Life Outside My Cube

My life, a work in progress.

I can’t Just Do It

The chocolate almond frozen yogurt was not forcing itself on me. It was not threatening. It did not insist I indulge. But I ate it anyway last night, a big bowl of it. I wasn’t even super hungry. I felt guilty afterward.

Self-discipline is such a difficult things to master. Some observations.

Ensure that the motivation is stronger than the urge to give in. Make it inconvenient, a major hassle, difficult to remain at status quo. You know, make it harder to not be self-disciplined. Don’t buy a bigger pair of pants; wear the tight ones as a constant reminder of the goal. Budget/control your ice cream purchases; for every gallon you buy, force yourself to put $10 in savings. This could really work… until there’s a great sale on pants, or someone else buys the ice cream. If that external is removed, the motivation doesn’t work.

Provide positive motivations instead of negative. Make it more pleasurable – or at least easy – to be self-disciplined than not. Plan for new clothes at each weight loss level. Splurge on 6oz gelato at a restaurant instead of 16oz ice cream at home. This could really work… until the rewards seem to expensive, or you conspire with yourself to be satisfied with the status quo. If the positive motivations aren’t attractive anymore, it doesn’t work.

It ‘s a mind game either way, and only works until the motivation or reward is removed, or you figure out a way to beat the system you’ve created. Or some other excuse to bend the rules. You see, it’s all about external motivation. I think we need to be looking at the internal problem instead of just trying to build external punishment/reward systems.

See the truth about where you are. If we’re overweight, we are likely guilty of gluttony, selfishness or laziness, for example. All character flaws. Being self-disciplined in an area is not just about changing a “habit”, it’s about making a change in character. The realization that my actions are a result of the character inside is pretty overwhelming, and it seems like an insurmountable problem.

As we have strayed out from under Christ’s rule over us, we have unseated Him and supplanted righteous character with sloth, self-seeking and hedonism. Let us – let me! – commit to restoring Jesus’ rightful place in my life, and to enjoy the mental, social, and physical blessings that arise when we bring all things in subjection to His feet!

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One response to “I can’t Just Do It

  1. Jan October 5, 2009 at 1:25 pm

    I wish I could remember where I read it, but “someone” once wrote, “Freedom comes from obedience.” Usually we think of it as just the opposite: Freedom comes from doing what you want.

    The other issue that is immediately apparent from this statement is, obedience to WHAT? Everyone answers this in their own way. Obedience to a political party, obedience to my desires, obedience to my schedule, obedience to “the rules” (wherever they come from), to name only a few. But you have hit on the “mother load” when you say that we really need to align ourselves with the Creator and Master of the universe.

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