Today, let’s talk about a little trap people often get caught in. Lately, I’ve been with my girlfriend and she’s been saying things like,
#1 “It doesn’t matter if we eat this unhealthy food because it’s only one time”
#2 “We don’t need to exercise today because we won’t get fat from one day of not exercising”
Let’s examine when this may be true and when this way of thinking is delusional. To be fair, this thinking is true to some extent. If you truly only ate an unhealthy food one time it wouldn’t impact your health much. The question is, however, are you really only going to eat that food one time?
When you indulge in an undesirable behavior like smoking or skipping exercise, neural pathways within your brain are firing. You are effectively conditioning yourself to get better at doing those activities. You’re training yourself to follow certain patterns.
That, is why doing something one time can be truly dangerous. The alcoholic didn’t say he was going to become an alcoholic. He said he was going to drink one beer with his friends in high school to be cool. Likewise, the obese person really did believe that eating cake “just one time” wouldn’t hurt them.
Initiate Panic Mode
Fortunately, that’s not necessary. While doing something one time can end up being extremely harmful, it doesn’t need to be. Some people can truly just do something one time and then get on with their lives. That often isn’t me, however, and it’s probably not you either.
Here’s a better strategy for you. If you want to indulge in one of your vices, say cookies, a prostitute, beer, etc, tie your indulgence to a specific event. This works wonders in preventing you from becoming a degenerate addict.
You can say, I’m free to eat cookies, but only when my Grandma cooks them. I’m not allowed to buy cookies from the stores or eat them with my friends. You could also only drink beer for your friends’ birthday parties, or limit yourself to only drinking two Saturday nights per calendar month.
If you’re into prostitutes (I have no opinion positive or negative), you could limit yourself to only meeting a prostitute if you haven’t had sex for 1 month. Plus, after you have sex with the prostitute, the timer resets. If you consider prostitution a vice, this limited contact would encourage you to meet more girls in natural situations.
Overall, however, the idea is this. Tie your addiction or vices to external events. That way, there’s a clear limit to how much you can indulge in them. Even better, you won’t have to use willpower getting yourself to stick to those limits.