Discipline . . .

Get into the car, drive down into Waynesville, go inside, up the stairs, and to the treadmill—each action, separate yet one, propels me to the start of my goal. The goal being: to jog/run five miles. I know once I’m on the treadmill, I still have to reach a certain point before I know I’ll make it. Two and a half to three miles into it, I’m pretty set, in the zone so to speak, and will continue on to that five mile mark, sometimes with the feeling I could keep going (and I probably will when time allows).

Even as short a time ago as April of this year, I never thought I’d run five minutes (seriously), much less five miles. Used to be, only walking on the treadmill for a little while drove me up the wall. B O R I N G. I wanted to be doing something else. And to run or jog? Bleah!

But, I made up my mind I wanted to start running. I wanted to see what I could do if I just disciplined myself to it. So, I jumped on the treadmill and hit “quick start” and then began. I first ran as long as I was able without letting myself think on goals of how long or how fast. I just jogged along until I thought I’d had enough, and without berating myself at all (no berating!), I’d step off. Then the next time, I went at least as long as that, or maybe a little longer. Once I felt comfortable with the action, I began to set small goals, and built on them.

In my getting on the treadmill and keeping my eyes forward and my feet moving, it wasn’t long before five miles “just happened.” I added some music, and that helped the time move forward, for I had something to focus on besides my breathing and the sounds of my feet. I also found the pace at which I can go where reaching that five miles is attainable.

All of this takes Discipline. Without discipline, I’d never have reached, or even known I could reach, those five miles and the promise of going more if I choose.

Do I sometimes get a little restless? Yes. Do I sometimes have back pain? Yes. Do I sometimes want to Not Go and do something else. Yes. But I do it anyway. Some days/nights my back complains loudly, but I ignore it because this is something I want to do—the running. Some days I think I won’t make the five miles, so I tell myself to just get on and see what happens, and then I keep going past that point where I’m almost ready to give up.

Discipline. It’s the same concept with writing. Sit in your chair, open the word document, put your fingers on the keys, begin, and then when you think you want to stop, keep going, find that second wind, and every so often, push yourself just a little more. Perhaps you’ll surprise yourself with how far you can go. Perhaps you’ll lose yourself in the words and language and before you know it, you’ve written more words than you’ve ever written.

Without discipline, it’s difficult to be a writer. Even with deadlines, so much of what we do is self-motivated, and beyond that, we are never certain of a final outcome. If we do not jump onto that treadmill and put one foot in front of the other, over and over and over, then the work will not be done. Without discipline, the work is not done. Simple as that.

Are you ready to discipline yourself?

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PS – My youngest brother Tommy (some of you have “met” him here before – and he’s the one who is in the shadow pictures below) is in the hospital – keep your thoughts positive for him, will you? We think it’s something minor, but anytime someone has to go to hospital . . .

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