WHY BOTHER WITH WILLPOWER, SELF-CONTROL,
AND ALL THAT STUFF?
IS IT HARDER?
What will I get out of it? And does it make life harder or easier? (Hint: It's not harder.)
IT'S ALL ONE WHOLE
All of this fits together into one whole, a composite that produces the most good for you, in terms of units of happiness and satisfaction in life. It is a push-pull between motivation and resistance - and the "need" to escape and get relief, to not have to do what seems hard (but really isn't, if we look deeper and understand more).
Conservation (effective use) of energy is one of the natural biological/mind survival modes. It is like gravity, we must honor it but also learn to operate well with it, and not use it as a limitation.
Overall, we can't violate, for long, the survival mechanisms built into our DNA. So we must learn what they are and then manage around them and partner with them. (See
In a rudimentary but different perspective ("viewing point"), we are seeking to feel good and avoid feeling bad. We are most driven by the immediate, as it served a valuable function to have our species survive and evolve. But we also would not have survived had we not had the ability to value the long term, and to build something that would serve us for a better future.
If I think I should do something good with my time, but I end up goofing off (or whatever), it is simply a conflict of two forces going in opposite directions, with the stronger force at the time winning. Managing life itself is about managing things so that the force for good is greater AT THE TIME than the force for what does not truly serve us or harms us in the long term. The force shows up as "motivation", in our normal conversations. We go into motion because of an e-motion that causes the motivation - the larger the power of the e-motion the larger the motivation. (See How To Motivate Yourself - The Art And Science Of Motivation.)
In life, we are simply managing our energy. The expending of energy is called effort, so we are, in a sense, managing our efforts. We are directing our energy toward what is the most beneficial to us.
And sometimes the greater YOU will lose out to the primitive mind's great forcefulness. That's just life; that's just part of being a human being. But the greater YOU will not lose out if you provide the necessary inputs to the primitive mind for it to "see" that there is a bigger benefit NOW to doing the behavior you propose. (YOU is the part that is actually you and not the stuff you add in and think it is you - see Who I Really Am. Get clear on that and motivation will be easier and not so misdirected.)
If you design, with your higher brain, an intention and/or plan to achieve something you decide is worthwhile and good for you, the value of that will disappear into the back of your brain and become a bit "out of sight" (or smaller looking because it seems so distanct) - and some smaller, more immediate motivation will overpower the minuscule appearing "future benefit".
We must "re-mind" our minds, meaning put the information back in the forefront of our minds in the moment, either by recalling the value that is intensely memorized and/or by reviewing the benefits and seeing how big they are. The latter is part of the Grounding process, where we typically would use The Reminders Book to hold the re-minders we want to put back in the forefront. And we not only need to bring it closer (so it is no longer seemingly small and off in the distance) and more present, but also emphasize (and cheerlead) the importance of it.
EFFORT AND ENERGY
Notice how you become a marshmellow of poor willpower when you are tired.
Basically, we lose "available" power if we are tired (we might still have lots of power reserves, but the power may not be "available" to us, except in true emergencies). This has us run directly into the natural biological "conservation of energy" reality.
The body sees itself as being too low in energy and it responds to get back the capacity to survive well - and it has a huge 'need' to go about the process of creating the extra energy it needs and/or preserving the energy it has (not expending it!). This, of course, gives more force on the side of not doing the beneficial behavior as this is an additional "conflicting need". (See The Role Of "Conflicting Needs" At The Same Time.) Consequently, the management of your energy is a key to making the good behaviors easier and more frequent. And part of that is assuring your body isn't "out of whack" and desperately or strongly spending it time and energy trying to get back into the survivability mode of high functioning balance - aka Homeostasis. Maintaining current balance and not letting it go out of whack is a key to living a good life and having a more healthy existence.
MISUSED AND WASTED ENERGY
In addition to wasting energy by trying to get back into balance, which we can minimize by not letting ourselves get out of balance in the first place, we waste alot of energy toward filling "needs" that are not really legitimate and/or should not have been allowed to show up.
While seeking to get "relief" from anxiety and stress is a legitimate 'need' to get back to full functioning balance psychologically, the basis for that anxiety and stress is often totally unnecessary. Eliminating the stress behaviors and the false threats in most anxiety saves up a huge, huge amount of energy - energy that can be used elsewhere to achieve more of what you want in life! (Some of the energy waste can be stopped by eliminating all negative conversation and by engaging in Right Thinking - The Master Skill, where you deal with such things as this: A Non-Thinking, Preposterous Labelling And Madeups! We also, rather inartfully, seek relief in unproductive ways, such as mind numbing distractions (dealing with the symptoms often inappropriately), instead of napping or meditating or filling the actual need at the time. Using The Pause for the rest of your life is recommended - even a few deep breaths can be quite restorative and/or centering.
"DISCIPLINE" IS SIMPLY DIRECTING EFFORT ALONG A PATH
Part of "self-discipline" (and the actual definition around which the word "disciple" is based) is a "directing along a path". And directing along a path is simply a systematic behavior that we first decide to do (because it is effective and gets us what we want), then design to be effective.
THESE ARE SKILLS NOT SUPER-HERO FEATS!
THE VERY WORKABLE WAY TO ADJUST TO GET WHAT YOU WANT
Consider doing that AND implementing the key changes and maintaining what behaviors are good.
This is a big, big, big thing. I hope you realize how vital it is - and how much time, problems, and effort you can save!