How to overcome temptation
Many people ask me how to overcome temptation so I’m going to share a story with you in hopes that it’ll give you a different perspective.
A few weeks ago when I was in Florida, right smack in the middle of the day, the opportunity to ride a Segway on the beach was presented to me. I really wanted to do it. Unfortunately, my schedule was pretty packed that afternoon and evening. 🙁
DAMN! What to do?
Well, I began adjusting my schedule so I could make it happen. However, I’d be squeezing it in between two things I couldn’t miss.
My friend suggested I do it the next day!
I was so caught up in the moment, that didn’t even occur to me. I was so pumped up! I HAD to ride the Segway THAT day. Not the following day. I wanted to ride it RIGHT THEN AND THERE!
Once I realized that I’d be cutting it very close with my schedule, I decided the following morning would have to suffice.
I’m a big believer in scheduling events or creating things to look forward to. Anticipation is a BIG key to happiness. When it comes to happiness there are four stages: Anticipation, savoring the actual event or moment as we experience it, expressing our pleasure to ourselves or those with us, and reflecting on the fun and happy memory.
I think my favorite stage of happiness is…wait for it….hold on….give me a second…anticipation. (See what I did there?)
Anticipation can make our lives better. And sometimes, I enjoy the anticipation of an event more so than the actual event I’m anticipating! (And I’m okay with that!)
Whether it’s planning trips or figuring out fun plans for the week or weekend, setting things up for ourselves to look forward to will absolutely make us happier.
I try to create anticipation in my life as often as possible. (In fact, I’ve been looking forward to writing this piece for a few weeks now. But I purposely waited.)
Question: If you had the opportunity to go to your favorite vacation spot this weekend or in four weeks, what would you choose?
I’d choose going away in four weeks. Want to know why? This way, I get to look forward to the vacation for FOUR WHOLE weeks! It’s like a four week vacation PLUS the vacation itself.
Question: If you had the chance to go to your favorite restaurant today or in two weeks from now, what would you choose?
I’d choose going in two weeks from now. Why? Because I get to look forward to my favorite meal for two whole weeks!
Question: If you had the chance to indulge in your favorite junk food today or this weekend, what would you choose?
I’d choose this weekend. Why? Because I can anticipate how tasty that junk food will be all week long!
When I finally went on the Segway the following day – I was thrilled. I had an absolute blast. And the best part was that I got to look forward to it the whole day before.
Sometimes, we gotta delay instant gratification for future happiness!
Feel like eating your favorite indulgent food tonight? Or maybe you feel like eating indulgently because you have 4,000 pieces of Halloween candy waiting to be trick or treated?
What if you decide that you’ll strategically allow yourself (I say strategically because this is a conscious choice, not an impulsive one) to indulge ON Halloween or this weekend?
[BTW: Why make this any harder than it has to be? If we have Halloween candy at home, let’s hide it until Thursday. We don’t get extra points for using hero like willpower. And having to look at it each time we’re in the kitchen is going to trigger our sub-conscious to ask itself, “Do I want this?” Eventually, we’re going to say, “Yes!” because we can’t stand the internal chatter. Let’s save our selves from our selves. Let’s also save our willpower.]
In fact, planning ahead when we’re going to eat our favorite indulgence is a very strategic move. It allows us to anticipate eating it AND it also allows us to PAUSE before we give in. Plus, knowing that we’ll be indulging soon makes the temporary discomfort more tolerable.
The coolest part is that by then we’ll have so much momentum on our side, that we usually don’t even want to indulge. And what if we still really want to? At least it was a mindful choice that gave us an extra boost of happiness (having something to look forward to) and it gave us a compelling reason to not give in right away.
So next time you want to indulge why not “Segway It,” until later on.
I anticipate reading your emails already. I really wanted candy but I decided to “Segway It” until Thursday or this weekend, and if I still really want it, I’ll allow myself to have some, guilt free.