A lot of people want to develop positive habits, but struggle to avoid distractions. I bet you’ve been in such a situation. Maybe you want to write two chapters per week, but instead of working you end up “feeling” productive while surfing the web and checking your emails (I talked about this in my last post the Quality information diet check it out here).
What you’re doing at that moment is you’re choosing instant gratification over long-term fulfillment, but you can’t seem to help yourself.
Taking ownership of yourself and your actions is a fundamental aspect of personal development.
When you sit down to work and end up surfing the web instead, then you don’t think about it because you’re not aware of your actions in that particular moment. Which in turn makes you believe that giving into distraction is normal (perhaps inevitable) and mostly out of your control.
Besides, no one cares if you delay your personal development for X more days. With all that in mind, it feels reasonable in spending another day wasting time and focusing on the meaningless instead of pursuing self-improvement.
How to break out of this cycle?
“The beginning of wisdom is to call things by their proper name.” – Confucius
To break this cycle of distraction, frustration, and unproductivity, you must take your actions at face-value.
If you find yourself reading blog posts, watching entertaining YouTube videos or wasting time in general instead of working, admit that you did not intend to work.
Be honest with yourself and acknowledge that you lied to yourself (that’s why self-awareness is so important). It’s not a big deal; we all do it, but at least be honest especially with yourself.
If you consistently skip your workouts, then you’re certainly not “too tired” or “too busy”, but you are lazy.
Being honest with yourself takes the weight off your shoulders and allows you to analyze your past actions with more clarity.
Excuses will screw you in the long run. Saying you’re “too busy” at first sounds like a good reason to not hit the gym, but excuses like that affirm that you’re not a fully autonomous person.
Instead, treat all your actions and decisions as reflections of what you believe and where you’re at in life. Taking responsibility for your struggles affirms that you are, despite it all, still in charge of your destiny.
It’s when you start to blame others (society, government, etc.) and don’t take responsibility for your problems that you truly get stuck. Doing so is the beginning of death and decay.
If you consistently fail to achieve your goals, understand that this is not bad luck or something that everyone struggles with. It’s not because of your past, your parents, or something else. You are fucking yourself over, and you are doing it on purpose.
It’s uncomfortable to admit, but we all have a two sides in us. A good side and a self-destructive side. To deny this duality is foolish. Instead you have to become aware of them and learn to work with both sides.
Notice that your self-destructive side exists. Binge eating, binge watching, wasting time, these things happen, and I am fond to believe that sometimes those things are necessary, but it’s important not to live in extremes.
If you are hardcore productive for weeks on end without taking a rest and burn out and then start to play video games for 2-3 weeks everyday for 10+ hours, then that goes without saying that you are not living a healthy lifestyle. So as usual in life, you must find a balance, but that’s a topic for another post.
Stop taking your thoughts so seriously. No one else can hear them, they are wildly biased, and have little or nothing to do with objective reality. Let the real world be your guide.
If good things are showing up in your life, then you are doing something right. If you keep finding yourself in adverse situations, then you have more learning to do.
Your focus should lay outwards in the real world, and not inwards on your feelings and emotional baggage.
Thanks for reading.
P.S. If you liked this post then you’ll like my books as well. You can get them on Amazon.