This year I did something I haven’t really done before, I gave something up for lent. Talking to my family they were giving up the usual things, caviar, alcohol or chocolate. I gave up bread. No bread, pizza, pitta bread, doughnuts or bread of any kind. This was going to need all the discipline I had within me or so I thought.
I am a person with a huge amount of self discipline when I have a goal I want to achieve, I focus on the goal, the end state and at every temptation to falter I can quickly remind myself of the greater purpose and resist the temptation.
This time though, I didn’t use my self discipline for the 40 days and nights without the yeasty baked dough that has been part of my daily life for as long as I can remember. I know what you are thinking, so I failed right? No.
I changed my thinking
I don’t know why I did this, but somehow I activated my mind that got me thinking about long term commitments that are part of my life, one in particular which is my family and my marriage. I soon realised that I don’t have to be disciplined to commit to them, I don’t get tempted by others or an alternate way of life at all, my mind is set, my wife and my children are there to stay, I love them in a way I can’t even describe. What if I could do this with other things, set my mind on a new normal?
Through meditation I decided to focus on all the foods I could enjoy, fresh tomatoes, basil, avocado, olives, a variety of cheeses, all the glorious vegetables that are able to provide proper nourishment to my body and could be enjoyed without being squeezed between two slices of bread. I did this each day before breakfast and it only took a few minutes, the purpose being to reinforce the thinking I was trying to change and it worked.
I no longer feel I need discipline at all for abstaining from bread or any bread like thing. Actually it doesn’t feel like abstaining, it just feels like when presented with a choice of bread or something else there is only one choice. The true test was when I was really hungry and the buffet I was at had only bread, but they did have fruit and other bits and bobs for deserts so I just had those.
I now feel great, less bloat, more alert and I lost a bit of weight too. I may eat bread again, but it won’t be a staple diet item or a convenience thing, it would be when I choose to eat it. I know my thinking towards bread has completely changed so I am not really sure what would make me want to eat it again though.
Hacking my mind
Did I just hack my mind? Is this repeatable? I think it is, I have a growth mindset. I have decided to try something else, something a bit bigger, something to change my fundamental thinking that has been part of who I am as a person my whole life, I am not quiet ready to share it yet but I will, it may take a while.