It may be that the greatest difficulty in continuing with resolution or with intentional discipline is maintaining our vision.
It often happens that we embark on a grand venture and over time valuable details of the vision drop out of sight, until we find ourselves simply looking at an isolated decision to go through with a now meaningless ritual.
Disciplines toward greater health, whether spiritual or physical, are much the same. Thousands of people will gain a vision in each new year for a better version of their physical selves. These people will commit to a new pattern of living, and to the degree that they maintain their vision of and commitment to that reality, they will eventually succeed.
Those who do succeed will begin to address their undesirable symptoms with a set of new habits for their new selves. This regimen will most likely include a fitness element that seeks to tone, strengthen, or eliminate excess. A successful program will also add an element of diet; adding protein, raw fruits and vegetables, healthy fluids and a reduced consumption of excess and food that was never intended to be… well, food. The regimen could reach further though. We might throw in healthy sleeping habits in order for the body to heal and to recalibrate for efficient calorie use. We ought to consider reducing the amount of stress in our lives and allow regular periods of rest and healthy relationships; and the list goes on.
To succeed with discipline we must have a grand vision for what a well-rounded existence looks like, and wake up every day committed to that new reality, maintaining a vision of ourselves within that lifestyle after one week, one month, or one year. Commitment to our vision will strengthen our resolve toward each individual discipline, and every discipline where we succeed, new motivation will be found for subsequent disciplines.
In health disciplines, this dynamic of motivation is seen in the individual who exercises. Regular exercise quickly begets a need for right sleeping patterns. The body feels the need for sleep at certain times, and will not be ignored. This same person will certainly look at diet differently. Sitting down to a second dessert, a greasy meal or a meal void of nutrition will no doubt spark in their mind the realization that what they are about to do will negate everything that they just spent days achieving. The intent and effort invested in a discipline will only breed more of the same in a more complete and holistic fashion. It is the same with spiritual discipline.
To the degree that we engage in new habits and new disciplines with the intent to become new creations, we will gain greater vision for how all the components factor together and we will begin to experience new cravings and new priorities in our daily regimens.
We must not be 'that guy'; the one who began his discipline with someone else's vision, good intentions or a hope that could more truly be called a 'wish'. This man can only drag himself to the gym, go through the motions, hate the discomfort, despising the lack of change and every day losing his vision. Let us instead persevere, embrace struggle, learn to love the trials for what they mean for our growth and always, always keep our vision in order to create a vision for others and begin to live in a new and greater reality.
Yet for those who lack vision and see no hope, may they strive to be disciplined in one area consistently and intentionally, knowing that becoming our new self in only one small area will spawn new maturity elsewhere over time.
~ T. Brygger