FOR some reason, the first Christmas party that rolls around becomes an automatic trigger for me to disregard my diet and eat everything in sight.
And it’s a very scary thing, since we’re one week into December and already being swarmed with pre-Christmas celebrations. I am hoping that things won’t be so bad that I qualify to be a Santa Claus replacement for one of those meet-and-greet events the malls usually throw up during this time.
What I really need, then, is self-control.
Self-control is one of those things we need to work hard at to get. If it was easy, we’d have more people exercising, eating healthy, and not staying up super late because they got caught up with that new Netflix series and lost track of time.
Admittedly, I’m guilty of all three and admit that there are a lot of things that I can apply more self-control to. But to do that, I have to change my habits, which requires an enormous amount of willpower.
Willpower is discussed in the book The Power of Habit—one I highly recommend for everyone to read. It says our bodies will do everything possible to be more efficient, opting in every situation to use less willpower and pick the path of least resistance.
If we look at our habits now, we will notice what happens when our bodies operate on auto-pilot: little to no brainpower or willpower required. When we want to change a habit or replace an old habit with a new one, our brains have to start working again, requiring us to use “willpower points” to get things done.
In order to change our habits, we need to tackle challenges slowly, one at a time, so that our minds don’t get overwhelmed by all the changes. This means not picking up that extra donut (for me) during the next Christmas party because I know auntie’s dessert on Christmas Eve will be tons better. This can also mean not overstretching ourselves during this time to check off things from our bucket list that we procrastinated on or had no self-control over earlier the year.
Self-control goes far beyond the food we will take in this month—it can also mean not taking our feet off the gas pedal at work because “it’s holiday season, baybeh.” It is picking and choosing which Christmas parties to go to and making sure we are going for the right reasons (celebrating with friends and not social climbing).
It can even mean being stingy with ourselves if it means that our Christmas budget goes to a better cause (giving gifts to others, for example). The year is almost ending, guys, and let’s have the self-control to finish it strong.
Well, until the next lechon comes along, at least.
Published in the SunStar Cebu newspaper on December 11, 2017.
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