Discipline is being able to force yourself to do something, in spite of how you feel, over and over until it becomes a habit.

Unfortunately, for some, discipline becomes just a pretty moniker for something that is much less noble. They falsely define discipline as forcing themselves to undertake extreme workouts every single day regardless of their body’s condition.  They can’t back off because in their minds, slowing down is a weakness.  They adopt an extreme “Can’t stop.  Won’t stop” attitude – manically pushing themselves through strenuous workout after strenuous workout.

That’s not discipline.  That’s an addiction.

They convince themselves it is because they are improving their minds, their bodies, and their willpower.  But, way down deep inside – I mean really deep, where it is all dark and stuff – lie the real reasons.  They’re chasing the high of endorphins.  They’re chasing the high of being able to say “I’m a bad@$$ because I outwork you every single day!”  They’re chasing the sweet-tasting accolades from their Instagram posts – humble bragging that another killer workout has demolished them.

I’ve been there, Brother, and you can have it!

By “they”, you could even say that I mean “me.”  At least a partial version of me a couple of years ago.  To quote, Briar Gates from one of my favorite movies, Next of Kin.  “I’ve been there, Brother and you can have it!”  Fortunately, it didn’t take me too long to figure that out and now I am able to distinguish and adhere to a real form of discipline.

  • Discipline devotes every day to doing what is best for the body and the mind. Addiction sacrifices tomorrow in favor of today.
  • Discipline knows that a weak mind needs to be challenged, but a compromised body needs care. Addiction only cares about endorphins, social media praise, and feeling like a bad@$$.
  • Discipline knows when it is best to say no to a race and get a weekend of extra rest and sleep. Addiction convinces you that you always have to train hard and compete or (fill-in-the-blank with something bad here) is going to happen.
  • Discipline knows that a grueling effort that might work for one event or one season, may not be what is best for long term health or sustained success.
  • Discipline knows that athletic performance and healthy fitness are not necessarily the same.
  • For OCR athletes, most of the time discipline really is about forcing yourself though regular difficult training routines, but sometimes it is not.

It took me a lot of words to get here, but this is the point I really want to make. True discipline is even more difficult to adhere to than a discipline based on addiction. It’s much easier to discipline yourself to go through a daily grind because you know the endorphins will follow and others will look at you in awe. But it takes real discipline, real dedication, and real willpower to say no to the endorphins.  It takes real discipline to say no to the cool social media posts. It take real discipline to exchange 2 weeks of Crossfit WODs for daily 10 minute “workouts” of light bands and 5 pound weights to repair that ailing shoulder.

Just doing what is best for you at the moment. No endorphins. No brag-worthy material.  THAT IS DISCIPLINE.  And that form of discipline is only for those with a strong mind.

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