The Value of Discipline

We’ve all run across people in life who have huge dreams and ambitions, but always seem to be in the same place they were the last time we saw them.  Why is that?  Are their dreams and goals unrealistic?  Are they just incapable of reaching them?

I think most of them are 100% capable of reaching their goals – the problem lies in taking consistent action to move themselves gradually toward that goal.  For instance:  if my goal is to be a chef, I’m never going to get there if I just talk about how much I want to be a chef while munching on microwaved Top Ramen and watching Chopped on Netflix.  

The same goes for any goal, whether it be academic, athletic, professional, or purely personal.  Dreams very rarely come true without some action on the part of the dreamer.  When I was growing up, my parents told me that I could be whatever I wanted to be, and I believed them wholeheartedly (still do!).  But they also made sure I knew that “wanting” to be something wouldn’t be enough if I wasn’t willing to put in the work necessary to reach that goal.

How does that apply to the gym?

Strength training has done a great deal for me physically – it has also allowed me to coach, to compete, and to enjoy new sports and activities at a relatively high intensity.  However, those physical benefits pale in comparison to the mental benefits.

Pretty much anyone can go into the gym on any given day and pick up some weights and put them back down.  Will that one day alone help them reach their goals?  Not in any meaningful way.  

BUT, if that person continues to go into the gym and pick up that barbell, day after day, until the days turn into weeks, and the weeks turn into months, the weights will eventually start to feel a little bit lighter.  That person might start to notice a change on the scale, or in the way their pants fit.  Or, more along the lines of what we do at SISU Strong, maybe they start to notice just a little less arm pump or a little more endurance on their board or bike.  

Your goals, whatever they may be, will only be achieved when you are ready to commit to consistently and relentlessly pursuing them, day after day,  week after week, month after month, and year after year.  That means you need three key things:

  1. Discipline – this is simple.  You have to commit to your goal and put in the work, day after day.  Even when you don’t feel good.  Even when you’re tired.  Even when you’re friend is having a pool party and you really want to go because it’s the last day of summer and you just got a new bathing suit and all the cool kids are going to be there and blah blah blah.  Discipline means mastering your impulses and emotions and focusing on the task at hand. 
  2. Work Ethic – if you want to reach your goals, if you have to be willing to put in the work.  That means not just showing up, but training with a purpose.  You can’t just go through the motions every day, never challenging yourself, and expect to make real progress.
  3. Longsighted-ness – according to my word processing software, this isn’t a word, so I guess that means I created it.  This is basically the opposite of shortsightedness (which, confusingly, is somehow already a word).  You have to have the willpower to sacrifice your short-term comfort and convenience for the sake of your long-term goal.  If you want to be great, you have to be willing to do what others are unwilling to do to get there, and realize that it still won’t happen quickly.

Strength training will give you all of these things.  If you don’t have them, you will acquire them or you will not succeed at getting stronger.  

You don’t get stronger by showing up just when you feel like it.  

You don’t get stronger by just going through the motions.

You don’t get stronger by stopping when it’s inconvenient or uncomfortable.

Above and beyond the physical gainz, this is what we do at SISU Strong.  We develop these qualities.  We show our athletes, particularly the younger ones,  that through discipline, drive, and dedication, they can and WILL reach their goal.  Those are lessons that will stay with the athlete through their athletic career and for the rest of their lives.

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