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Identity is More Effective than Willpower

I made it!

At 51, it was my first ever attempt to give something up for Lent. I chose sugar (which essentially meant no sweets, chocolate, biscuits, cake, desserts or drinks containing added sugar) which I thought was a good challenge for someone with a sweet tooth.

At the end of the 46 days I was able to enjoy having the Green & Blacks Dark Chocolate Easter Egg from my wife, but I didn't feel the urge to binge on sugary foods. I've returned to having most sweet things ... but perhaps not as much as before.

As mentioned in a previous blog, I found it interesting that I didn't need a lot of willpower.

Most of us would recognise that having to apply a lot of willpower suggests an internal struggle between aspects of ourselves. I've recently learned that this has been proven to deplete our mental, emotional and physical reserves.

Go on ... Nobody would ever know!

Lent Day 4.

Some friends come over for dinner. Dessert looks great but I'm able to calmly refuse it in line with my commitment to giving up sugary foods including chocolates. Our friends bring over a box of beautiful chocolate truffles and my wife suggests that perhaps I could have "just one". I say "no" to demonstrate my commitment.

And then some hours later, I find myself all alone with the opened box ....

The voice of temptation starts up: "Those are really good quality truffles, you love them and you've been really good so far, so go on just have one. Nobody need know!"

Now I have to admit that I went very close to "sneaking" one!

But who am I trying to fool? And why am I doing this whole Lent thing anyway? Nobody else really gives a damn whether I do it or not.

The whole purpose is to demonstrate to myself that I can rise above the temptation.

If I "cheat", then the only person I'm really letting down is me!

The Power of a Decision

It's only early days but I noticed something very interesting yesterday.

Having made the decision to give up sugary food for Lent, I experienced the power of clarity and it was very liberating.

Normally, I would have had a brief tussle between two internal voices.

One would be like a small demanding child saying, "I want to have that!"

The other would be the controlling parent saying, "I shouldn't have that and I don't really need it"

More often than not, the needy demanding child within would win the battle.