Tag Archive: Discipline


Any new goals folks?

This morning saw my old mucker Nigel and I head out on the bikes.  Now to be fair I have been putting in the miles in training (or so I thought) and was expecting a decent wee performance from myself.  As we pulled up at our starting point, the Scarva tea rooms, the fog was present and the temperature cold – 1 degree cold!

Nigel looking like a pro in his new HTC top hit the first mile like a bullet from a gun and naively I thought this was going to be short lived but after mile 5 I began to fear it wasn’t.  Using the scenery to distract myself I pushed on.  The sun was rising and the mist off the canal made for a very beautiful set of surroundings.  The dew covered the many spider webs surrounding us making the ground look like a patchwork quilt. The beauty was outstanding!

Portadown fast approached and I was delighted to hear Nigel agree to my suggestion of a wee break. I jumped of the bike and beat the magic beans into me hoping for something miraculous.  Meantime a solitary rower passed us on the canal and I was wondered if I could swap activity with her.  Nigel took a photo (above) and back on the bikes we climbed.  As we approached the footbridge a half a mile out of Portadown Nigel was talking faster than my wheels were turning and he took his eye off the ball. He took the corner too tight and the handrail of the bridge clipped his hip.  Off came Nigel still talking and thankful to say no damage was done. 14 miles came up and we were roughly at the half way point. I beat a banana down me and was praying the coffee shop which was showing signs of opening would draw Nigel’s attention but no we moved on.

By this stage my legs were showing the first signs of weakening and yet my ears reported hearing Nigel come off with the idea of doing a bit of interval training.  In denial I watched as he put his bike in a top gear and took off like bat out of hell. My legs choked and a response was not given.  Here was my first lesson of the morning.  Solo training is ok but really only if you discipline yourself to push hard.  No surprise then given my previous post on discipline that my month of solo riding was not delivering for me; on reflection it lacked the ingredients of challenge, speed and strength.

The last 4 miles my legs were close to absent and as we returned to Scarva I was grinding to all but a halt.  I’ve done 30 miles recently so why was this one so hard? On reflection this week has been half term with the kids off school and my diet has been ropey underlining yet another lesson from a previous post.  I need to eat better if I want to ride better.

When we stopped and packed the bikes away it was music to my ears to hear Nigel’s suggestion of getting some coffee.  It was an excellent morning which has left me hungry for more.  I need to address my fitness urgently and more importantly not because I feel I have to but because this morning has left me with the feeling that I want to. There is a night and day difference between the two and with that as my motivation I’m on the winning side of the equation.

A very good point…

Its about who trained the dog and how they treated it as opposed to what breed the dog is…

Why put off your good resolution?  Rise and begin this very moment and say, “Now is the time to be up and doing; now is the time to fight; now is the time to amend”.  When things go badly and you are in trouble, then is the time to win merit.  You must pass through fire and water, before you can come into the place of rest.  You will never overcome your vices, unless you discipline yourself severely.  Thomas Á Kempis

Thomas Á Kempis was a fourteenth century monk who’s writings are still widely read across the world today.  By this very fact alone it’s self evident that he has lots of valuable wisdom and insight to pass on to society.  Wisdom that is as fresh today as it was all those centuries ago when it was first written.  As I read further into his book today this quote jumped off the page as I’ve been recently thinking a lot about discipline.

I grew up with a mother who wasn’t disciplined and a father who was.  This is not a criticism in fact it often blended well and made the house both functional and relational.  However it’s perhaps time to deal with the outdated thoughts and concepts I have embraced concerning discipline. Somewhere in the depths of my mind I have a file labelled “discipline” and it reads as follows;

Discipline = Boredom, Stale, Restricting, Lonely, Cold, Lifeless, Joyless, Soulless, Rigid…

Just describing the above file and definition exposes some of the issues and archaic thinking that I have embraced and adopted as a child and nurtured as an adult.  My inaccurate and incomplete thinking of discipline has largely remained unchallenged and has heavily influenced my day to day living and approach to life.  If I’m honest the area it has had the largest impact on has been my relationship with food however it’s not been without influence in many other areas of my life.

Generally speaking it’s easier not to be disciplined and not to have to challenge oneself.  To date unless it’s something of great magnitude and importance I’ve chosen the easier path.  However as I approach my forties it’s time to review my thinking and update the file.  It’s time to wipe the slate clean and to renew my thinking.  It is time to mature and adopt a more purposeful and balanced approach. Perhaps the new file should read as follows;

Discipline = Productful, Essential, Costly, Challenging, Protecting, Preserving, Helpful, Tough, Loving…

Has our culture of instant gratification and greed been at the expense non commercial holistic self care?