When I run with a friend I enjoy saying “you’re only cheating yourself” if either of us take an iddy biddy shortcut. Over time I’ve come to (mostly) avoid those shortcuts as a matter of principle.
If there’s a task I’m reluctant to do, I sometimes line up a reward for when it’s completed. In the past I’d often indulge a seductive voice that nudged me toward the treat before meeting the goal – after all, I was getting there.
Having developed the principle of not cheating myself, I’m now able to draw a clearer line in the sand. I’m no longer withholding something, which feels negative – I’m positively honouring a commitment I’ve made.