Relinquish authority to somebody else: let him hold your car keys.
Commit or contract: order your lunch in advance.
Disable or remove yourself: throw your car keys into the darkness; make yourself sick.
Remove the mischievous resources: don’t keep liquor, or sleeping pills, in the house; order a hotel room without television.
Submit to surveillance.
Incarcerate yourself. Have somebody drop you at a cheap motel without telephone or television and call for you after eight hours’ work. (When George Steiner visited the home of Georg Lukacs he was astonished at how much work Lukacs, who was under political restraint, had recently published-shelves of work. Lukacs was amused and explained, “You want to know how one gets work done? House arrest, Steiner, house arrest!”)
Arrange rewards and penalties. Charging yourself $100 payable to a political candidate you despise for any cigarette you smoke except on twenty-four hours’ notice is a powerful deterrent to rationalizing that a single cigarette by itself can’t do any harm.
Reschedule your life: do your food shopping right after breakfast.
Watch out for precursors: if coffee, alcohol, or sweet desserts make a cigarette irresistible, maybe you can resist those complementary foods and drinks and avoid the cigarette.
Arrange delays: the crisis may pass before the time is up.
Use buddies and teams: exercise together, order each other’s lunches.
Automate the behavior. The automation that I look forward to is a device implanted to monitor cerebral hemorrhage that, if the stroke is severe enough to indicate a hideous survival, kills the patient before anyone can intervene to remove it.
Finally, set yourself the kinds of rules that are enforceable. Use bright lines and clear definitions, qualitative rather than quantitative limits if possible. Arrange ceremonial beginnings. If procrastination is your problem, set piecemeal goals. Make very specific delay rules, requiring notice before relapse, with notice subject to withdrawal.Permit no exceptions.
Thomas Schelling, ‘Self-Command in Practice, in Policy, and in a Theory of Rational Choice’, The American Economic Review, vol. 74, no. 2 (May, 1984), pp. 6-7