Miss Sherrie, the woman who leads the Weight Watchers group, said she’d given up sugar for Lent. She’s a Lent observing Christian apparently and giving something up for a month is what she does the month before Easter. And I thought about how this woman who also has given up daily food enjoyment of all other sorts to lose a lot of weight, would give up her only other vice. And it got me to thinking about self-discipline and achievement.
The Restriction (and devotion) of choices and activities to learn and enjoy other things in life is practiced by many religions. It is also one concept that makes the military successful in making soldiers. If you take away free will in certain activities, it frees your mind up to consider and make choices on other matters. If I don’t have to spend time thinking about breakfast, choosing what to wear, or if I know I’m definitely going to the gym today, I can focus on the next task and perhaps enjoy some creativity today. My brain is not bogged down by all the choices.
Choice is great until making all those choices becomes a burden. What if removing these choices freed you up again? I see this practice of self-restraint as having multiple layers of benefits. First, that you will get on to the projects and tasks that you want to get to because you’ve allowed the freedom to not be bogged down with the mundane. If you always have oatmeal for breakfast, you could make a huge batch and then save time for the next couple days to do something else instead of cooking for those 20 minutes.
And if you concede and follow your own authority at creating non-negotiable tasks, then you could insert a number of tasks there that would benefit you in the upcoming future. If taking an online typing course had been a non-negotiable item for me, I’d already know how. You say it, it’s a done deal. That’s some fabulous power of choice to use for the benefit of your life and humanity in general.
And lastly, this same concept is already one that is practiced when disciplining children. Children feel safer when they know you are making the decisions and not them. When they truly understand that they have no choice as to whether they need to go to bed, they can spend that precious brain power creating. Yes, they question authority because that’s their job but our job is to let them know they are safe in a bubble where their choices are limited and then they can feel free. Too many choices are just plain overwhelming for anyone.
If putting some restraints on yourself can free you up in other ways infinitesimally, why wouldn’t you? If I plan my meals, then I don’t have to think about it anymore. If I schedule out writing and crafting in my calendar, I am much more likely to go and do those things. The day they aren’t scheduled, I end up balancing the checkbook! Yes it needs to be done but I’m such a good “do bee” I’d always throw my creativity under the bus unless it’s scheduled and thus “official”.
We Americans love our many choices but I think we’ve forgotten to value them. If we could tone down our gluttony, perhaps chose to only eat vegetables and fruit that are in season locally, we’d save us some ozone by not wasting all the gas to truck the produce up from South America. Choices aren’t always a good thing. Especially if we squander them.
Lessons come in fits and spurts. This one was brought to you by my attendance to Weight Watchers and Creativity Bootcamp. You and your time and creativity and health are important. So think about how you can help yourself to reign in your wasted time and bring on some excitement and hope into your life with daily devotional activities. Because restrictions can be oddly freeing.
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