Sometimes the best way to defeat temptation is to avoid it altogether in the first place.
If you want to stop eating junk food, for instance, but multiple times a day you’re passing candy bars and potato chips on the counter or in the pantry, you’re going to have to keep fighting the temptation to eat them. Compare that with not only deciding you want to cut them out of your diet, but also taking the initiative to remove all of them from your home. Then when you walk around, not only are you not tempted as much, but if you are, it will be way, way, way more inconvenient to give in, since you’d have to actually go the store to get some more.
The same idea can be applied elsewhere. Do you have issues with impulsive spending and credit card debt? Maybe it’s time to switch to cash and to make using your cards either impossible, or extremely inconvenient. I’ve heard stories of people either locking them away, or even storing them in a chunk of ice, to ensure that using them was anything but easy and convenient.
Do you find yourself constantly distracted by all the notifications that go off on your phone or computer? Instead of continuously trying to not be distracted by them, how about just turning them off, and checking in at predetermined times?
Have you realized that certain apps on your phone get an inordinate amount of your time, even though you’d rather spend it elsewhere? Maybe it’s time to remove them altogether, so they’re not just a click away. You’d still be able to reinstall them if you ever actually needed them, but the extra inconvenience of installing them every time you wanted to used them, instead of simply clicking on their icon, would quickly cut down on the time unintentionally fiddled away.
The bottom line is if you regularly stuggle with a certain decision or habit, it’s worth exploring whether there’s anything you can do to make what you don’t want to do either extremely inconvenient or not possible at all. Often, we do what’s convenient—we take the path of least resistance. So if you make doing the things you don’t want to do harder to do, you’ll tend to do them less often.
Having the willpower to make the right choices over and over is invaluable. And so is having the wisdom to take steps today that will free you up from needing to make the same choices again tomorrow.