Play this game: What would you do if you were a millionaire?

When I ask my coaching clients what they’d do if they were millionaires, I ask with the understanding that really, anything they really want to be doing they could do right now.

Here’s how the conversation goes. I’ll do it for me. Like, I’m the coach and I’m the client.

What would you do if you didn’t need to work?

I’d have a Pilates teacher and a yoga teacher live in houses on the farm and they’d give me a lesson each day. Otherwise I don’t think I’d change anything. Oh. Hire a gardener. And a cleaning person to come every day.

What keeps you from doing that now?


The gardener and cleaning person are pretty cheap. You could hire them if you stopped buying stuff on eBay. And you can do Pilates and yoga on your own, with a little bit a self-discipline.

What I’m trying to get myself to see is that really, the millionaire money only buys the illusion of self-discipline — to do yoga and Pilates every day, and to not have to stop myself from buying stuff on eBay each day.

Then I think I’ll google self-discipline to see what other people are saying. Because every time I write about self-discipline I get to the same conclusion: It’s a muscle you have to exercise and I am too tired to exercise it. And also, give me a break: I homeschool, I work full-time, and I have a garden the size of a small estate. Who has more self-discipline? I’d have to give something up. And I don’t want to. Because, fine, because I’m a brat. So I need something new to say about self-discipline.

On Reddit there’s a great discussion about self-discipline. I’m a little put off by the person whose handle is shutuppussy. But I tell myself that person has a whiny cat and I keep reading.

The discussion is about whether it’s important to develop self-discipline or can you just force yourself? Like, if I pay someone to stand over me while I do Pilates each day, then do I have self-discipline? Probably not. But I do have great posture.

Reddit commenters are talking about the goal of not using Reddit. On Reddit:

Person #1 Focus on temptation instead of self-discipline.
Blocking Reddit or giving away your bong might be the boost you need to make progress, but it is not a cure-all. If you want to continue a bad habit, you’ll find a way to do it. The real self-discipline comes during the times you are tempted to go around your preventive measures. In that moment, you have to remind yourself why you want this change in your life.

Person #2 Forced discipline is a good first step.
Don’t worry about what methods you are using to improve your self-discipline. It’s difficult, so you shouldn’t feel bad about removing temptations. Doing that could be a great first step, and shows that you want to make a change. You can break self-discipline down into steps. An early step is to make the problem less likely to happen: Forced discipline. Think of anything that helps to eliminate the choice but that can be easily reversed. For example, you can ask your friend for your bong back. Or You can easily uninstall the app that keeps you away from Reddit.

Person #3 Think triage: Take care of the immediate impediment.
When discipline is forced, self-discipline is the next step. Think of how first-aid works:  you deal with immediate problems like shock, blood loss, or hypothermia first or your patient will die. This priority is regardless of whether the actual, underlying problem is related to those symptoms. If you worry about setting a broken leg and your victim dies of shock, you’ve failed. If you can keep the person alive long enough to get to a hospital, mending the broken leg becomes a lot easier to do.

Okay. So now I’m thinking about what my actual problem is. I don’t think my actual problem is that I don’t have a million dollars to pay people to force me to do stuff. After all, Oprah has a million bazillion dollars to hire a chef and a trainer and anyone else, and she still can’t force herself to keep her weight down.

So I think my actual problem is self-hatred. I am hating to say this but I actually think it’s a lot of peoples’ problems. If you spend enough time asking yourself what you really, really want to be doing and why you’re not doing it, there will be one of two answers:

A. You don’t really want to do what you are saying you want to do. You just wish you wanted to do it. (Writing a novel, earning a lot of money—these are the sorts of things that I hear often.)

B. You hate yourself. You don’t think you deserve to get what you want, so you don’t do the work to get it.

I decided to test whether my real problem is self-hatred. I told myself I have to write before I do anything else. And I have to do this long enough so that writing first thing will officially become a habit. I’ve done it five days in a row, and it feels good.

And really, writing is enough. I can’t be exercising my willpower every second of the day. (But of course every woman over 40 who is not fat is using her willpower every second of the day because after 40, a woman’s metabolism is the same as a turtle’s.)

