Thursday, April 4, 2013

Baby Steps

First, let me say - I am not pregnant.

I am talking about baby steps in the mind. I have written before about my general tendency toward gluttony. It is a trait I have been unhappy with about myself, and something I have wanted to get rid of for some time. Recently though, I have been trying to embrace my gluttonous ways a little more. I mean, we are not talking about one or two traits here. I am gluttonous across the board, so it's probably better not to fight the trait outright, but instead to try and work with it in order to make changes in my life.

A few months ago I read The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. As self-help books go, I liked it better than most. Partially because, and this shows what a complete snob I am, she is smarter than many of the people selling the secret to happiness. Also, she didn't end up some kind of happy-zombie for whom turning a particularly stubborn frown upside down is as easy as walking on your hands everywhere. At the end of the book, she seems only slightly happier than she did at the beginning, but she has made a commitment to continuing to look for and embrace happiness. One thing she talked about that I liked was whether people are abstainers or moderators. She is an abstainer, meaning it is easier for her to totally cut something out than it is for her to try and moderate her behavior. I realized that I, too, am an abstainer.

When C and I quit smoking when I turned 30, it was like flipping a switch. After over 10 years of at least a pack a day, I quit cold turkey with little difficulty. I haven't had a cigarette since. Part of it is that I know I am like an alcoholic for cigarettes. One cigarette is not what I want. One cigarette wouldn't even be good, it would just burn my throat and make my tonsils swell. What I want is the tenth cigarette, so I don't ever have the first one.

Gluttony is other side of this coin. It's easier for me to make a full on commitment to something too. I can exercise EVERY day, read EVERY day, cook all our meals EVERY day, but once something interrupts the chain, the whole thing is lost. I don't know how to get back on track because the commitment seems so daunting. I mean, life is going to get in the way of things occasionally, and with young kids around, more often than not.

So my new plan is to throw myself with abandon into the planning of a project. Plan the garden that will supply ALL of our summer vegetables, make a reading list of ALL the past such-and-such winners, plan to DIY-finish the basement, etc. Then take the monster-future-oriented task and commit to a tiny, tiny step of it. I assume that for most of my pipe dreams, I will end up being happy stopping or staying at some point well before/below my crazy, too-large, plan.

So the garden will get planted, I will read more, the basement will get cleaned up, and if I never get to the end of my goals, so much the better.


  1. Abstainers or moderators...I need to get that book, I am TOTALLY an abstainer! Very interesting!

  2. Haha! Welcome to my world! I am seriously thinking about reading the sequel.