Cultivating Self Discipline
Season 2 Episode 4
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Hey there, welcome to season 2 of Discovering Breadcrumbs. This is a part of the Cultivate Project, a once a month project where I explore practices and mindsets we can cultivate for growth. I started this as an exploration of lettering art and illustration. As I created the art, I discovered words that flowed out with the art. This podcast is the place where I share those words. You can see the art in the link below. And I’d love it if you followed along in my journey by signing up for my weekly emails.
Those emails are kind of like a road trip . . . they include adventure, good music, some wrong turns, a couple of right ones, and maybe a snack. For real though, it is a journey, this artist thing and I share what I learn, the potholes I encounter, and the processes and paths I take. I’d love to have you here with me.
It’s where you’ll see behind the scenes of the art process, you’ll receive opportunities to purchase new work available only to my subscribed collectors, you’ll get special sneak peeks and for each collection release, we celebrate with free shipping for you. Oh, and you have access to a library of free downloads that include bookmarks, digital background wallpapers (there are more than 15 to choose from right now), and monthly calendars (you can get this art as a calendar right now) and I added a 2023 planner. You will love it, I promise.
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Picasso once said “Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working.” Which brings me to the idea of self discipline. Without it, I’d never improve (in any area in my life) and it’s probably my favorite tool in self care. And it does have to do with self care. Because when you love yourself, care for yourself, you do things that are good for you or that will take you where you want to be. You can’t keep doing this though without self discipline. It is what will keep you going when the hard hits, or the inspiration and motivation are lacking. And as you create, work, do things because of self discipline, you’ll find yourself moving past the ruts, past the hard parts and back into momentum.
When I was coaching cross country, I’d have my athletes run up a steep, long hill at almost a sprint only to jog back down and do it again. Hill repeats, or more aptly named by my athletes, hell repeats, were the worst. They hurt, they make you tired, they make you want to quit. They make your legs so sluggish, you begin to believe your knees gained 20 pounds each. Two things my kids always wanted to do: first, they wouldn’t use their arms to help them up the hill. As a side note, using them would take some of the work off their legs. Try running up a hill without using your arms – it’s harder than using them. But in their tiredness, they would lose their form and forget to use their arms. Second, they wouldn’t continue the almost sprint all the way through the top. They’d slow way down a few meters before and almost walk through the top.
So, I would stand at the top of the hill and encourage them to run through the top of the hill, using their arms. Every person who came through every single time heard me telling them to run through the top and use their arms. One day, one athlete asked me at the top why I stood there and told them the same things over and over. I told him I was his coach and had to tell him over and over so that in a race when I wasn’t there, he’d have the self discipline to do those things as he crested a hill. He’d be ready and would fall back on his training in the tough time at the top of a hill, causing him to rely on self-discipline.
It’s the same way with art, with being an entrepreneur, with life. You have to look at what you want to accomplish, what you want to be like, what goals you want and then apply self discipline. It is what will get you through the hard parts. It will make it easier to not give up. Because we should know this, but great things don’t come suddenly.
Discipline is the work you put in when no one is watching. It is being accountable to yourself. It is at times being the coach at the top of the hill and the runner just trying to get through.
So how do you work self discipline into your life?
Finding a coach is always helpful but sometimes it’s not worth a coach but it might be worth an accountability partner or maybe just a friend to encourage you along the way and to keep you on track. Want to lose weight, then having a friend you report your workout to is an easy way to start. It doesn’t even have to be a person maybe it motivates you to write it down everyday and see the streak in order to keep going. In other words, use someone or something that will encourage you along the way to build the habit and discipline of putting in the work.
You may fall off the wagon. But that’s ok. Often, I fall off the wagon on creating art everyday, but because I’ve put in the work previously, I know I can get back in and not have lost much towards my goal. Same goes for running. Even though you may stop running for a week or even 3, if you just put the shoes back on and go out for a run. You’ll be surprised at how well your body responds. It may take a moment to get back in the groove but you won’t have lost much from all of the previous runs you did. All the work you do builds on itself and it’s harder to tear it all down than you think.
So when you are faced with a failure in the process of reaching for a goal, know that all that self discipline can get you back on track.
This brings me to the fact that self-discipline is all about you. You are responsible for your own discipline. And it takes setting in firm commitments that you will build your discipline on. Make them a priority and don’t back down on those. This means you can’t say no to your discipline in order to avoid conflict, to help someone else out, to be liked, or to be of service to someone else. And you certainly can’t blame anyone else.
Once you have the commitment in place and begin utilizing self-discipline, you’ll find it becomes a routine, a habit. And often it’s hard to break a routine.
Welcome to Discovering Breadcrumbs and the Cultivate Project – the inspiration for this podcast.
Hi! I’m Mary Kathleen Scott the artist and printmaker behind Breadcrumbs Studio and the voice here at Discovering Breadcrumbs. My encouragement and thoughts to begin your creative day.
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