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a Q&A on self control
 
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Published: 13 years ago
 

a Q&A on self control


someone posed the question to me:

"At the risk of being ridiculed and critized can I ask in your opinion how does one develop discipline especially in the health arena (eating healty and exercizing). For that matter discipline period!!! I would love to hear peoples opinions on DISCIPLINE. I need it!!!"

answer:

there are two very definite aspects of this game.

the first is human behavior. we are creatures of habit and hedonistic. lovers of pleasure, as the bible so aptly puts it. the more you give in to your desires, the more they become habit and control you. when people say they are addicted to food or sex or any of lifes little pleasures, it is because they have allowed those pleasures to consume them instead of the other way around.

in our consumer society, controlling your impulses and desires is seen as almost unamerican. businesses are counting on you to respond to their messages and to let go and indulge yourself. am i starting to sound like a commercial? throw out your tv. take up oil painting or a musical instrument.

the second problem is the mind. take milk for example. there cannot be a worse food on the planet. do you KNOW that? do you know HOW that is true? do you know what it DOES to YOU? it actually causes osteoporosis. yet, i still hear people say they drink milk for their osteoporosis. oh, really?

so, just like you wouldnt drink anything, no matter how deliscious it was, if you knew it was spiked with arsenic, you have to train your mind to accept certain truths, in spite of what your body tells you and, many times, in spite of what the rest of the world tells you. if a person gets far enough into this process, they find out how ignorant and gullible people really are. dont get discouraged - it is their choice, just like your choice, only different.

once the mind starts to accept the truth of the matter, the body will start to follow along. the hardest things to overcome are the things which have been such a habit that they are an integral part of your life. this is why smokers have such a hard time. in their lives, they have counted on that cigarette. like an old friend, it is always there and never fails to give pause and calm and let you catch your mental breath. too bad it takes away your physical breath!

these habits will lessen and go away as they are replaced by something else. the habit should not be the focus. instead, the benefit should be replaced, hopefully by something that also precludes doing the habit, either by being something that prevents the habitual behavior or by being something that is mutually exclusive with the unwanted activity. for example, swimming would exclude smoking as long as a person is in the water.

it is said that if you can change a habit of doing things for three weeks, the new habit will be established. this is why the 21 day orange juice only fast is a cure for all things. afterwards, you are not only cleansed, but you can start fresh with your diet and put in it what you want and leave out what you want - all habits are broken.

i have found that choosing the easiest things to change, things that i know i can do and maintain, is the best way to start. faith(what you truly believe) must be put into action, or it will wither away like an unwatered seedling. any change, no matter how trivial it seems or ineffectual, if it is in a positive direction, it will change everything else slightly and sets the stage for the next change. soon, change becomes a part of your lifestyle and changes come easier. with each improvement in health, you will desire to feel even better and the ball is rolling on a new you.

there is another clue in the bible about life:

Ecclesiastes 4:12
And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken.

if you have a set of habits that go together, look out. there are some classics out there that are easy to see. one from the old hippie days(who am i kidding, its worse than ever but the drugs are now legal ones) is sex, drugs and music(rock and roll). the music instills the desire for the sex and drugs. the drugs enhance the pleasure of the music and decrease inhibition for the sex. the sex creates new situations which music(blues) and drugs can help alleviate(or escape, if you prefer). it is a very powerful bond that together can be almost impossible to escape until, of course, it ends in tragedy.

similarly, the triple addiction of caffeine, nicotine and Sugar is a really tough one. it is more overt because they are more socially acceptable(well, cigs used to be. i used to smoke while i grocery shopped). even so, the best repeat customer products out there today use this combo effect. caffeine and Sugar in particular. add chocolate and you have a proven money maker before even hitting the market. just ask starbucks(after their internet coupon lawsuit is settled).

the way to overcome thes kinds of habits is to reduce one element at a time. dont stop the coffee and cigs, for example, just the sugar. whoa, the coffee doesnt taste as good. you dont drink as much of it. that cuts down on the need to smoke so much. next, get rid of the coffee and the cigs are starting to be perceived as unnecessary, maybe even nasty.

you dont need to have the power to change over night. in fact, you cant. it would be unfair. you still must reap what you have sown already. but all you have to do is change directions and the rest will follow along behind you like a faithful puppy. sow different seeds now and you will surely reap different crops later. everyone starts somewhere and that somewhere is rarely on top.

i love this saying, though i dont have a credit for it: "if you want something you have never had, you must do something you have never done." now, go do something, anything, that you havent done before.
 

 
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