The Discipline

I planned to sleep in this morning. I had nothing pressing on my schedule until 11:00AM, when the only class of the day meets at my gym, Crossfit Signal 20. I had a "2-a-day" yesterday, where I run in the morning and workout in the afternoon. That means no morning run today. So today was perfect for a nice, slow-paced morning.

I was wide awake at 5:30AM. And that's after staying up later than my planned bedtime by nearly 3 hours watching Korean gangster films. After all, I was going to sleep in, right? I could spurge on a little late night frivolity.

Only, my body wasn't in that mode. My body has taken to The Discipline. The training I've put it through has taken hold. And I don't mean the workouts or the running or the way of eating. I mean the schedule. In bed by 11. Asleep before midnight. Awake at 5:30. Out of bed before 6 (I gotta get some morning Haggis-doggie cuddle time). Every day, 6 days a week.

It's in me now. Part of my wiring. As are the other things I mentioned. I cannot eat confections or even put cream in my coffee now. It tastes weird and messes with my stomach. If I miss a morning run on a scheduled day, my body hates me. I will put off just about everything else in my life to ensure I get into the gym in the evening. I'll meet you before. I'll meet you after. you can join me there. But I'm going.

I write. All day long, every single day. I jot notes and phrases the way an artist sketches thumbnails in a sketchbook, or a musician hums bars. I join my friends at bars, breweries and happy hours and I have water. I don't even crave the taste of a beer. I don't miss it at this point.

This is my life, every single day. No exceptions. If you don't miss one day, you can't miss two. The Discipline has taken hold, just as I knew it would.

But it wasn't always this way.

Just 18 days ago, I was working out every day, and eating like shit every night, usually accompanied with several beers or drinks. I would miss a day at the gym, and think "I'll make it up tomorrow." Waking up in the morning to run with my sister was not just a chore, it was a Herculean task -- for HER. Texts and phone calls would go missed before I finally gave in and agreed to do it.

Of course, once I was there, I had fun. But getting there? Yeah, no.

Writing was still part of my daily routine, but nothing at all meant for public consumption. That muscle was atrophied after more than seven months of nothing. Of course, there's a very good reason for all of this. But reasons and excuses are just words you put around "I didn't do it."

Now, all of these things aren't bad. Eating what you want isn't bad, when you keep it in moderation and work out. Drinking isn't bad per se, with the same limitations. Taking a break from writing isn't bad. When things get bad is when you start making excuses in your head for all the reasons your life sucks, and they all pertain to a lack of doing what you know you should -- and you keep doing it.

That's where The Discipline comes in in my life. For the longest time, I kept WANTING to make a change. So I did just enough to show I was doing something. But the change I really wanted was taking control of my life. I dragged my feet on it, because I knew it required sacrifice, and I wasn't quite ready to get rid of all these security blankets and teddy bears yet. I was already wired to seek comfort from rich foods, alcohol, laziness, avoidance and distraction, because I TRAINED MYSELF TO.

So, I decided it was time for a reboot. I Cut the wires in my brain that connect "pleasure" to things like distraction and avoidance, and rewire them to things like self-confidence, self-image, fitness, creativity and feeling good.

It took about 15 days before it really clicked. Those 15 days weren't hell, and they weren't difficult, and they weren't even sad. I had headaches, and my back hurt in the morning when I got up to run, and it took me a while to warm up to the idea of all of this, but I'd made my mind up. I made a decision.

Making a decision is cutting the wires. And those 15 days were rewiring.

Now, the good news for me in this current iteration is that I already have a "fitness base" that allowed me to take on this regimen, and I already know enough about nutrition to change my diet in a healthy way, and I already have a reader base and platform to publish my writing again. But it's not about being any sort of upper echelon badass.

It's about the process. It's about taking control. It's about owning your life. It's about saying "This is for me. As much as it fucking sucks, it's MINE, and no one can take it from me." When I reach my goals, I will have done so through The Discipline and my victory will be ever so sweet, because I fought for it.

And there will be a LOT of fighting for it. But the hardest battle was won the day I made the decision and snipped those wires in my brain. I don't have to fight myself to fight the run, or fight the fatigue from the workout, or fight the writer's block, or fight the urge to eat pasta made from bacon or whatever.

I've got The Discipline. The wires have been connected. My mind is now encoded to love this shit. My body will operate accordingly. That's what The Discipline is all about.