When exam time approaches, parents go out of their way to create an environment where there are fewer distractions for their children. They may not watch TV even though their favorite show is on. They may delay having friends over, or rearrange their social engagements. In this way, they facilitate an environment in which their children can stay focused and concentrate on their goals. Children also do their part by studying diligently.
As the child matures and understands her priorities, she is able to manage these distractions herself. It is a proud moment for the parents when they see their child decline a friend's invitation in order to study for exams. The student has now formed good habits, and is able to delay the gratification until after exams.
We may not like to admit it but the fact is that we are similar to elementary school children when it comes to our spiritual progress. We get easily distracted by objects and people of the world. Family members, friends and material comforts are all distractions that keep us from staying focused on our spiritual goals.
The first thing we need to do is to create an environment which is conducive to devotion and which discourages distractions. This involves limiting how much TV we watch, what we eat and drink, who we associate with, and in general cut down on our material pursuits so that we may have sufficient time to engage in daily devotion.
Just like parents don't expect their children to succeed in their first attempt, we should also not expect that good habits will be formed overnight. We need to be patient and diligent, and good habits will be cultivated in time. These good habits will yield favorable results in due course.
Take a step. Reduce the distractions.