Diego Segura

Articles

Articles I’ve written about life, work, and play.

Rely on Systems, not Discipline

Given an alcoholic or a smoker that is trying to completely quit drinking or smoking, my first piece of advice would be to throw out every ounce of liquor and throw away every box of cigarettes. Out of sight is much easier to put out of mind. The last piece of advice I would give a struggling alcoholic would be to keep their temptation right next to them at all times and make it convenient for them to fall back into. That would be simply dangerous to advise, and they would only continue to struggle with their problem rather than begin to solve it and remove themselves from the dangerous dependency on their vice of choice.

Somehow, this is what a lot of us are doing with the less extreme temptations in our lives. Think of the things that distract you, whether that be a game console, an app, a platform, anything. Are they still easily accessible to you? That's part of the problem.

Rather than try to rely on your discipline to save you from your own vices (which up to this point has failed each and every time), rely on your systems. Every night at 9PM, my internet shuts off and I'm no longer able to access the endless array of distractions that might await me on the other side of the screen. I could keep the internet on and try to use my raw willpower to keep myself focused on my writing or work, but why leave it to chance? Make it extremely difficult to fail, and you'll fail less: simple!

Similarly, don't expect yourself to just give up the urge to binge eat or to play video games on your own. Rather, remove the distractions entirely. Stop buying the foods that you usually binge on, and sell your console. Be absolutely relentless in removing distractions. Seriously. It'll save your life.

Diego Segura