The Ulysses Pact

The final piece of the puzzle for greater self-discipline and sticking to your guns is to change your thoughts. Thoughts, of course, lead to behavior, and behavior is what we want to change in the end. In this chapter, we talk about three specific ways to change the way that you think about taking action versus lying on the couch.

First, we come to the Ulysses pact, or as I would call it, coerced compliance. It’s the act of burning your bridges and not allowing yourself to make a detrimental choice in the heat of the moment or out of a lack of self-awareness. When you find that you have no choice, and you must actually sit with your thoughts and work through things, that’s just what you’ll do. There is no easier path of least resistance, and there is no escape. If you can smartly plan and make this choice beforehand using commitment devices such as the Ulysses pact, then you no longer have to exercise self-discipline per se.

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