Abstainer vs Moderator?


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Are you an abstainer or a moderator?

Abstainer: To keep oneself from doing, engaging in, or partaking of something

Moderator: Do better when they avoid absolutes and strict rules.

I have found this question changed the way I looked at my habits. After reading Gretchen Rubin’s book, Better Than Before: Mastering the Habits of our Everyday Lives, I had a revelation. I am without a doubt an abstainer. I find it easier to cut something out completely than to moderate it. Now, you might be thinking it sounds much too rigid to tell yourself that you can’t ever have something or do something. However, I discovered that once I tell myself something is “off-limits” I stop thinking about it. For instance, I have a wicked sweet tooth. When I put something off limits I stop thinking about it. I have cut out packaged cookies. I find they are rarely worth the splurge and I end up eating 10 when really I’m not enjoying it,  just indulging for the sake of indulging. However, when there are delicious home baked cookies I allow myself one or two and truly enjoy the experience guilt free because I am not indulging in 10 packaged cookies daily. I also find that I am eating less sugar so my cravings for it are decreased, bonus! There are little examples like this peppered through out my life.

Moderators find it easier to indulge in order to sustain a habit. A moderator might find that having a few Oreo cookies occasionally keep the intense cravings down and therefore engage in more of the 80/20 rule. Their self control is such that they don’t need to cut something out in order to control it.

As an abstainer, I can completely appreciate the flexibility of the moderator. I admire their willpower and self control – I don’t have it and as a result the abstainer tendency works for me. No more guessing, no more justifying, just make a rule and stick with it.

Rubin says:
You’re a moderator if you…
– find that occasional indulgence heightens your pleasure–and strengthens your resolve
– get panicky at the thought of “never” getting or doing something

You’re an abstainer if you…
– have trouble stopping something once you’ve started
– aren’t tempted by things that you’ve decided are off-limits
taken from: https://gretchenrubin.com/happiness_project/2012/10/back-by-popular-demand-are-you-an-abstainer-or-a-moderator

Couple this with your recently discovered tendency you discovered in my last blog post  and you can heighten the quality and consistency of your habits as we continue into the new year.

On a side not – today is called “Blue Monday” the most depressing day of the year, because we tend to kick out new years resolutions around this time, our credit card bills from the holidays are starting to show up and the weather in general has us down. Take the time to dig a little deeper and create goals and habits you can keep through the year with small tweaks and changes that work for you. It doesn’t have to make sense to everyone else if it works for you!

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Happy Organizing!