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Discipline is the key to everything/June 29

June 29th, 2009

I have neglected some of my best habits and it is starting to show. My clothes are tighter and don’t look as well as I’d like them to. The two biggest habits I’ve let slide are: walking daily and not snacking between meals.

Both result from a lack of discipline in my life. I can blame the not walking on the strange spring and summer season (it is either raining or in the 90s). I can blame the snacking on — well, I guess I can’t blame that on anything. But the fact is, I have not been as disciplined in my habits as I’d like to be.

Discipline is the key to everything in my life.

* How and when I spend money

*What I put into my body (food, alcohol)

* What comes out of my mouth! (This is key in all my relationships, with friends, with family. What I choose to say, what I choose to leave unsaid. HOW I say things.)

*What and who I allow into my life and home (purchases, people, new clothes)

* How I maintain my household (from creating set routines for my children — to cleaning and organization — to making sure the dinner hour is sacred every night and a strong family tradition every Sunday — big family dinner!)

It seems whenever my life seems slightly out of whack, it all comes back down to discipline.

How does discipline affect your life?

  1. June 30th, 2009 at 07:20 | #1

    This is so true. I think discipline is the key to being a true adult. I struggle with this all the time, but I overthink it. Really it’s more simple than we make it out to be, it’s just implementing it on a daily basis that sometimes is easy to fall away from. Great post!

    I finished Lucia Lucia last night. Loved it. I will now have to seek out the series you mentioned.

    • Kristi
      June 30th, 2009 at 08:19 | #2

      Stephanie,
      The series is older so you could probably find it at a library. If you like the NYC angle, her latest novel, Very Valentine, was also set in the city. I loved this book even more because I have visited many of the places she talked about in the book. Trigiani called in to my bookclub meeting and told us that she really lives in the awesome apartment she describes in the book.

  2. Marsi
    June 30th, 2009 at 10:14 | #3

    This is so good. I have been working on my own discipline this past month or so — being more disciplined about leisure computer time so I can get my editing work done; disciplined about lifting weights 3x a week; disciplined about eating a salad for lunch every single day; disciplined about what I wear on my body and what it says about me.

    What you said about being careful about what comes out of your mouth reminds me of sometime I read a long time ago about the three most important words in one’s marriage: “Don’t say it.” ;o) The “I love you” is obvious, of course, but when I think about it, there’ve been about a million times in 19 years where I’ve wished I’d told myself “Don’t say it” and regretted not having done so — but then there are about three million times when I remembered “Don’t say it” and was happier for it. The small, petty remark, the witty comeback that’s also vaguely insulting, the scorekeeping, the “I told you so” — they are so tempting sometimes, but don’t belong in a loving relationship. My husband and I have talked about whether a particular action brings love into our relationship, or discord — and which do we choose? And what we do in marriage is also a good model for our conduct in other relationship that’re important, I’ve found.

    Anyway, didn’t mean to hijack! The idea of “Don’t say it” was triggered by your comments.

    This may sound stupid, but post-it notes help me develop and reinforce good habits, like going to the gym regularly. I have three in plain sight about the gym, and I swear that seeing them dozens of times a day has affected me by osmosis.

    Great subject today — lots of potential territory to cover.

    • Kristi
      June 30th, 2009 at 11:00 | #4

      Before we got married, a priest told me that the key to a good marriage was to remember five words “Be nice to each other.”
      Now I will also remember those three words “Don’t say it.”
      Over the years, saying “it’ has probably caused me more trouble than I care to admit.

  3. Marsi
    June 30th, 2009 at 12:35 | #5

    Your last sentence is true for me as well, Kristi.

    Ah well, we ARE working on our discipline, right?

    It seems to be “in the air” today, because here is another blog posting on the very subject:

    http://afemmeduncertainage.blogspot.com/2009/06/indecision-disparate-round-up.html

  4. July 1st, 2009 at 07:24 | #6

    I loved this post and reread it throughout yesterday. Even when you think you have a bad habit licked, it can creep back up on you so easily.

    I’ve been slack about my eating habits lately, and the same laziness is starting to creep into my exercise and writing. Thanks for reminding me that discipline makes life easier – not harder. It isn’t a bad word.

    Marriagewise, I really took one of Anne Barone’s tips to heart – “Give up the need to always be right.” Both the dh and I have know-it-all tendencies, so it was tough. However, righteousness just isn’t worth bruised feelings.

  5. Cynthia
    July 2nd, 2009 at 08:32 | #7

    That red T looks very chic – just relaxed, not sloppy or ill-fitting. The necklace pulls it together. As does your fabulous posture!

  6. July 7th, 2009 at 15:10 | #8

    Love this post. I have been lacking discipline these past couple of weeks and I am starting to feel the effects. I have been so busy with work and family visiting that I neglected to take care of me. I need to return to sensible eating and exercise.

  7. Kristine
    July 14th, 2009 at 18:45 | #9

    Lovely post regarding discipline, thank you. I have had an ambivalent relationship with discipline most my life. When I was younger I was disciplined to the point of being unhealthy and anal about it which resulted in self-loathing. Within the last 10 years, I’ve veered in the opposite direction. It solved some issues, but created others. Now I am working (feels more like struggling) to have a core of discipline enhanced with healthful spontaneity and all encompassed with a loving acceptance of myself as I am right now at every moment. My thought is that formula will result in tranquility (I hope 🙂

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What is it about those Italian women? You know the ones I’m talking about: beautiful, sexy, dressed to the nines just to take the kids to the park. They have a certain something that is indefinable. It is in the way they dress, the way they prepare their meals, the way they spend their leisure time.

It is because they know the importance of la bella figura. Roughly translated from Italian, it means putting you best foot forward in everything you do. It means cutting a beautiful figura. The opposite of la bella figura is la brutta figura, which is what someone might say about the falling down drunken guy at the party or the super tackily dressed woman at church. It means ugly figure.

La bella figura is much more than your appearance. It goes much deeper than that. It is about how you act. It is about how you treat others. It is about how you care for yourself, your home and your family. Living a life in line with la bella figura doesn’t take money. In fact, it is more about how to have class without a lot of money.

Someone who exudes la bella figura will have clean, pressed clothes and be well groomed. They will not be rude or sloppy. Their fingernails will be impeccably groomed. Their hair shiny and clean and their shoes will be polished. They will not have stray threads hanging from their suit hems. They will not be driving a car in need of the car wash.

La bella figura means driving that 15 year old car and meticulously cleaning it and caring for it. It means keeping your belongings in good repair. It means taking time to clean your house and not cluttering it up with meaningless objects.

When you focus all your spare energy, time and money on the things that bring you the most amount of pleasure, then you are truly living a life in line with la bella figura. The best part about it is that you don’t have to be Italian to do so. You just have to think like an Italian.

Italian children are raised to present la bella figura in whatever they do. From the time they are small and are groomed perfectly to attend church or school, they know that appearances count. They count because it is the first thing people judge about you. That first impression does matter. Appearances are also important because when you take the time to look nice, you are showing that you care about yourself. When you care enough to look good, it shows you have good healthy self esteem. Nothing is more attractive than self confidence.

In addition, dressing nice also shows respect for others. If you invite people over for dinner and greet them in flip flops, baggy sweats and a stained shirt, it is really disrespectful to them. The same if you dress sloppy to go to church or even to the market. By dressing nicely and being well groomed, you show respect for everyone in your world.

Having la bella figura means presenting yourself in the best light possible in all your interactions.