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Working on Self-Discipline

The key to self-discipline for me is realizing that I can only exercise self-discipline on myself. I can't exercise it on behalf of others or determine how other people prioritize what matters most in their lives.

Self-discipline in terms of budgeting is in part about deprivation, which is scary. What makes it scary is a past of feeling weaker and less able when deprived. The value of saving is straightforward. But the value of feeling more capable due to self-care—and being able to keep a better job as a result—is less straightforward.

Sometimes I spend on myself to make myself stronger. This involves an element of risk, because I can't guarantee that my spending will pay off. I hope it will, and I have past experience that leads me to believe it will. But the fact of the payoff, or that the timeline will allow the payoff to have the effect I hope for, is not guaranteed. Higher spending puts me at risk for losses.

By exercising at least some budgetary self-discipline, I reinforce the idea that my decisions are rational. If I avoid budgeting altogether, I could be procrastinating, avoiding facing the reality of an existing risk.

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