It's 2am and this is my sixth attempt at this damn post.
My first try was yesterday morning before my run. My second try was right after my run. My third was after reading an email from my coach. The fourth try woke me up at 2am, or never really let me get to sleep in the first place. I've started and erased it two more times. The topic is self discipline, and it all boils down to this: The way we do anything is the way we do everything. Maybe that's simplistic, but it certainly resonates with me. Where goes my running there too goes my writing, and they've both been suffering lately.
Self discipline is defined as: the ability to pursue what one thinks is right despite temptations to abandon it. I've been thinking about this a lot lately and then yesterday my coach, very kindly, pointed out that I'm lacking discipline in my workouts, and it's true. I can tell you why I think I'm lacking self discipline. I can tell you why I think it's underdeveloped, and I can tell you how I think I got here. But at some point, and I'm at some point, it doesn't really matter. What matters is where am I going to go from here?
The answer, for me, is in the synonyms:
self-mastery - control - restraint - self-restraint - will power - strength of will - firmness - firmness of purpose purposefulness - strong mindedness - resolution - resolve - moral fiber - doggedness - persistence - determination - tenacity
As I was running through the list I was feeling a little smug: self-mastery, strength of will, firmness of purpose, strong mindedness...I identify with all of those. I don't think I'm deluding myself; I think those fit. Resolution, resolve--Resolve? Moral fiber, doggedness...ut oh. Those don't fit. I do possess qualities like strong mindedness, but resolve is another matter, another level. Noun or verb, that is what is missing for me. I have not been resolved, or had resolve, to do all of my workouts. Resolve indicates that no matter what, barring injury or illness, this is happening because it matters. Because I matter. Running, for me, provides forward motion and insight for all the pathways in my life, so to prioritize running is a matter of self respect. Add doggedness (stubbornly persevering) to that resolve and, as my coach would say, I'm going to move that needle of progress.
So, where do I get this resolve? The other characteristics of self discipline seem to be things you acquire or nurture or grow. Resolve seems like something you decide. I can feel that word in my body when I say it. It's beyond the reach of my desire to analyze, and I think that's a good thing. I can't put it on a list, or plan it out, or think it to death--I have to decide it, feel it, and act. Somehow the idea of it simplifies everything, like Nike's brilliant campaign JUST DO IT.
It's curious to me that the two things that bring me the most satisfaction and joy and meaning are the two things that lack resolve. Well, no more. If it's just a decision then I decide to put these two things that I love and that serve me, first and foremost. "Resolve and thou art free," said Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.
Let's see where this goes.