Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Habits and discipline

I got thinking this morning about the difference between a habit and a discipline. Sometimes we use them like synonyms, but I'm not sure they are the same. It seems to be that while some argue that it takes around 90 days to develop a habit, it only actually takes one day to break it. We're talking good habits here, bad habits take minutes to develop and years to break!

And therein lies the conundrum. It doesn't seem to matter if I spend 3 days doing a good thing or 100 days, it only actually takes one day to break it. Bad habits are easy, they come quite naturally to most of us. Any good habit I form lasts only as long as I am disciplined about keeping it. When I lose my disciple, I lose my habit. That holds true for a forehand or a eating habit or a fitness goal.

So I've sort of given up on the idea of developing good habits, and now I'm trying to focus on being disciplined in the way I do things and the choices I make. In fact self-discipline is the only habit I want to develop deeply in my life. If I have self-discipline then maybe I have what I need to continue to make good choices, whether that's in nutrition, fitness, learning or spiritual terms.

Perhaps this all sounds like playing with word to you, granted that might be the case. But discipline is about facing each day and the decisions it brings with the same attitude. It doesn't rely on doing what I did yesterday except in the sense of choosing to make a disciplined choice rather than an undisciplined one. so today I chose to have a flapjack. That decision will inform my choice tomorrow, as will having been to the gym and for a swim. I don't look back and think I haven't been for a while, why bother to go. I treat each day as an opportunity to choose again and to be responsible for and in control of the choice I make.

That is discipline not habit in my opinion.

No comments: