Pay now, play later! Why personal discipline saves the day

February 1, 2017 § Leave a comment

So let’s say you’re setting yourself some ambitious goals. How do you make sure you’re also not setting yourself up for failure? What strategies can you put in place to maximize your chances of achieving your goals?

First, I think we all need to accept that we, humans, are pleasure-seeking beings. We love comfort, routine and feeling good. We hate going out of our comfort zone, trying harder, enduring pain. Yet nothing notable can occur without some kind of effort. I love to say this to a lot of my clients: the more uncomfortable you feel now, the better you will feel later.

Which brings me to one of my strongest beliefs: pay now, play later! Do the difficult thing now and have a great time afterwards.

My second principle is: if you don’t do this, the pleasure you are enjoying now, while procrastinating, is only half of what you could have enjoyed had you tackled the urgent stuff first. And why would you want to settle for less?

The trick to make it happen

Not only do humans seek pleasure, but we are also wired to seek rewards. When you do the thing you’ve been dreading, then the pleasure you reap is double: it’s the pride and satisfaction of knowing you got through with it, as well as the pleasure derived from the reward itself. Makes sense?

I found it very effective to condition myself in the following way: when you will have done…., then you will….

When you will have responded to that nasty email, then you will watch the youtube video.

When you will have cleaned the flat, then you will enjoy your cup of coffee.

When you will have jogged 10k, then you will buy yourself that face cream.

I’m sure you got the drift. The idea is to set very simple rules for yourself and follow them. So next time you’re dreading something, condition yourself to only move on to the next best thing once you have swallowed the proverbial frog.

If you try this I’d love for you let me know how this worked for you!

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