So here we are, back where I said I did not want to go: self-discipline is a muscle you have to work on each day. And you have to pick what’s most important to you because you can’t have self-discipline to accomplish everything, and successful navigation of adult life requies us to give up a lot.

So I’m giving up doing yoga and Pilates each day.

And I guess, I’m also giving up the self-talk I do to convince myself that I would have a great life if I just had unlimited money. Because we can’t buy self-discipline and that’s what we need most to feel fulfilled.

40 replies
  1. Dale
    Dale says:

    It’s tough to admit self loathing is the reason for failure.
    But self loathing is usually the result of poor self esteem brought on by low confidence, brought on by perceived failure… brought on by self loathing?
    Difficult cycle to break, but it is doable if you take baby steps and increase the length of your stride every day. Do something kind for someone who couldn’t possibly pay you back and you’ll like yourself for an instant… then build on that.

    • Karelys
      Karelys says:

      I normally deal with self loathing like with a hateful person. I just think that person is so ridiculous and not worth of my time and emotional energy and just walk away.

      And I’m successful at walking away 1/5 times for every occurrence.

      I’m thinking I need to exercise the muscle of discipline to get a better score :).

  2. Karelys
    Karelys says:

    I have issues being optimistic across the board. It’s depressing. But I’m really good at turning things upside down in my head and see the good in what looks bad.

    Like probably, the fact that I’m scattered and a mess in some areas of my life is a great sign that I’m being great in others because these others require constant focus and consistent discipline.

    There. I feel so great about myself.

  3. Rachel
    Rachel says:

    Two other points:

    1) Research has shown we have only a finite amount of willpower; use it up too early in the day, and it gets harder to be self-disciplined.

    2) We think we’re superwomen. You can’t do everything, just because you want to. It was a great American myth while it lasted, but it’s just that- a myth.

    You may be able to do a lot of things, maybe even more things than the average person, but at some point, something will have to give.

    You call it self-discipline, I call it trying to make the impossible possible.

    • Rebecca
      Rebecca says:

      WOW!!!! This explains everything. I work so hard during the day at not chopping off the heads of the trolls, that by 8pm, CAN’T NOT have _____ fill in the blank… chocolate/red wine/bread…. Luckily earlier in the day my self-discipline was still high and I had worked out. :)

  4. Maria
    Maria says:

    I find there’s a correlation between self loathing and eating disorders. Self acceptance is the key to happiness.

    I ate a salad today, not to lose weight, although I have been fat shamed (always by ugly men who I would never let touch me with a ten foot pole no matter my weight). I ate the salad because I wanted to feel better and I did feel better for eating it. And it was good.

    Point is, goals are really about how we want to feel accomplishing them. Danielle Laporte has a great book and videos including her motivational “truth bombs”. Very uplifting. Now when I set goals big or small, I set them based on how I want to feel.

    I like feeling blissfully happy, safe, loved, content, excited, and fulfilled and that’s what my goals are based on.

  5. ENFP
    ENFP says:

    Brilliant article ! I find it’s even more so knowing it’s coming from a Te dominant. I found that for my part, every time I wanted to accomplish something, I let myself daydream about it for a long time, for a really long time (6 months to a year), until I felt a strong urge to actually do it. Then what usually happens is that I don’t let the small failures hit me, I just keep working and working until I get to the point I want to get. The problem afterwards is with being flaky so what I usually do at that point is remembering the list of qualities of my ideal self. It usually does the trick. I don’t know if it’s self-discipline because it comes from genuine enthusiasm instead of forced hard work.

    Have a great day Penelope !

  6. Haridasi
    Haridasi says:

    This is just BS.

    It revolves around doing something you don’t want to do (and self-hate is beside the point).

    If you want to do something, you have to reframe it. What do you like to do? How do you like to do it?

