“To be governed by appetite alone is slavery, while obedience to a law one prescribes oneself is freedom.”
I don’t know about you, but I was pretty stupid when I was younger. I really believed that I should only do what I feel like at the moment, not what I really cared about in general. I wasted several years of my life as a result of it– sucks right?
Jean-Jacques Rousseau said the above quote in The Social Contract in 1762. It’s still true now. The rules that are assigned to us from the outside make us slaves; the ones we assign to ourselves make us free.
Have you ever had trouble getting a habit to stick? Teaching yourself to cook, going to the gym, or whatever else. I’ve found an amazing trick that will help you achieve success more often. Here it is: Restrict yourself more.
I wanted to go to the gym 3x/week, but I didn’t. So that recently became: Go to the gym on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 5pm.
I wanted to write for my blog more often, but I didn’t. So I changed it to: Write a blog post every day, right after breakfast.
I wanted to get my task list done, but I was avoiding some of it. So that turned into: Do the first task on your list, no matter how you feel about it at the moment.
You see how each time, the freedom I was allowing myself was preventing what I actually wanted from getting done? By making it stricter, I actually do it more often.
Try this with everything you’d like to get better at. If you’re not getting the results you want, restrict yourself one level down. In other words, be more specific about when and where it will happen.
Eventually, a habit becomes so ingrained (like my reading) that it doesn’t need to be restricted anymore. Now, I really believe that I’ll never fall behind on reading because it’s so ingrained in me that it’s almost inevitable that I’ll do fine. But everything else needs to be restrictive to get done.
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I promise you’ll like the result. :)