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5 Keys To Self-Discipline (Terry Crews)

Terry Crews talking about discipline and pornography
“[The wicked] dies for lack of discipline, and because of his great folly he is lead astray.” Proverbs 5:23

Terry Crews is one of my favorite celebrities. It’s not just because of his great talent for acting and speaking. Nor is it because of his physical prowess as a former NFL player and present-day bodybuilder. I respect Crews because he has a strong conscience and genuinely cares about people. It takes a lot of courage to tackle stigmatized issues like sexual assault and sexual integrity in the public sphere. And that’s what exactly he’s made a name for himself doing during the last decade.

Today, I’ve transcribed a clip in which Crews gives his top 2 keys to self-discipline. The clip is not new, but the advice therein is timeless. The first item Terry names is to avoid temptation. This one may seem ironic, because avoiding temptation eliminates the need to be self-disciplined altogether. However, Crews explains that avoiding temptation is a lifestyle. Oftentimes, it takes a little bit of self-discipline in advance to avoid big temptations in the future. The second is to practice mindfulness encapsulated in the acronym “H.A.L.T.” The idea is that whenever we are hungry, angry, lonely, or tired, we should recognize what’s going on and take steps to address the issue (I would add, unless we are fasting, in which case we are already being intentional and prepared to handle the challenge).

I’ve written articles about accountability, because it’s really important. But, as Terry points out, we eventually need to arrive a state where our motivation to do what is right is internally driven– such that we choose to do the right thing regardless of our environment. I’ve attached a link to the video and the full transcript down below! If you liked this video, check out Crews’ testimony, Pornography Almost Ruined My Life (Terry Crews).

FYI, Crews also uploaded a part two, in which he tackles keys to self-discipline numbers 3, 4, and 5. Key #3 is don’t wait for it to feel right. Breaking a bad habit or creating a new one often feels wrong because our brain has gotten used to how things are. Go by what the action does, not how it feels. Your emotions will catch up later. Key #4 is schedule breaks, rewards, and treats. For example, you may reward yourself for quitting alcohol (or pornography) by going to see a movie. (See “changing the reward” (healing from pornography), particularly as it relates to pornography.) And Key #5 is forgive yourself and move forward. You’re going to mess up by seeing something you shouldn’t see or eating something you shouldn’t eat. Failure is temporary if you take it as a learning opportunity, rather than giving up. Practice forgetting and move on. I have embedded that video at the bottom of this article, as well.

If you know you have a problem with donuts, do not go to the donut shop to get your coffee.

Terry Crews

For more, see the complete archive of articles on integrity.


Hey, what’s up, world? Welcome to Terry Crews’ YouTube channel. I am back again to share a little bit with you about some of the things that helped me in my life, and in my walk, and helped me do what I do.

Today, I want to talk about 5 keys to self-discipline. The thing about self-discipline, is that it is necessary for everything you do in your life. You have to be self-disciplined. If discipline comes from somewhere else, it’s very hard to remain consistent because you tend to resist.

It’s wild because I see trainers—they’re in the gym with people. The guy or girl that they’re working out, hates their workout. Hates it. Because the discipline is coming from somewhere else. It’s something that you dread every time you go in. You don’t really want to do it. “Oh, no. My trainer is here. He’s about to beat me up and make me feel crazy.”

Well, the truth is every trainer should work his way out of your life. Anybody who’s working you out, your teachers, your trainers, your people, they have to train you to get out of your life. So you can go ahead and do your own workout. Do your own thing. Practice self-discipline.

Now, one thing I want to straighten out big-time. Discipline is not punishment. It’s not. Discipline is training. That’s all it is. I was talking to my son one time, and I asked him. It was weird because I was trying to see if he really knew what it was all about. I said, “Hey man. You know I have to discipline you. What is discipline?” He goes “Punishment. Punishment–when I do something wrong and you punish me.”  I was like “No!” “No!” Discipline is training. If you change your mindset and focus on what discipline really is, you start to welcome discipline. You welcome self-discipline into your life.

Let me start with the number one key to self-discipline:

Key #1: Remove Temptation

You must remove temptation if you are going to have self-discipline. I’m trying to say, if you are trying to lose weight. If you are trying to get better. If you are trying to do things in a good, good way—you have to remove the temptations. Me, I had a problem with pornography years ago. And now—it’s one of those things that I had to eliminate temptation. I had to eliminate things that I felt would trigger me and get me back going on the wrong path. And it’s really, really subtle. One of the things is by examining the way you think and how you act in a given situation.

I find that there were times like Friday night, is when I felt like that was the time to view pornography. You know why? Because I remember everyone going out on Friday and feeling real sexy, and feeling like “woo” and women and this, dancing and partying, and all that. I would say, “No, I’m not going to do that. I’m a good boy. But I’m going to stay home, and I’m going to watch porn.” Which was a horrible, horrible habit. So Friday night I know when those feelings are coming, and when I get sensitive and I feel like “Mmm. This might be the time to click on something,” you know what I mean? And I know it, and I head it off in its path. You just make sure that you know where you are, and you avoid those temptations.

Same thing with eating. If you know you have a problem with donuts, do not go to the donut shop to get your coffee. Go to a place that doesn’t have donuts or something that you know is your vice. That you know you shouldn’t do.

Another thing you can be proactive with when I say avoid temptation. If you want to really consistently make the gym a part of your life, set your clothes out for the gym the night before, and it will remove the temptation to not go to the gym. When you wake up, all of a sudden you have your clothes there, and you just hop in them. Instead of looking all over the house, “I can’t find my shirt. I can’t find my socks. I don’t know what’s going on.” You have your clothes there, and there will be no excuse for you not to go.

Avoiding temptation is a way of life. By doing one thing differently, you can avoid all kind of temptation, and it is the key to your self-discipline.

Now, let’s talk about the next key.

Key #2: Eat Regularly And Healthy

In therapy, there was a phrase that we used to use called “H.A.L.T.” And that means when you are hungry, angry, lonely, or tired, you have to be really, really conscious of what’s happening. It’s called H.A.L.T. Anytime your hungry, angry, lonely, or tired, HALT. Look at what you’re doing. Examine it. If you’re hungry, get something to eat. If you’re angry, calm down. Think about where you are. Get yourself in a good mood. If you are lonely, call a friend. Call someone you know. Talk about your emotion. Talk about how you’re feeling. And if you’re tired, get some rest, because that is when you’re weakest.

All of these poor states of being is when you are at your weakest spot. And it’s very, very hard to keep self-discipline when you’re weak. It is. You are a fallible human being. Halt, and you will find the key to self-discipline.

Those are keys 1 and 2 to the 5 keys of developing self-discipline [see video below].

An intellectually curious millennial passionate about seeing people make healthy, informed choices about the moral direction of their lives. When I’m not reading or writing, I enjoy hiking, web-making, learning foreign languages, and watching live sports. Alumnus of Georgetown University (B.S.) and The Ohio State University (M.A.).

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