Self-Discipline Isn’t Emotional

“But I don’t feel like it.”

I don’t know how many times I’ve said that, heard that, or read that when I challenged someone to follow through on their promise.

How much of our life is directed by our emotions? How many times do we default to our feelings instead of our commitments?

Photo Credit: kaneda99 via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: kaneda99 via Compfight cc

I’m learning that self-discipline challenges me to take my emotions out of the equation. It’s not that emotions are bad or evil. They’re just fickle. They change all the time. And when I make a decision with the full support of my emotions, those same emotions often come back to fight against the very decision they supported.

I just can’t trust them.

This leads me to my next observation about the importance of self-discipline when I’m trying to accomplish something significant.

Self-Discipline Thought #2: Self-discipline doesn’t rely or depend upon emotions. It often works in spite of them.

It’s choosing to keep my commitments, follow through on my promises, despite excuses, emotions, and distractions.

It’s easy to say yes to something when everyone is cheering and I’m filled with anticipation about the possibilities. It’s like the start of a great race. Everyone feels the energy and the excitement. Everyone has high hopes at the start of a race. But if you’ve ever run in a cross country race, the early emotions soon fade and the crowds disappear. At that point, all that is left is the promise to run as hard as one can until you reach the finish line.

No one is watching. No one is cheering. It’s just you – focused on putting one foot in front of the other because that is what you’ve chosen to do. Your body hurts. Your lungs ache. And slowly, the little voice of your emotions tries to talk you out of doing the very thing you’ve worked so hard to achieve.

Self-discipline isn’t a choice one makes when he or she feels like it. It’s a choice to do the right thing and to do it consistently. Once you’ve made the choice, you and I need to make our emotions listen to us…not the other way around.

What do you think? Leave a comment below.

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