Given infinite willpower...

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Last Martian
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Given infinite willpower...

Post by Last Martian » Thu Nov 01, 2007 2:04 pm

This is my second attempt at this post. The first kind of went off the rails and became rambling and strange, so I'll save the explanations and just ask the question I have in mind:

If you could make any lifestyle changes you wanted, what would you change?

Assume automatic success and no regrets. Please don't say "I would like to stop watching tv, but I would miss my favorite series so much that it wouldn't be worth it." For purposes of this thread, assume that'd you'd find something way more fun to do instead of watching your favorite series.

What I'm trying to say is: No second thoughts, no buts, no consideration of drawbacks or practicalities ("I don't have enough money/time to actually go throught with it.) I mean, you're free to talk about that, of course, but it's not really what interests me. I'm guessing what I want to know is: What would you consider to be the perfect life for you.

Yeah. Some question, I know. But I'd be really, really grateful for any answers and thoughts about this stuff.

Happy (belated) Halloween!

larisa0001
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Re: Given infinite willpower...

Post by larisa0001 » Thu Nov 01, 2007 10:52 pm

Last Martian wrote:This is my second attempt at this post. The first kind of went off the rails and became rambling and strange, so I'll save the explanations and just ask the question I have in mind:

If you could make any lifestyle changes you wanted, what would you change?

Assume automatic success and no regrets. Please don't say "I would like to stop watching tv, but I would miss my favorite series so much that it wouldn't be worth it." For purposes of this thread, assume that'd you'd find something way more fun to do instead of watching your favorite series.

What I'm trying to say is: No second thoughts, no buts, no consideration of drawbacks or practicalities ("I don't have enough money/time to actually go throught with it.) I mean, you're free to talk about that, of course, but it's not really what interests me. I'm guessing what I want to know is: What would you consider to be the perfect life for you.

Yeah. Some question, I know. But I'd be really, really grateful for any answers and thoughts about this stuff.

Happy (belated) Halloween!

Hmm; I've been writing up long screeds in response to this question. It struck a chord in me. Or a nerve. Or something, at any rate.

The easy answer is "I want to get more organized". I'm working on building up a set of habits that will enable me to organize myself better. In two years, I will be a lawyer; lawyers have to be meticulously organized about their paperwork and other such things, and I want all those good habits to be in place by the time I graduate. I think I'm OK with the other habits I've got - though of course, such habits will need to adapt to the changing circumstances of my life.

But really, I'm not sure I like the idea of "infinite willpower". What's holding me back in my pursuit of organization is not lack of willpower; it's the fact that I have not yet figured out what habits I need to "install" in my mental hardware. The ones I do have installed, I have no trouble with. I generally have no trouble maintaining good habits once I've got them. But if they feel too unpleasant, I may decide that the cost of maintaining the habit is not worth the benefit I derive from it. Life is short, and I do not want to spend substantial fractions of it feeling unpleasant.

Willpower, especially very strong willpower, can do a lot of harm. My mother nearly died because she had a lot of willpower; she went on a very strict diet and kept at it even though she felt horrible. The diet in question was about 900 calories a day and included no salt (none at all). Thankfully, she got off the diet in time and she's OK now; but it was a very stark demonstration of what damage willpower can do.

So, no willpower for me. I'm a willpower-less, spineless blob, and proud of it.

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Post by Last Martian » Fri Nov 02, 2007 12:21 pm

Good points. I've also seen in my family what can happen when willpower overrules common sense and self-preservation. But that's not quite what I'm getting it anyhow. I guess a simpler way to ask the question is just: What would you like your lifestyle to be like, ideally?

For instance, I'm trying to figure out where I stand on television. I like watching tv. I think people generally tend to guilt themselves way too much about watching tv too much tv. Some actually seem to think it's an evil act or something, which I just don't get.

On the other hand I've noticed it's not really good for me. I've got depressive tendencies and most pleasant activities help with that. Watching tv (at least by myself) doesn't seem to, for some reason. Doesn't seem to do any harm either. Basically, I'm thinking it's something equivalent to the very top of the food pyramid. Perfectly fine occasionally, but I'm probably overdoing it. But I'm not sure what's a good goal.

Apparently people watch tv for four hours a day on average. I'm thinking that's way too much.

Then, there's the alternative of watching none at all. That, at the very least, is probably a better alternative than four hours a day. And it's clearly doable in principle. It's not gonna cause any harm. You do lose out on some genuine benefits though, I think.

So.... I'm still undecided on that one, it's probably one of the easier areas to find a grip on.

I guess, in many cases it's just a matter of trying out stuff. Certainly going without tv for a week (21 days) is a worthwhile experiment. (I might try that actually. Or just the weekend Luddite thing, which ought to be hard enough for starters.)

But you can't do that with everything. Although I can't seem to think of anything you couldn't just try out for a while, right now. Hm.

