Forbearance and Discipline. By: Beth Whalen, Certified Personal Trainer

Forbearance is the act of deliberately not doing or saying something when you could do or say it. This involves being kind, tolerant, and patient. Discipline is to train by instruction and practice, especially to teach self-control. Of course, forbearance and discipline go hand-in-hand. I am really good at forbearing on others behalf, but not having that same grace upon myself. The truth is, we all want to control our lives.  When we acknowledge a weak area that needs to be transformed or changed, we tend to not trust ourselves to make the change. I know I have to change the way that I think, the way that I eat, the way that I exercise, and the way I view myself in order to obtain my overall health and wellness goals.

The Importance of Discipline

I have been running for 15 years.  Looking back through my journals and workout logs, they give me insight and a better understanding of the way I think, act, and react to circumstances in my life.  Forbearance and discipline were key principles in my success as an athlete.  I needed patience and tolerance toward myself because very few times did I completely surrender to the plan and finish it to completion. My patience and tolerance paid off when I ran with perseverance and faith in believing I was going to break my own personal record.  Discipline was very important.  I had to do the work; I had to stick to the plan no matter what life threw at me. I planned my day around my training and not the other way around.  I had to make many sacrifices and give up a lot of things that were fun but not conducive to my training.  I cut my late night hang-out sessions with my girlfriends to a minimum in order maintain balance and structure.  I was easily tempted and led astray, but I had a dream and it was my dream.  If I was going to live it out, I couldn’t live just like everyone else. The desire on my heart was mine for the taking. 

Today, forbearance and discipline apply to our exercise.  Exercise has been scientifically proven to have physical and mental benefits.  If we exercise on a regular basis or get some kind of physical activity every day, we’re more likely to feel better, look better, and be healthier.  Whether our goal is weight loss, happiness or more energy, daily exercise can help us get there. And let’s show forbearance toward ourselves—we are worth it, and we will get there!  We’ll need discipline because it feels like we’re making a lot of sacrifices compared to the way we used to live.  Now we’re waking up a little earlier to hit a work out; not going back for seconds just because it tastes good; and going home a little earlier when we go out with friends.  But we’re gaining happiness, energy, endurance and strength, less disease, sleep, a longer life…and of course, weight loss. 

In college I found being patient, kind, and tolerant easier than being disciplined. Saying “No” to cookies my roommate just baked; and “No,” to girl’s nights out was a difficult task. But I knew I had to put myself in situations where I wasn’t tempted to not train: to not fuel my body with energy rich nutrients; to not get a proper nights rest.  I wanted to so badly to just be like everyone else, but I wasn’t.  I would be happy living that way for the moment but it wasn’t sustainable because the plan for my life was so much greater than that.  I disciplined myself and obtained my goal, but I also gained forbearance and understanding to help others do the same thing.

Forbearance Toward Others is Key

Today I am blessed to work with both young and old, and have found we all extend forbearance towards others, but not necessarily to ourselves. Forbearance and discipline will always be key to meeting our goals. My passion is to watch each individual overcome their obstacles mentally, physically, and emotionally.  We all want to trust the plan, but we struggle with believing and accepting we are worthy of the transformation.  It is not easy to say no to eating the bag of skittles and soda like the girl in the cubical next door or the ice-cream the rest of my friends are grabbing. There is power in controlling oneself when provoked or offended. For some of us forbearance can seem like “long-suffering,” as we tolerate the circumstances to allow ourselves to be transformed inside and out. Most of my clients that are disciplined are fully confident I can help them achieve their goals, but may struggle with being kind, tolerant, and patient with themselves. We all have our struggles and need to practice. I believe we are all capable of holding back and enduring as we obtain and reach our goals!

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