    Me – I don’t like housework. But, when I started using a stop watch, then housework suddenly got done. I set it for 30 minutes and during that time I’m not allowed to do anything besides housework. I’m surprised how much you can actually get done in 30 minutes. If you have kids, then reframe the 30 minutes. Tell the kids it’s housework time and they just have to wait. If it can’t wait and has to get done, it goes into the appointed time slot of 30 minutes anyway.

    Now, I don’t like housework simply because I’m not wired that way. It’s got nothing about self-hate or whatever excuse one can imagine. I’m just not wired that way – end of story. We don’t need to explain everything. Then that explanation can in itself become an excuse the mind uses.

    • Rachel C.
      Rachel C. says:

      Setting a 30 minute alarm is a tactic to complete the task, not necessarily a path to self-discipline. I hate to clean too, and I guarantee that I could set all the 30 minute alarms in the world and it wouldn’t get me to clean if I don’t have a reason enough for myself to do it. It’s the starting that’s the thing.

      I don’t know the path to complete self-discipline, I tend to think different people have it baked in in different ways, but I totally agree with Penelope that f I go down my list of “things I should be doing but am not” every single one of them could be explained by my deep down not caring enough or my thinking I don’t deserve it in some way.

      I think for the next chapter of my life, I’m going to try to work on ego and love instead of self-discipline. The discipline comes naturally if the stakes are high enough for me. And if they aren’t, why do I need to do it anyway? I’m going to try to learn that sometimes good enough is good enough.

      • GingerR
        GingerR says:

        I think you just described why setting a timer to do your housework is actually a path to self-discipline — because you do have the option to ignore the timer. So even if it’s a tactic, it’s also a path because you can accustom yourself to measured portions of doing something you’d rather not do with the timer.

  7. Tracy
    Tracy says:

    Great thought process, with you all the way, but your conclusion is wrong. You do have bags of self-discipline so stop beating yourself up about that.

    If the problem is self-hatred, then the solution is self-love (pause to let Redditors make jokes about masturbation…). Ok but seriously for myself I worked out my actual problem is something like that, chronic inferiority complex. And the solution? A commitment to radical self-compassion (for instance following steps here

    And when I can’t do it myself I get help from those around me. So while you’re working on it, remember we love that you are writing more often and you help us understand ourselves better and live more examined lives and we love you for that.

  8. Susan
    Susan says:

    “But of course every woman over 40 who is not fat is using her willpower every second of the day . . . .”

    Yes, every single second. My age: 61.

  9. Jim Grey
    Jim Grey says:

    I dunno – anyone who can play the coach voice in her own head and answer her own questions honestly probably has pretty good self-discipline, all things considered.

  10. amy parmenter
    amy parmenter says:

    I think the self-hatred and the non-stop critical voices in our heads is about an addiction to perfection. Big problem in our society. Especially for women. We believe that if we are not perfect, we’re not worthy – of love, of happiness whatever. And nobody’s perfect. So we either need to break the addiction – or we’re f-ed.

  11. tara dillard
    tara dillard says:

    Gardeners are expensive, mine is $100/hr, but he’s not taking new clients. Openings occur only thru death.

    Landscapers are cheap. And I have none to refer.

    When I refer my pruning specialist it’s always prefaced, “He’s the best, it looks as if G*d did the work, and G*d is not cheap.” His clients are put into his rotation, phone calls are made to the client about available dates, not the reverse.

    Want your pots planted? Have a man for that, it’s all he does. You’ll have magazine worthy pots, Milieu magazine .

    Pool? You know I have the man for that, world class. He creates pools internationally, and local. You’ll probably have to wait for him.

    Gardening is incredibly specialized.

    Ironically, cheap landscaping costs the most. Harms property value, does not lower HVAC expenses, and it will take longer to sell your home. For starters. Aside from the fact using regular N-P-K fertilizer kills earthworms, mycorhizal fungi, and is toxic to groundwater, imagine fungicide/insecticide toxicity. Not much about a landscaper is eco.

    Interesting new scientific studies released the past couple of years about skin/gut/brain/heart biomes and our need for beneficial bacterias from a good garden, including wildlife/livestock, free of chemicals, balanced in pollinator habitat. More, the horticulture therapy of the past is almost debunked in its details/reasons yet science is proving it a dire need, without the right biomes, we are sick, body/mind. Of course without any bacterial biomes, we die.

