No getting around it, some things simply require hard work. Consider, for example, the last time you tried to break a bad habit such as giving up sweets to lose weight, quitting smoking, spending too much time on the computer or watching too much television. Or, think about your most recent efforts to start a new exercise program, eat more healthy foods, save more money, or spend less on frivolous things? How did you do with it? Difficult, isn’t it? I know, I’ve been struggling lately to shed a few pounds, but unfortunately my appetite and the poor eating habits I’ve developed are not being particularly friendly companions in my efforts.
Self-discipline is perhaps one of the most difficult and challenging of all human endeavors. Although some appear to have more will-power than others – and I’m in awe of those who do – everyone struggles with it at some level because we all have weaknesses. In recent decades entire industries have evolved around these issues of self-discipline from multimillion dollar diet and exercise businesses to personal trainers, therapists, support groups and twelve-step programs. And while many have certainly proven to be highly successful in helping people overcome weaknesses and addictions or otherwise improving all kinds of healthy habits and lifestyles, ultimately the success depends upon the desire and hard work of each individual.
As the old American Gospel song says, “You gotta walk that lonesome valley; you gotta walk it by yourself. O nobody else gonna walk it for you. You gotta walk it by yourself.” And that’s what makes self-discipline such a difficult challenge for us because when you get right down to it “you gotta walk it by yourself.”
The Creator did after all grant free will, and by doing so gave us the ultimate responsibility for our actions and self-discipline. In other words, we gotta walk that lonesome valley by ourselves. And there’s no getting around it, some things simply require hard work – which is how we become the best at who we were created to be.