I find it easy to apply think-do-feel in that order when it comes to food. Perhaps I have somehow managed to learn something along all this way, who’d believe it?! It’s abstinence, of course, that gives me this clarity – not that I would have it if I wasn’t abstinent. There is no amount of learning that would remain with me if I stopped being abstinent, but what I do learn now, I grow in as long as I stick around.
1 – Think
It’s the order of living, of action… thinking is what gets me to consider the action. Sure, I can over-think it and think myself out of it again (as with exercise) but it’s the calm, unemotional thought that considers my physical wellbeing and makes a rational choice that I should exercise. It tends to do that only when I’m NOT about to exercise. Once the time comes, a wholly different mental process kicks off… and that’s the one where I need to quickly jump to 2), or 2) won’t happen.
Case in point: I have struggled for weeks, months, years with getting into a regular exercise routine. Then, over the past eight weeks or so, I have been faithful and committed to a sane workout every other day and it has been, while not easy, simply something I *do* – not something I wonder about, negotiate on the day, reconsider. I just do it. What has changed? I don’t know, I truly don’t. Perhaps partly it is that I have a routine that I know I will simply follow through, no decisions to be made during it (i.e. should I do X, Y, or Z now?). All I need to do is show up physically and do what I committed myself to doing. A lot like abstinence really, I’ve pre-defined what it is I’ll be doing and that’s just that. Without a sponsor, however, that isn’t a 100% commitment like abstinence and for the moment I’m quite happy with that: I don’t have to exercise, no matter what. Nothing bad happens if I don’t do it one day. Whereas with food, that’s a whole different story…
2 – Do
The crunch, I believe, is the mental process that chooses to kick from thinking to doing. I have rationally decided to do something; so now I need to choose to do it, rather than wait for the feeling to kick in to make me do it. I’ll have a lot to share about this once I start my dissertation (later this month). I don’t ever feel like sitting down and doing the research and the work and so on. And I can’t say it makes me feel particularly good – compare and contrast with abstinence, which DOES make me feel very good on a daily basis. Writing a dissertation does not make me feel good. Finishing it doesn’t, either. I want the end product, that’s all. So there’s a choice to make, on an almost daily basis, to do what my thought processes have told me to do, despite a lack of feeling. I’m sure I will have insights to share about this soon enough…
3 – Feel
That’s the final thing… and feelings really are valid. If I did what I do, every day, without ever getting a reward that feels good, I’d be an idiot. I want to feel good, and I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that. Abstinence is the only thing that can lastingly make me feel good – there’s a momentary pleasure, surely, that I used to get from food, but abstinence gives me a sustained serenity, self-assurance because I know I look good and because I am looking after myself, discipline I can apply in any other areas of my life, self-respect… I could go on and on. It’s just the difference between feeling “now” and feeling “later” – I read somewhere that young children live for the “now” feel-good factor, because their horizons are short, and as we grow into adulthood we ought to learn to take a longer view. Well, I struggle with that, but perhaps I’m slowly growing into adulthood, one day, one issue at a time.