I was working on some tight deadlines while at a cafe.
Overwhelmingly, I had the urge to break from my diet and order a bunch of junk food - sandwiches, french fries, etc.
I'm not exactly sure why that urge comes up, but I think it's quite common. You've probably experienced it, yes?
If you're trying to refine your diet, or stop binge drinking, or sleep at a reasonable hour, or quit some bad habit, or... whatever... well, how have you gotten off track in the past?
Probably when there was a "good reason" - either something more important (like a deadline) or some general exception (like a "special occasion").
This has happened to me, too. But I've found the phrase in the title, comical as it sounds, helps a person stay grounded. "Self destruction is generally counterproductive."
Here's how it works in thinking:
Impulsive thought: I should have some cake, french fries, and drink two bottles of brandy. Just right now, the deadlines [or "special occasion"] are more important than the overarching plans I've set.
Conscious thought: Wait, self destruction is generally counterproductive. I set up the rules for my life because my life will go better if I follow them. Even if there's a short term gain here - there might not be, even - it's the kind of tradeoff that doesn't make sense and works against you. I'll order a salad.
Also, on days where I'm close to breaking a hard rule, I'll absolutely sacrifice a soft objective to refrain. The end goal of how I eat is high energy levels, good general-health, good longevity, and a very lean physique. Eating a gigantic pack of peanuts would be contrary to the objective, but I'll go for it on a particularly tough day in order too not break the hard rules. Hard rules become easier to break the more often they're broken, whereas sacrificing a softer objective doesn't seem to trigger the same downward spiral chain reaction.
"Hard rules become easier to break the more often they’re broken"
Totally agree with that. Usually, just like Matthew, after I break a hard rule I feel much more inclined to break other rules.
After having had a few bad decisions (overeating, drinking too much, procrastinating), I start kicking myself and get back in state. I need to be able to have that kind of reaction as soon as I'm tempted to messed up!
As Jim Rohn said, all disciplines affect each other, and all lacks of discipline affect each other.
I have noticed that breaking one rule often leads to the breaking of the next way in a very direct manner. Where I noticed was in eating; on days when I break the rule of no fatty/salty foods (like a burger and fries) then I end up craving sweets later in the day (just one slice of cake, no?). Those two definitely seem to go hand-in-hand, at least for me.