided to start an exercise program.

You wake up and don’t feel like getting out of bed.

If you think self-discipline is harsh and unnatural, you stay in bed.


For maybe an hour.

But then you are creating a habit of ignoring your desire to better yourself.

If you know that your moods may come and go, then when you wake up and feel like staying in bed, it’s in your best interest to know that you mood will pass, and know that you’ll feel SO good if you do exercise.

And then do it.

How do you define self-discipline?

Is it working for you, or against you?

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4 Responses to “Do You Have The Wrong Idea About Self-Discipline?”

  1. Lois says:

    Another great post! I love that line about letting your feelings run the show. I think about it as controlling the 3- year old voice in me that wants something ( food, wine) or doesn’t want something ( getting up early, exercising) NOW. This little child inside of me is petulantly stamping her feet, and the patient loving mother who is also inside me needs to gently and firmly say, “maybe later. But right now, this is better for you.”
    Yay, Cookie and her pearls of wisdom!

  2. And I love your reply to your inner 3-year old: maybe later. But right now, this is better for you. Gentle. Loving. No judgment.

  3. Jennifer says:

    This really resonates with me! I am a person with a low capacity for self-discipline, and thinking of it this way will really help. I’m going to start thinking of doing what’s good rather than convenient and how much better I will feel as a result.

  4. I’m looking forward to hearing how looking at self-discipline in a different light might be helpful to you, Jennifer! When we’re kids, we tend to think that what’s good for us isn’t necessarily fun. But as adults, it’s different when we start looking at ‘good for us’ as something that might ALSO feel good.