I have a tendency to make things more complicated than they need to be. This is especially true for things like working out or sticking to a diet.
“It’s time to work out, but I’m busy”, “I don’t feel like it, it’s not sunny and 75 out.”
“It’s dinner time, but I’m tired and don’t feel like cooking and cleaning up afterward. Let’s get pizza.”
“There’s a tough day ahead, busyness, stress so I don’t have time for prayer or to read scripture.”
The question that distills my complicated reasoning to the essence of the struggle is:
Which do you choose: Discipline or regret?
It’s really a simple choice at that point.
I first heard this from Andy Stumpf, former Navy Seal, on the Strong Life Podcast, and it really struck a chord with me. In the context of the Navy Seals, the choice is probably very clear and the consequences stark. You are either disciplined (train, train, train) or you will experience immediate regret (the loss of life to name one). The choice isn’t always so clear and immediate in our lives of relative ease and comfort. Ignoring your diet and eating that cinnamon roll for breakfast doesn’t necessarily translate to immediate regret. But continued indiscipline over time does.
“The alternative to discipline is disaster.” Vance Havner
The reason Andy’s statement resonated so much with me, is that I’ve never heard it put so simply and plainly before. This simple statement in the last few weeks has made it easier for me to do the tough things, the disciplined things. It can for you too. This isn’t just “Try Harder!” at the things that plague you or you fail at regularly. It’s a mindset change and a re-framing of the question of why you do something. But, It is like a muscle. It needs work to go with it. The more you workout your discipline muscle the easier it is.
Start the Discipline Habit
So how to start the discipline habit? Get an index card (or several) and write “Discipline or Regret” on it. Carry it with you, tape one to your bathroom mirror, put it on top of your bible, put one on top of your work out clothes, stick it to the fridge. Put one where ever you need more discipline. This will help to cement the idea in places you will notice it. Our brains have a way of complicating the decisions we make day in and day out. Your “Discipline or Regret” cards will remind you that it really is simple. Your choice.
“His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. 2 Peter 2:13
As A.W. Tozer said, “We must face the fact that many today are notoriously careless in their living. This attitude finds its way into the church. We have liberty, we have money, we live in comparative luxury. As a result, discipline practically has disappeared. What would a violin solo sound like if the strings on the musician’s instrument were all hanging loose, not stretched tight, not “disciplined”?
Life is too short to live carelessly.
What “complicated: choice do you regularly make that would be cleared up with the question Which do you choose: Discipline or Regret?