People think I’m disciplined. I’m not.Dec 01, 2022
People think I'm super disciplined, but I'm not. I’m not even motivated or “inspired” most of the time. I simply want something: I want to feel whole, to be able to sleep at night and not live in guilt or regret. If anything, I'm acutely aware that there is a future, even if that future is an hour from now, and that I better seed the most authentic experience right now, not only because I want right now to be good, but also so that tomorrow can be what I want it to be: mine.
If I couldn’t fall asleep after a post-dinner cup of cappuccino, I wouldn’t drink it.
But I can, so I do, when I’m dining out. If I think that this will negatively impact how I get up in the morning, I’d stop doing it.
If I could sleep in and feel good, unrushed, courageous, awake, and centered in myself the rest of the day, I would. But it doesn’t. For me, getting up at 4:30 am does, even though I don’t really want to.
What I’m practiced at is not dwelling in the “not wanting to.” It isn’t discipline, rather, it’s understanding too well the pain that is greater, dull, chronic, and imminent on the other side of my momentary comfort. The dwelling is also painful and I want to reduce pain wherever I can. Yes, it can be painful getting up when I allow myself to think about it, but it’s a pain that ends once the reason I’m up begins, and what happens is that I start feeling good in my own skin. Over time, uncertainty becomes playful, and guilt and regret a memory. I feel accomplished because every day I slay my own limitations around time (I'm referring to time in general; this isn’t necessarily about getting up at 4:30 am). This added about 6 hours to each day - sustained energy, self-trust, and a little bit of clarity rearranges things magnificently. For those of you who don’t have time, this is a way to get more.
If something doesn’t reap me rewards, I don’t have the discipline to follow through, and I’m totally okay knowing that about myself.
Other things reward me in other ways, and if they work for me, I celebrate and keep those going. If I find myself rewarded but leaning into a martini to take the edge off, or continuously slipping into guilt about making a me decision, or waking up in the morning tired after 8 hours of sleep, I know something’s not working, and I lean into what’s possible instead of what’s not. But that’s not discipline. That’s just me knowing my slippery slope into dull chronic pain and exhaustion. That’s just me wanting Joy.
I know my slippery slopes very well. I get hooked so fast into a Netflix or HBO series, even if it’s dumb. When I hear myself saying I’m too busy for something that I know is essential for me (and only I can know that), I take a pause to see what the heck I’m doing to say such a thing. I’ve recently noticed that that’s all of our mantra: I’m too busy. We are ALL busy. I suppose we can tell other people that, but let’s not tell ourselves that.
It’s essential to know what to put first before your health forces it on you. It feels like a giant leap of faith, but it’s worth considering adding to your life something that will bring you energy, clarity, access to joy, the ability to relax, the courage to stand up to what is unacceptable as well as accept what is, and the strength to stop and take care of yourself unapologetically. Because when you can do these things, you’ll stop being overwhelmed and fatigued. And you can then unapologetically want and do for others without burning at both ends.
Discipline and motivation isn’t a real thing.
They are what we think we need to have in order to achieve things. What matters is your why behind the choices you make. My why begins with a negative statement: I don’t want to feel tired and depressed (anymore). I don’t want to be in continuous pain. I want my life (back). I want to be me. I want peace.
What matters is knowing your slippery slopes and your excuses so you know what you’re dealing with. You don’t need discipline. You don’t even need more time. Just an active desire to shift your head space out of what’s not working for you and to play curiously into what might.