When working toward a goal, self-restriction in some fashion is usually part of the game plan. If you’re on a diet and someone brings donuts to the office, you need to fight the impulse to eat one. Perhaps typically you would give into the impulse and eat the donut but now you have to build the habit of saying, “No, thank you.” which takes time and practice. Down the road, you’ll no longer have the impulse to eat the donut. It won’t even be a fight because turning down office donuts will be just another habit.

In the meantime, however, what do you do? How might you more easily win the fight against your urge?

What do you hope to gain?

I had a recently divorced client who entered the vast sea of online dating. She found a match in whom she was VERY interested based on what she saw on his profile. (Assigning traits to online dating matches will be different post.) She was enthusiastically pursuing a date with him even though he was standoffish, on the fence, and way too busy to meet her. Several times throughout the day she was overcome with the impulse to send him a text.

She messaged me, “I wanna text him!”

I replied, “What do you hope to gain?”

Simply going through the process of asking herself what she wanted as a result of this text helped her more easily stave off the urge to reach out to someone who wasn’t investing in their interaction.

If that doesn’t work: Can you run to the next telephone pole?

This one is easier if you have a coach or a friend who wants to help you. When I was running in the mornings, I used to challenge myself to go just a liiiiiittle further before stopping to walk. I’d get the impulse to quit running but I told myself I could stop when I reached the next telephone pole or speed bump. Going just a little farther proves to us that we are stronger and more capable than we think.

Next time you want to text a guy when you know you shouldn’t, just ask yourself if you can make it to the next proverbial telephone pole. Can you hold off several hours? Yes you can. Soon you’ll be able to wait a full day. Then a week. Then a full moon cycle. Soon, you’ll be able to realize that reaching out to someone who is clearly not invested in you is a waste of your time and energy. You’ll see clearly that different interactions are more worthy of your attention.

Homework:

Find a coach or friend who will know these questions ahead of time to ask you.  Text your coach when you’re hit with an impulse so they can ask you, “What do you hope to gain?” or “Can you run to the next telephone pole?”

You deserve good things,

Coach Juli Lynn

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