- Know Your Payoffs: To have the willpower to blog three times a week or go to yoga six times a week, I have to be really clear about the payoffs on the time invested. The return on investment is clear in both cases for me. Blogging helps me organize my thinking, keeps me engaged with what’s going on in the world and has introduced me to a community of people I would not have otherwise known. Yoga makes me feel better physically, mentally and emotionally. It also has its own nice community of people. It’s hard to have the willpower to follow through if you don’t know your payoffs.
- Schedule It First: Knowing my payoffs help me establish my priorities. My priorities get scheduled first. Unless there is an unavoidable conflict with its own high payoff, I stick with the scheduled priorities. It doesn’t really feel like willpower. It just feels like following the routine that’s been scheduled on my calendar.
- Turn Off Distractions: There are so many ways to get myself distracted from what I’m really trying to do. Checking my email is one. Listening to the Dan Patrick Show when I’m trying to blog is another. I don’t have the willpower to avoid the distractions if they’re on, so I turn them off.
- Be Realistic and Self-Forgiving: One of the great truths in life is that stuff happens. Conflicts arise, energy is low, the idea well is dry. I’ve learned to accept over time that stuff happens and that I’m not always going to live up to my commitments. It’s called being a human being. I’ve come to the conclusion that one data point does not a trend make. If I have an off day, I look on it as exactly that – an off day. It’s not how things are going to be for the rest of my life. I can start over tomorrow. I’ve learned that my willpower is more likely to serve me if I give myself a break every so often.
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