# How to Live Well # Self-Discipline

Self-Discipline Series: Instant Gratification

I am starting a new on-going series on the Daily Connoisseur on the subject of self-discipline. A while back I wrote a post on Facebook that discussed the subject of self-discipline and spending. For many of us (myself included!) there is a lack of self-discipline, particularly in this area of our lives. We justify purchases even though they are unnecessary. Many times we do this to fill a void. Well, the facebook post really hit a nerve because so many people responded and said they struggled with this very thing.

I am no different from you. I lack self-discipline in certain areas of my life too. But as I always say, awareness is the first step toward change. If we become aware of our shortcomings, this awareness leads to action. The action steps we take often prove challenging. But who doesn't love a good old-fashioned challenge?

In this week's video, I tell you the story of my old, but trusty, blender. I've had this blender for ages and it works fine (a little slow... but fine). Suddenly when I see a picture of a really expensive, high-end blender in the glossy pages of a kitchen catalogue, I find myself considering a major purchase that I wouldn't normally have considered.

Listen to how the voice in your head tries to talk you into things. The justifications are hilarious. Now I'm not suggesting we never upgrade or go shopping. The economy would grind to a halt! But I am suggesting that we don't give in to instant gratification. I state in my video, Investment Shopping 101, we tend to not appreciate the things we buy and instantly set our sites to what we can acquire next. What does it hurt to sit with what we have and then make a responsible decision before making a high-quality purchase?

When my little blender that could eventually dies, I most likely will upgrade and get a fancy, high-end blender. But until that day happens I will cultivate self-discipline and just wait a little longer for my smoothies to be blended. After all... patience is a virtue.

If you are unable to see the video above, click here, look in the sidebar of this blog, or visit my channel: www.youtube.com/TheDailyConnoisseur

Madame Chic Inspiring Thought
Take time today to appreciate the things you already own. Cultivate gratitude for everything from your toaster to the pillow on your bed. Notice your need for instant gratification and how often it shows up. Take the time to cultivate the art of patience.

At Home with Madame Chic is coming out one month early! The new publication date is October 7, 2014.

Check out my newly revamped author website at www.jenniferlscott.com

I have emailed all of the winners of the book giveaways this summer. Nearly everyone has responded but some have not. If you see your name listed as one of the winners on the rafflecopter widgets but have not had correspondence with me, please email me so you can receive your prize. Please state your name and email and the book which you won. Only 2 have not responded. Cathy C. from the Secrets of the Lighthouse giveaway, your email has bounced back. Thank you all for your participation in the book giveaway series! There will be many more to come.

This week I would love to know... what are your struggles with self-discipline? Do you have any requests for future posts in this series?

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Sophisticated Chic said...

Hi Jennifer. Thank you for addressing this highly sensitive topic. I struggle daily with self discipline! Snacking is an indulgence I have a hard time exercising self discipline. However, my spending behavior is worst. I strongly feel that every pay I "deserve" to 'treat' myself to something. As a result, I find that the instant gratification of that "new" item - whatever it is, doesn't last very long at all. I am really looking forward to this new series

Sophisticated Chic said...

I am also looking forward to the advice you and others have who also struggle with self-discipline. I will greatly appreciate the feedback (I am certain my husband would as well:)

Kind Regards,
TiffanyKim, Philadelphia PA

snappyjaye said...

I'm so happy you are doing a series on self-discipline! Spending is probably the area I find the most challenging as well. I definitely agree that cultivating gratitude and postponing instant gratification are key! I think one topic I'd love to hear from you about in this series is ideas for sustaining good habits. I do great at self-discipline when I'm excited about a new habit, or trying hard to focus on it, but as time goes on, I get distracted and lose momentum-does this happen to anyone else??:)

Unknown said...

Dear Jennifer,
What a wonderful topic! I do struggle with self-discipline, but not so much in the spending department - it is exercise that is my Achilles Heel. I either exercise (mostly run) and push myself every day, until I can no longer face it, and then inevitably stop. Completely give up. My husband has kindly (and on numerous occasions) suggested that I might try just walking, even hill walking. And yet, truly I don't feel that this is enough. Slowly though, I am learning to be kinder to myself.

I would also like to hear your thoughts on living in this world of perfect images. Last week I saw adverts on Australian TV regarding a new make-over show - you know the type - give us 6 weeks and we will create you in the latest image of perfection. What made this particularly sad (and a little bit galling), were the photos the contestants had next to them, their younger, more beautiful selves. It seemed as if they were saying - I have lost my beauty, now I am nothing.
And the question that formed in my head was -Is this what we are showing, teaching people - that our outside appearances are all that matters? What about our inner lives, the wisdom that we carry within ourselves - when do we celebrate our kindnesses, our generosities? Where are shows showing our humanity in all it's glory, no matter our outer appearances?
Of course, it is important to take care of ourselves, but as an expression of who we are, not as some inane card board cut out of the latest fashion fad.
Where is the balance, and how do we express this?
What are your thoughts?
With warm regards,

Unknown said...

