Self-Discipline has a bigger meaning than most truly know. It is common to define self-discipline as “self-control” but that is not what it means. In fact, by my standards, relating self-discipline to “self-control” is an insult to the functioning power of self-discipline that commands and assures accountability unlike the simple “choice” of self-control. Now self-control is a part of self-discipline, but it IS NOT the key element!
The key word in self-discipline is, “DISCIPLINE”! And let’s be honest, what does “discipline” mean??? …PUNISHMENT! Yes and it is the punishment part that is the key element to REAL self-discipline! How you ask? I’ll explain. When we don’t do what we’re supposed to, or we do something that we’re not suppose to do, we are supposed to issue a PUNISHMENT to our-self that outweighs the reward that we received for stepping out of line. This discourages us from doing the act over & over again.
The “punishment” side of self-discipline has been so forgotten that even the DEFINITION of self-discipline leaves it out! Here’s the definition of self-discipline.
“SELF-DISCIPLINE”: -the ability to control one’s feelings and overcome one’s weaknesses; the ability to pursue what one thinks is right despite temptations to abandon it.
Now here’s the definition of discipline.
“DISCIPLINE”: -the practice of training people to obey rules or a code of behavior, using punishment to correct disobedience.
We MUST ask “why” did the word “punishment” get removed from “self-discipline?!?!? I’ll tell you why I think it has been removed. To soften the term and make it more politically correct to use. So now self-discipline is about choosing whether we “feel” like having self control or not, instead of about being accountable and punishing our-self when we screw up. This makes self-discipline way easier to participate in and claim as a noble way of life than it did when punishment was the actual deterrent. The new way can still be effective but not half as effective as the true, old way.
TRUE self-discipline allows us to create a system that instills us with sincere power to trust what we will or won’t do. It instills an inner relationship of untarnished integrity that is accompanied by real self-confidence. Here’s a personal example of mine:
I used to eat ice cream twice a week until I noticed that I was gaining too much weight. I knew I had to stop but I LOVE ice cream. So I established a punishment that outweighs my desire. I promised that if I had ice cream more than once a week, I would have to add no less than 2miles of running to my regular running routine. (for the record, I am not a fan of running. I only like the results that it gives!) And it is because of this self-discipline that I have now developed the self-control to eat ice cream probably once every 2-3 months!
So if you want to get the full impact out of self-discipline, don’t rip out the punishment. It will allow comfort in failing that will punish you worse than you would have punished yourself.