Skip to content

The Key to Discipline

Rules are NOT meant to be broken

Why do they have rules in elementary school?  To teach discipline and provide structure.  Without rules, there is chaos.  Does your life feel chaotic?  Here is how to bring discipline and structure to your life. (And a few warnings to keep you out of trouble).

To be disciplined, you need rules.

To live a healthy lifestyle, you need regular exercise.  To stick with regular exercise, you need discipline.  The stricter the rules, the more disciplined you will be.  The more disciplined you are, the more you will exercise regularly.  The more you exercise, the more FIT you will be.  The more FIT you are, the healthier you will be.  See how nice that circle flows:-)!  yeah baby!

Write your OWN rules.

Rely on a coach, personal trainer, friend, doctor, family member, or me and you might as well go to detention now.  Rules should be specific and doable.

Make 1 to 5 rules you will not break.

Remember our motto, PLAN and DO.  A rule that works for me may not work for you.  I have a rule that I will follow my exercise plan unless I have a fever of 101 or greater.  So if I have a cold or feel a bit under the weather but do not have a fever, I still work out.  (And always feel better afterward).

Your rule might be, “I will walk 20 minutes every day of the week outside or on a treadmill between the hours of 5am and 10pm.”  Specify the time of day but if you know your schedule changes and prefer the flexible time frame, no problem.

Follow the rules without exception.

The KEY to my physical fitness is discipline to exercise 6 days a week.  But what IS that?  Commitment?  Desire?  A fitness plan?  Hiring a trainer?  Signing up for a race?  A declaration?  Goal setting?  NOOOOOO!  Discipline is the process of making the rules and following them without exception. Never change the rules at the time you are supposed to be following them!

After you write them, decide when you will review them again, say in a week or a month.  I suggest a week when you are just getting started.  Find you don’t like one of your rules after a day, tooooooo bad.  You’ve made ONE week commitment.  You might feel differently in a day.


“But there are always exceptions, come on!”  

Exceptions OR excuses–call them what you want, the result is the same.  You didn’t get it done.

I ran 19 miles the morning of my mother’s funeral.  I ran 12 miles before my daughter’s 8am soccer game that was an hour away from our home.  In both cases, I was training for a marathon at the time and that was my plan.  I did not break my well established rules even under these conditions.  Short of a dire, sudden emergency, I do not break my rules.  (By the way, I will never forget how close I felt to my mom during that run and it certainly helped get me through a very tough day).

Breaking rules is glorified.

Our society celebrates the breaking of rules–look at reality television.  Lack of self-discipline means having fun.  By watching these shows, we can feel better about ourselves and our “standards” because we aren’t THAT bad.

Rules have gotten a bad rap.  

Does “rigid”, “bossy”, “controlling” and “inflexible” come to mind?   BEWARE, flexibility is used as a justification for lack of follow through.  This is a trap— catch yourself before you fall into it.

Be prepared to be criticized.

It is tough to be around disciplined people. Discipline is a skill that takes practice and most of us want it without the practice. Deep down we know disciplined folks work hard but it’s easier to just resent them.

Be positive. Reach out a hand. And continue following your rules. Don’t let others undermine your mission.

Living by rules tells your brain who’s boss.  You can’t get to the moon taking detours.  

"The pain of discipline is far less than the pain of regret." Sarah Bombell


(Only posts delivered right to your inbox)