Don’t stop!!

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The cards “habits” & “beginning” from Points of You

When I  was in my early 20s, I’ve lived for a few months in Miami. It was my first time in the USA and the  2 major things which happened to me from the start were: an overwhelming sense of vastness: Israel is a tiny country, the size of New Jersey  (of Galicia, in Spain), and everything in the new place was so huge that it made me nervous. The other was an unprecedented exposure to junk food (I think McDonald’s just opened a store in Israel the previous year, for the first time).
So I’ve started eating. A LOT. I was well trained at home,  forced fed by a father who passed WWII in Syberia,  so doubling the quantities wasn’t that hard. But after 2 weeks, I’ve realizad I’m going to give myself some eating disorder. So I’ve decided that I need to start a diet. And every morning at 8am I would start a diet. And by 10am I would stuff my face…
I also worked for a very rich man, and in the neighbourhood there were some very fancy stores, filled with merchandise I couldn’t afford.
The sense of deprivation was awful. And Dunkin Doughnuts was cheap…
And so it continued for 4 months (and 10 extra kilos).
Until I’ve decided a new approach: instead of telling myself what I can’t do or have, I’ve decided I’m going to give myself my body back.
Instead of buying half a dozen doughnuts  (because it was cheaper than 4), I got “only” 4 , which was anyway the amount I could eat without feeling bloated.
I’ve remembered it now, because January is the month in which we try to be on our best behaviour : most people have made some New Year’s resolutions and they’re trying to keep up with it.

Some of these decisions are formulated in a positive way, but many others, in  negative form:

“Stop eating chocolate”, “quit smoking”, “don’t stay up late”.

Unfortunately,  these sentences usually don’t hold up for too long.

A partial explanation is that our subconscious does not understand a “no”. So it actually hears “eat chocolate, smoke, stay up late “.

But in my opinion there’s another reason which contributes: there’s a little rebel-child in all of us. And when we’re told we can’t do something,  it creates antagonism and immediately we want to do that.

Furthermore,  this little child is after satisfaction and gratification  (definitely nowadays,  when everything is so immidiate ). So not being able to have or do something,  gives us a strong sense of deprivation.  And this is something which is hard to sustain.

And it’s applicable in many parts of our lives :

We have a strong urge to cough when we go to a classical concert, a giggle escapes when we are in a funeral, have a terrible craving for bread on the 1 day we’ve decided to have a juice day and of course,  obsess about one thing once we’re told: “don’t think about it!”.

My experience is that it’s very  hard to maintain a void, which is what happens when we stop doing something.

So, what can we do?  We can start being positive…

Instead of not eating chocolate, decide that we’ll eat a fruit before. If afterwards we’d still want some chocolate, we can have it (and we’ll have less room for it in out stomach).

Instead of NOT thinking of something,  try and force yourself to think of something else, which is agreeable or constructive. This will already push away the negative thought,  since there’s no room for 2 thoughts at the same time.

Old habits die hard, as we all know. How about giving them natural death, simply by filling our lives and heads with things that are good for us? Then they’ll leave on their own will.

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