Momentum has a sense of magic to it. Doing something we ought to do is often not fun the first time. It is tough. Commonly it is harder to get up the gusto to do it more than actually doing it. Once we do something, like abstain from sugar, or alcohol, or go to the gym, or face up to a conflict to resolve it, it is infinitely easier to do a second time….if that second times comes soon. The pattern continues. Your power grows.
However, the mountain has an equal, but opposite force. When we make a slip, a poor decision, put off action, or engage in behaviors counter to those we ought to do, it is infinitely easier to repeat that negative behavior, choice, or inaction. We call it a slippery slope.
I was thinking today about temptation. When we are tempted by something and indulge today, it’s just one day. It is just a “treat.” The problem is, the next day, we remember that indulgence and we want it again. The truth is, “It is not what you do one day. It is what you do every day.” I did not become morbidly obese because I ate a doughnut one day. It happened from day after day of less than ideal health choices. Likewise, I did not lose 155 pounds from going to the gym one day. It was from day after day of resisting temptation and choosing self-care and optimal health over indulgence AND the temptation to diet to speed my results.
If we can moderate and have a treat once in awhile and then immediately resume our “regularly scheduled programming,” it would be perfectly benign. However, if that treat makes us feel like we’re treading in quicksand for a week or two after, then I would hardly call it a treat. Unfortunately, we’re vulnerable because our brains react chemically and do not understand the difference at the physical level. Advertising campaigns and culture certainly do not help the situation.
We need to instead provide our brains and bodies with things that bring true pleasure. Strong Coffey and The Pleasure Principles helps immensely with this concept. This course has changed my life. I highly recommend you check it out if you struggle with this phenomenon like me regardless of whether it is with food, alcohol, or any other substance or behavior. It may feel like an uphill battle when you begin, but once you resist temptation a few times and get your momentum going, hang on for the ride! You will be flying with freedom before you know it!
Building momentum (again)…