    Founding Gardeners, by Andrea Wulf, about the founding of America with George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, posits our government is based in the principles of agrarian knowledge/values. Stewardship vs. amusement. It was on display in the recent film about MLK. Which sadly took a great topic and reduced it to the trite/hackneyed.

    I began gardening for amusement, took me 3 decades to realize stewardship is the greater delight. Stewardship, is ownership. Greater than being a millionaire, because it is a desire to give, not take.

    When life was crazy with alcoholic spouse, now safely gone/poof/voila/presto, the epiphany question arrived, “What would I do tomorrow if I were not afraid?”

    A question I still use, it gives choices. Fear gives lizard brain choices. If I thought of what I could do with a million dollars tomorrow, it would be money based choices. Would rather make choices from a basis of stewardship, not fear or money.

    Since these epiphanies occurred, I make more money. When I tried to make money? Stress, fear, failures, repeat.

    Something I add to the question, ‘What would I do tomorrow if I were not afraid?’, if it’s a tough spot and I really have zero clue which way to go, is exercise, enough to sweat, and think thru the myriad answers arriving to the question.

    A pair of questions to ask before choosing an action plan, “Which path enlarges me, and which diminishes me?”

    Changing the topic, an easy way to curb appetite to lose weight or to keep it off more easily. Drink unpasteurized vinegar/water throughout the day. Vinegar that is cloudy with the ‘mother’ in it. Discovered by accident using it for allergies, and noticing zero hunger. Don’t get in my way if I’ve run out of vinegar !

    Back on topic, do you know why the potager is needed? Know why guilds are needed, and where? Follow the money. Both can increase crop yields by 80% with same input/effort as without.

    Sold both my houses last month, within 24 hours of listing, and pricing was beyond comparables. Sold a friend’s cabin, by owner, this year too. It had languished 6 years/3 realtors, I staged interior/garden. Follow the money. Better, follow time. Sure made money on my homes, but their speed of sale bought me time. Time is more precious than money at many points of life. Cannot wait for the moves to be done, get back to working. Love my job. Win the lottery? Would figure a way to do my job more more more.

    Do you read Farnum Street? Good post about The Three Marriages: Reimagining Work, Self, Relationship,

    Garden & Be Well, XO Tara

  12. Mark W.
    Mark W. says:

    I lost a lot of weight over the winter. I lost too much. So much I was less than my high school weight. I never did that before but I was ready to “kill it” on my bicycle for this year. I’ve since gained much of it back. My friends say I look better. I’m not looking so gaunt so I have to agree. I also feel better.
    The fact of the matter is that I’m now in the overweight classification. My bmi is between 25 and 30. So my goal is to lose some weight (10-15 pounds) so I look and feel good and still perform well on the hills on my bicycle. I’m setting my own weight goals after listening to this very interesting podcast – . The synopsis of the above podcast (almost 14 minutes) is “The cultural bias against obesity is often justified on health grounds. But recent studies show that people classified in the “overweight” BMI category actually have less mortality than normal weight people. Experts discuss how culture drives our obsession with weight and what science really has to say about it.”

  13. kina
    kina says:

    I grew up with an abusive father who was physically and verbally abusive. The verbal abuse was hard to overcome. When you hear for years that you are dumb, useless, and an idiot – what else can you believe about yourself? I now have that awareness that much of my struggle comes from self-loathing rooted in that abuse I suffered for so long. Interestingly, all of this surfaced when I quit my high paying job and decided to work for myself, which obviously is a framework that lacks discipline or enforcement. Never was it a problem in college or in the corporate setting.

  14. sarah
    sarah says:

    I am a very optimistic person. I think it comes from nature, but I really hate to have someone/thing tell me what to do. When life says I can’t, I find away to just to be contrary. This builds optimism.

    Here is my truth for self discipline: If I don’t want to do it, I won’t. It’s not a lack of discipline, or self worth, its a lack of believing it is worth my time.

