The “D” Word

I just set my intention for 2023: Mental Discipline. That means, I’m going to consciously and rigorously make sure my thoughts are positive, uplifting, and loving (especially to myself).

I proudly shared my intention with a few friends. Their reaction was less than positive.

“That’s awfully harsh,” one said.

“Doesn’t sound appealing to me,” said another.

I wasn’t surprised. Clearly, the word ‘discipline’ tripped them up.

I sometimes wonder if most people instinctively recoil from discipline, like a kid ordered to eat veggies. It may be good for us, but damn it, we’re not going to like it and we’ll try anything to get out of it.

I love the word discipline. I truly do. In my experience, discipline is essential to a happier, richer life.

Unfortunately, discipline has been given a bad rap…perhaps because most don’t understand what it really means.

Oprah described it beautifully, talking about how she lost weight

“I used to pray for discipline. I thought if I prayed hard enough and long enough, one day I’d have it,” she wrote. “But it wasn’t until I made the decision to be true to my word that my prayers were answered. I began to work out every morning whether I liked it or not. And before long I started to behave and look like a disciplined person.”

As Oprah demonstrates, the word Discipline (which comes from the Latin root ‘disciple’) actually means ‘being a disciple unto oneself.’

Which is exactly why I’m determined to practice Mental Discipline. As I discovered from studying neuroscience, our actions, especially our habitual behaviors, derives from how we think.

 I vow, this year, to become my own biggest fan, viewing myself in the very best light. I vow  to be kind to myself when things don’t go well and gently encourage myself to do  what I may not be keen to do, but doing it anyway knowing how happy it will make me.

In my world, mental discipline is a source of pleasure, the essence of power, an act of self-love and the very heart of a life well lived.

How do you think applying discipline to your thoughts will help you succeed? Leave me a comment below.

Comments & Feedback

  • Martha Lynn Mangum

    Hi Barbara,
    I love your emails and I particularly love this one on discipline. What a beautiful reminder to have the courage to honor and love yourself!! I wish you the very best day, week, month, and year to come!
    My best,
    Martha Lynn

  • Mary Stephenson

    There was a time making the bed seemed like an unnecessary chore, as no one was coming to visit. Then I read that doing something everyday for 21 days it becomes a habit. But in order for it to work I needed to make a time to do it that I couldn’t say, oh well, it will get done later. So before I left the bedroom in the morning I took time to make my bed (my mother would have been proud, lol). Now it has become a habit that I rarely think about. Then I needed to do stretching exercises for my back. Also it was something I needed to do and now do it before I leave the bedroom in the morning. And again before I get in bed at night. No excuses and it has become 2 habits I do because I feel better because of it. I think we just have to find out what serves us best for mind, body, and spirit. It no longer becomes a chore.

    • barbara huson

      What a great story, Mary. I’m inspired…you got me thinking of all the things I hate doing and how I could turn doing them into a habit…just like you. Thanks for sharing it with me.

    • Lisa


      I’ve got into the habit of making my bed, too. I usually do it when my hair is drying. I don’t know why, but the whole day goes right when I do this and so do my weekends. I know there have been studies about the correlation between bed making and successful people.

  • Lisa Johnston

    Thank you Barbara,. I always enjoy, appreciate, and learn from your posts, but this one really hit home –especially the Oprah quote and the definition of discipline. I am a very disciplined person in most ways, but have a bad money habit that I’ve prayed (without success) to overcome. I plan to write this out and commit to reading it before engaging in habits that hurt my relationship with myself and my confidence. Thanks for all you do, and wishing you all the best in 2023!

    • barbara huson

      Thank you so much for this wonderful response, Lisa. I’m delighted you liked this blog, found it helpful. I’m curious…what money habits, in particular, do you want to change?

  • Lisa

    I start the week days with 500ml of Evian or any other high quality water and about 6 different vitamin tablets. This is a discipline I’ve been able to stick with for years. My health is the only thing I’ve really got. I drink green tea 🍵 once a day. My husband’s grandmother is turning 104 this year and swears my it! She said she just doesn’t feel like she’s supposed to die soon. She’s very disciplined with her arts and crafts. It keeps her busy from morning to night!

    I’m trying to work harder at avoiding mid afternoon and after lunch snacks! That’s were I need more discipline!

    • barbara huson

      Wow, Lisa, you’re so disciplined with your health…I can see how your grandmother would inspire you. She inspires me!!! I have a feeling if you put your mind to it, you’ll quickly get in the habit of not snacking. Good luck!

  • Elizabeth Johnson

    I love this! It feels so aligned and deeply caring. Thank you for sharing. What a wonderful year it will be. 💗

  • Valerie

    Such a lovely blog post. I believe discipline brings balance to life and it is a key skill to develop to be successful in all of our goals.

  • Jeannette Chavez

    Discipline to me is keeping me focused on my intentions, goals and dreams. It’s an essential characteristic to possess and exercise.

    • barbara huson

      I love the way you expressed this, Jeanette. Discipline does keep me focused…it absolutely is essential.

    • Lisa

      Hi Jeannette,

      I’ve been accused of being “controlled and rigid” and unable to “go with the flow”, but I know I’m not. I just like to have a loose plan and a few little disciplined habits to get the most out of my day, week, month, year and life! It really helped during Covid. The person who said this sure doesn’t have a problem receiving money, gifts and charity from controlled and rigid people when her life is full of chaos due to her lack of discipline when it comes to saving and spending.

  • Jeannette Chavez

    Discipline to me is keeping me focused on my intentions, goals and dreams. It’s an essential characteristic to possess and exercise. Thank you for your insight

  • Pamela Bell

    This email really stood out for me. First the idea of practicing mental discipline sounds tough, however like you I’ve found joy this past year by being more disciplined in areas of finances, exercise and it’s been amazing to see the results! Being disciplined makes me feel more internally rooted, and I’m interacting with the world much better now. Thank you Barbara for being such a great guide and mentor. Happy New Year and continued peace and prosperity to you and yours!

    • barbara huson

      I love everything you wrote, Pamela. The results ARE amazing when you practice discipline. And I DO feel more internally rooted, though I never would’ve thought to describe it like that, though it’s true. Thank you for taking the time to write this. I wish you a very happy, successful, healthy new year too!

  • Sheela Wolford

    Fascinating and really jumpstarts me into action. A wonderful way to understand what it means to be a disciple to one’s self!

    Thank you.

  • Barbara Alpher

    For me discipline works when I have clarity in a decision, and I see that in many of these responses. Right now I’m working to eliminate negative thoughts and dramas that then to come into my head. It’s helped to look at them as intruders taking up my time and energy. I wouldn’t let intruders come into my house and do that. Why would I let them come into my head! That gained space can be better used for constructive, fun, creative and joyful ideas.

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Meet Barbara Huson

When a devastating financial crisis rocked her world, Barbara Huson knew she had to get smart about money… and she did. Now, she wants to empower every women to take charge of their money and take charge of their lives! She’s doing just that with her best-selling books, life changing retreats and private financial coaching.

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