What Is the Secret to Self Discipline?

Are you ready for some things in your life to be better?

When I was in high school, I injured my ankle pretty badly playing soccer. Back then we didn’t have an awesome athletic trainer on staff, so I did what any red-blooded teenager did in those days – I kept playing on it.

It was terrible. Pain shot through my leg if I kicked the ball the wrong way or made a quick plant and cut.

When our season ended (because you know I had to finish it), I underwent ankle reconstruction. The surgeon tightened a ligament, and I was good as new!

Well, I’m sure you know that’s not exactly what happened.

The surgeon DID repair my ligament, but the next several weeks were far from easy.

I was non weight bearing for two weeks. Then, the surgeon put a hard cast on my leg just in time for my high school graduation and senior trip to Florida.

Yeah – in case you missed the gravity of that situation, I had to limp across the stage to get my diploma and wear a trash bag on my leg to hang out on the beach. Anyway…

Then I completed several weeks of physical therapy that summer to get prepared for my freshman year of college soccer. Eventually, I was able to run and play again…eventually.

I learned a lot about myself and about the process of change during that time.

The first thing I learned was this——–

If I wanted to see results, I had to be and stay disciplined.

I know, I know! Nobody likes to hear that word discipline, but there’s really no way around it.

Webster.com defines discipline as

self-control: restraint exercised over one’s own impulses, emotions, or desires.

The problem, though, is that too often we think about this more stringent definition of discipline –

punishment: severe, rough, or disastrous treatment.

We can quickly turn into the child who isn’t getting her way when we have to exercise restraint. When we can’t have what we want when we want it, we cross our arms and stomp our feet. We think of delaying satisfaction our immediate desires as punishment.

Think about the time(s) you stepped on the scale and didn’t lose as much weight as you thought you should have. Even though you consumed more calories on your “cheat day” that you did in the 3 days prior to that. (No, I’m not spying on you.)

Or, you haven’t been doing your strengthening and stretching exercise regularly, but you stick your bottom lip and furrow your eyebrows because your knee pain isn’t better.

Those are situations that require focused discipline. Day in and day out, we must delay instant gratification of our fleshly desires and think big picture.

What is the goal you see in front of you down the road? And, what will it take to get there?

The first step to reaching that goal?

Change your mindset and your beliefs about discipline.

Stop thinking about it as punishment and adopt the beliefs of the author of Hebrews:

“No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.” – Hebrews 12:11

No discipline is pleasant. Like I said, I want what I want when I want it, and I’m sure you do, too. I don’t always want to put in the hard work or put off the immediate gratification something else may provide.

But, what you and I must remember is that this discipline has a purpose. We take steps day by day to exercise restraint over those impulses that hinder us from reaching our goals.

When we stay disciplined, the long-term pay-off will be worth the short-term pain.

So, what is it you want to change? What is your goal? What do you need to do today to instill discipline in your life?

Find some friends to help keep you accountable, and stay the course. It will be worth it in the end.

Your DoAhead Friend,


About Adrian Jessen

Adrian Jessen has worked as a Physical Therapist, Certified Athletic Trainer, and Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist for over 14 years. She is currently pursuing a Master’s in Life Coaching from Liberty University. Her passion is helping women reach their goals! That’s right – Adrian’s passion is YOU! Her desire is that you would realize that your goals of physical, spiritual, and mental health are so much more achievable than you ever dreamed. Adrian is a monthly contributor to DoAhead Woman but you can receive weekly inspiration from Adrian by visiting her at www.adrianjessen.com.


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