Discipline Over Quality

As a fan of exercise, I’ve really not had much trouble finding the discipline to follow through. 

But that was not always the case. 

Much like you, my tendency was to push for a complete, quality-oriented exercise routine every time. I was that guy, that if I felt lousy, I might not work out because I couldn’t give it my all.  And not feeling well might have been as little as being tired. Which was a fine excuse.  If I can’t do it right (quality); I’m not doing it.

Bad philosophy.

If I’m a runner used to running 5 miles every day, and the weather is 5 degrees with wind chills in the -20s, do I still go out and run? Not likely, though there are some crazy ones out there who would.  No, I’d stay home and skip the day.  Stupid. There’s a much better option.

Why not just do something at home – as little as jogging in place for 10-15 minutes?  Or just some good old-fashioned calisthenics?  Do I get the burn? Do I get the benefit of 5 miles? Doubtful. But it’s a placeholder – keeping my discipline in line because I did not miss. That’s the key – don’t miss.  Even if you cannot do it the way you’d like, don’t miss. The habit is in the consistency, not the effort. You can adjust effort once the habit is clearly set.

If I can’t read 20 minutes in the morning, 10 minutes will have to do, or even 5 – because I still honored the idea – not through quality, but through committed and disciplined action.

If I can’t make the 30 cold calls I committed to today, rather than doing nothing, do something. Make 10 calls or 5, or even one if that’s all you have. Just do something to honor the commitment.  

Discipline beats quality every time. Ask the sprinter or the marathoner who’s best.  Well, a sprinter might challenge the answer, and at times it would pay to be the sprinter, but most would pick the marathoner. Because life is much more of a marathon than a sprint, thankfully.

And, in fact, the marathoner can occasionally sprint, but the sprinter will never occasionally run a marathon.