One thing about learning personal discipline relatively late in life that (I wonder) if people think about is the fear of losing it.
Growing up, I was always a very principled kid, but definitely not a diligent or disciplined one. I’d put off homework and assignments to the last minute, I’d barely study, and just count on my native smarts to carry me through tests, classes, and challenges. So, for a bright kid, my grades sucked. Hard.
I don’t think I really gained self-discipline until culinary school and deciding to get in shape. For culinary school, it was finally the chance to do what I wanted. I knew how much I screwed up in school until then, and I wasn’t going to whiff this one.
In terms of getting fit, I had seen in myself and the health of loved ones that this really was self-preservation. I was angry, I had the time and energy, and (to start with) I was spiteful. If we could get spite to turn a generator, the energy crisis would be solved, and the ultimate renewable fuel source would be Twitter.
Willpower, self-control, and self discipline are like muscles. You have to work on them, gain them, develop them and train them- or you lose them.
The good news is, the more you “flex” your discipline, the more you want to.
The bad news is that, when you stop, you need to get them back.