Restraint is a wonderful thing, as is Delayed Gratification – I’m exceptionally good at that – and Control. You need these qualities to get on in life, to succeed, to cope, to make changes to your life, to get the things you want. Think about your job, studying for (further) qualifications, saving for a deposit on a house, dieting, giving up all sorts of things. It’s all about the bigger picture isn’t it – today’s sacrifice for tomorrow’s reward.
Sadly so much of life seems to be about restraint and denying yourself the good things. Or if you do indulge then you feel so guilty (oh, what a Tim Tam can do to you) the pleasure was utterly lost. Even that uncontrolled rant about the latest nonsense at work didn’t make you feel any better because you unloaded at the wrong time to the wrong person and instead of feeling better you feel worse.
But today I am talking about giving yourself permission to let go of the Good You, the Hard Working You, the Saving Up You, the Dieting You, the I-Am-No-Longer-Swearing You, or which ever You has been in control lately. We all need a treat, we all need something to look forward to, something little or something big. But something that keeps us going and gets us through the hard times, the times that make us want to scream and throw that towel down a deep dark pit from whence it cannot be retrieved.
What do you deserve? What will make you feel good? Have a think about this because what you’re going to do is give yourself permission to treat yourself, to stop the denial-restraint-control-suffering even if only for a little while. As a perennial dieter I know the only way I cope (when I am successful and that has happened once or twice in my life!) is by allowing myself treats from time to time. Not everyday, I hasten to say – otherwise you get nowhere. Saving money for a deposit means every day for a long time. Losing weight means self control and exercise every day for a long time.
So, step away from the denial, the hard work, the control – allow yourself time off.
Giving yourself permission is most important as it means you remain in control of your indulgence and can easily and happily step back into that zone – you want to be thin, you want to own your own house, you want to complete your study – don’t you?? Giving yourself permission also means you don’t get bogged down in guilt or give up on your grand plan.
A little of what you fancy doesn’t hurt – but a truck load does!
Diet Treats – chocolate – of course!! A day of eating what you want – just toast and tomatoes can be it! A meal out – have something you’ve denied yourself that you really love, even if it’s as simple and as naughty as Maccas or Hungry Jacks (Burger King, the rest of the world)
Savings Treats – as simple as a bunch of flowers, or £100 to spend on anything or nothing. Perhaps a weekend away – one of those deals from Groupon, where everything is as cheap as chips, or a massage, or a theatre trip… the choices for something cheap and cheerful are endless
Working Hard Treats – this is where you can let yourself go. Something as simple as a day in bed, a weekend in front of the telly; your favourite boxset, but you could be more imaginative. Back to Groupon or all those travel deals that trip into your in-box. A week in Egypt sounds good to me, not to mention hopping onto the Eurostar and a weekend in Paris or, better still Brussels with one of your best mates. Go to the theatre, spend a day doing the things you love that make you feel good, with the people that make you feel good. Hard work is good and necessary but you must take time out to re-charge your batteries.
Take time out from the grind of your life, from the extra bits of control you’re exerting. Choose carefully, making sure that your treat is worthwhile, that you do enjoy it, so that you won’t be beset with guilt or regret. Instead you’ll enjoy the buzz of indulgence during and the memory of it afterwards. Then return to what has to be done for your own greater good. Always knowing you can do it again in a while!! (Images courtesy Google Images and Private Collection)