How to Curb Temptation — One Spoon Less at a Time

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I once heard a wise man speak. He had a great line on how to create change, and curb temptation.

He said — ‘All you need to do is have one spoon less, and wake up five minutes earlier.’

A simple resolution. Very doable… Very timely, after all the seasonal bingeing on sherbets, aam ras, and ice creams…

I was just about to cut sugar completely from my diet — or some such radical thing — when the wise man reminded me that change happens slowly.

Indeed, big change requires lots of small changes.

That’s the only way to make change sustainable.

Radical change, or sudden abstinence, only makes us crave something more, and return to it with a vengeance, once the resolve weakens.

Lasting change requires daily practice and perseverance — a conscious and determined effort to stop at the second bite, and resist the snooze button.

Yes, the human mind needs a lot of training.

Hence, the best way for it to break away from old habits is to make the change slowly, but surely.

For long-term impactful change, the easiest route may be — small, incremental changes, that don’t completely deprive you of something, but still bring about some level of control.

I once successfully completed a 100-day ‘no bread challenge’…

Throughout the 100 days, I had to think of alternatives to bread. This introduced me to new healthy ways of eating, and increased my diet options.

But being creative was exhausting after a point, and I craved a good pizza, every now and then.

When your goal is to reduce one spoon at a time — rather than replace or eliminate it entirely — you don’t need to think of alternatives…

You just do a little less of what you want to change each time.

Life will thus go on normally, but the eventual change you see, will be significant.

With this idea in mind, here are some of my solutions to help you curb temptation, and affect lasting change in your life…

Become aware of what needs to be changed

Many of us aren’t even aware of our excesses, until someone brings them to our notice, or till we get a rude shock on the weighing scale.

If you consult a dietitian, the first thing they will ask you to do is list everything you consume in a day. This helps you notice all the unnecessary snacking. Only after the dietitian understands your daily habits, will they help you change them for the better.

This is true for many of life’s problems — Unless you articulate the problem, you will not be able to fix it!

Understand how that change will impact your life

Every mission needs a higher purpose to take it seriously, and see it through. When you become aware of a problem you want to change, it’s a good idea to list all the benefits that you will experience, if you keep the resolve.

For example: Waking up a little earlier every day will advance my career, and I will have more time to read, meditate, make a healthy breakfast etc. Or, saving more money, will give me more freedom to choose the work I want to do, afford me a better house, an annual vacation, etc.

Keeping the end reward in mind will make the immediate sacrifice seem much easier, and ultimately take you a little closer to the desired goal!

Make it your mission for the next 100 days

Change takes effort and time. Thus, to change any habit, give yourself a minimum of three months of dedicated commitment to it. There’s a reason 100-day challenges are so popular. Author and speaker Tom Corley says:

Consistency transforms behaviors into habits… One strategy to make good habits stick…is something called the 100 Day Challenge. Here’s how it works: for 100 days, focus on engaging in one activity for 100 days in a row. By the end of the 100 days that daily activity will become a daily habit. Engaging in an activity for 100 days helps create the neural network infrastructure necessary to forge a habit.

I can testify to that — After 100 days of no bread, my desire for bread didn’t disappear completely, but reduced drastically. Toward the end of the challenge, I realised I could manage well without it.

Thus, for your mind and body to internalise change, give it a time-frame of at least 100 days.

Use the power of belief to transform old habits

Transformation will not take place if you don’t believe you can do it. Our old habits are actually old beliefs, and to cure them we need a new set of beliefs.

Your old beliefs will resist your new beliefs… They will make excuses and tell you why they need to exist.

But, don’t pay attention to the non-believing habit-resisting voices in your head, remember instead all the positive outcomes of that change.

Lasting change and transformation in your life is definitely possible… All it takes, is ‘one spoon less at a time!’

The article was first published on Common Sense Living, a digital publication with new-age lifestyle and wealth-building ideas.

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