Five Simple Tricks to Strengthen Your Resolve
Episode #8 of the course The fundamentals of self-discipline by Martin Meadows.
Welcome to the eighth lesson of the course. Time flies by, doesn’t it?
In this lesson, I’ll share with you five simple tricks to strengthen your resolve. Whenever you find yourself facing temptation, use them to stick to your resolutions.
1. Do It Now
One of the most powerful ways to overcome the temptation to procrastinate on your goals is to do it now. If you fail to take action as quickly as possible, with each passing second it will get more and more difficult to tap into your willpower and do what needs to be done.
Have you ever told yourself “just a minute,” to find yourself thirty minutes later still not doing what you’re supposed to do?
I suppose a better question would be, “Do you know a single person in the entire universe who has never done it?”
Next time you find yourself tempted to procrastinate, cut the internal talk and go do the task right away. The momentum will take care of the rest.
There’s one exception to the dictum to do it now—and that refers to temptations.
2. Delay Temptations
If you get an unhealthy craving or temptation, put it off. Cravings often go away if you let them pass by waiting for fifteen to twenty minutes.
If you feel like eating a candy bar, wait. Tell yourself you’ll wait fifteen minutes before you eat it. During this time, distract yourself with something else; for instance, go on a short run. It’s highly likely you’ll forget about your craving by the time you get back home.
If you’re about to put an unhealthy item in your shopping cart, go to an aisle with fresh produce instead and think about the healthy dinner you’ll prepare later on.
Don’t give in to temptation immediately, and it’s possible it’ll pass before you know it.
3. Be Honest With Yourself
If you often make excuses as to why it’s fine to give in to a temptation, question its legitimacy before you do something you’ll later regret.
For instance, if you notice it’s getting cloudy outside and you’re supposed to go for a jog, you may be tempted to think, “It’s going to rain soon, so I’d better stay home so I don’t get sick.” Stop this thought process and be honest with yourself. You’re making an excuse so you can be lazy without feeling guilty about it.
Being mindful of your rationalizations can temporarily boost your resolve to say “no” to the convenient (but rarely legitimate) excuses.
4. Think of the Consequences
Another way to strengthen your resolve is to think of the consequences before you take an action that will lead to them.
For instance, if you’re supposed to work but instead you’d like to binge watch some new TV series, imagine how you’ll feel at the end of the day. Will you feel energized after watching a few episodes in a row, or will you feel like a failure for not doing anything productive during the day?
Pondering consequences certainly isn’t a magic pill, but it can help if you usually don’t think about the consequences until they become real.
5. Imagine Others Can See You
Last but most definitely not least, you can benefit from some good ol’ social pressure. Next time you want to choose the easy way out, imagine other people can see you. Would you still stuff your face with potato chips if all of your friends could see you? Would you still slack off instead of working on your business if your children saw the evidence of your weak work ethic?
I’ll cheerfully admit that you’re essentially manipulating yourself, but if it works, why not do it?
Tomorrow, in the second to last lesson of the course, we’ll talk about five common mistakes that can destroy your self-discipline. Since prevention is better than cure, it’s crucial to get yourself familiar with these pitfalls and how to avoid them.
“Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity” by David Allen
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