The Discipline Myth

Byron Bay... The Discipline Myth AND Construction Metaphors


I just got back from a “mini-break” up in Byron Bay last week which was SEN-sational!! Very tough to come back to reality though I must admit ha ha


It’s incredible how much you can adjust to the pace of your environment after a short time?

With no rushing, laying horizontal in the sun and the only hectic part of the day being when I had a surf… the old body and mind really down regulated to “Byron Time”.


So landing at Melbourne airport on Friday was like a punch in the (proverbial) face… I couldn’t believe the difference in energy. Just incredible – chalk and cheese.

Everyone seemed to be rushing/late and angry?! It took me a good 48 hours to adjust and in that time nearly had 2 car accidents ha ha


Anyway it is such a beautiful spot up there – didn’t see a cloud for 5 days and I haven’t been this brown since 2003 when I used to hit the solarium (keep that between us… I was a young man making a lot of poor choices at that time)

As I said the week off was very relaxing… the diet did definitely go out the window though and obviously no training or anything whilst I was away. I drank beers every night and pretty much ate as I liked.


You also probably don’t want to hear this but I tend to lose weight when I go on holidays… ha ha strange yeh?

I realise most people experience the opposite effect – but I think it’s because I don’t eat as much?? I probably sleep more as well?? Either way I lost 2kgs in a week.


This week though (back in Melbs) I’ve been getting back into the old eating patterns and returned to gym and training on Monday.

Mondays session made me feel like I hadn’t trained in 2 months!?! ha ha geez I was sore!!


As I limped out of the gym it made me think that our bodies really are systems that rely on continuum and repetition. That’s (essentially) what our body responds best to.

So when you do have time off (although much needed in my case) this disrupts the sequences and routines your body is accustomed to in terms of both food and movement patterns.


Your body and mind likes repetition and it is in a constant state of flux adjusting to whatever activities we do, what food we eat and how we think. It’s trying to develop efficiencies with our behavioural patterns.

This is also true when we stop doing things (eating well, exercising etc) as I did when I was away – AND in the space of 6 days I lost conditioning in the gym and probably muscle (weight) that my body clearly decided I didn’t need whilst consistently lying around for 8 hours a day on the beach ;) 


Yep - there is no doubt when it comes to anything to do with your rig - if you don’t use it you lose it!


It really reinforces the point that when we want to refine our bodies through food and exercise we MUST do so by way of consistent repetition of task.

The way you look, feel, move and function right now as you read this is a direct result of what things you have been consistently doing the most of in the recent past.


For example…

If you’ve been consistently eating well, in a structured methodical way then odds are you’ll feel really good and be on the lean side.

On the other hand…

If you’ve been consistently making poor choices with your food, with no structure, no plan and eating whenever you feel hungry - then odds are you’ll be overweight or at least heavier than you should be.

It’s what we do MOST consistently that shapes and defines who we are. 


Don’t confuse Consistency with Discipline – I really hate that word!


Discipline doesn’t really exist (IMO) – its just CHOICE. It’s how you choose to spend you’re time.

Thinking about discipline as some sort of skill or attribute reserved for the lucky few (can) make us feel like it’s something we don’t possess – when the reality is all you need to do is choose differently.


You can right now choose to eat well, choose to move more, OR you can choose to eat poorly all the time, choose to do as little exercise as possible.

There’s no discipline in there at all… its just a series of choices that You/I/We all make.


There is no such thing as a more disciplined person than you… it just comes down to the differences in choice between you and someone else.


This perceived barrier (we can create for ourselves) between the disciplined and the undisciplined is imaginary.

It doesn’t exist.


So…back to repetition and consistency - there is one OTHER thing I realised this week…

You’ll often here the metaphor of building a house when someone tries to explain the steps you should take in changing yourself physically.

I’m sure you’ve heard this sort of stuff rattled off before…


First you lay the foundations, then the framework, then the roof, then the walls…

Forgive me if I got that sequence incorrect – I’m not the handiest bloke to ever walk the earth… ;)


In fact I have been known to call Hire a Hubby on occasion when I’m struggling with my latest purchase from IKEA… true story which I’m not proud of ha ha


Anyway I digress… ;)


This (building a house) step by step concept is correct but there’s one massive flaw when metaphorically comparing building a house with improving/changing the body.

You see you can start to build a house, and for example get the concrete slab laid, dried and finished.

Once the slab is finished - you can then drop tools for a few months (if you like). Completely walk off site.

Then, when you’re ready – you can come back and pick up right where you left off. That big concrete slab will be exactly where you left it in exactly the same shape.


You cannot do that with the body. You cannot "drop tools" for a few months and then pick up where you left off...


To build a house in the same way you would build/improve your body would mean you’d HAVE TO build it sequentially ALL THE WAY from foundation/slab right through to bathroom fittings in one loooong continuous project… no breaks, no smoke-o’s, no delays – wouldn’t the unions have a field day with that! ;)


In all seriousness though… you CAN’T start a healthy diet for 2 weeks and then come back to it 2 months later and pick up where you left off.

You CANT start any exercise regime for 3 weeks, have a 4 week sabbatical and then return to pick up the same weight, work at the same intensity or run the same distance.




AND - that’s precisely what makes this stuff so bloody hard… we have to show up each and every day and put large chunks of (healthy/positive) work together if we want to get a result!

As I’ve said in past artilces… this is REALLY unsexy stuff BUT it is the path we MUST accept, embrace and trust in to get where we want to be physically.


The sooner we can accept this stuff, get back to the basics of eating well, moving often and embracing the bodies unique ability to change within its own timeframes… the better we’ll all look feel and move.

Whether its meditation, exercise or eating well it all comes down to consistency.

What we consistently choose to do the most of will shape our lives for the better or worse.


Which has lead me to another thought around this “NO MANS LAND” a lot people find themselves in where they are “literally” THINKING or daydreaming about making better choices….

They are thinking that they might like to start eating better in a few weeks time when work isn’t so “crazy”, or when they have more time or after their holiday – or whatever…. sorry but that is ridiculous. Even writing that I’m shaking my head.

Sometimes you have to look at how you frame things to see them for what they really are.


Choices…. that’s all it is. What you choose WILL determine your outcome.


Be well