I recently caught this concept to explain certain elements of discipline. Discipline is one of those character traits that people admire, and is a key indicator of a persons ability to succeed in life. According to Daniel Golemans book, Focus, this discipline can be characterised as Executive Focus. A type of focus that dictates someones capacity of self-control.
Well executive focus can be trained, and I think this idea of Moderation or Abstaining may suggest some ideas of how you could personally strategise a plan to increase your self-discipline. It seems that people will fit mostly into one of these two groups, however be aware that its possible to float between both concepts depending on the domain they are applied.
Are you a Moderator?
So a moderator refers to someone who thrives when things are applied in moderation, when attempting to create new habits, or reduce bad ones. For example if you are trying to eat healthier and you are also a chocolate lover, it may be more beneficial to allow a moderate amount of chocolate into the diet, than to completely remove it. Or perhaps you are trying to reduce the amount of television you watch. For a moderator, it might be more beneficial to limit the amount of tv to only your favourite shows, and cut out the rest. You are creating a habit of watching less tv, but still keeping a moderate amount of it in your week. This may assist in reducing the anxiety that could exist if you tried to give up these things cold turkey. It boosts your discipline, but doesn’t completely deprive you of anything.
Are you a Abstainer?
On the flip side, while a moderator can enjoy things with a level of balance without over doing it, abstainer’s are either all in, or all out. Bringing the chocolate example back, for an abstainer attempting to eat healthier, it will be more beneficial and easier to just completely cut chocolate from the diet. This way there is no temptation, and cravings will ease fairly quickly. It is an out of sight, out of mind approach. While this may seem like a more disciplined approach, it really is just the easy way out for an abstainer. I know that personally, I am a big abstainer when it comes to bad habits. I find it much easier to just stop doing the thing, rather than trying to take a moderators approach. I am either not eating chocolate, or eating an entire block.
A blended approach?
So to bring these two approaches together, I mentioned earlier that you might find yourself being a moderator in one domain, but an abstainer in another. Personally, I know that I can be a moderator when it comes to drinking red wine, or watching television, but an obstainer when it comes to sugary foods or junk foods.
I think it is helpful to understand what areas you need to be a moderator and what areas you need to be an abstainer to achieve optimal results with habit creation.
What do you think? What domains are you a moderator, and which domains are you an abstainer?
Does this help in gaining some more clarity about how you can create more discipline in your life by taking advantage of your personal relationships to these concepts?