Bypassing -vs- Passing By

Ever wonder how some people seem to have off-the-charts discipline in their lives -- while others just can't seem to pull it together if it killed them?

Maybe you are one of the Discipline Kings or Queens out there ... leading the way, onward and upward!

Or, maybe you sit in a totally different camp.  You struggle with the focus, drive and energy it takes to simply get through the day without falling off the proverbial wagon.

I would dare say that in whichever camp you land, it took either a mindset shift to get you there or will take a mindset shift to get you out.

What do I mean?

The Moment of Truth

Put simply, when push comes to shove and you are faced with that moment of truth --- that very specific moment where you MUST decide whether to stick to the thing in which you are attempting a new discipline -- or, give into that sloth on your shoulder.  You know, the one that whispers in your ear to submit to your deep-down desire to NOT BE DISCIPLINED.

When push comes to shove, do you BYPASS or do you PASS BY?

For What It's Worth

I understand that perhaps my opinion matters; perhaps it doesn't.  Maybe you believe that I'm one of those Queens of Discipline and I don't have struggles ... that I've always been disciplined and will always remain disciplined.

Maybe you don't know me at all and therefore what I have to say doesn't change how you feel.

I can tell you from my own personal experience that Discipline, for me anyway, has come by trial and error, by failures, by continued effort, by intention rather than complacency.

It requires continuity of emotional energy and physical action plans and a "get back up", "keep on keeping on" state of being.

Discipline hinges on my ability and determination to say NO to myself over and over and over again and to eliminate every obstacle (even those viable "excuses") that crop up at the moment of truth.

A Closer Look

So what do I mean when I ask about BYPASSING vs. PASSING BY? 

Let's look first at the Passing By bit.

In my mind when I think of passing by I picture myself coming within close proximity of something. Then, looking at it (taking it in - its shape, size, texture, color, how it appears in the light, what it means to me deep down in my soul), -- CONSIDERING IT from all angles.

I'm looking at it directly. Staring. Fixated.

All other things disappear for a split second and it's just me and that thing. 

Maybe I linger for a moment.

Perhaps I begin to long for it -- whatever "it" is.

It's close enough to engage all my senses:  taste, feel, smell, sound, see.  And in that moment of passing by, of getting up close and personal, I have a DECISION to make in the way of my DISCIPLINE.

Multiple Moments...

Understand that there can be several of these "passing by" moments in a day.  Some of these moments occur of our own volition.

We CHOOSE to pass by something.

Other times we find ourselves passing by on accident ... we just happened to be minding our business and suddenly we ended up in this particular place and time with this particular temptation (something that could easily derail our discipline).

And EVERY SINGLE TIME these passing by moments occur, there's a confrontation with the path of discipline that I, you, have chosen for ourselves.

It's the pivotal point.

What decision do I, you, WE make?

It is in these particular moments that we have to default to what the definition of Discipline is and what it takes to remain inside its realms (refer to paragraph above for a reminder about what it takes every day for ME to remain.)

Definition per Merriam-Webster's Dictionary:  DISCIPLINE - Control that is gained by requiring that rules be obeyed.  A rule or system governing conduct or activity.  Self Control.  To impose order.  To train, develop and bring under control.


Passing By Can Be Dangerous

Passing by, especially if of our own volition, seems harmless.  What's one little look gonna do?  Just a sniff ...

What's so wrong with wishing for something, longing for it, pining after it?

Passing by allows for a potential catastrophic derailing. That's what's wrong with it

It allows for disorder, a lack of self-control (even fleeting).  It allows for emotions to govern the day rather than a conscious, well-planned and executed decision to govern our emotions.

Passing by is dangerous. 

It is a chipping away at our resolve, especially if we find ourselves "passing by", "strolling close to", "tiptoeing" in enemy territory several times per day -- even more so if we ALLOW ourselves.

Enemy territory? 

Do I have to speak so dramatically?  YES. YES I do!

You have to understand that it is a BATTLE!  And we can be heroes of our own fate or we can allow ourselves to become victims -- victims of our own ongoing lack of discipline, our inability to stick to anything in order to accomplish the goal we have set before us.

Passing by has the ability to take us down every single time, losing those discipline battles right and left.

The Flip Side

"So what about Bypassing," you ask?  What do I mean by it?

Well ... I believe that when a decision is made to being disciplined in an area of life, what should come with it is an attitude of Bypassing.  Synonyms?

  Avoidance.  Deflection.  Circumvention. Neglecting.  Ignoring.  Detour.  Circumnavigate.  Skirt.  Disregard.  Go Around rather than Go Through.

Bypassing temptation seems difficult at first.

