It makes your life infinitely simpler if you don't renegotiate with yourself when it's time to do something.
"Ohhhh, I don't want to go to running, it's raiiiinning out..." --
how many thought cycles does that burn?
Does anything useful ever come out of that conversation with yourself, when you're debating if you'll do the right thing or not?
A short phrase that's useful:
"A smarter me chose to do so."
"Because a smarter me chose to do so."
Oh, but I don't want to do.
"But I'm not as smart right now, and a smarter me chose to do so."
Helps immensely when tired, fatigued, and not thinking clearly. Rethink your plans, occasionally. If you really genuinely think it's become pointless to go running, make a note to review that tomorrow morning or during your next weekly review, and decide to amend or cut your program.
You still need some judgment. Don't run if you're injured. But the vast vast vast majority of the time, it's not injury or anything legitimate. It's just that natural human pushback against self-development, laziness and indolence setting in.
"A smarter me chose to do so." That's why you do it.
I've been doing this every morning with pushups since you wrote this post, and it works very well. Thanks!
Hey Seb, I am writing a motivation app for dieters, you mind if I use this phrase?
Found your blog a while ago via HN; you seem like someone who has either though these questions through carefully, or would like to.
You mention "good" a lot in your writing, and allude to values which you ostensibly find good. How do you determine which values are the ones to live your life by, and having determined them, at least in part, are they set for life? If not, does changing them devalue them?
Unless you base your values on those of some specific culture or society, you are picking and choosing anyway. Why not just become a complete hedonist? Even if you delay gratification, you are still a hedonist if what you do is for yourself. And if not for yourself, for whom?
Staying consistent and meaningful in any sort of value system other than hedonism seems impossible. The sole value you might take could be happiness–"whatever makes me happy is good"–and the only problems you might have would be balancing short-term satisfaction and long-term satisfaction. That is unsatisfying to me from a philosophical angle, and a pragmatic one: because it's not how society likes us to think, it is harder to get along with the rest of the tribe.
My life philosophy is "Don't be pseudo."
It can be applied everywhere--school, work, relationships, productivity, and health.
It may not be the key to success (this philosophy tends to rub the masses the wrong way), but it's the only way I can live with myself.
I'm not saying I'm any good at my philosophy. People constantly applaud me for being real, brash, and outspoken, but honestly, I'm still constantly pseudo.
I tell myself that I'll do the work today, or that I'm reading a lot, or that I'll start an exercise habit, or that I've been grooming myself daily, but the truth is, I'm not. I'm still a failure.