Some people can easily have one cookie, one glass of wine or spend only thirty minutes on the Internet .
For some of us, once we start we don’t stop.
You know how it is, right? You tell yourself you will only have the one square of dark chocolate and then you keep going back for more – because it’s impossible to stop!
You schedule your emails for the first twenty minutes of the day, and then you’re off trolling Facebook and Twitter, checking out new followers – and ninety minutes or more have elapsed.
You promise yourself to get to bed earlier, then videos seduce you and it’s two a.m. before you get to sleep.
For you, it may be that you tell yourself you’ll do the aerobics class and no more. But afterwards, you go to the weight room although your back and legs ache and later, you have to take more pain killers.
Here are 5 practical, logical tips you can use to help you out.
1. Get Clear On Your BIG WHY
When you have an enthralling reason for doing what you do and you nurture your dream, you make it real.
We each have dreams, inner drives and desires that you and I want to experience or touch so that we may have no regrets.
When we peer into those desires, there is something essential about them that makes us want them, care about them and need them for fulfillment.
If you’re writing a book, finishing a musical composition, getting your MBA, or sticking to your food plan, you don’t wake up every morning delighted to be spending all those hours editing, re-writing, studying or chopping vegetables.
But you know that the reward is compelling and necessary.
When you have an enthralling reason for doing what you do to nurture your dream you make it real.
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Without that clarity and necessity, it will be difficult to sustain focus. The reason, your WHY, must be etched into your heart. If it is too small, it won’t matter.
The bee is clear on its purpose. Are you?
If your reason is clear enough to taste, you will find ways of doing it.
2. Set Boundaries
When it comes to food, if you can’t control your intake, at least eat what you know will not harm your body or make it bigger than you want it to be.
You may decide that you no longer want to partake of diets. Fine. There is nothing helpful about them.
Find out what foods trigger you to eat more or binge – and simply avoid them.
You don’t need a diet to tell you that bagels, candy, cheese and pasta trigger you.
Don’t eat them. Ask for protein, fruit and vegetables instead.
If you’re working on a long-term project such as a professional degree, and you know that television will draw you away from your planned work, avoid it.
Schedule it only when you have accomplished enough to reward yourself.
Don’t whine that it’s not easy. No it’s not. So what? It’s doable because the dream matters.
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You may tell yourself that you have no self-control, which is probably true.
But you will have self-control if you never trigger the cravings or the desires for the things that draw you in.
When your WHY is front and centre you are less likely to be distracted.
3. Find a Perspective That Works
If you have been failing repeatedly at your goals and have given up, then you need a new way of seeing, thinking and doing things.
If you’re resigned to failing, you’re probably in a rut and believe that nothing can work for you.
You’ve got a story with lots of evidence to support your pessimism.
You’ll need to find someone who can think out of the boxes you’ve trapped yourself into, and who can see and show you what else is possible and that you can succeed.
Your logic is getting you into trouble. You will need to be more open-minded with a hefty dose of Beginner’s Mind peppered in.
4. If You Keep Letting Yourself Off the Hook, Find a Champion Who Won’t
Your habits may have you believing that you’re hopeless and will never beat this.
Well, you can and you will. You’ll just have to find the way that works for you.
If your eyesight is poor, you get glasses or contacts, right?
You might need an adjustment to your habits and the courage not to give up on yourself and your BIG WHY.
You want and need to build up trust in yourself and your ability to follow through. You already do so in many areas of your life even though you can’t see it where you are stuck.
You will likely have to say No to yourself a lot – every time you exercise until you have pain, or pick up foods that trigger you, or decide that the effort is too much trouble.
Asking for help is the sign of a good leader and an intelligent and humble human being.
We all need mentors and professionals to help us learn what we do not already know.
They champion us to our next level and in a shorter time.
You have the rest of your life to practice. OF COURSE you can do it.
5. Practice Self-Compassion
Moderation may not live in you naturally. You may believe this is a moral issue.
It never helps to judge harshly – neither others nor yourself.
In Taking The Leap: Freeing Ourselves from Old Habits and Fears, Pema Chodron points us toward creating “unconditional acceptance of ourselves instead of guilt and depression.”
To do this, embrace rather than reject whatever experience shows up, and bring warmth to what hooks you, to those unwanted feelings, no matter how edgy they are or unacceptable to you.
Using conscious breathing to go through this discomfort, you open to the feelings on the in-breath, and then deeply relax on the out-breath, creating space around the irritating feelings.
Inhaling, bring warmth to the unwanted feelings.
Exhaling, bring deep relaxation and spaciousness to the unwanted feelings.
You begin by accepting that you are not a person of moderation and you love yourself anyway.
Don’t push anything away. Stay with the unpleasant energy and convert it into unconditional friendliness towards yourself.
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If you can accept your predisposition for overdoing or quitting, you will find great freedom in avoiding triggers, creating boundaries, living without, practicing self-compassion and reaching out for help.
Don’t be shy. I’m one of those people who can help you. Contact me.
Reflections for You
- In what areas of your life do you need to focus on your WHY and WHAT FOR? What’s absolutely necessary so you have no regrets?
- Where do you need to set boundaries and limits – even though it makes you want to have a tantrum?
- On which dreams have you given up? Where do you need new perspectives and choices?
- Who can help you be accountable to yourself as you rebuild new, long-term habits and your self-respect?
- What about YOU do you detest? How can you bring compassion to those places and breathe spaciousness into them?
What did you learn? Please comment below so that others can learn from you.
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© Miriam Linderman 2014