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Moderation Can Help You Achieve Your Goals

There’s a catch to that statement, however. Moderation can help you achieve your goals given you can precisely define moderation.

It is said that to eat, work, or play moderately is the healthiest way to live. It is a proven and tested advice.

In fact, humans have been contemplating this concept for much of history. One of the phrases carved into the Ancient Greek temple of Apollo at Delphi was meden agan, or: "nothing in excess.” Aristotle believed that every virtue falls in the middle of two extremes—excess and deficiency, something he called "the doctrine of the mean." Confucian texts refer to zhongyong— zhong translating to "bent neither one way or another," and yong to "unchanging": Consistent moderation.

Maybe the reason why about 80 percent of people give up on their resolutions by February is because we don’t follow this principle. We try to eradicate habits altogether, and start doing something new intensely right away.

"I strongly believe this is the case, because people go from 0 to 200 miles per hour in setting their goals," said Marco Palma, the director of a human behavior laboratory at Texas A&M University.

If that’s the case, then maybe it’s time we tried another way of making resolutions — this time through moderation.

This would involve identifying the things in your life you want to change, and instead of quitting them entirely, intentionally continue to do them—but at a lower frequency.
A moderation challenge would seek to make a resolution that falls somewhere in the middle of the two extreme ends of the spectrum for a certain behavior. Easy right? Actually, no. What makes moderation such difficult advice to follow is that it's vague.

And so we need to be precise in what we mean when we say “moderation.”

More details about this over at Vice.

What are your thoughts about this one?

(Image Credit: Pixabay)


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It's an interesting question, and one that might just depend on the person involved. For example, I know people who have given up cigarettes cold turkey--just stopped and never looked back (usually after some health scare). Others have gradually weaned themselves off over time. I know that for me, some things (such as cutting down on over-processed carbs) work better if I just completely stop because I can't trust myself to "just have a little" of it (crackers, pretzels, rolls at dinner). Other things are better if I do them over time (like exercise--I've gradually increased over time). I'd be interested to know what others think.
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