Daring Dictionary Discipline Debut

Today’s writing prompt was found on Pinterest.  It calls for me to pick a random word out of the dictionary and write a story that starts with that word.  It took a lot of discipline to pick the FIRST word.

(Honestly, I didn’t. I knew better. I’d end up picking the best word on the page. So I asked my kids to pick it for me. I have no idea if they cheated or not. Come to think of it, there was a ton of giggling involved. Hmmm…)

The idea is from Sarah Selecky as part of her daily writing prompts email subscription. (At least, that’s what the URL leads to. Since the pin is clearly from that site, it seems like a good guess. I’m not familiar with her blog or email subscription, but it looks pretty cool.)

All week, I’m writing to prompts I found on Pinterest. Most of them are from prompts designed for school-age kids. This one isn’t, but it could be.  If I were in 4th grade I could have fun with this one.

Ready to find out the word my story starts with?



Discipline isn’t a word I normally apply to myself. If I were making a list of my top 100 strengths, I’m not sure that self-discipline would even make the cut.  Neither would self-control.

And yet… I suspect I’m too hard on myself.  Increasingly, I wonder if I’m not giving myself enough credit.

It all started on an ice day, one of the ones with lots of hype and very little ice.  The kids were home from school and the somewhat limited childcare hours at my gym made it impossible for me to work out at the gym.  Walking outside in the cold and slick wasn’t an option.

But I had promised myself to stick to my work out schedule – no matter what.  In the quest to rehab my knee and regain my the strength and stamina, I’ve had to adopt a “no excuses” policy for working out.  It would have been easy to find reasons to just curl up in a warm chair for the day, but somehow I found the discipline to get up and move.

discipline defined

I walked.

I walked around the kitchen island about 1,000 times. I walked around and around and around for a solid thirty minutes. My pedometer told me I’d walked well over a mile without ever leaving my kitchen.

Each lap around my kitchen, I passed the same little bowl. I had left it out for my chocolate-crazed son in a vain attempt to avoid baking. It hadn’t worked. He was holding out for hot chocolate chip cookies and I didn’t blame him.

Every time I passed that little bowl, I saw the chocolate chips. I wanted them. I could practically taste the chocolate when I looked at them.  I even looked up how many calories there are in chocolate chips.  (There are 60 calories in 25 chocolate chips.)

It became a game. I wondered how many times I could pass those chips without eating one.

(That’s about like asking how many licks it takes to get to the center of a tootsie pop.  You know the outcome.)

After about ten laps, I caved. I popped a chocolate chip in my mouth and let it melt as I kept walking.  It was worth it.

I did some math in my head.  Five chocolate chips have 12 calories.  So each chip is about…. 2 calories.  That’s practically free.  Tracking just two calories would be ridiculous.

The catch? I’d put out a quarter cup of chocolate chips for my son.  That’s more like 200 calories.  Uh oh.

Yes. I was looking it all up on my phone as I walked around and around the kitchen island. I was running scenarios in my calorie tracking app to make sure I had enough calories left for dinner.  I really wanted that chocolate!

In the end, I ate about 20 chips. The bowl was over half full when I finished.  I booked the chips in my app, even though the 50 calorie total seemed pretty insignificant.


Lots of discipline there.

I made myself walk.

I looked up the calories.

I resisted the chips.

I tallied my food intake honestly.

The whole thing made me take a step back and take a hard look. I’m much more self disciplined than I give myself credit for.

And that disappointed me.

Being honest, a lack of discipline is a great excuse.

I can’t resist that chocolate cake… I just don’t have enough discipline.


I’ll give in to the impulse to buy those new shoes on sale… I don’t have the self control to stay on budget.

and even

I’ll skip cleaning the house today. I’m happy reading this book. I don’t have the self-control to put it down and start dinner.

See what I mean?

Claiming a lack of self-discipline is an awesome cop-out. I use it as an excuse to do whatever I please. It sounds so much better than saying

I don’t feel like being a responsible adult, I’d rather act like a spoiled brat.

i am a brat

But ever since that chocolate chip day, I’ve found it increasingly difficult to claim a lack of self-discipline. In my head, I’ve heard the lie for what it was.  As hard as that was for me, it’s had some amazing benefits.

My house is much cleaner.

There’s more money in the bank.

I’ve lost a few more pounds.

It feels like there are more hours in the day.

I feel better about myself.

It turns out, I have a lot more discipline that I give myself credit for.

I still don’t feel comfortable calling myself a self disciplined person. The label feels weird – like I’m bragging. My life doesn’t quite match up with my vision of what a self disciplined life would look like.  But I’m working on it.

Do you see yourself as disciplined?

If you joined me in today’s writing prompt, I’d love to hear about it.

 (This felt a LOT like a Five Minute Friday exercise, except without the supportive community or the timer.)

Get social:
Susan Baker
I have a passion for encouraging weary worn out mothers to find joy in everyday motherhood and peace in unlikely places. I have two elementary school boys, one nerdy husband, and two cats. I have a strange fascination for bad puns, the color pink, socks, and books. I worry about running out of toilet paper, wine, and chocolate.. I serve an amazing God. I live an ordinary life filled with wonder.
Susan Baker
Susan Baker

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  1. Ah, me too. I have very little discipline.
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