Successful people aren't successful because they have managed to rid themselves of all their flaws, weaknesses and poor habits. Rather, successful people have gotten to know themselves so well that they sense any potential stupid decisions before they make them. They then outsmart themselves and don't give themselves the chance to make those mistakes.
Staying focused and on track shouldn't be a constant game of tug-of-war with the self. It's difficult to make good decisions when we are caught up in the moment, but if we can foresee possible deviations from our chosen paths, we can avoid them altogether, making staying on track much easier.
Life doesn't have to be hard if you plan ahead. It's not planning and “going with the flow” that washes us away with the current. If you want to get things done, if you want to be successful and happy with yourself, then do yourself a favor and outsmart yourself.
Don't Put Yourself In Unwanted Situations
How do you avoid making poor life decisions? The easiest way is to avoid the poor choice in the first place. If you know that you have a lot of work to do tomorrow and need to be up early, then don't think that you can go out for just one drink. Some of us have the willpower to have a drink and then bounce, but if you are not one of those people, then don't go out in the first place.
Don't answer the texts, or just text back immediately with a clear, “Not tonight.” If you know that you need to buckle down to get work done, avoid friends who are party animals altogether. If they are very close friends, then they will understand why you are distancing yourself; if they're not good friends, then what does it really matter if you keep them in your social circle?
Statistically, people are happier with a handful of friends, anyway. Learn to say no to situations that will lead you to making bad decisions and you will be pleasantly surprised at your increase in productivity.
Build Your Environment To Maximize Efficiency And Productivity
Surrounding yourself with the right people is extremely important -- as is customizing your environment to minimize bad decisions and maximize good ones. People are very lazy; they are much more likely to work within their close environment than they are to go out of their way for an alternative that isn't easily available.
If you are trying to lose weight and eat healthier, don't buy junk food. If you only have healthy food at home, you are much more likely to grab that apple in the fridge than a Twix from the corner store, especially in the winter. If you need to get work done, but are easily distracted by the Internet, then either turn off your wireless router while you do work, or download an app that allows you to virtually turn it off for a set period of time (several on the market).
If you forget to take your vitamins half of the time, leave the bottle on your dresser -- it works for me. Surrounding yourself with good and removing the bad will allow you to make better decisions a majority of the time.
Don't Punish Yourself For Falling Off Track
The important thing to remember is that you are only human. You will give into your weaknesses and you will make poor decisions from time to time, but that's okay. Beating ourselves up for making bad decisions doesn't do us any good. It stunts the learning process; it discourages us, and it sometimes even causes us to overcompensate, which more often than not leads to throwing in the towel altogether.
If you fall off the horse, dust yourself off and go at it again. Life is a learning process. The important thing is to always get yourself back on track and take it from where you left off. The faster you get back to your plan, the longer you will stay on track until you slip again. Eventually, you will change your habits entirely and no longer feel the urge to make those poor decisions you once used to make.
This is how you change yourself. You learn about yourself and learn how to outsmart yourself. You trick yourself into making good decisions until you no longer need to put forth that conscious effort anymore. To succeed, you need to be persistent and relentless, not flawless. Perfection is only something to strive for, not to attain.