    I think because I am such an optimistic person, myself esteem is great. Maybe for great self discipline you need to be opptomistic, then it will create good self esteem.

    You can try to change daily habbits to be this way, or you can stop telling yourself lies. Like you would work out if you had the time. If you wanted to work out you would make the time.

  15. Rickee Mahoney
    Rickee Mahoney says:


    Am I too tired, Yes. Do I homeschool, Yes. Too many pets, Yes. Messy husband, Yes. Would I like to work more regularly and talk to adults, Yes. But I got lucky, was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes, so daily yoga, now Yes. So the tired and the homeschool and the pets and the husband will have to wait.

  16. Jill
    Jill says:

    I forced myself to get off of Reddit this morning, then came here. Now, I’m about to click your links and go back on Reddit. I’m supposed to be working.

  17. jim
    jim says:

    Many times I think you are certifiable. Many times your posts go in one ear and out the other; I just don’t relate to many of them.
    This one hit one. About the self-hatred. I would like to see you write more on this.

  18. Jennifa
    Jennifa says:

    From the title of this post, I was really looking forward to what people with do with a million dollars! And everyone is talking about self-hatred and discipline! That is no fun, and plus you can go one endlessly about those topics forever and ever.

    A million dollars, I have thought about this a lot. Of course pay off my debts, stay right in the same house, same car, same husband etc. I would start a non-profit that that collects ‘free’ pianos people do not want anymore, repair them to playable quality and donate them to kids who want to learn the piano. The non-profit pays for all repairs and moving expenses. Maybe helping to set up lessons too, and help pay for music.

    Maybe I can still do this anyway, without the million dollars, but it would require a lot of self-discipline and getting over my self-hatred….

  19. bea
    bea says:

    I love engaging in these sort of thought experiments. What would I do if I had millions….

    1) Work-related: A couple of years ago, I quit working for an awful company and went to work for myself. It was scary, but necessary. In fact, I stayed too long at a ridiculous place with terrible people. I did so because the work was interesting and I had a lot of autonomy. But I learned in time that all the autonomy in the world ceases to matter much when you work at a ridiculous place with terrible people.

    I’m in the process of building my reputation as a consultant in my field and it’s going well. It’s not as lucrative (yet), but I have found that the trade off is more than worth it. I actually like the “potluck” approach to creating a living for myself. I had no idea I would find this so desirable, but I do and I can’t imagine going back. If I had all the money in the world, I would not change my career one bit. Maybe I would work pro bono more. I would do more non-paying research and development. I do both of those things now, just not on the scale that I could if money were no object.

    2) Lifestyle: I don’t think I’d do much different, other than maybe shop at the expensive grocery store regularly. I probably wouldn’t think twice about dropping 100 plus on good running shoes. I’d invest in expensive lawn/gardening equipment. We’d take more vacations to exotic, far away places for longer periods of time. I could make it more than worth somebody’s while to take care of our crazy ass dog while we were gone.

    3) Stuff: I might consider building my own house with a little more land, but maybe not. The 3 acres we have tend to get away from us as it is. Although, if I could easily afford to hire all manner of professionals to help with the planning, the building and the maintenance, that might convince me. But, I’m an INTJ and frugal as the day is long, and I will talk myself out of hiring somebody to do something that I *could* do, even if I don’t have the time or gumption to do whatever needs doing. I can see this becoming a big problem over the course of building a house. I can tile, so I’ll tile all the bathrooms. I can hang dry wall! I’ll do that too. Paint? Oh, I’ll definitely do that. No need to hire anybody. All the money in the world wouldn’t change that particular character deficit of mine. And a project as big as building a house might end in a divorce and with my child petitioning to find a new mother. So, I’ve just talked myself out of that particular fantasy.

    3) Here’s the big thing that money would change for me: I’m approaching the age my mother was when she was diagnosed with cancer. Everybody in my family gets it in some form or another. I just had not one, but 2 biopsies in the last month. One came back negative for cancer, but positive for a condition that is a bitch to deal with (financially as well as logistically). It’s going to mean I can’t eat a lot of the foods I love. And if I had millions? Well, I could hire a personal chef or someone to ease the inconvenience of radically changing my diet to accommodate this condition (I would gladly give up cooking to a professional–I hate cooking).

