Let's start with the definition of discipline. According to http://dictionary.reference.com/ discipline is defined as follows:
- Training to act in accordance with rules
- Activity, exercise or a regimen that develops or improves a skill
- Behavior and order maintained by training and control
When I read the definition, the first thing that stood out was rules. When I think of how disciplined I am, I typically review areas of my life such as reading (specifically the Bible), various work related things, and exercise (which right now is primary running). When I now review these areas of my life in regard to rules, things get blurry. What rules have I set for myself (or been set for me) for reading, work, and exercise?
This week has been a tough one. Most of the projects I've been working on wrapped up and the facility where I work started back up after being shutdown for over 5 weeks. Those of you that have any experience with industrial equipment or manufacturing may know how difficult things can be during times that these. Monday and Tuesday were pretty much filled with work......non-stop. I think I got home between 10 and 11 PM each night, having arrived at work at 6:45 AM each morning. That was 2 days off from running and reading, something I haven't done in quite sometime. Each of those mornings I worke up, grabbed coffee and a bagel and took off to work. Each of those nights, I drove home somewhat dissappointed with myself for not running. Each day, I was dissappointed with myself, but I had a great excuse, right! Wednesday morning I got up early to pack, stop by work, then on to the airport for a quick trip to Louisville, KY. I was fortunate to get there early enough for a nice trail run, then got another trail run the following day before dinner with an old friend and co-worker. Did I read? Nope! Now here I am, sitting in the airport awaiting my flight typing away, having not read a word and only logged 10 miles this week and again, dissappointed with myself. The question I have to ask is 'could I have done things any differently'.
I typically read a few chapters in the morning sitting at the dining table and I typically run at lunch or in the afternoons (and sometimes both). I'll knock out 10-15 chapters on a Saturday morning. I'll run in the blazing heat or nighttime snow, but I rarely rise out of bed in the wee hours and get my legs pumping. And each day that I sleep in, work late, or catch up with a friend, I "take the day off." Not necessarily because I want to or even need to, but because I wasn't able to fit it in.
Now I'm asking myself whether I have a set of "rules" which govern that all too elusive discipline. I have a desire to start my day with reading, even if it's just a verse. I also have the desire to make my exercise more of a priority, implementing a morning workout. But, I've never set any rules for myself. Is my "lack of discipline" actually the lack of rules? Have I neglected to establish any sort of criteria for achieving the "training" I need and desire? Or have I purposefully not set rules.....you know, those "guidelines" are much easier to overlook!
Discipline seems to be something that can set you apart. I see those whom I admire, because of their faith. They are disciplined at prayer. I see those whom I admire, because of their vast knowledge. They are disciplined readers. I see those who excel in their jobs. They are disciplined. I see those that are accomplished athletes. They are disciplined. So, what role will discipline play in my own life? We'll see what the rules say!