It requires an iron-clad will and a mindset of sacrifice; that's where the "saying no to oneself" comes into play.

Remember, one of the attributes of discipline is intention -- being purposeful.

Bypassing something that is a temptation and that could easily derail discipline takes intention of will, intention of actions, intention of sacrifice, intention of saying NO.

Bypassing is an avoidance of the temptation all together ... a detour ... disregarding it ... circumnavigating AROUND IT rather than passing by it close enough to taste, feel, smell, touch and hear it.

Bypassing requires a plan and is a decision made in the mind -- it is not emotional.  It doesn't pine after, long for, or feel as if it's missing out.  It takes on a whole new set of rules and runs with them -- focusing more on all the great things in the forefront and less on the "Can'ts and Don'ts".

Bypassing forages new paths -- doesn't take the same ol' path with the same lack of results.

Bypassing creates detours and eliminates the road blocks rather than trying to navigate through the flashing yellow caution lights and "Rough Road Ahead" signs that warn of an impending stall or complete standstill on the road to success.


Here are some examples of Bypassing -vs- Passing By.  Be careful as you read -- these may sting a little bit!

1. You signed up for an intense weight lifting program (this was me back in the day!) because you really want to see what you can accomplish in the way of muscle gain.  Your coach says, "I need you to NOT RUN LONG DISTANCES for the duration of the program because it will stall your weight lifting/muscle preservation goals."

--> Passing By:  You scroll through the website for upcoming races (just to see).

--> Bypassing:  You take yourself to the weight room and resist your urge to scroll ... and possibly take the app off your phone for good measure.


2.  You said that this year you are going to clean up your diet specific to sugar intake because it is your weakness.

--> Passing By:  Buys several boxes of Girl Scout Cookies (for your kids, of course) and keeps them in pantry, just close enough, but "behind closed doors", you say.  So you feel "safe".  May have a few after a solid workout, you know, as a reward.

--> Bypassing:  Doesn't have any sugary temptations in the house, at all.

3.  The goal?  Drink less alcohol.

--> Passing By: Schedules all meetings and social gatherings at places that serve alcohol because of the fear of being judged by colleagues/friends and doesn't want to look like a teetotaler.  

--> Bypassing:  Tells everyone what the goal is, asks for support and schedules meetings and gatherings at non-alcohol venues OR let's go of fear of judgment and because of the announcement of goals to others, makes a decision to order water EVERY SINGLE TIME.  Realizes being a teetotaler isn't the worst thing in life.

4.  You make a resolution to stick to a specific exercise regimen.

--> Passing By:  Tiptoes around the excuses not to go to the gym today, tomorrow or the next day.   Says "I'll make up for it" next week or "I'll actually START next week rather than this week".  "Am really tired and probably would't get a good workout anyway."

--> Bypassing: Deflects all excuses by creating specific workout appointments with self in the calendar.  These appointments cannot be broken, much like a doctor's appointment or business meeting.  They are non-negotiable - family members, colleagues and friends are aware of this - and it would take an act of God to reschedule.

5.  You decide to follow a nutrition plan because you want to rein in your diet and drop a few pounds.

--> Passing By:  It's ok if I have a cheat day.  I'm taking an 80% / 20% approach because nobody can be perfect.

--> Bypassing:  Does not begin something with an "out" already in place (20%). Says NO TO SELF with regards to cheat days and gives 100% -- spot on as best as possible every day.  Avoids a deviation (of his/her own choosing) at all costs.  Prepares meals (intentional mindset) ahead of time to stay on point knowing that true results require an all out effort, with no room for potential derailment.


Over the years of practice I have personally learned the importance of Bypassing.

It has brought me to a place of Discipline in areas of my life where I can look back and say, "I DID it!  I actually DID IT!!"

And, what a feeling that is -- to accomplish something you set out to do by taking the action necessary to govern yourself and your decisions.

I want everyone to experience that feeling!

Was I ALWAYS PERFECT in my execution?


Remember, the path to discipline is made through trial and error, failures and a "get back up" mentality.

It requires a relinquishing of the "Passing By" mindset that says...

"What will it hurt?  It'll only be for a minute.  Take that one little moment to comfort yourself.  You deserve to go off your path just a teesny-tiny bit." 

That's enemy territory, my friends.

Put on your armor and go to war with yourself and your excuses, with the temptations that sneer at you at every turn.  Re-Route, take a detour, navigate a different path, create a new passage.

BYPASS your way to your Disciplined Success!  Fight for it and for yourself on the daily!  And, when you reach that pinnacle you will have the ability, and sincere privilege, to look back and say, "I DID IT!  I ACTUALLY DID IT!!"

Yours in Fitness,




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