    Another biopsy came back positive. I had surgery last week to remove a lesion on my face that turned out to be basal cell carcinoma. Not a bad cancer in the grand scheme, although I don’t care who you are, when you hear a doctor telling you that you do indeed have that insidious disease on your person, you sort of dissolve into a big pile of “no, no, no, please, no…”

    In some crazy way, finally getting some sort of cancer diagnosis was a relief. I felt like I had been waiting for it for all of my adult life. But this healthcare crap is expensive. And now that I work for myself, I have crappy insurance. If I had millions, I would tell the health insurance companies to piss off and pay for my own treatments, and all of my medical expenses, henceforth and ever more, out of pocket. I well and truly hate the health insurance aspect of being a functioning adult human person. God, what a stress that would alleviate from my life: The stress of worrying whether the expense of some health condition will financially devastate my family. The stress of prioritizing this healthcare expenditure over that one. The stress of worrying about what my family would do with the loss of income in the event something were to happen and take me. If I had lots of money, I think it would free up the mental and emotional real estate I devote to worrying and dealing with healthcare-related stuff. If I were wildly rich, I wouldn’t think twice about going to a plastic surgeon to fix this thug-looking scar on my face. Okay, I kind of like my thug-looking scar, but you see where I’m going here: Not thinking twice about healthcare costs. That is the dream of dreams for me in my “if I were a millionaire” game.

    But while I can’t afford to not have health insurance, I could, however, learn how to stop draping my anxiety over things that are largely out of my control. That is something money cannot change or fix. I should really work on that. See, this is why I love these garden path “what if” games.

    • YesMyKidsAreSocialized
      YesMyKidsAreSocialized says:

      I’m so sorry for all the health-related issues. I hope all is ok, or will be ok soon!

      • bea
        bea says:

        Thanks, YMKAS. I’m actually healthy as a horse in a lot of ways. I just come from a long line of sickly people on both sides of my family. My people start bracing themselves early for the big C, amongst other afflictions that are passed around among us.

        I’m also Gen X and while we did get the memo on staying out of the sun, many of us, myself including, largely ignored it. I feel so stupid even admitting as much…

  20. sylvia
    sylvia says:

    I think perfectionism and “all or nothing” thinking really interfere with self-discipline. When I tell myself I have to exercise an hour every day, my self-discipline disappears. When I tell myself, it’s ok to exercise for 20 minutes a few times a week, I’m more likely to get in motion.

    Speaking as a 63 year old woman, you can keep your weight down and metabolism up if you stay in motion (literally) all day. Just never stop moving!

  21. Holden seguso
    Holden seguso says:

    Sacrifice is the start of self discipline. Love yourself enough to give things up. Usually things are sought out to escape from sitting with our own thoughts. Sit with your demons, learn from them,feel their pain, and love them. Everyone deserves this, it’s so brutal seeing all the struggle in this world. But in that struggle the is so much kindness, love, strength, and beauty. Anyone out there working towards self love, I’m sending positive visualizations your way. Anything the spirit commits to can be overcome. Much love and thanks for the article :)

  22. Karelys
    Karelys says:

    With a million I’d probably pay off my debts stat, repair the house and my mom’s then save the rest to give me the mental relief to try out new things until I figure out how to make money. I don’t try things if I’m scared my family won’t have enough money for bills.

  23. Mysticaltyger
    Mysticaltyger says:

    Penelope, I think you nailed it when you said you hated yourself. This is VERY common for people who experienced some kind of abuse in childhood. Same deal with Oprah. She experienced childhood sexual abuse, so I’m not surprised it’s hard for her to keep her weight down.

  24. Bailey
    Bailey says:

    You say you want to do pilates and yoga daily and would if you were a millionairese, but you don’t because you lack self-discipline, which is really masked self hatred.

