As someone who served in the military, I have a pretty cool relationship with discipline. I hated the army with a passion, those clothes so impersonal, then the idea of imposed discipline, of doing something, somehow, on command, without meaning, without logical explanation, just because someone said so. Maybe we all reject rules, imposed discipline when we are young.

But with time, I brought the idea of discipline to myself, I integrated it into every day. But it’s the discipline that I impose on myself, which makes sense because life has shown me that without effort, without certain sacrifices, we don’t get very far.

Here are some ways in which this self-discipline manifests itself:

I get up early – not because it comes naturally to me. I was an early riser until about 15 years ago. After that though, I found it hard, when I force myself to get up I wish I didn’t. Sometimes, when it’s been hard for me, I’ve thought of a friend, an acquaintance, who gets to the gym at 7am, then goes to the office. With that thought, I would recompose my will and my body and start the day. If others can, surely I can get up at 5.

I drink hot water with lemon, tea, even when I don’t feel like it. In summer, when it’s so hot in the morning, I wouldn’t drink hot water. But hot water with a little lemon is good for digestion. So it’s become like brushing your teeth.

I go to the gym even if sometimes I don’t feel like it. I haven’t started long, it’s true. I’ve had attempts in the past. But now, when I’ve pushed myself to stop giving up, to take better responsibility for my own well-being, I let go of the laziness, the lethargy that’s been plaguing me, the thought that I have a lot of work to do or that I could be reading during that time, and I go to the gym. I work afterwards or before, I do it all, perhaps with more energy, with more ease, after the sport.

I regularly read literature because I want my mind to always be in a select company. Everyday life can sometimes come with dullness, lack of inspiration, mediocrity, pettiness. The great books of the world, like music, like painting, can serve as a lifeline for our almost kneeling spirit.

I go far away from time to time because that’s how I reposition myself, inspire myself, recharge myself with good energy.
Yes, I know I’m still me there and at home, I know what it means to run away from yourself. It’s not about that, it’s about seeing other people, other places, other habits. At the intersection of these and my thoughts maybe other ideas come out, maybe I see things differently. It’s always worth it!

I call my mother twice a day, in the morning and in the evening. Since Dad died, I rarely don’t call, unless I’m really late or in a different time zone.

Needless to add, I’m always taking care of beauty appointments, manicures, monthly talks with the shrink. I think the inside and the outside deserve attention too, especially when you are no longer of the age where all people are beautiful. Sometimes, when I’m not in the mood anymore, I imagine I’m my own puppeteer, I play with the strings and pick up the tired, angry, unwilling puppet and take it where it needs to go.

How do you self-discipline?

Georgeta Dendrino