My room measured 10 by 6; my window looked out across the academic quad.

Stoddard Hall, one of the two oldest buildings on Miami University’s campus: my home for my junior year of college.

I chose a single room.

My sophomore year, I worked as a Resident Assistant.

My roommate, another RA, kept her half of the room pristine: clothes hung neatly in the closet, desk clear, blankets neatly tucked. Often, she tossed my clothes, books, and papers back across the invisible line that bisected our space.

Except on the rare days that I decided to spend hours organizing, my side of the room looked ransacked, the contents of my closet strewn about, my desk piled with books and papers.

When I moved into Stoddard Hall, I decided to be different.

I made my bed every day, flossed my teeth every night. Though clothes sometimes littered the floor of my walk-in closet, I kept the closet door closed and the rest of my room stayed neat and tidy.

My new disciplined life resulted in a the creation of a space where I could relax and study.

Though I value discipline, I don’t always live it.

A mantra during that year: discipline brings freedom.

When we live disciplined lives, we are free to enjoy the results of our effort.

When I am disciplined about running regularly…

When I am disciplined about reading…

When I am disciplined about writing…

When I am disciplined about my schedule…

When I am disciplined about what I eat…

When I am disciplined about spending quiet time in prayer and reflection…

When I am disciplined about anything, I enjoy the results of that discipline.

When I run, running gets easier. I feel energized. My clothes fit better.

When I make healthy choices about what to eat, I feel better.

When I read, I learn.

When I write, I grow.

When I choose to live a disciplined life, I am choosing freedom to be who I want to be and live the life I intend to live.

It’s a daily test. I often fail. Each day, I can start fresh. Each day, I remind myself of the freedom that a disciplined life brings.

Tell me something! What inspires you to live a disciplined life? How do you stay focused on creating the life you want? How has discipline brought freedom to your life?