Even though the action is a negative one: i.e not to pick up a cigarette, you’re still taking the action to
- make a commitment,
- deal with the physical withdrawal, and hopefully
- grow your life in new ways.
When I was kicking the habit I always found comfort in this Roz Savage quote:
“If I repeat today’s action 365 times, where will I want to be in a year?”
It’s all about linking your present action, however difficult, with a desired future outcome.
This notion of delayed gratification is at the heart of many of our endeavors be it quitting smoking, getting fit, treating a toenail fungus infection or learning a new language. In fact I would go as far as to say that the better we are at delaying gratification the more successful we will be in life. And the way to delay gratification is to link what you are doing now with something you desire in the future.
Making that link in a conscious fashion will help:
- saying no to that cigarette, even though you’ve got a cup of coffee infront of you and your friend has just lit up,
- getting on your exercise shoes and going for a run even though your belly fat just does not seem to be shifting,
- practicing your Spanish verbs yet one more time even though you’re not going to move to Spain for another year
- painting on your yellow toenail treatment again and again despite the fact that you have no visible evidence that it is making any difference at all to your ugly looking fungal nails.
Yes, It’s the small repeated actions that will make the biggest difference in the end.