Jennifer just read your book and loved it.
I struggle with getting onto a healthy eating programme - well staying on it really. And snacking. I find the daily stresses tend to override self-discipline and willpower.

Rose said...

I do like the idea of this series and enjoyed this one.

I do have a Vitamix as my 16 year old Breville blender died last year. However, we are still running an analog TV on a digital receiver. Why? Because it's good enough. I could buy a new TV with all the features -- and I will in time -- but for now the old system works. If it ain't broke, why fix it?

Evaline said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Evaline said...

Hi Jennifer, You are so cool...I love this topic.

One of my pet peeves is warranties for small appliances. There is a lot of waste out there with things that break down far too soon for what we pay for them.

And having discipline about big ticket items is crucial to financial well-being. Buying a reliable vehicle, taking good care of it, and keeping it long past it's new car period is one of the best ways to save money. Same applies to other big ticket items.

I look forward to this series.

Daniella said...

Hi Jennifer! So I have to just sneak it in here that the Vitamix is 110% worth the cost, lol. It's unlike any other blender out there, saves me so much time and irritation trying to jab my old blender with a spoon to get it to blend, so I can finally head out the door in the mornings. Saying that, our old one did die before we bought the Vitamix, but you'll be amazed at how much better your smoothies are if you get one!

I would love to hear self-discipline related to not snacking and how you keep on track. Some with exercise, are you back on a routine at all?

IL_TX_DC said...

What a great topic, and one that I'm sure everyone can relate to in some way. Since watching your 10 item wardrobe videos for the first time, I have made a concerted effort at being mindful about clothing purchases. I've been able to cut down (for the most part) on buying clothes/shoes for the sole reason that they're on sale for a good price. I really try to think about every dollar that I spend, but that is sometimes easier said than done.
For me, I think I need help taking delayed gratification to the next level,i.e., even though I've cut down on the cheap clothing purchases, I still buy items just because I want "something new", not because I LOVE it.
Finally, like others have mentioned, snacking and exercise is another area. There are too many days when I justify eating junk food because I ate all vegetarian the day before.
Every choice matters, and that's something I need to remind myself.

Marianne B. said...

Jennifer, I am really looking forward to this series from you! Self-discipline is something I work on and struggle with practically every day. I sometimes reflect on the Katherine Hepburn quote that "... Without discipline there is no life at all." How if I am constantly acquiescing to every desire it somehow becomes empty, and it's like" one and done and on to the next one.." I hate to say it, because I have a love/hate relationship with it, but internet shopping can be the worst in this regard. Everything we can possibly imagine is right there, instantly. I look forward to what you and your readers have to say on this. You do attract a very insightful readership!!

Unknown said...

What a great and timely topic! I have been over indulging in buying clothes on sales the past few months and have been really struggling with maintaining self discipline. I feel like I'm on the path to become a more conscious shopper (the 10 item wardrobe concept acted as a major wake up call) and yet, I keep oscillating between wanting to cultivate minimalism and overspending. I hate to say it but I keep falling over and over again under the influence of trends (if I see something popping up several times, I feel that I "have to have it" and marketing technics (the "only a few left" or worse "only 1 left" almost always make me buy). I end up with a lot of clothes that I don't need and that don't fit my desired style. I feel bad about that, the way I feel when I eat too much chocolate. I am really curious about the though process. Why do we end up buying clothes that we don't need? I think jennifer, you nail it (-again) when you talk about instant gratification. Online shopping is so readily available and convenient that it only makes it worse. Since I am a mom, I buy almost everything online and I also find the exhaustion that often comes with motherhood is a contributing factor to my overspending. At night, I like to reward myself, with a glass of wine, a piece of chocolate or online shopping. It is rewarding instantaneously but rarely in the long run. I wonder if you have simple technics that you could share Jennifer to curb this phenomenon?

All Things Frivalous said...

Hi there Jennifer. what a great topic and one series I will continue to read! I too struggle with self-discipline and I really don't know why. I do like high end things and tend to justify their purchases easily in my head but its the instant gratification. I have to have it now type of thing hence my little credit card debt that is not going down. I seriously need some discipline! This topic is so thought provoking. I think your mood has a relationship, if you are happy or sad or feel entitled to something, to spending in a lot of our cases with clothes and shoes for example as we all want to look nice! I have a lot of dresses for summer that still don't fit me from before baby so you would think my aim would be to fit into these dresses to then add to my wardrobe for next season. actually that should be my goal now and saving to pay off my ccard. Hmm food for thought! have a lovely day. you are so inspiring! love Cathy from Australiaxx

Gracie said...

