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Abstainer or Moderator?

Are you an abstainer or a moderator?  

I found this to be an interesting subject for me and an important topic to consider in order to be self-aware when you are trying on a new habit.

An ABSTAINER is not the person that can store a chocolate bar in their desk and eat one square daily after lunch. For an abstainer, the chocolate bar calls to them from the drawer until it is gone. The very thought of the presence of something in your pantry or freezer is enough to throw you off track. Often the same issue can be present with an exercise routine. If abstainers are consistent with a daily routine of exercise and an obstacle gets in the way of them participating, even for a short time, they struggle to get back on track. Pretty soon abstainers throw the whole exercise routine out the window.  They give up.

If you fall into this category, how can you use your abstaining characteristics to your benefit when implementing changes?  Abstainers thrive when they are following a prescribed plan.  They are 100% in until they are thrown off track.  If you are this person and “fall off the wagon” it is much harder to get back in with the same enthusiasm.  One meal can become a day, then a week, and then all of a sudden it becomes a New Year’s resolution.  Abstainers are better at setting up a structured environment with little options to interfere or tempt them from the task at hand.  If they can learn to “J
ust say no” once they can move on mentally and be successful without getting caught in multiple micro-decisions throughout the day.  Abstainers often feel a sense of guilt when they “cheat” because they feel they have let themselves down.  This sets up another cycle of not following through and giving up which reinforces their perceived inability to succeed.  They would do well with a coach or accountability partner that can help them to get back on track without beating themselves up in the process. They can remind them that a short term “no” is a “yes” to something better.  A coach will allow them to keep their eye on the prize.

 A MODERATOR can have just one small glass of wine and get right back on track with a plan. They do not generally follow the thought process of the abstainers which can lead to thoughts like“I have already blown my diet so now I will have five drinks, six snacks, and wait till Monday to exercise.” When they hit a bump, have a cheat meal, or skip a day of exercise they can get right back on track.
How can you use the knowledge of being a moderator to your advantage when changing habits?  Because moderators can handle a cheat meal or a skipped exercise routine.   They are generally more forgiving of themselves chalk the experience up to life and get back on track. They realize that every moment is an opportunity to make a choice to move in a given direction. It does not overwhelm them to think about the leftovers or the dessert someone put in the freezer. Moderators’ key to success can also be impacted by a coach. They are constantly making choices their success lies in making sure that all those small choices are still moving them in the direction of reaching their goals. Having accountability keeps them focused on what they want and continuing to make the right choices that lead to success.

Have you decided where you fall? Let me know in the comments below. How will you use this knowledge about yourself the next time you decide to make a change?

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