Who wants to resist over-indulgence and stay on track to an amazing physique? (blog + free e-book)
Facing the elements
It was late in the evening, pitch black and I couldn't even see my hand in front of my face.
The driving rain was coming in sideways and the clag (Royal marine term for fog) was so thick that even with my head torch on full brightness, I could barely place the path in front of my feet!
Once I would reach the gate of the small training camp, in the hills of the English countryside, then it would be lights out for the next few hours of solo night navigation under 'tactical' conditions...
That meant no white light, staying away from paths and making minimal sound whilst trying to get to a series of check-points, across the rugged terrain of Dartmoor National Park, before finally being able to retire to the warm and dry of the camp once more.
It hardly carries the excitement of a combat zone, but the reality is that this is what most of life looks like as a young Royal Marine, and I spent many, many weeks training under these kinds of conditions.
During these many moments of fumbling about in dark, unforgiving landscapes, often soaking wet, freezing cold, battered by wind and tired as hell, I would often dream of indulgence.
Thoughts of how I might spend my time back in the comfort of my own room, slothing in bed, bingeing on hot, delicious food and NetFlix, or maybe out with the other lads, finding comfort in Nandos, washed down afterwards with plenty of booze and bad dancing, would prove to be my morale during various times like that described above!
Should we consider these kinds of behaviours as treats or rewards?
Is it OK to dream about these kinds of indulgences when you're being deprived of such comforts?
Depending on your relationships with such things and in relation to your typical behaviours, possibly not.
For many of us, it probably isn't a concern, but there are simple actions that we can all take to ensure when indulgence is and isn't appropriate...
Download my 'Fitter Body, Stronger Mind' e-book for FREE by clicking below!
The point is, that these kinds of indulgences carry certain values that are situation-dependent.
They held value to me at those certain times because of the contrast they had to my situation. Because the depravity of comfort increased their worth.
But that worth decreases substantially in the absence of that depravity.
When we can have these things freely and in abundance, the value is much less.
But our beliefs about their value don't always change in accordance.
As an example, the laziness of slothing about watching Netflix is highly valued after intense days or even weeks of marching over hills in the wind and rain.
But if we allow ourselves to believe that they hold the same or similar value even if we do ithm every day, then it is obvious how that can lead to over-indulgence, even though the truth is that if we assess it mindfully, we're probably not even enjoying it as much as we subconsciously allow ourselves to think!
What's your favourite food?
How much value would it hold to you after not eating it for an entire year?
Now what would the value be to eat that same food in 30 days from now, if you have it every single day in between? Probably a lot less!
Question your beliefs
I use this perspective to change my mindset towards indulgences and re-assess how valuable they actually are to me. When I'm trying to decide whether to get a workout in or maybe work late in an evening, when the alternative option is to hit the sofa, get a movie on and vegetate instead, I ask myself how much I'll actually enjoy it?
If I've done that very thing two or three times already that week, is it still really the more pleasurable option? Or, actually, if I'm mindful, can I get more of a kick out of doing something productive and self-developing, if in fact that holds equal or greater novelty, and more reward?
Hopefully you are starting to see the point of what I’m saying, in that we can sell ourselves into beliefs about the ‘fixed’ values of indulgences that simply aren’t true.
Slothing to Netflix now and then can be awesome! - Highly pleasurable with negligible negative impact.
Slothing to Netflix every day? Not so awesome! - Much less novelty with much greater negative impact (hello dad-bod!).
We need to remember to assess the real value of indulgence before we allow it.
Every time you’ve made the decision to indulge - maybe slack off of a workout, drink too much on a night out, have that extra dessert - and then felt guilty afterwards, was an example of where you sold yourself short on your own beliefs.
Apply the following principles to assess the true, relative value of indulgence before getting stuck-in and overdoing it!
1) Be mindful
How much do you actually want it in that moment? Visualise having the indulgence and the after-effects. Is it truly worth the feelings that it will provide you or are you allowing false belief?
2) Question of habit
When’s the last time you did this? Remember that we are products of our habits and habits are hard to break once formed! Everything we do more than a couple of times within a short period is becoming a habit. Is this a habit you want? Will it be a hard one to delete?
3) Consult your idol
This is probably going to be the most critical step since, in spite of the rational thinking above, you will still likely have an emotional urge to indulge.
Often the best way to override an emotional urge is to have a stronger emotional urge to do the opposite!
Look to your IFS and ask yourself, ‘Would my IFS behave like this?
Or is that vision I'm striving for the result of refusing this behaviour?’
Be accountable to your IFS.
This is a powerful tool because it involves both accountability as well as visualisation of your goals.
For guidance on how to properly develop your IFS visualisation into a super-powerful tool for enhanced mental resilience, as well as how to effectively manage exercise and diet to achieve your goals, download my ‘Fitter Body, Stronger Mind’ e-book for FREE here!