There are certain things you wish to do in life that are difficult, as they require persistent forfeit of short term pleasure in exchange for long term accomplishment. There are also other things you wish to avoid; things that (supposedly) yield short term pleasure, but at the expense of long term suffering.
In order to make progress in either of these endeavors, you need focus, and the only way to gain focus is by practice.
Anything can count as practice; as long as you stay focused on a specific goal and try – however painstakingly – to accomplish that goal, you will make progress in honing the skill of true focus.
By definition, the most low level form of this practice is meditation. To sit and attempt to stay focused on a single, simple, point of interest (e.g. the breath) you progressively learn to focus on a single idea of your own choosing, and at the same time, you learn how to effectively recognize and deal with distractions.
This is what you’ve forgotten. This is what you need to remember.