Tuesday, January 3, 2012

On Resolutions and Discipline

It has been awhile since I have written a blog and something has come up in my life that has inspired me to jump back on the wagon.

I have now been Crossfitting for a year and 4 months.  I have been seriously engaged in "taking control" of my fitness for 3 years.  I started with Monkey Bar Gym in Lodi 3 years ago today pretty much.  I had to make two trips to the bathroom because I was that certain I was going to vomit from exertion.  Now, in my previous life I would have quit because it was too hard.  But, for reasons that I have illumined in previous blogs, I came back again and did the class another time.  And it was still hard.  IN fact it was painful.  I was sore all the time and felt like a pile of crap because I was using light weights and moving slowly.  Why didn't I quit and go back to bicep curls, bench presses and back squats with 5 minutes between each set?  Because for as bad as I felt, I also had hope.  Because I saw who I really was through the refining fire of having my backside handed to me at these workouts and I didn't like it.  But I also saw who I could be.  And my trainer Greg saw it too.  And he told me that all i needed to do was to keep showing up and working hard.  In a word, all I needed was discipline. 

This is probably one of the more maligned words in the world.  We think of discipline and instantly thoughts of nuns with rulers fill our mind.  We here discipline and we think of the weed pulling in the garden we had to do because we DIDNT do some other, and more often than not, easier chore.  We think of harsh coaches named Bear and Vince screaming at their bedraggled players that "Water is for the weak!"  We think these things and we shudder.  Because life tells us it shoudl be easier.  8 minute abs!  A full body workout in 4 minutes!  (Sidenote, now that I have started crossfit I realize that those two products are realities.  They are called Annie and Fran). 

So what's a word we Americans/ Humans like?  Hmmm.  I've got it.  Resolution.  We frickin LOVE resolutions.  I have been making them since I was old enough to pretend to knwo what the heck the word meant.  Interestingly enough, I only ever made them on December 31 of each year.  That is after all when you make such things.  Resolutions. 

Every year as we celebrate the passing of another year, and more importantly prepare to welcome the beginning of a new one, we human beings are filled with hope for what is to come.  We are reminded of the promise that every day brings.  The promise of the new.  "This year will be different!" we say with vim and vigor.  We resolve to do a great man y things, all of them good.  This is the year I get married (please people for the love of God stop it with this one.)!  This is the year I lose that weight! (For the love of GOD people, please make this the year you actually do it!)  This is the year I get my finances straight. (More on this later).

Whatever it ends up being, we resolve it.  We throw away the ho hos, join eharmonminglematch.com and cut our budget to that of a third world share cropper and off we go into the inevitable happy sunset because...we...have...resolved it!

And then Jan. 3 rolls around and you are starving because it turns out man does not live on rice and hormel chili alone, you really like hoho's and were/ are in fact addicted to them and those first 5 dates with 5 different women in the first 2 days of the year just didn't go as planned since your new budget only allowed the two of you to walk through snow to a park and sit still.  Oh and your married by the end of the year conversation was exactly the best idea on a first date.  Nor was your emergency fund of ho hos in your coat pocket. 

The point here is not to belittle resolutions. Resolutions are great.  3 years ago I was resolved that I wasn't going to be a fat piece of crap anymore.  And aside from a few set backs, mostly self induced, I have come a REALLY long way in achieving that goal.  But that joyous fact of my life took more than a resolution.  Some brilliant person who's name no one knows once said" The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step."-Smart Person PhD...life and awesomeness.  

THAT is what a resolution is.  The first step.  Now in many cases that first step is momentous and rought with immense implications and struggle.  The first step of leaving an abusive relationship, battling an eating disorder, finally getting help for the depression that has been ruining your life despite the fact that people you love think depression can be prayed away.  HUGE first steps. 

But it can't end there.  "A journey of a thousand miles is going to take more than one step and a lot of those steps are going to be through some pretty crappy territory and many of them may even hurt a lot." Me.  M Div and certified industrial truck driver (Think heavy duty segway).   

That is where so many of us stop though.  We take that step, that couple steps towards incredible life changing awesomeness and then it starts to suck.  We almost throw up twice in the first work out.  We realize that we can't lift a 45lb bar from our shins to our chin without feeling like, well what do you know, we are going to vomit all over some guys driveway (my first wod was brutal...for crossfit kids).  

I seriously used to be that guy and quite honestly I still am.  That's why I am writing today.  I am a a cherry picker.  I like to be disciplined at the things I like.  I love crossfit so I am very disciplined with doing my workouts.  I hate eating well so I am TOTALLY not disciplined at eating what I should be.  I LOVE LOVE LOVE buying crap so my finances are a total disaster zone. 

Discipline.  I have started Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University and man, in three lessons I already have realized what a disaster I am financially.  It's a miracle I never had my legs broken to collect a debt.  Thanks mom!

Crossfit has taught me incredible discipline and the ability to "fight through the suck" and I am going to need that in the coming months and years of my life as I try to right the ship and build a future for me and my russian bride Svetlana.  Apparently she likes walks on the beach and "whatever you want me to like so I can get a green card."  It was love at first profile view.

Seriously though.  I need more discipline in my life.  I don't spend enough time talking with Jesus.  I don't spend enough time reading about Him.  I don't spend enough time telling the people I love that I love them.  All because those conversations can be hard.  The can be uncomfortable.  They can be like doing Murph Rx'd and without partitioning.  But they need to happen. 

A verse came across the screen tonight as I was going through one of my FPU lessons. 

"No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it"  Hebrews 12:11.

There is some pain coming for all of us.  Hard decisions.  Huge first steps that seem like they might as well be 1000 miles.  But we need to take them.  We need to take those first steps and all of the steps that follow because it will produce a HARVEST of righteousness and peace for those who do so.  Not just a little garden friends.  An entire harvest.

My resolution for this year?  Do what needs to be done.  My prayer for this year?  The discipline to do it.