    Me thinks you have it backwards. Your reason for skipping pilates and yoga isn’t self hatred or lack of huge wealth. You simply don’t WANT to do them.

    And that’s just fine.

    What’s not fine is beating yourself up for doing the things you want to do and avoiding the rest.

    The people with self-discipline to do all the things they SHOULD do are the ones who truly hate themselves.

    Life is short – enjoy it.

  25. v
    v says:

    1. if i had a million, i would buy up forest and try to make a viable greenway. i can’t do that now- but i do take walks in the woods.
    2. re gardener. i don’t like the look of manicured lawns- too artificial. i would spend some time or money planting native plants in an attractive way and grass that was bred not to grow to tall. then mowing the lawn and a few gardening chores would be part of my quotas for exercise/vita d/enjoying the
    3. re cleaning the house. my husband does that cuz he doesn’t work (and the gardening), but when he did, i had my daughters help. i don’t want strangers in and around my house. also some house cleaning is part of the exercise quote. example- we never use the dryer- we hang up all clothes either in the basement or outside.
    re self-discipline. my husband has tons. it has rubbed off on me cuz he will harangue me if i procrastinate. i then use my powers of logic and insight to see his point and i force myself to act. over the years it has become easier.

  26. Ellie
    Ellie says:

    I tried to go to that Reddit discussion you linked to, but I couldn’t because I use Chrome Nanny to block Reddit on my computer. Uuuuuuggghhhhh…

  27. Clay
    Clay says:

    Fantastic article! I like the Shawn Achor approach to work & life – instead of the “when I have $X, I’ll be happy” type of thinking, he suggests more of a “Let me figure out how to be happy with my life, and success will follow” type approach.

    I tend to catch myself diving into deep thought for an extended time before actually executing things I set out to do. At the end of the day, having deep thoughts are great, but I don’t feel accomplished until something is getting done. Self-discipline really is pivotal to fulfillment. Thanks for the good read, Penelope!

  28. Jim C.
    Jim C. says:

    I can understand giving up yoga and pilates, because they can take up a lot of your time. (Our time is the one possession we have that is strictly limited. Once it’s gone, it’s gone, and we cannot buy it back at any price.)
    I have an alternate suggestion that helps to get and keep a person physically fit — not serene, not having great posture, but fit and likely to live longer.
    Back around 1960 the Royal Canadian Air Force (now part of Canadian Forces) had a problem with pilots stationed at remote Arctic and Subarctic bases. During the winter months they seldom got outdoors except to fly, and the smaller bases had no facilities like gyms to keep the pilots in shape. The RCAF discovered that about half of its pilots were physically unfit to fly.
    To remedy this, the service developed a program of daily exercises for men called the Five Basic Exercises, or 5BX. It also developed a similar program for women called the Ten Basic Exercises, or XBX. People using the exercises would progress from week to week, increasing the numbers of repetitions and at intervals increasing the difficulty of the exercises.
    Here’s the payoff: It can all be done, indoors, in eleven minutes a day. I can’t speak for the XBX, but the 5BX works! I am 68, and I’ve been using the program for about six months. I can do things now that I couldn’t do for years, and my back doesn’t hurt all the time any more.
    I’m not sure why CF discontinued the program, but the books are out of print now. They are available from used book dealers, though.
    Eleven minutes a day is an investment worth making, and it pays off in feeling better and being more capable. I recommend it.

  29. Amy A
    Amy A says:

    I did play this game and wrote a blog post about it because it’s so fun and inspiring to think about.

    My if-I-were-a-millionaire list didn’t trigger anything to do with self-discipline. Energy-level is always a factor for me though; and so a lot of my list involves hiring help.

    I’m super curious about what you buy on eBay–especially in light of your post called “I just read about the life-changing magic of tidying up” where you talk about how you are someone who “compulsively throws stuff out.”

  30. Jason
    Jason says:

    I love this post. One of the toughest things is to realize that trying to buy or have every little thing has no major benefit. It just piles on more pressure and stress to your finances.

  31. Micaela
    Micaela says:

    In case you have a favorite overthecounter drugs that you
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