I recently wrote about “not taking No for an answer”. I don’t like to hear other people tell me NO. But I’ve learned that telling myself No serves me well. By denying myself in the short term, I earn the greatest rewards: long term happiness, fulfillment and self confidence.
Discipline is the foundation of a life created by design not by chance.
With discipline we get the trim body, the balanced bank account, and healthy gums.
With discipline, we can get anything really…anything worthwhile.
By telling ourselves hundreds of small Nos, we make room for the bigger Yeses.
No to the chocolate tonight, Yes to jeans that fit beautifully.
No to sleeping in, Yes to exercise and healthful living.
No to the anger outburst, yes to having control over one’s own thoughts and choosing love instead.
Each time we say No to that which is clearly bad for us, we make space for more goodness to enter our life. Right now, this is what I’m saying No to:
No to negativity: I want to focus on what’s good: what’s good about life, what’s good about people, what’s good about myself. If I have nothing nice to say, I say nothing. Simple? Yes. Easy? No. Worth it? Absolutely.
If I don’t keep a close watch, I can easily let resentment and lamenting take over: “Life is hard. I have too much to do. It’s not fair.” My own little tantrum.
This kind of thinking creates a vortex that sucks joy and happiness from life.
It’s true that I have a lot to do. It’s not true that my life is hard. I am healthy. I have a great family. I run the business part time from my home and on my own schedule. I nap most days. I am blessed with modern comfort: a washer, a dryer, electricity, running water. Oh and I can poop. In light of what my husband is going through after enduring a total colectomy last year, really, that is reason enough to celebrate. It is a matter of perspective.
No to juice: I love fruit juice. Drinking Concord Grape juice takes me back to the summer days of my childhood. Picking grapes fresh from the vine. Feeling the tartness and the sweetness as each perfect purple bead burst in my mouth. I love drinking something sweet when I eat but wanna know what I love more? Being fit. Being lean. And skinny jeans. Juice packs too many empty calories. Drinking it does not get me closer to my goals. I’m tricking my taste buds with lemon or mint flavored water. It’s not grape juice but it does the job.
No to nighttime munching: It’s 8 pm. The kid’s finally asleep. I’ve been on my feet for 14 hours. All I want is plop on the couch, turn the TV on and eat whipped cream covered chocolate sauce. So I did…for a while. Not a good idea. I’ve stopped eating after dinner and after just a few days of cravings, I’m surprised at how easy it is now. I still indulge in chocolate once a week, during the day, and that’s more than enough. At least that’s what I’ll keep telling myself.
We are the clay.
We can let our circumstances and bad habits mold us, shape us, dent and scratch us as we’re tossed around haphazardly with no clear destination or we can determine who we want to be.
We are the clay AND we can be the Artist.
Self discipline is the chisel we dispose of to chip away at our flaws and weaknesses.
Self discipline aids us in the creation of our master piece: our best selves.
Next week’s essay is titled: “6 months post colectomy surgery, looking back”. Subscribe using the widget below and it will be waiting in your inbox as soon as it’s published.