You would think as I enter the fourth month of my self-imposed media detox the temptations would be next to null. Not so. If anything, the stakes are continuing to increase as I see early advertisements for the Summer Blockbuster Movies. I’ll fully admit, I’m kinda over the whole no media thing.
I have a friend who is doing a media detox as well. Although inspired by mine, her detox is slightly different: no TV or movies, and she allows for a few cheat days for a movie each month. Man, I wouldn’t mind a cheat day right about now as I see the ads for Iron Man 3.
Cheat days aren’t a bad concept. Heck, we have them built into the 80/20 rule of eating. Without cheat days, eating healthy 80% of the time wouldn’t be as rewarding.
Yet, I wonder if we provide an out for ourselves before we’ve even begun, then isn’t the point of the detox lost?
Setting an intention and providing an out is, in my judgment, a way of playing it safe and not daring to fail. Pretty hard to fail if you have an out when the going gets tough, right? As Scott Adams of “Dilbert” fame pointed out in the Wall Street Journal (April 2011),
“Failure is a process, not an obstacle.”
That isn’t to say you can’t reward yourself for accomplishing your goal. In the example of the Sugar Control Detox, first you’ve got to do the 14 days to earn the 80/20 rule. The accomplishment of the goal allows for distance from that which you are trying to change. Without that distance, old habits prevail.
Now if you falter from your commitment then by all means, exercise kindness and don’t beat yourself up. Some of the most successful people in the world will tell you they failed multiple times prior to finding success. Failure is that beautiful quality that informs our next move. That’s where learned tools that help you stay on the path are needed. One of my tools: I tell others of my intentions so I’m held accountable for my choices. If I fall, I share the bruise and then set more realistic intentions that better fit my current state.
I remember running my first marathon, The Marine Corp Marathon in Washington D.C. I was in some serious pain (from IT Band issues) and yet I didn’t stop. What kept me running? I had fundraised for a cause, people donated on my behalf saying in so many words that they believed in my ability to finish the 26.2 miles. Their belief in me, their holding me accountable for my choice, got me through that marathon. Had I started my training with already planned cheat days or outs, I never would experienced the thrill of finishing my first marathon.
How do you dare to fail in your life?
Written by Chef James Barry