My OneWord365: Why discipline needs a prefix

I’ve read about OneWord365 on several blogs. It seemed like a good idea, but I hadn’t gotten around to it yet. I almost ditched the idea of posting about it entirely, but I can’t. Because my one word is

self-discipline.

I’m in a transitionary time in my life: I just graduated from college, got married, and realized a whole bunch of things about myself that I need to act on and not just sit on. Basically, The direction I choose now will be the direction I take my entire future. Therefore, (and perhaps more importantly),

The habits I create now will affect the direction and results of the rest of my life.

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me, at NAIA Nationals in Portland Oregon

Because habits add up.

I read a post on artofmanliness.com (tomboy! don’t judge) called What’s Your 20-Mile March? Using the famous race to the South Pole between Robert Scott and Roald Admundson, authors Brett and Kate McKay outline the major differences between those who achieve high levels of success and those who don’t reach their goals. They also cited a research project done by Collins and Hanson, studying businesses that performed 10x better than their peers.

The secret?

The magical key?

“It was actually discipline, fanatic discipline, that was one of the true master keys of the companies’ success.”

Oh, gracious. How boring.

But, as I reflect on my own life and what I consider to be my biggest accomplishments so far, I have to agree. My career as a runner in college is something I consider one of my best accomplishments. I graduated with eight records from my (albeit small) college, a posture of confidence in myself that I never previously dreamed of, and a host of wonderful memories of even more wonderful friends that I will never, ever forget.

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I’m the one on the bottom row, in the middle, with the smile so big it’s about to crack my face in half.

And why did I reap these rewards?

Every day at four o’clock,  I walked over to the gym.
That’s it.

Those early days, when I hated running and all the weird people I had to be around all day (they actually liked running, so something HAD to be wrong with them!) my motivation was (I’ll admit) completely externally motivated. If I wouldn’t get into a buttload of trouble with my coach for skipping practice, there’s no way I’d be there. If I hadn’t the constant fear of my uber-consistent teammates sitting me down and giving me “the talk” about giving it my all…slacking would have been my default option.

It was only after I started reaping the rewards of my consistency that I grew in my own confidence and ability to motivate myself. When I started winning races. When teammates became friends, and practice actually meant fun – I started to look at the whole 4 o’clock nonsense a lot differently.

That’s what I have to do now.
Minus the team. And the winning. And maybe even the fun.

Which makes it really hard, I’ll admit. I miss having the perfect excuse to stay ridiculously fit. I miss having scores of friends to keep me motivated and encouraged. It’s so…lonely!…trying to do it by myself!

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My relay team. We were tight.

But…

The habits I create now will affect the direction and results of the rest of my life.

That’s why my word this year isn’t just discipline, because that isn’t enough anymore.  I need to make use of my resources  and right now those amount to…

me.

I have no choice, really.  Not now that I know what I’d be missing in the long run.

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