Thursday, May 15, 2014

The problem with discipline to modify behavior

Had a great talk this morning with an old and very dear friend about our personal environments and what we can do to change them so as to support healthier eating and stronger well-being. I think the number one factor for me is in how I use my time, an issue that recurs in this blog because I don't seem to solve it.
Without a shift to a more spacious time environment, I pretty much have to rely on discipline to support any modifications in my behavior and discipline doesn't hold up in the long run.

I have a lot of discipline at my disposal. In fact, I think my friends would say that I'm highly disciplined. I get to the gym 3-4 times a week almost without exception. I walk most other days. I meet my deadlines for work, I'm punctual for appointments, I keep my word. I've written in a journal every day for over 20 years.

But discipline is just a tool to get us to routine, to momentum, so that the habit is so well-ingrained that we don't even question it. That's true for me of journal writing, just something I do every day and I don't feel very good if I don't do it. The same with exercise. I've been exercising steadily since 1980 and if I go two or three days without a good walk or a trip to the gym, I go into a kind of physical discomfort like withdrawal.

But discipline is an insufficient tool for abstinence of any kind. If it had worked, I would not have needed a treatment center stay or AA all these years. And it won't work in the long run with food either. Something else has to happen, for me anyway.

1 comment:

Amber said...

Will you let me know what when you find out? I would really like to solve this one too.