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Post by reinhard » Fri Nov 02, 2007 1:40 pm

This isn't the main thing, probably, but it's the first that comes to mind, because it's so clearly a problem: I'd like to stop constantly diddling with my stocks. I know that I should just (more or less) invest everything in FFNOX and forget about it till I retire, but I can't quite bring myself to do this. I've made some progress by putting all financial web sites on my list of anti-bookmarks, not to be visited from 9-5 Monday through Friday (and certainly not on Luddite weekends), and by limiting my active trading to certain accounts. But I haven't respected my account boundaries 100% (I have respected the time boundaries, though) and even if I did, the sandbox is too big a percentage of my total savings. Plus, even with the time boundaries, I spend way too much time thinking about this stuff. I could earn more with a part time job at McDonald's than that time has netted me above market returns, not to mention the emotional cost when my picks go down.

I watch very little broadcast tv (Sesame street with my daughter is about it). But I do watch dvds, half an hour or so a night with my wife to wind down after the kid go to sleep. TV isn't bad in itself -- only most of what's on it, which, thanks to services like netflix, you have complete control over. A lot of people have "on demand," which I guess is theoretically better than netflix because you don't have to wait for anything in the mail -- but I think the delayed gratification of netflix encourages good, intentional watching habits.

If you want to make a rule regarding TV, I'd say: never watch unintentionally. Never just turn it on and see what you find. Have a show or a dvd in mind and watch just that. Never have the TV on while you're doing something else.

Reinhard

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Post by kccc » Fri Nov 02, 2007 6:43 pm

My issues are not so much willpower, I think, as time.

But, given no obstacles...
I'd exercise more.
Meditate daily.
Paint regularly.

More "adding" than subtracting.

I do have a social website that I about the way you do TV, and am currently taking a vacation from it. Prior to that, I limited it in time. Worked some days, not others. Sometimes cold turkey is easier than moderation, alas.

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Post by joasia » Fri Nov 02, 2007 7:44 pm

1) stop my 12 struggle with food and weight
2) be a normal size
3) find a job that doesn't make me miserable
4) travel and have fun more often
The destiny of nations depends on the manner in which they feed themselves. Jean-Anthelme Brillat-Savarin

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Post by navin » Sat Nov 03, 2007 2:26 am

Stop procrastinating.

I'll get right on that tomorrow.
Before criticizing someone, you should try walking a mile in their shoes. Then you'll be a mile away and you'll have their shoes.

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Last Martian
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Post by Last Martian » Sat Nov 03, 2007 8:22 am

reinhard wrote:
If you want to make a rule regarding TV, I'd say: never watch unintentionally. Never just turn it on and see what you find. Have a show or a dvd in mind and watch just that. Never have the TV on while you're doing something else.
It's not a bad idea, except I do that already. :wink: I stopped channelsurfing years ago. I've just been spoiled by dvds, can't stand ads any more. So at least I'm watching quality tv, more or less (or low quality stuff I happen to like).

I'm thinking about only watching in company as a rule. Or just pick a perticular day of the week to watch stuff. (Tuesday is TVday). But I guess I'll start out with a cold turkey period just to see how things go.

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Post by bonnieUK » Mon Nov 05, 2007 1:59 pm

My # 1 would be to get back into a daily yoga practice - a few months ago I got tired out & bored from overdoing it with a daily ashtanga session, also got a repetitive strain injury in my wrist for the same reason. The upside is this forced me to embrace walking as my main exercise for a while, but now I'm getting back into doing yoga 1-2 times a week. I still have wrist problems though so am having to avoid sun salutations and any hand / arm balances. I'm thinking I might borrow an idea from Reinhard's Shovelglove programme and set a time limit of 14 minutes per day for yoga (will help me to avoid boredom and RSI!) once I feel able to get back into a daily practice.

Another that I'm working on (and already implemented to a degree) is to cook more whole foods and whole food recipes and rely very little on convenience / processed foods. The grocery bill has gone down and my husband is happy with more varied meals so it's working out so far - this also helps with the No S diet.

I also have a general aim to be more organised and procrastinate less...which I'll start right away, or maybe tomorrow ;)

About TV - we have a very successful rule in our household of not watching TV before 7pm except on weekends or other special days, and we generally only watch specific programmes or DVDs (and often the TV doesn't even go on until 8pm or later). My husband already had this rule when I met him, I was a student back then and still had the habit of watching daytime TV, however it only took me a couple of weeks to adjust to the rule and I found that it's actually very easy to live without Jerry Springer, Richard & Judy and Ausie soap operas :D

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Post by bonnieUK » Mon Nov 05, 2007 2:30 pm

p.s. another thought on TV, another thing I do is intentionally not watch advertising. When an ad comes on I lower the sound and get up and do something else. I started doing this when I realised that if you watch an episode of say Lost for 1 hour, 15 minutes of that is wasted time watching ads, time which is better spent doing little things like making tea, loading the dishwasher, tidying up, recycling papers or having a conversation. Eventually I'm hoping to get Sky Plus or something similar though and record everything so I can skip the ads (those Advertising agencies will have to find other ways to make me buy stuff LOL).

Another thought on TV watching is that it helps to not have it as your "default relaxation activity" and set something else as this. My husband has computer games, I have reading, of course this means we sometimes end up in different rooms doing different things, but I think this is ok and healthy to do sometimes. I suppose if and when we have kids though we'll have to re-think things :)

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