Thursday, October 1, 2015

A knowing that shifts so much

Last week my spiritual director told me about some studies she'd read on will power, discipline, self-restraint. That our daily supply is limited. So if we have things we have to do that we don't want to--and they require will power to do them, then we use it up. No problem, right?

Well, let's say you're staying off sugar and you have to go to the dentist, which you hate. It takes all your will power to sit in the dental chair for an hour. When you come home, it's no big surprise that you eat two big cookies. Or let's say you go to dinner with your in-laws, whom you don't care all that much for. You sit there all through dinner not saying much so you can keep your temper but you eat two big pieces of dessert.

This makes so much sense to me. It explains why newcomers to AA who smoke are encouraged to continue to smoke for the first year or two. It takes too much will power to give up both addictions at once. It explains why when I have a tedious project for work and I make myself sit there and get it done, I find it hard to keep my resolve not to eat sugar.

My challenge is to make sure I don't have too many things each day that require self-restraint.

2 comments:

Kathryn Owen said...

Good point. I just read a book by Roy Bauermeister on the research being conducted on willpower. Results they're finding are very much what you describe, and it's an excellent book. Thanks for your post!

Kathryn Owen said...

Good point. I just read a book by Roy Bauermeister on the research being conducted on willpower. Results they're finding are very much what you describe, and it's an excellent book. Thanks for your post!