self-discipline vs. fun

How do you balance adulting with what you love to do?

If you’re like me, your immediate association to the phrase “self-discipline” is “ugh.” And yet I’ve learned that without self-discipline, life is just plain harder than it needs to be.

Self-discipline should never involve punishing yourself or denying yourself something you love. But it does mean doing things you don’t want to do.

You do those things because you value the outcome.

Short term pain, long term gain.

And the more you’ve practiced, the less “pain” every time you do it.

This quote puts it perfectly:

“Do something every day that you don’t want to do; this is the golden rule for acquiring the habit of doing your duty without pain.” -Mark Twain

With practice, you can beat resistance. Work smarter, not harder. Break tasks up into small chunks! If you hate doing dishes, set a timer for ten minutes. Or five. Whatever you can stomach.

If you’re dreading going to work, remember you only have to get through today. One day at a time. You’ll deal with tomorrow when tomorrow comes.

Fulfilling responsibilities (“adulting”) and having fun have a special relationship: each makes the other possible. If you don’t go to work, clean your house, or care for your body, you won’t be able to do what you love. The momentum you build getting the adult things done helps get the fun things done, and vice versa.

Remember: we all have to “adult” when we don’t feel like it, and nobody does it perfectly. But the more you can break tasks up, reward yourself, and remember why you’re doing them in the first place, the easier it gets. I promise.

3 thoughts on “self-discipline vs. fun”

    1. Hi Priya, thank you for sharing your thoughts! I totally understand what it’s like to barely manage adulting. I’ve spent years in that phase. It was only when I realized I had to prioritize doing my creative things, and that in order to do creative things I had to do adult things, that it started to work better. If that makes sense. But this short blog article might make it seem like I have it more together than I do. Haha. I can’t emphasize how much time I’ve spent in the past really struggling with keeping up with adult responsibilities. And some days are still tough. At some point you just have to call it good enough.

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