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Discipline Not Default

Thank you for reading this week’s Operation Melt update.

Operation Melt started as a blog to share my personal transformation and weight loss story. After achieving success with that goal, Operation Melt has evolved into a platform to help inspire, motivate and equip people to achieve their own personal and professional goals so they can live their best lives.

I am trying to build a world where no goal ever dies of loneliness.

Amuse Bouche

My amuse bouche for you today is a light “dad joke” to entertain your mind before we get down to business.

I was telling my friend about an incident that happened when I was out for a walk. I got attacked and bitten by a great dane.
My friend, in shock, said “my God, imagine if it had been a small child!”
Frustrated with his response, I snapped back, “c’mon Dave, I think I could have fought off a small child!”

Like any other amuse bouche, you may have hated it, but it was worth every penny that you paid for it, right?

Goal Success by Choice

Do you have dreams that you are trying to make come true? Do you have a goal that you are trying to crush? Success doesn’t happen by chance. You don’t have to get lucky or win the lottery to live the life of your dreams. 

You just have to choose to be successful. If you make the right daily choices, adopt good habits and behaviors, and approach life with the right mindset, you can make your dreams come true. 

Goal Success by Choice helps you make the choices that will move you closer to your goals and keep you from holding yourself back. 

I hope this post helps you get a little closer to crushing your goals.

Discipline Not Default

“Default is the enemy of discipline. It’s the self-perpetuating chasm between you and your goals, and that should frustrate you. When you are disciplined, you are in control of yourself and where you are going. When you are default, you are out of control.”

Tim Kight

I had just gotten out of bed on an early Monday morning a couple of weeks ago. I started my morning routine, including several daily practices like journaling and reviewing data from the previous day. As I was closing out my food log for the prior day, I saw this.

I had reached 1500 consecutive days of logging everything I eat and drink – 1527 days as of today. I started tracking and managing my calorie consumption on the first day of my weight loss journey, and I haven’t stopped ever since.

People ask me when I will be done with the logging and tracking since I am done with the weight loss. My answer, never. I have no plan to ever stop tracking. This is one of the areas of my life where I have chosen discipline over default.

The R-Factor

As many of my long-time readers know, I am a big believer in the R-Factor or E+R=O. Put simply, the R-Factor says that the outcomes of our lives (or the O) are a function of two things. The events that occur (the E) and our responses to those events (the R).

While the events are largely out of our control, our responses to them are fully within our control.

Achieving the outcomes that we are seeking requires us to approach our responses with discipline instead of default. Discipline is intentional, planful behavior that helps move towards the outcomes that we are seeking. Default is essentially reacting on impulse instead of thinking about our behaviors. Default behaviors mean we are living our lives on autopilot.

The R-Factor challenges us to turn off the autopilot in our lives, a popular topic throughout my Operation Melt blog and book.


Default behavior is all about coasting through life on autopilot instead of being deliberate about our actions. Unfortunately, default is where most people tend to operate in many aspects of their lives. Living life through default behaviors comes with a hefty price tag.

For the first 14,836 days of my life, I trusted my health to default behaviors. I was on autopilot and had no idea what or how much I was consuming and how much physical activity I was doing to balance that consumption. The price I paid was that I surrendered to obesity for way too long and was terribly unhealthy.

Similarly, some people have no idea how much money they are spending versus what they are earning. They just coast through their financial life, dine out every day, buy the six-dollar luxury coffees and lease vehicles to have a new car every couple of years. Meanwhile, they have nothing in savings and are not investing anything in their retirement. Default behaviors are keeping them poor and living paycheck to paycheck.

Another consequence of default behaviors is that we may not grow and get smarter. Many people just plop down in front of their favorite streaming service and watch an endless stream of entertainment. Many of these same people haven’t read a book in years. They aren’t studying anything in their lives and aren’t working to build knowledge, skills or abilities.

In short, default behaviors can make us and keep us fat, poor and dumb. But, the consequences of default behaviors don’t stop at hurting ourselves; they can hurt other people.

Default behaviors con result in discounting and marginalizing other people.

The world we live in is a rich tapestry of national origins, race, gender identity, physical abilities and many other areas of diversity. Every person in this world deserves to be treated as a human being with dignity and respect. Trusting our interactions with other people to default can mean that we are not intentionally respecting their differences and diversity. We just say what pops into our heads and might unintentionally use insensitive language. Not cool!

Trusting our lives to default behavior is a costly decision. It can cost us our dreams and might cost other people their happiness and dignity.


In Break Free From Your Biography, I wrote that at any point, we can make a choice to pivot and build an entirely different life for ourselves than the one we have known. We can choose to succeed. The first step to making our dreams come true is believing that we can be, have or achieve more.

While choosing a growth mindset is the first step, it does not mean that all of your dreams will magically come true. Success is not an accident, it requires work, and it requires you to choose to succeed. This is where disciplined behaviors are needed.

Disciplined behaviors mean pausing to consider what behaviors, choices, or actions are needed from you at that moment. This means choosing behaviors aligned with your goals and values, not just operating out of habit or doing what is easy.

Disciplined behaviors are usually small choices repeated over and over that lead to big results.

  • Tracking food and exercise each day to ensure that they are properly balanced.
  • Tracking your spending, saving and investing activities to ensure that you are planning for the future in addition to living your life today.
  • Setting small, SMART goals, building a plan to get there and tracking progress every day.
  • Reading a little bit each day.
  • Pausing to reflect on the things you are grateful for every day.
  • Listening to others to hear what they say versus just waiting for your turn to talk again.
  • Pausing to think about your words before they come out of your mouth to ensure they are a fair representation of you and your values.

I think we can agree that each one of these examples is a pretty small or action that you can take and are completely within your control. Right? But, as the old saying goes, the journey of one thousand miles begins with one step.

Embracing a life of disciplined behaviors is a big step to making your dreams come true, one decision at a time.


I know what some of you may be thinking right now: disciplined behaviors sound uncomfortable. This sounds like you need to always be second-guessing your every word, action or decision. The intent of disciplined behaviors is positive and productive; the discomfort is a temporary side effect.

Whenever we learn any new skill, habit, or behavior, there is always some initial discomfort; it feels unnatural. 

  • Golfers feel discomfort when they try to adjust their swing. 
  • Chefs feel uncomfortable when they use a new recipe for a familiar dish. 
  • Singers feel uncomfortable when they transpose a song into a new key.

Productive discomfort is a sign of growth. Much like the muscle pain that you feel after a vigorous workout, the discomfort is the feeling of your muscles growing. This is how it is supposed to feel, not a reason to give up before reaching your goal. 

If you are worried that you won’t stick with it, find a partner. By partnering with an accountability buddy or coach, they can help you keep yourself accountable for the new behaviors.

By pushing past the initial discomfort, you can make disciplined behaviors your natural approach to life. Once you do this, you will be unstoppable. The life of your dreams is just around the corner.

Good luck, now let’s crush some goals together!

Did You Like What You Read?

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Published inGoal Success by Choice

Disclaimer: The Operation Melt website and blog does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. The information provided on this website is intended for general consumer understanding and entertainment only. The information provided is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. As health and nutrition research continuously evolves, we do not guarantee the accuracy, completeness, or timeliness of any information presented on this website.

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