ION Virtues Part III

DISCIPLINE
noun dis·ci·pline \ˈdi-sə-plən\

Definition of discipline
1: punishment
2 obsolete : instruction
3: a field of study
4: training that corrects, molds, or perfects the mental faculties or moral character
5 a : control gained by enforcing obedience or order
b : orderly or prescribed conduct or pattern of behavior
c : self-control
6: a rule or system of rules governing conduct or activity

“Through discipline comes freedom”
Aristotle

Discipline is the third virtue we will cover in this series of blogs. It took me a while to write about this one because, for one thing discipline is a pretty obvious part of a fitness program and second, I didn’t want to rehash a bunch of stuff other people have covered pretty extensively. The other was I felt this deserved a deeper discussion than “Show up at the gym!”
The main point I will make as far as discipline as it applies to our day in and day out fitness endeavors is this- Discipline is doing what you’re supposed to even when you don’t feel like it. If you wait until its convenient or you are ‘motivated’ or for that “perfect timing” it ain’t happening. My personal experience has been I “feel” like working out about 1 out of 5 days. I go through periods of being unmotivated. Or I make excuses as to why I can’t work out today. Most of them are bullshit. Everyone has stuff to do and some of them might be valid but if it’s a priority you will find the time.
Anybody that performs at a high level of CrossFit and any sport in general will have a set routine for the day. They don’t deviate from that for anything. It takes a tremendous amount of discipline. While most of us aren’t trying to make it to the CrossFit Games or play in the NFL, staying disciplined and consistent in our fitness can have a significant effect on every part of our lives.
“Through discipline comes freedom”
I wrote again because I think it’s an important point that maybe we don’t think about enough. The more discipline you have the more freedom you will have.
It seems counterintuitive. We think of being disciplined as a rigid, stoic existence. Only focusing on one thing and being inflexible. That’s not freedom, or is it?
I am “free” to eat anything I want and sit on the couch and watch TV all day. But if I continue that for a long period of time what happens to me? I get fat and lazy. When someone says lets go play some basketball, or take a hike I physically can’t do it without serious risk. Is that freedom?
I am free to take every cent I make and spend it how I see fit. But if I am not disciplined with saving a portion of it then I get no vacations. I end up having to work until I die. Is that freedom?
I think you get the idea. While we are free to do whatever we want, there are repercussions. While doing what we should isn’t always “fun” it does lead to freedom at some point. Trading what you want right now for what you want later is hard. We are in a world of fast everything. Instant gratification. Nobody wants to wait. Now, now, now! is the cry of most people nowadays.
Working on our discipline is hard. Without an instant return on our efforts, sometimes it seems pointless. But dealing with the temporary frustration of not making progress is an integral part of the path toward excellence. In fact, it is essential and something that every elite performer in any thing has had to deal with. If the pursuit of excellence were easy everyone would do it. This impatience in getting results is the primary reason most people fail to reach their goals. Unreasonable expectations timewise, resulting in unneeded frustration due to a perceived feeling of failure. Achieving any goal is not a linear process
The secret is to show up, do the work and go home.
Blue collar work effort and an indomitable will.
When people are new we often ask what their goals are. Typically, it’s to get stronger for the fellas and to “tone” or lose weight for the ladies. Those are fine, in the beginning. As you progress though if you’re doing it right there should always be another goal to reach for. I say often there are no plateaus in what we do here and over the course of months and years, with consistent, disciplined effort I guarantee you will be further than you could have imagined when you first walked through our doors.
If it were easy, it would have zero value. I know there can be a lot of frustration when you start out. Everything is hard and you see people doing all these things and think “I’ll never get there”
Yes you can.
I get this isn’t for everyone. But don’t use it as an excuse to go back to your easy, less demanding routine. If it’s not with us, find it somewhere.
Don’t settle. Life’s short.