Creating Discipline When it Doesn’t Come Naturally

June 30, 2017
Some people have self discipline down!  These people eat healthy, happily get up at a decent hour, and *horror* work out!  What if you're not one of those people?  How do you put discipline into your life?

Confession: I have horrible self discipline.  It’s rough, you guys.  I can always come up with a hundred excuses – either that I tell myself or that I tell others – why I can’t do something I know I should be doing.  After I had Caleb my mom decided she was going on a diet.  Since she knew I wanted to lose weight she invited me to join her.  She was following a guide that told her exactly what meals to eat at five different times during the day.  The meals sounded so tasty – many were Mediterranean inspired (yum!!) – and you weren’t depriving yourself of food at all!  The whole thing was about reteaching your body a proper way to eat.  Sure, I wanted to lose weight, but I wasn’t willing to give up eating what I wanted to eat when I wanted to eat it.  I had all the excuses in the world but, in reality, it was simply that I didn’t want to have self discipline and actually lose the weight.  It’s no surprise I lost zero weight after having Caleb and started my pregnancy with Josiah thirty five pounds heavier than I started my pregnancy with Caleb.

This story could be about anything in my life, really.  It’s not limited to simply eating healthy.  I couldn’t consistently work out.  I couldn’t consistently read my Bible.  I couldn’t even consistently make my bed!  Something needed to change!

A few weeks ago, I decided I really needed to make some changes in my life.  I wasn’t happy with my body, I wasn’t happy with my relationship with the Lord, and I wasn’t happy with the way I was mothering and wife-ing.

I’m happy to say that, after a few weeks, I’m feeling so much better about myself in so many ways.  And, honestly, it all has to do with adding discipline into my life.

I Started With One Area of Focus

I’m an all or nothing, go big or go home person.  If I start something and fail at it I tend to give up.  Since I know this is a part of my personality, (and something else I’m working on!) I started small.  Since my postpartum body was a huge area I was struggling with, I decided focusing on what I was eating would be a great starting point.  Nate’s parents had been doing a diet that was very similar to the diet my mom had suggested back after Caleb was born so they gave me the book full of meal plans and I committed to sticking to it.  I’m happy to say that the meals are super tasty and I’m now officially two pounds away from my pre-Josiah pregnancy weight.

I Roped in an Accountability Partner

It’s nice having a husband who is a built in accountability partner.  He’s been wanting to lose weight as well so I suggested he joined me in the diet plan.  Since he jumped on board we’re able to encourage one another not to cheat.  If I was doing it by myself I might not be so invested.  The downside, though, is that he has lost more weight than me.  So there’s that.

I Allowed Motivation to Spill Over

Since my motivation and self discipline in eating were going strong, the natural next step was to add exercising into my life.  I’m seeing results so I want more results!  I’m a busy mom of two crazy little boys so going to the gym or something of that nature isn’t able to be worked into the schedule yet.  Walking, though, is totally do-able – especially when you have a double Bob stroller that a friend sold to you for a steal!

I Thought About What Else I Wanted to Change

It’s amazing how being disciplined in one area of life changes the way you think about other areas of life.  I started eating well and exercising and all of a sudden I had the desire to make my bed (most) every day.  I had the desire to spend time in the Bible.  I had the desire to keep my kitchen free of dirty dishes.  I’m not perfect in any of these areas but the changes have been huge!  It’s been so exhilarating to make these changes, see results, and live a better life.  I feel better about myself and my boys reap the benefit of having a much more sane mom.
Obviously the things you need self discipline in are different than what I need.  Even so, you can totally follow the steps I took and your life can radically change!
Some people have self discipline down!  These people eat healthy, happily get up at a decent hour, and *horror* work out!  What if you're not one of those people?  How do you put discipline into your life?

Your Turn:
In what areas of life do you need to grow discipline?
How do you encourage yourself to be disciplined?

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