Growing up, my mum was infamous for her mars bars stashed in the fridge. Each evening she’d slice off a couple of millimeters and snack on that sliver for hours while engrossed in a book.
This is unfathomable to me! If a mars bar is in sight, I’ll inhale the whole thing in 3.5 seconds.
That’s because I am what Gretchen Rubin would describe as an “abstainer”.
Abstainers are All or Nothing kind of people.
Gretchen quotes Samuel Johnson, the late English writer, who was offered wine and said: “Abstinence is as easy to me as temperance would be difficult.” Basically, he can have no wine, or a lot of wine. He’s an “abstainer”.
Oh man, I GET this!
The amount of energy I would expend just to stay on track of a mental limit is exhausting!! Abstaining is way easier for me. (I guess that’s why detoxing from social media is easier than policing my time. Huh.)
But maybe you’re the other type. Gretchen calls those “moderators”.
Moderators can indulge once in a while with greater ease.
They can happily snack on a bowl of chips for hours, treating the crumbs like the dessert of a five-course meal.
No one type is better than the other; they’re just different.
Knowing your type is powerful because then you know how to motivate yourself when you start a new habit.
Let’s say you’re wanting to be more productive so that you can do less STUFF. You’ve decided to stop checking your emails in the morning because you’ve heard what a productivity downer that is.
Which approach do you take to integrate this new habit?
If you’re an abstainer, you’d quit cold turkey and have more success this way.
If you’re a moderator you’d phase it out, indulging less often over time.
So, are you a moderator or abstainer? Do mars bars burn holes in your pocket or do they have an exceptionally long refrigerator shelf life in your home?
How can you use your “type” to kickstart a new habit? Tell us in the comments below.
Do Less. Live More.