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Forbidden sex, chocolate cake, another toke, another drink…

Entering the holiday party season offers a plethora of temptations. Reuniting with old friends and family members, social engagements, a big change in our daily routine; temptations abound.

How’s your will-power?

My closest friends know my struggles, my secret shames, my self-judgements.

It’s time to buoy up inner conviction, but how?

I like the non-judgmental Wikipedia definition of temptation: A desire to engage in short-term urges for enjoyment, that threatens long-term goals.

Here’s my formula, to help me manage temptation through the holidays. Perhaps you’ll find useful.

1. Tell on yourself

Come out of isolation. Find a confidante, someone you are willing to share your secret shames with. Isolation and secrecy are two of our greatest downfalls in resisting temptation. Tell a therapist, coach, healer or trusted friend, you bought that bag of cookies, about that affair, or that time you were out of control.

2. Set a 100% attainable goal

We often set unrealistic goals. Choose something you know is 100% achievable. Simple is usually best. For example: Pause, breathe and eat slowly. Create a “mantra” (a brief phrase to silently repeat over and over in your mind). This helps me consciously remember my goal. Succeeding at a simple goal, builds confidence before choosing more challenging ones.

3. Reach out to a role model

Reflect on someone who has success in the goal you are striving toward.

I remember when my body was pretty out of balance. I knew what would be most restorative would be a 3-day water fast. I didn’t like the idea of giving up the pleasure and self-soothing of food. I talked to a friend who does fasting, regularly. He shared with me how he had spent a social weekend with friends and ate a lot of food he didn’t usually eat. He told me how much he was looking forward to the next day because he was going to fast!

When I asked him how he did it, he simply responded, “I just decide.”

Sharing his perspectives, his internal thought process, his enthusiastic excitement for something I had been dreading, was super helpful. He helped me create the mindset I needed to move toward my goal.

Facing temptation, implementing new behaviors and choices can open the door to unknown feelings. Unfamiliar territory can range from exciting to terrifying. There is a power in the unknown that can be productively harnessed.

Have a wonderful holiday and please share with me about a triumph over temptation!

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