Character Chats

What is discipline?

Here at True Balance Karate, we have a comprehensive character development program called True Character, and this month we’re talking about discipline.

My name is Master H. I am the head instructor here at the studio.

I have two master’s degrees in education, and we have designed our curriculum to meet the needs of every student walking in the building, whether they’re three or 83. That’s how our curriculum is designed.

Last month, we talked about goal setting. Goal setting and discipline go hand in hand.

We cannot achieve our goals without our discipline.

Discipline breaks down into 3 steps

What is another word for discipline?

I’m sure many things have come to mind, but the one I want to touch on today is willpower.

Your discipline is your willpower, and we can break that down into three smaller steps.

And for parents, this is a great way to explain it to your child because they can better understand what they want — and from that, what will they do and what won’t they do to get it?

The three steps are: “I want”, “I will”, and “I won’t.”

Now, the want is our goal. What is it that we want to achieve?

Our will, obviously within the name of willpower is what will you do to get there?

And I won’t, what’s the stuff that’s going to get in the way? What’s the stuff that we need to avoid? That is our won’t.

Example of the three steps

When we are using these three parts of our willpower, it’s putting our discipline into action and helping us achieve those goals.

So, let’s break it down into some simpler terms.

I personally have a goal right now of drinking more water. I want to drink more water, therefore I will keep track of what water I’m drinking.

I will put a rubber band around my glass every time I take a drink from my water bottle. I will keep a log, journal — something like that.

I won’t grab coffee before water. I won’t grab soda. Those are the kind of things that fall under my discipline and I have been working on this particular goal since January 2nd.

Why? Because I wrote out my whole goal on January 1st and figured out how I was going to put it into play.

I have kept a journal and I have been putting it down that way and making sure that it happens.

One of the little cheats, just as a side note, is that I like lemon in my water. So when I cut up the number of slices of lemon I need for my water throughout the day I’ve already kept track of it, because now as my lemon gets used up I know I’m that much closer to my goal. (Just a little tip.)

Put in some “I” rules

Your willpower is how you show discipline. You have wants, so what will you do and what won’t you do?

Now, along that way we also need to put in a few rules. We call those “I” rules. Not “eye” like your eyeball, but “I”, as in, “I personally will not break this rule.”

I personally will grab water before I grab coffee. I know, I know, some of us really need coffee. It helps that I don’t like the taste of it, but I will grab that before soda. Those are examples of “I” rules.

As we’re talking with our kids about discipline, one of the things that they fully, fully understand is the idea of whether or not it is okay to hit someone.

Sometimes they get upset, they get angry, they express to you that they want to find a way to control their emotions a little bit more, or their anger a little bit more, or the ability to not hit somebody anymore.

In this case, the “I want” is: “I want to not be angry” or “I want to not be sad.”

The “I will” might be: “I will take some calming breaths,” “I will breathe deeply,” “I will get help from a grownup,” or “I will go read a book or walk away.”

What are some things that we can put in place to help them demonstrate what they want to do? “I won’t hit someone.” “I won’t scream and yell.” “I won’t throw things.” Those won’ts become our “I” rules.

They become those things that we will not allow ourselves to do so that we continue to demonstrate our discipline and we achieve our goals.

Apply discipline to achieve your goals

So, if you look back on any goals that you have set in the beginning of the year, how can you apply discipline to those goals?

How can you apply your willpower to those goals?

It’s not difficult. It just takes a couple of very simple steps.

Outline to yourself what you want. Write down what you will do to achieve it. Write down what you won’t do to achieve it.

And then all of a sudden you have your I rules. You know what you want and you know how you’re going to get it — and you are practicing discipline.

Thanks, and we’ll see you on the mat.