When discipline backfires

Have you ever said, “I just need to be more disciplined”? OR had someone else tell that to you? Especially in relation to food, working out, or career success?

Oy! My entire life I’ve never done well with discipline.

In fact, there are a couple words/phrases in my kdo dictionary that people closest to me know not to say, ever.
1) Ridiculous. 2) You shouldn’t feel that way. 3) I don’t think you can do that/pull that off. 4) Discipline.

Instantaneously, I spit fire (love fire, but still fire).

The word discipline feels like I’m grinding, forcing, striving, and working really really hard in an uphill battle.

For a while I thought it was just me having issues with the word… but then, I looked up the definition.

Definition of discipline: “the practice of training people to obey rules or a code of behavior, using punishment to correct disobedience.”


Training people (like dogs?).
Code of behavior (set by who?).
Punishment (body retreating, hells no).
Disobedience (am I 4 years old again?).

Very little about the definition of discipline is FREEING.

Instead, let me introduce a new word that may change some things…


Definition of devotion: love, loyalty, or enthusiasm for a person, activity, or cause. Faithfulness, fidelity, constancy, commitment, adherence, allegiance, dedication.

Quite a different feeling than discipline, huh?

There is no perfection in devotion. There is no punishment for someone else’s standard. It’s uncovering our own standard and becoming loyal to our true, wild, brave, beauty-full, aware, and ALIVE selves.

Try this on for size today: Ask “how can I be devoted and loyal to my true self and needs today?” instead of “how can I be more disciplined today?”

More devotion, less discipline. You’ll get to where you want to be faster and be a whole hell of a lot happier. <<< Click to tweet this.

>>>>> In the comments  below, I’d love to know one specific way you can be more devoted and loyal to your true self today.

Devoted to devotion,




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7 thoughts on “When discipline backfires

  1. Thanks Katie! What a beautiful way to describe what we should be doing to nurture ourselves to our healthiest state…devotion! Today I devote myself to eating healthy and putting physical
    activity back into my day!
    This was the reminder I needed to reignite my passion I feel when I am devoted to my practice of eating healthy, and practicing my hot yoga! Now if the snow and ice would stop in New York so I could get busy!

  2. Today I will stop using the word discipline. Being self-employed I beat my self over the head with the self-discipline 2 x 4 every day. Adding this new, beautiful, empowering word “devotion” is not only going to change my day… I believe as it did for you may change my life. Thank you!

  3. So good Katie. One of my words for 2014 is Devotion. Love the way you parsed the difference between discipline and devotion. Leading people to trust and choose via love not fear. Thank you!!!

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