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You Deserve It

You deserve it

One of the biggest obstacles in establishing positive systems to accomplish goals is the inevitable entitlement that comes when you start to develop a routine.  You feel that you accomplished something and are now owed something in return.  This might be a cheat day, going outside of the system to purchase something, or taking the day off.  

This may be prompted by someone else.  They may tell that you worked hard and that “you deserve it.”  I even find myself saying this to someone that has had some success in developing a new system.  The problem with this lies in the systematic nature of habits.  

One of the worst things to develop when striving for your goal is entitlement.  Feeling as though you deserve something and that it is now owed to you can quickly extinguish any momentum that you have.  It changes you from having a willingness to do what is necessary to be only willing to the absolute minimum and then expecting a reward.  

After months of establishing a system, you will notice that you can take a day off, have a cheat day or go outside of your system.  If you have a good system, you will adjust for this and it will become a short blip rather than a change in direction.  But in the beginning, it is more common for that blip to turn into a few blips and eventually in the collapse of the system.  

The problem with the “you deserve it” phase is that we are trying to be positive and say they deserve something good after all the sacrifice that they have made.  This mindset is horrible for sticking with a system.  We don’t want to grudge our way through the system, we want to make it so habitual that it is automatic and we barely feel any resistance to doing it.  

The other thing that I have noticed is that the “reward” is often a shallow, instant gratification reward.  It will feel great initially but more often than not, a few hours later you are filled with regret.  In these instances regret and guilt pull you away from your system.  Become lenient and let go of any guilty feelings.  Instead, look at it like a learning moment and think about how you can avoid getting off-track in the future.  

I have learned time and time again that doing the right thing is better in the long run.  It feels better to clean the house that needs to be cleaned rather than go out and buy something new.  Yet time and time again I go towards the instant gratification rather than what needs to be done.  Within a few hours I am wishing that I would have just cleaned the house.  If I am able to abstain from purchasing something and instead clean the house, afterwards I am filled with pride and satisfaction for doing the work.  

The best way that I have found to deal with this is by looking at the system.  What can I do to prevent this decision from being made right then?  If I can make the decision the day before, I will almost always choose the right one.  But, if I am left to decide right then, it is extremely difficult to not choose instant gratification.  

Start to look for ways to overcome these times when it easily pulls you off-track and erases the hard work you have done to create a positive system.  It will take time and patience to be able to do this but if you do you will start to have a higher level of discipline that allows you to move confidently towards your goals.