Great topic Jennifer. I do have to agree with Daniella, I finally bought a Vit-A-Mix several years ago. Wow there is nothing like it. I use it everyday. The way I dealt with the cost was selling a bunch of stuff on craigslist. My discipline problem is not buying the item I want first before I sell my craigslist or consignment items. What I thought I might get $$$$ wasn't always realistic. Other discipline problem...the new model came out and I want the lastest and greatest.

Lollyg said...

I read great advice on this very topic: if you didn't know you needed it when you walked in the store, (or opened the catalogue) or pulled up at the tag sale....don't buy it!

I struggle so much with self discipline, but these words have stopped me a time or two!

Anonymous said...

I don't have too much trouble when it comes to not over-spending, but where I do struggle is with keeping up good habits when the novelty has worn off. I guess that's when true character is revealed...

Brenda said...

Hi Jennifer You are a treasure and it is sad that more people aren't as insightful as you. Discipline can be a "hot button" topic because sometime people feel you are taking away their freedom of expression whether by words they say, actions or dress. To reasonable people discipline is a good thing and shows depth of character. However to the uninitiated discipline is a drag because it requires effort. We have become a lazy society in what we say, our actions and how we dress. I wish it weren't so but to turn this around will require a lot of work. Your message is clear and sensible - keep up the good work. Brenz

Aussie Connoisseur said...

Hi Jennifer,
wow, this topic is resonating with so many, thank you for bringing it up.
When I read the comments I'm getting the feeling that many women are feeling bad about themselves because they don't have enough discipline. Perhaps some readers could be a bit more gentle with themselves as things have changed so much since I grew up (60's and 70's) that it really is harder to be disciplined - online shopping, extended shopping hours, and the availability of junk food 24/7 are just a few examples.
That said, I believe discipline is absolutely crucial to a happy life. When I was a student at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music I came up with a saying - 'freedom through discipline'. I applied this to myself as a performer - if I had the discipline to put in the hard yards during practice, I could then have artistic freedom on stage. I then realised it applies to our health and so many other things :)


Unknown said...

Very timely discussion. I recognize the thrill of instant gratification, and the want of the next purchase. I like that all the comments are like a big support group for me. LOL I veer into the 'shopping as entertainment' online, and that takes MUCH self discipline. It is almost self-sabotaging, really. I am trying to recognize that when it happens, and the emotion behind it. Thank you for having more on this topic.

Susan said...

The perils of instant gratification were first introduced to me about 20 years ago in a culinary discussion about the use of microwave ovens! ��
I have never forgotten that discussion, and it has given me a deeper and more genuine appreciation for the "end result," when I first appreciate and invest myself in the "process" that gets me to my desired goal.

Audrey said...

I so agree with this view and I do not feel as if spending discipline needs to be restricted to only "big ticket" items. How many of us have 11 shampoos in the shower, 15 lipsticks, eye shadow palettes in every shade immaginable, a variety of graters, spatulas,serving platters, etc etc??? Are these all necessary or do they just provide additional clutter in already busy lives and scattered minds?? Let's just step back and ask do we need this now, immediately, or can I make do and be happy with what already exists?

Vicki Zimmerman said...

Thank you for illuminating in such a clear and concrete way (with your trusty old blender) how to live with awareness and patience and rely on self-discipline instead of being swayed by instant gratification.

Usually, it will be wanting to upgrade my clothing for a new season and being lured in by all the beautiful catalogues and store sales (I'm talking to you Nordstrom). I think waiting and saving for our high-quality purchases makes us truly appreciate them more.

Now, this is off topic, but I must have missed the memo on your love of Kimberly Snyder's beauty detox solution green smoothie drinks and others. I would love to see you make this in a video, with your old blender, and talk about the merits of this. I think you skin looks gorgeous and it's happening from the inside out, as well as with your beauty routine. I love this makeup tutorials. Thanks, Jennifer.

Unknown said...

I know this will be a massively helpful series! The hardest thing for me is living in a small town and not being able to see things in person to confirm quality...we have to use online avenues...grr. I do think we all need to remember what our core "style" is and have fun with that in a responsible way! Can't wait to see more...

Lise Johnston said...

So the real question is. If you are ok with your blender now, when it dies why don't you go to your nearest thrift store and get one that performs the same as something that is serving your needs now instead of getting the big fancy blender? If it really meets your needs then something else like it meets your needs too.

The Semi Sweet said...

Self discipline is something I'm trying to teach myself on a week by week basis. I'm doing a smaller wardrobe and I definitely see a difference in my spending habits from a year ago. Thanks to my fiance....he's been a huge help for me.

So kind of related...I watch americas test kitchen and they talked about blend this season. I know the loved the vitamix but it's not too realistic for households. They did have a back up favorite and I'm sure it's on their website. I believe it was something like a third of the cost too and earned their seal of approval:)